Right well…. I promised to post more pics today of the crumble topped banana apple bread I made for yesterday’s Sweet Melissa Sunday deadline, but my live-in photographer had other things to do so that will just have to wait… which means I’ll have to maintain some self-control to ensure there’s still something to take photos of tomorrow. damn.
So instead, I thought I’d post a few recent experiments:
A few weeks ago we went to a fantastic Japanese restaurant – Bento Box, go – for a friend’s birthday and it sparked a bit of an obsession.. I’d been playing around with the idea of joining the Iron Cupcake London challenge and as this month’s theme happens to be ‘Cupcakes of the World’, I’ve made it my goal to put together a tasty Japanese-themed cupcake fit for the competition. Now, this is a bit odd because although I grew up in Japan, I never really developed a taste for most of the Japanese foods that friends and family seem to love – e.g. sushi, sashimi, ramen.. and especially green tea, bean paste and most so-called ‘desserts’.
But I’ll try anything in cupcake form.
I came across Chockylit’s recipe for matcha green tea frosting and promptly cycled down (yes, cycled..I was that pumped, haha) to the Japan Centre in Piccadilly Circus for ingredients. This was an easy cream cheese based frosting and – it still shocks me to say this – it’s DELICIOUS. seriously, I love it. The taste is hard to describe – I’d say the matcha almost adds a nuttiness.. or something.. I added a teaspoon of orange extract in an attempt to get a satsuma-ish theme going and an extra teaspoon of matcha powder just to make sure the green tea flavour came through.
This is definitely one I plan to use again – for the Iron Cupcake London competition and just for fun. It went over reeeeeally well with friends.. (Particularly with one friend who I’d describe as a fanatical dessert-hater in fact – she had 2!!)
* I was going to offer MATCHA POWDER as my ‘most unusual ingredient’ entry for Katiecakes’ fantastic giveaway, but I also picked up this at the Japan Centre:
No, not the lucky cat. (ha ha.. what a card I am, eh?). The package he’s propping up contains Mochiko – glutinous rice flour – which is used to make ‘Mochi’ in Japan. From what I remember, Mochi is a chewy, mildly sweet bread (?) often filled with sweet bean paste. Have a look here to get an idea. I’m guessing that using Mochiko will be my most unusual baking experience – because even though it’s not unusual at all in Japanese cooking, it’s a far cry from my usual bakes and my typical tastes.
I was NOT a fan of Mochi balls as a child. I always mistook the bean paste for chocolate and felt horribly cheated once I’d bitten in and realized my error. But the idea of making these Mochi balls, and using whatever filling I fancy, really intrigues me… (though I do intend to try the beanpaste again). Have a look here, here and here for a few tasty-looking recipes I’ve been considering..
I’ll let you know the verdict once I get around to this one – but in the meantime, check out Katie’s gorgeous blog for a look at what other unusual ingredients her readers have been cooking with! xx