Wednesday, April 01, 2020


There is a sweet called Siberia.

It is basically yokan (thick jelled sweet bean paste) that is sandwiched with castella (sponge cake).

Apparently this sweet was created in the Kanto (East Japan) area, Yokohama to be wonder I hadn't seen/tried this in Kansai (West Japan).

It is also apparently called "Siberia" because it reminded the creator of the railroads in Russia...

I had recently seen this on a television show and at some bakeries in Tokyo as well and was interesting in trying it.

The version I tried had the yokan as well as some cream cheese in the center.

The tartness from the cream cheese helped to balance out all the sweetness from the yokan and castella.

I'm glad I tried it and will try other versions when I come across them at other bakeries.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

5 minute ozoni

Sunday dinner was ozoni.

I know you usually see ozoni during New Years but since the weather was fahreezing and we stayed in all weekend, this was perfect.

I used some dried veggies, which I reconstituted with hot water.

It was my first time using the dried veggies and it came out quite good.

And heated up some mochi from the freezer.

As for the soup, I used a packed of instant suimono.

This was delicious and perfect for the weather on Sunday.

I will definitely keep these dried veggies on hand in my pantry.

Monday, March 30, 2020

beet hummus

I made beet hummus for the first time with a roasted beet I had in the freezer.

The deep pink/magenta color was perfect for the overcast weather.

1 roasted beet (about the size of a fist), peeled & sliced
1 can of garbanzo beans (380 grams), rinsed
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 tablespoons olive oil

In a food processor, whiz everything together to the consistency of your choice.

NOTES: I didn't have sesame paste (tahini) so I used sesame oil instead. My hummus didn't get creamy or a light pink, which I think was due to not using tahini.

Still, I'm glad I tried this.

I froze half and we enjoyed the rest for several dinners over the weekend.

Yesterday, we had snow! for most of the morning.

I think this helped everyone stay at home.

Japan does not have any laws that allow the government to mandate everyone to stay at home.

Because of this, they can only "ask" us to do so.

Many of the surrounding prefectures also "asked" their citizens to stay at home.

Most parks for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) are off limits so no one gathers, benches blocked off as well as park entrances.

Hoping we can cut our numbers this week, though we need the cooperation of everyone.

Have a good week.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

la boulange asano

There are so many bakeries in Japan.

I hadn't heard of La Boulange Asano, but as we walked to MIL after lunch, we picked up a few items for breakfast.

I love trying different bakeries sakura anpan...this one had koshian (smooth sweet bean paste) with sakura leaves worked in.

The outer bread had sakura leaves and a salted sakura flower on top.

Satoshi had their garlic baguette and MIL had their regular anpan.

I'm glad we tried them and will be back whenever we are in the area.

BIL gave MIL another kokedama (moss ball) with momo (peach) blossoms for her pretty!

La Boulange Asano
25 Kitagenicho, Koyama
Kita-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.493.1693
Closed Thursdays
Hours: 7:30-18:30

Saturday, March 28, 2020

misonobashi sakai

When we arrived in Kyoto we hopped on a bus to an area near Kamigamo Shrine, Misonobashi Sakai.

This shop was recently talked about on "Matsuko no Shiranai Sekai".

I tried their yakibuta reimen...which is supposed to be their popular item.

I didn't like that they put lots of sauce on it.

The shoyu based sauce was overly sweet and had lots of chinese mustard in it...

Satoshi wanted to try the dish that was talked about on the show...Tenshin Han, which is fried rice topped with a scrambled egg and covered with a thick shoyu slurry sauce.

I got a taste and will order this the next time we are here.

The gyoza met the gyoza snob's preferences.

After lunch we walked along the Kamo River.

And spotted this cool mosaic wall made from broken dishes.

I'm glad we got to try this place and will be back the next time we are in Kyoto.

Misonobashi Sakai
38-3 Oomiyahigashisoumonguchicho
Kita-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.492.4965
Closed Mondays
Hours: 11:00-22:00

Friday, March 27, 2020

hoshi yasai

Over the past couple of days, there has been talk of Tokyo being on lockdown.

Apparently the numbers we have been seeing on the news are actually 2 weeks or so old because of the virus incubation period.

Wednesday, I went to the market to pick a few more items so that if they did lock us down, we would be ready.

I picked up some hoshi yasai which is literally dried veggies.

I bought some kiriboshi daikon, daikon leaves and spinach.

I also got a kinpira gobo mix and hijiki mix.

Unfortunately, over the past couple of days many people have been out in crowds because the sakura (cherry blossoms) are in bloom and also because it is technically Spring Break.

I have lived in Japan for 19 years now and feel social distancing is something Japan does not do well.

Wednesday night, the governor of Tokyo asked everyone to stay home this weekend to see if we can get our numbers down (right now Tokyo has the most infected in Japan).

Soon after that announcement and early Thursday morning you should have seen the krazy lines at the markets and drugstores.

Hopefully everyone will get the message and stay home this weekend because if they don't, we will be on lockdown...

Take care everyone.

Thursday, March 26, 2020


On our way to Kyoto, we stopped off at Hikone to visit MIL's family grave.

We saw this huge, beautiful succulent plant.

And these delicate glass hinamatsuri (girl's day) figurines and sakura tree.

Every time we go to Hikone we pass by Pomme d'Amour, a tiny bakery with a cafe and terrace area.

I guess we go so early in the morning to visit the family grave that this bakery is never open.

We finally tried some of their baked items.

The chausson aux pommes (apple pie) was so flaky and delicious!

Satoshi had their ham baguette.

The chocolate banana danish was different but delicious!

And their sesame onion loaf was delicious toasted.

I'm glad we got to try their baked goods and we'll be back whenever we are in Hikone.

Pomme d'Amour
2-8 Tachibana-cho
Hikone, Shiga
Phone: 0749.21.3515
Closed Tuesdays
Hours: 9:00-19:00