Cooking, Food, Japanese, JLPT N2, Miscellaneous

twenty.

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I remember not long after starting this blog that I wrote a post celebrating my 18th birthday…how time flies! I had just gotten my exam results and I was celebrating about how my marks would get me into a good course of my choice. And now here I am, going into my third year of university next year! Why did I ever grow up T_T

We don’t really do much by way of celebrating birthdays in my family (although they really should, why would you not want to celebrate me guys pls) so I baked my own birthday cake. But I sort of wish I didn’t because I only had one cake tin and thus the three layers and frosting etc. took me the entire day >_< It tastes delicious though! It’s a matcha cake with white chocolate whipped cream frosting and I made a separate green tea ganache to go on top. The flowers I picked from the garden ^_^

I recently returned from a week-long family holiday so it’s been a lazy couple of days. I did do the N2 exam before I left though and it was a pretty…yolo experience. As in I didn’t work very hard for it and I’m pretty sure the results will reflect that. So I don’t really know where that leaves me now. I’m pretty sure that the listening was a disaster. But the vocabulary and grammar section, which I struggled with during N3 , didn’t feel as bad. So maybe with some work I can slay next time 😀 But I’ll keep working and studying my languages while I have free time these holidays.

Do any of you guys bake? If you do, please share cake recipes with me! Because birthday cake duty usually falls to me in this house 😀 And did any of you take the N2 as well? How did you find it?

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Cooking, Food

Take the biscuit: Monte Carlos

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It’s been a (loooong) while since I’ve posted a recipe, so I thought I might do one this week! Uni hasn’t started yet, so I decided to bake some Monte Carlo biscuits on the weekend!

Monte Carlos are a popular classic here in Australia and are manufactured by household-name brand Arnotts. I don’t know if they are eaten elsewhere in the world, so if you’ve eaten them before, do let me know! Named after the city of the same name, Monte Carlos are honey biscuits with raspberry jam and vanilla cream sandwiched inside. This recipe makes quite large biscuits (and the biscuits are indeed the heaviest in the Arnotts cream biscuit range!) so one already makes a more than substantial afternoon tea! Experiment with different honeys if you so wish for different tastes – I used leatherwood, which made the biscuits wonderfully fragrant ^^

Monte Carlo Biscuits (adapted from SMH Good Food)

Ingredients 

3/4 cup brown sugar

125g softened butter

1 egg

2 tbsp honey

salt

2 cups self-raising flour

Ingredients for filling

1/3 cup raspberry jam

1-1.5 cups icing sugar

15g butter

1 tsp vanilla essence

2-3 tbsp milk

Method 

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Line a biscuit tray with baking paper.

3. Cream brown sugar and 125g butter until well blended. Add egg, honey and a pinch of salt.

4. Fold through sifted flour. Roll mixture into a log about 20cm long. Cover with plastic and allow to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

5. Uncover and slice into 1-cm-thick slices OR roll out until 1cm thick and cut out your desired shape. Place on tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

6. While still warm, brush half the biscuits with the jam. Set aside to cool.

7. Sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add remaining 15g butter and vanilla essence. Mix in enough milk to form a thick icing. Spread other half of the biscuits with the icing and sandwich together.

Recipe notes:

-the 15 minute bake time is for large biscuits. If you wish to make smaller biscuits, you will have to experiment and reduce baking time accordingly!

-the original recipe makes a looot of vanilla cream I found so I’ve already halved the quantities written in the original recipe for this adaptation

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…and get eating! The filling sets quite well so it won’t ooze, making it an ideal snack if you wish to transport it to work, school etc. Enjoy your Monte Carlos, and I’ll see you next week! (it’ll be language-learning related, I promise!) ^^

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Cooking

Biscuits for Days: Speculaas

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皆さん、こんにちは!久しぶり。。。

でも新しいレシピがある!今度、スペクラースというビスケットを作った。

スペクラースはネザーランドとベルギーとドイツでよく食べられている。昔、十二月にだけ食べられているが、もちろんいつでも食べた方がいい!スペクラースは赤砂糖と色々なスパイスでできる。お茶とかコーヒーを飲みながら、食べたらいい。

Hello everybody – long time no see… 😛

But I have a new recipe – I’ve made some speculaas biscuits.

