Has it been a year?

Has it been a year?

Wow, it has been exactly a year since my last trip to Japan. It really doesn’t feel like 365 days has gone by since I remember it like it was yesterday. This trip was almost a culinary tour of three popular cities – Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. Can we all agree that Japan has a sh*t load of delicious food that can keep anyone busy for quite a while?

My most memorable and anticipated meal was at Sukiyabashi Jiro. For anyone who has watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi would know about the father and the son’s restaurants in Tokyo.

We dined at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Roppongi Hills, the younger son’s, Takashi (隆士), restaurant. The experience was impeccable! There are a number of reviews that has mentioned the younger son’s restaurant isn’t as great as the flagship restaurant owned by his father. In my opinion, it was amazing! Maybe due to my novice knowledge of sushi. But hey! the only opinion that matters to oneself when it comes to food taste is their own. Not to mention, the son and his sous chef both were extremely friendly, detail-oriented and the best part was they both speak English! We were able to get some explanation on the fish type/history/proper way to consume and other random interesting facts. It’s always an enjoyable experience for me when I can communicate with the chef that is preparing my food.

We had 23 different omakase sashimi and sushi servings (captured most of them below), each one was mind blowingly delicious. I could barely move afterwards and yet my mind still wanted more. I seriously had never said more “mmMmmmMmmm” in my life! (* ̄∇ ̄*)

Chef: tasty?! Me(mouthful):MmmmMmmmHUmphhhh
Can you tell how happy we were?  😀

My secret to making that creamy popsicle!

My secret to making that creamy popsicle!
I’ve been making popsicles left and right. It’s fun, tasty and healthy so why not right? Why make popsicles instead of liters of ice cream you ask? Well…

1) portion control – my weakest link…O.o
2) Every popsicle can be different from another!
3) They freeze faster hence I get to eat them earlier! 🙂

SO this secret ingredient to all my popsicles is…..>>>>>COTTAGE CHEESE<<<<<

I love adding cottage cheese to these frozen treats. They add texture and creaminess and it doesn’t affect the taste you are trying to achieve. Fruit popsicles taste awesome and they are always so refreshing!

Here are the basic ingredients I use
– Chobani or 365 (whole food brand) greek yogurt
– Cottage cheese
– Fruits of your choice
– Agave (optional)

Sometimes I get lazy, I just use flavoured greek yogurt with cottage cheese and it taste just as good! If you are curious about what are some of the combinations, here are my favorites (going from left to right in my pictures)

  • pineapple yogurt + rambutan
  • vanilla yogurt + fig
  • raspberry yogurt + logan
  • pineapple yogurt + roasted peach <- MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!!

Give them a try! You won’t be disappointed. *Scout’s honour* 😀


Lavender Rosemary Shortbread

Lavender Rosemary Shortbread

I couldn’t help myself but bringing home two bouquets of dried culinary lavenders last weekend from Farmers Market. The smell pulled me in and they looked too pretty to not take home. 🙂 I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of lavender scent growing up and found it a little overwhelming. In the past few years, this particular fragrance started to grow on me. It may have something to do with some of the delicious lavender treats I have tried. It’s interesting how our taste bud can change our preference of smell, eh? 😛

With all the lavenders I bought, I had way more than enough for just displaying them. Plus I don’t want the place to be trenched with the smell, that might kill the enjoyment of anything. So I decided to make some shortbread cookies! What do people think of shortbread cookies when it gets mentioned? “umm yummy…” then followed by “but it’s so unhealthy… all that butter..!” yeap I agree. I even thought twice when the idea first popped up. Most shortbread recipes requires a whole ton of butter and sugar and I have read at least ten recipes on them. I thought well it’s either that I will feel extremely guilty while eating them OR I can risk wasting a batch and push for healthier alternatives. So I did and how did it turn out? well… read on 🙂

I think I may have pushed the limit of this recipe further than some people may prefer. But I promise you, it taste great at the end even though you may think it will turn disastrous throughout the process.  Here’s the recipe I used as a guideline and below is the actual measurement of the ingredients I used. I’ve substituted half of the flour with whole wheat flour and some honey for sugar.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 C butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp culinary lavender
  1. Mix all the ingredients together. Leave a few rosemary sprigs for decoration if you would like.
  2. Place the mixture on a large piece of parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/3 inch thick. Don’t worry if your mixture looks all crumbly, this is expected. This is due to the reduced butter but you should still be able to roll it out to a pizza shape. Look at my picture below. 🙂
  3. Let it chill in the fridge for about an hour or two.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 F.  Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 1 1/2 – 2 inch squares.
  5. (optional)Place a small piece of rosemary on some of the cookies. Put some granulated sugar in a small bowl and dip each cookie into the bowl and let one side be coated with sugar.
  6. Place them on a baking mat or leave it on the parchment paper. Move them so they have a little space in between. They won’t expand much so you don’t need much space in between.
  7. Bake 15-18 minutes, until edges are a little golden brown. Let it cool then enjoy the fruit of your labour! 😀

I tried to follow the steps pretty much stated in the recipe link above except I couldn’t on some of the steps due to the recipe alteration. Here’s a few difficulties I had to face with my changes.

