December 28, 2011

Jack Snacks!... Mokomoko Mug Cake

What do you do when you've got a craving for cake but you don't want to spend a couple of hours beating, mixing, baking? Why of course the answer is simple - Mokomoko Mug Cake!

It costs around $3.50 for a box containing 2 packets of mug cake mix. The instructions on the back are in Japanese but the steps are so simple that I (think I) can make it out with with my limited Japanese.

Mokomoko Mug Cake - cute instructions but alas - only in Japanese!
All you have to do is get a mug, and in there combine the contents of one packet of cake mix with one egg. Once it's combined, microwave for for a couple of minutes (1.5min for a 600 watt microwave or 2min for a 500 watt microwave, do not wrap the mug or cover it). And ta-da!! Your very own mug cake.

It's not too bad for a microwave packet cake - soft and fluffy and not too dry. But don't fool yourselves, it's still a pretty basic cake and obviously not a true replacement for homebaked goodies or something from a nice cake shop. It's still good to keep in the pantry for those late night cake-mergencies (not to mention the high novelty factor!). It comes in 2 flavours - vanilla or moccha (there's also caramel but I've only ever seen that overseas). And the back of the box suggests adding banana which I think is a great combination and decided to try, yum!

Mug. Packet mix. Egg. Optional banana. Yep, that's all you need!

Mix, mix, mix.. when it's done, plop some chopped up banana in.

It's fun watching it puff up in the microwave, when it's done.. poof! It's deflated back down.

Ta-da!!! Mug cake with banana!
What happens if you decide to break the rules and turn mug-cake into bowl-cake? I sacrificed the last of my Lindt chocolate bunnies to make a choc-banana bowl-cake and decided to use a bowl out of curiousity. It was a little tougher, the larger surface area naturally makes the cake cook faster so in future I think I'll stick with the mug! Chocolate on the other hand, I'll add again next time!

Bowl-cake - not quite the same as mug cake, even with a sacrificed Lindt bunny. Stick to the mug kids, stick to the mug.

What: Mokomoko Mug Cake
Where: Most Japanese supermarkets (Maruyu, Conveni 8) and quite a few asian supermarkets (Miracle, Thai Kee etc)
How much: Around the $3.50 mark

December 26, 2011

Merry Xmas from the other sister!

From the other sister up north, Merry (belated) Xmas to everyone.  I hope you all made the most of the festive excuse to indulge! Like Jack, we also ate well including our roast leg of lamb with brussels sprouts straight from the stalk - a seasonal favourite. Dessert was Jamie Oliver's mini puddings and ice cream from Recipease - not shown here as we were busy eating to take a photo! We also bought a chocolate gold leaf cake from another one of our favourite local shops, Gail's, filled with rum and the odd bit of fruit and nut.  The chocolate cake served us well in between meals over the long weekend and lovely with a cup a tea as I get back into blogging after a hectic year.  Stay tuned for more posts from the sisters - till then, happy eating!

Roast lamb, fresh sprouts and chocolate cake - what a great way to celebrate Xmas!

Merry Christmas!!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to wish everybody a Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a fantastic day with your family and friends. And of course, I hope that you all ate well too! Here's a couple of quick snaps from my Christmas lunch... happy holiday feasting!

Christmas Feast course 1 - cheese and crackers, cooked prawns, marinated anchovies..
Christmas Feast course 2 - roast potatoes, lamb cutlets and mushrooms.
Christmas Feast dessert course - apple tart with vanilla bean ice cream.

Ok.. it was a lot of food.... but it was delicious!!!! Merry Christmas again! Sending you all lots of love and well wishes.

December 5, 2011

HaNa Ju-Rin

It's been a while (again) - I've been travelling with my family in Japan for the past 2 weeks. Jess and I certainly enjoyed all the food and we'll be posting about it as soon as we're back home! But in the meantime I'm in Singapore for a quick stopover which of course means more eating!

Meanwhile, a quick post from a meal back home, at HaNa Ju-Rin in Crows Nest. It was quite some time ago now so I can't remember all the details, apologies in advance! It was a last minute booking on a Saturday night but we were able to get a table. It's a quiet little restaurant, the upstairs level has a teppan grill and a sushi counter, both would be great seating options to watch the chefs while eating.

Teppan master at work while we enjoy our green tea, the teppan counter seating.

We started off with Mackerel Boxed Sushi ($19.80) which was beautifully presented. The rectangular pieces are actually pre-cut into halves which make them perfect for popping into your mouth. There's also a scant layer of something in the middle - it tastes like it was maybe some kind of pickled/preserved/marinated vegetable - although chances are I'm completely wrong. Whatever it was, it was so delicious. The mackerel was perfectly cooked and there was so much "mmmm-ing" from both C and myself it was like an Iron Chef judging.

Boxed mackerel sushi, mmmmm... And sushi chef at the counter.

Next up was Beef Tongue Fresh Spring Roll ($12.80). Served cold with a slice of lemon and some relish (?) which was sweet with a tiny bit of chilli, this was refreshing and light in taste but the chunks of beef tongue was substantial enough to make this a rather filling starter.

Beef Tongue Fresh Spring Rolls

Softshell Crab Roll ($13.80) was tasty too, there was less vegetable but the crab was meaty and there was enough spiciness to give it a kick. Udon Noodle with Duck in Hot Pot ($17.50) was great for the cold weather (like I said, it was a while ago hehe) - a simple and homely pot of noodles with some shiitake, naruto, seaweed, egg, spring onions and duck. The duck has a slight fowl taste which is not to everyone's liking but was fine for C and myself.

Seeing as they have their own teppan grill, we had to try some Okonmiyaki. We tried the Buta-Tama Pork ($15.00). There's a layer of egg on top which hides the pancake. There was quite a bit of cabbage in this which you could taste, though I'm not complaining cause I love my vegies!

Softshell Crab Roll, Okonomiyaki and the Udon Noodle with Duck in Hot Pot.

For dessert we just had to try some Ice Cream Tempura with Green Tea Sauce ($10.80) which was served with some fruits on the side. The batter wasn't too heavy or oily which I've found is sometimes the case with fried chinese fried icecream. The ubiquitious pairing of azuki (red beans) with the grean tea sauce gave the tempura vanilla icecream flavour. But most of all I enjoyed the Cherry Blossom Rice Cake (Sakura Mochi, $4.00). It was light and delicate in flavour and the perfect size for those who are full but don't want to miss out on dessert.

Icecream Tempura with Green Tea Sauce and lovely Sakura Mochi.

We enjoyed our meal thoroughly and I'd definitely return sometime to try out the other dishes. But of course we'd have to order the Boxed Mackerel Sushi again. Maybe 2 serves....

What: HaNa Ju-Rin
Where: Shop 1, 300 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest (02) 9966 5833. Website with menu here
How much: Check menu for prices