Speculaas are eaten in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.  Traditionally, they’re only eaten in December, but ofc they’re good to eat whenever 😀  Speculaas are made with brown sugar and mixed spice – I recommend dunking them in your coffee or tea ^^  

Speculaas are often made using special biscuit stamps with intricate designs (windmills, flowers etc.), but since I don’t have any, I’ve just used a fork to mark the sides of the biscuits – I never said they were photogenic, but they sure are tasty 🙂

Speculaas (or speculoos) Biscuits (Adapted from a SMH recipe)

Makes ~36

INGREDIENTS:

200g unsalted butter, softened

375g dark brown sugar

75g ground almonds

100ml cold water

100g rye flour

400g plain flour

4 tsp ground mixed spice

4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

METHOD:

  1. Beat butter and sugar until smooth, then stir in almonds, water and rye flour.
  2. Add plain flour, spices, salt and bicarb soda, mix to a smooth, pliable dough.  Roll the dough into a log (~30cm long).  Cover it in plastic wrap and chill for 30 mins.
  3. Preheat oven to 160C.
  4. Cut the log into three 10cm lengths and roll out each length into a large rectangle 1cm thick.  Cut into 3 x 2 inch rectangles and put on lined baking trays.
  5. Use a fork to make grooves down the lengths of each biscuit
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the edges of the biscuits start to colour.

Enjoy your speculaas – try not to eat them all straight away!

いただきます!(スペクラースを食べたことがある?)

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イースター:料理を作ろう!(Hot Cross Buns Recipe ^.^)

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 My homemade cross buns (but unglazed at the time of photo, which is why they’re not shiny -.-)

ご無沙汰!ちょっと 忙しかったから けど。。。>_> でも、日本語 を 勉強しない と言う わけ では ないよ!今イースターなので一週間休暇がある。大学 を 楽しんでいる。法律 は すごく 大変 だけど 頑張る。。。でも、日本語 と フランス語 の 勉強 が 大好きだ。やりがい が あると思うから。私たち の 日本語 の 教科書 は「中級の日本語」で、もうすぐ 半分 を 勉強して しまうと思う!すごいね ^_^

イースター は 日本 で あまり いわれていないらしい けど この レシピ を 皆に 教えたい。とても 美味しいから!

オーストラリア では イースターの時、ホットクロスバン と言う パン は よく 食べられる。だから、一緒に ホットクロスバン を 作ろう!(でも、レシピは 英語 で 書く。日本語に 訳してみたら、ちょっと 変に なるだろうから。。。)では、始めましょうか??

Sorry it’s been so long!  I’ve been a bit busy…>_> But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping up the Japanese study!! I have a one week break for Easter.  I’m enjoying uni so far – law is super hard but I’ll keep trying my best…But I’m loving French and Japanese – they’re both challenging ^^ We’re using “An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese” as our text, and I think we’ll soon be almost halfway through 😀

From what I’ve gathered, Easter isn’t really celebrated in Japan (correct me if I’m wrong) but I still want to share this recipe with you guys because it’s super yum 🙂

In Australia, we eat lots of hot cross buns around Easter time, so we should make some together! ^^ But I’m going to write the recipe here in English because I think it’d turn out really weird if I tried to translate it into Japanese. So shall we get started??

HOT CROSS BUNS (adapted from SMH Good Food)

Makes 12 buns (approx.)

*This recipe should be started several hours in advance – if you’re eating them for breakfast, make them the day before.

Buns

200g mixed dried fruit

14g dried yeast (2 sachets)

350mL gently warmed milk

80mL vegetable oil

90g castor sugar

1 egg

600g plain flour

15g cocoa powder

1 tsp each: mixed spice, cinnamon, ground clove, ginger powder

1 tsp salt

For the cross and glaze

60g plain flour

1 tsp mixed spice

60g castor sugar

water

1. Soak the dried fruit for 30 minutes in hot water, then drain.

2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and leave it for 10 minutes.