  1. The dough was way too crumbly due to lack of butter. You can see from the picture below that it’s almost impossible for me to make a dough out of it, definitely can’t make a log shape. I had to make mine like a pizza with a roller.
  2. I rolled the dough on my baking mat and I couldn’t cut the cookie batter after because you shouldn’t be cutting on a silicon mat. I still cut mine on it but I really wouldn’t suggest this. I just couldn’t move mine without crumble the whole thing. I should have put it on a parchment paper first before cutting then moved it to my baking mat. At least I know now! 🙂
  3. Make sure you are fast at decorating, you should bake with cold cookie dough right out of the fridge. If you took long at decorating or what so ever then pop them back into the fridge until they get cold again.

Despite the crumbly dough I had to work with, I really liked this recipe. It wasn’t as greasy/sugary as most of the shortbread cookies I have tried in the past!  Even with the cut back on butter, these cookies were still crumbly and buttery enough! 😀 I love the combination of lavender and rosemary together. I can imagine making many other tasty treats with these two ingredients! ❤

Update – 08/20

Another attempt of improving this recipe! With just a few more tbsp of butter, I was able to roll my dough and make cookie discs from them! If you don’t want to work with a crumbly mixture, instead of using 3/4 cup = 12 tbsp of butter, use 14 tbsps of butter! Just two extra tbsps added enough moisture to allow the flour to stick together! 😀

Acorn – what an experience!

Acorn – what an experience!

It took me a while to write this blog post. I kind of got caught up with everything else going on, kept pushing this out to “tomorrow”. Finally, that “tomorrow” is today! 🙂 I told myself that I really need to write this up simply because it is a well deserved review on a very memorable dining experience I had while touring Bath.

It was an absolute pleasure dining at Acorn, a modern vegetarian restaurant that uses seasonal ingredients to serve each of their exquisite dish. The menu changes all the time since they only use seasonal ingredients.The restaurant offers the option of choosing two or three courses. I chose the three course (of course!) with wine pairing and so did my partner. We both picked different items on the menu just so both of us could try more dishes. 😀 I would suggest you do the same if you and your dining partner don’t mind sharing. It’s the most awesome way to dine out. Hence why I love going out with big groups when it comes to dining! 😀

First courses –

Carrot & Cashew pâté with pickles, salad and spelt crisps. I seriously thought I could eat this all day long. I’m not a huge fan of carrots. I think I only eat it because I was told that it has a lot of carotene which is apparently good for the eyes.  This on the other hand was phenomenal! The sweetness from the carrots and the nutty flavour of the cashew were just a perfect blend! I’m not even a vegetarian and I was still going nuts on this! I think this is the best pâté I’ve had to date… forget about all the meaty pâté because those don’t compare when it comes to compete with this delicious piece of art!

Chioggia Beetroot Slivers with aged cashew puree and local salad. This restaurant love their cashews and I can’t deny the fact they did a good job with this. The puree was palatable, it has a light nutty taste to it. It wasn’t as intense as the pâté dish. It went well with the beets and salad without dominating the flavour of the dish. This was enjoyable, however, between the two choices for first course, I would choose the pâté without hesitation. 🙂

Second courses –

Smoke field mushroom with potato galette, salt baked celeriac puree and market greens. The mushrooms were very flavourful, the texture reminded me of dehydrated mushrooms. If I wasn’t told it was smoked, I wouldn’t be able to tell how it was cooked just by tasting. I like mushrooms in general but smoked mushroom was fairly new to me. The mushrooms was glazed in rich mushroom demi-glace. I think the glaze helped making the mushroom “juicy” and definitely added a touch to its presentation! The puree was again tasty. I don’t think there was one dish at this restaurant where I didn’t enjoy the puree yet. 🙂

Calabrese Broccoli & Confit Jersey Royals with spelt grain warmed in a smoked almond and olive oil emulsion, lovage and pickled cabbage. Seriously, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I ordered this dish. The dish was definitely on the hearty side because of the almond olive oil emulsion. The term “emulsion” was new to me so if you are clueless as well then read this or watch a video from serious eats or any other food network. I’m sure there are tons out there that explains this. I enjoyed the creamy, almondy flavour of spelt soaked in emulsion and loved the chewy texture. It kind of reminds me of my daily breakfast, bircher muesli, in a way. 🙂

Desserts –

Compressed Cheddar Strawberries with pine nut parfaits, shredded basils and pepper.  The pine nut ice cream is AHHHHHHHHHH….. MIND BLOWING good! Yes I am an ice cream addict but this WAS heavenly. I got an non ice cream addict to back me up on this. 😉 That must count as something right? I’m not sure where the cheddar part of the strawberry comes from because I didn’t taste anything cheddar. At first I thought it was a type of strawberries but it wasn’t. The strawberries were good and went well with the pine nut. The highlight is still the ice cream! It is a MUST try if they have it on the menu.