3. Mix the vegetable oil, sugar and egg together.

4. Combine all dry ingredients with the soaked fruit in the bowl of a stand mixer/large bowl.

5. Add the yeast mix to the sugar, oil and egg mix.  Whisk, then stir this through with the dry ingredients.  Using the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer/hand beaters, mix until the dough is smooth and elastic.

6. Tip the dough out and knead it a couple of times.  Put it back in the bowl and cover with cling film.  Leave it to rise in a warm place for an hour or until it has doubled in size.

7. Tip the dough out again and knock it back gently.  Cut it into 12 pieces.  Roll each piece against the benchtop to form an even ball.  Place the balls on a tray 2cm apart, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise and expand until the balls are touching (20-40 minutes).

8. To make the cross paste, whisk the flour with 60mL water to make a smooth paste.  Pipe the crosses using a piping bag – don’t pipe the crosses individually, just do one long, smooth line across the rows and columns (if that makes sense -.-).

9. Bake the buns in a preheated oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 200 degrees Celsius and cook for another 10 minutes.

10. To make the glaze, mix castor sugar, mixed spice and 55mL hot water together.  Brush over the hot buns and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

ホットクロスバン を 食べた こと が ある?この レシピ を 楽しんで!いただきます!

I hope you liked the recipe,and that you’ll give it a go – have a nice Easter too ^^ (apparently there isn’t really an equivalent Japanese expression for this?)

またね!

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Cooking, Miscellaneous

Here’s a first… / Honey and Orange Madeleines

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…food! Yup, my first food post on this blog ^^ There’s a recipe too if you read on, I promise! (English translation of French below)

Aujourd’hui, j’écris en français parce que j’ai fait un peu de patîsserie cet après-midi avec mon père.  On a fait des madeleines ensemble.  Je les ai mangés pour la première fois quand j’étais à Paris, et on a même acheté la moule aux soldes avant d’aller en France, donc j’avais tellement envie d’essayer de les faire chez moi! Et j’étais ravie avec les résultats – ells étaient aussi légères que les nuages, avec un goût perceptible du miel et de l’orange.  Une belle réussite (surtout pour la première fois!).  Elles sont parfaites quand on a un petit creux (et cela s’arrive a tout le monde non? >.<) ou même comme un petit dessert au bureau.  Voilà la récette (en anglais) ^^

Today, I’m writing in French because I did a little French baking this afternoon with my Dad.  We made “madeleines” together.  I ate them for the first time when I was in Paris, and we had actually even bought the moulds on sale before we went to France, so I really wanted to try to make them at home!  And I was thrilled with the results – they were light, with a clear honey and orange flavour.  A big success (especially for the first time!).  They’re perfect for when you need a snack (who doesn’t get that feeling? >.<) or even as a mini dessert at the office.  Here’s the recipe (in English) ^^

HONEY & ORANGE MADELEINES

Makes 16-18 (18 for me, it depends on your madeleine tray)

90g plain flour

1 pinch salt

1 tsp baking powder

25g ground almonds / almond meal

2 large eggs

60g caster sugar

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp orange zest (use a microplane grater)

1 tsp orange juice

150g unsalted butter, melted + extra to brush the moulds

icing sugar to dust

a madeleine pan (!!)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together.  Add the almond meal and combine.

3. Beat the eggs, sugar, honey and zest together until thick with a mixer.

4. Add half the dry ingredients to the egg mix and combine.  Add the orange juice, half the melted butter and the rest of the dry ingredients, then mix.  Add the remaining butter and mix until combined.

5. Butter the madeleine pan.  Fill each mould with the mixture – don’t fill it all the way too the top, just leave a little bit of space (as they will rise later in the oven and risk overflowing).  Bake for 7-10 minutes (depending on the size of your moulds).  The madeleines should be springy to the touch when ready, otherwise, test the middle of a cake with a skewer.

6. Turn out from the moulds (either just flip the whole tray over, or gently use a spoon – the butter should prevent stickiness) and dust with icing sugar to serve.

7. Eat the madeleines to your heart’s content ^_^

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Hope you liked this slightly different direction – if you guys like this, I’ll be more than happy to see if I can share more recipes and kitchen adventures (and mishaps)  in future.

A plus tard / see you later ^_^

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