Poached Rhubarb with thyme meringue, panna cotta, spiced gel & rhubarb sorbet. This is an interesting dessert because it just has so much going on here. I felt like I was having three desserts in one! I enjoyed each on their own. I also tried to combine them in one bite and I didn’t think they all went together very well. The spiced gel was unique but probably my least favorite part of the dish.

There is popular restaurants like Sally Lunn in Bath where I find it odd that people rave about a place that serves large hamburger buns pretty much!  To verify this, of course I had to go try it myself. To my expectation and own taste bud, it was very overrated! Rick Steves has said that “it is unique but a completely forgettable experience!”, I totally agree and actually don’t even find it that unique! So if you have that planned in your schedule. I would suggest you to not waste your time/stomach space on eating hamburger bread and book yourself a table at Acorn and enjoy some quality food! I’m only writing about this because I had such a great experience. I rarely do restaurant reviews but this was an experience definitely worth mentioning! ❤

Spiked Parfait!

Spiked Parfait!

This IS a perfect date night dessert! 😉

So I call this date night dessert but really it can be made for any occasion even for a night in by yourself! I made this for myself last night as an experiment and I was surprised how tasty it turned out and not to mention how quick you can whip this together! It looked so pretty that I had to take a few pictures of it to show you! 😀

You only need three ingredients:
  • Ice cream – I used Talenti Strawberry ice cream, I think vanilla is always a safe bet and will taste great as well.
  • Fruit – in this case I thought raspberry would go well and it did!
  • Here the key ->chocovine (chilled)!! This Dutch chocolate red wine blend is darn amazing to use not only as a dessert beverage but also as syrup for your favorite ice cream! 😀 😀

Scoop spoonful of ice cream and layer some fruits in between. Drizzle or pour in the chocovine depending on how much you like it. 😛 Serve it in a bowl or in a champagne glass like I did, doesn’t it look so good?! ❤

This is not only the best of two worlds but three! Ice cream + chocolate + red wine… Do I need to say more? XD



If anyone were to ask me or ask anyone who knows me well – what puts a smile on her face or can turn her gloomy day into a brighter one?

…it’s got be ice cream/gelato!

IMG_4969 So I finally got an ice cream maker a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited! I think I was giggling so much that my better half was even laughing! So right away, I started googling for recipes and interestingly enough, I came across a ton of recipes that do not require an ice cream maker! O.o How did I not know this?

This made me wonder if I really needed an ice cream maker. Of course, the best way to find out is by making it without using the machine. 🙂 So I did and it turned out surprisingly well. The texture is good but I think I need to play around with the ingredients proportion a bit more to get the ideal taste I like. I didn’t make it that sweet so if you want this to be sweeter then add more agave nectar/honey to it.

Here’s my ingredients list :

  • One large frozen banana
  • 1/4 of medium ripe avocado
  • greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsps agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 tsps almond extract
  • 1/4 cup  or more pistachio nuts
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum (optional)

I mixed everything together in a blender until smooth. Pour it into a container and added a few of the pistachio for garnishing. Then put it in the freezer.

I took it out at 1 hr mark and churned it by hand. This helps break down any ice crystals. Its also a good time to eat it if you like it as a soft serve. I usually prefer my ice cream on the more frozen side. 🙂

IMG_4957   IMG_4971

I made another batch of mixed berry frozen yogurt with even less ingredients ’cause I got lazy. 😛

It’s just frozen bananas, mixed berries and greek yogurt! I would suggest you put in some honey or agave nectar if you like your cold treats on the sweeter side. This was more on the tarty/sour side. But very refreshing!

IMG_4990    IMG_4991

In the end, I decided to return my ice cream maker. There’s probably better use of that kitchen space for something else. PLUS how did people make ice cream back in the day when there was no ice cream machine and yet it tasted just as delicious?! I know it’s just more work but hey, food taste better when you work for them… IMHO! 😀

Weeknight easy recipe!

Weeknight easy recipe!
Do you like nutty sweet citrusy treats? Do you like quick recipes? if you say yes then this is definitely something you want to read on!
Here are the things you need (most of these are optional in my opinion with only half that are necessary).  I had limited ingredients that yield to 8 cookies so use the below measurement according to the number of cookies you want to bake.

  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnut (must)
  • 1/6 cup or 3 tbsps sugar (must)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (must)
  • 1/8 whole wheat flour or any flour you have (must)
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp milk/heavy cream
  • a bit of kosher salt

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix together hazelnut, flour and orange zest together.

2) In a saucepan, combine sugar, butter, honey, salt and cream/milk together. Dissolve the sugar and bring the mix to boil.

3) Pour this hot sauce into the hazelnut mix.

4) Drop table spoonful of the mixture onto baking sheet and flatten them out a bit, space them out at least two inches apart because they will spread out!

5) Pop them in the oven and set the timer for 7 mins, they burn fast so check them often!

They are super delicious and easy to make. They go perfect with coffee/tea or eat them plain like I do! 🙂 You can also crush them and put them on top of ice creams! 😀