A summer berry cake

Dessert, Summer

Hi, guys!!

Do you have a sweet tooth? I usually do not eat sweets but sometimes I really can’t help having some, you know, this is a kind of the female matter!!hehe

Yesterday I baked a berry cake which was very easy and also satisfied my husband who has an extremely sweet tooth. Since I got married to him, I have been trying to help him to fix his sweet addiction, which a majority of English people are suffered from without awareness. I am not criticising the English diet, and I believe that having sweets by itself is not that bad. What I concern about my husband is he is taking too much chemicals from fizzy drinks or cakes he intakes almost everyday.

This is why I sometimes make homemade cake or lemonade for him. I have been pretty busy these days so I don’t bake cake that often. To be fair I am not that good at baking so I often struggle to find easy baking recipes. This recipe I am going to share with you today is, however, quite simple so I can confidently recommend all of you, especially if you are too busy to make a lot of effort to cut down your chemical intake.

Hope you will enjoy my recipe!xx

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[Ingredients] -20cm round baking tin

  • 240g of plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon of salt
  • 150g of unsalted butter
  • 190g of granulated sugar
  • 200ml of milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g of berries
  • some unsalted butter to cover the baking tin

[Intructions]

  1. Mix plain flour, baking powder, salt and butter in a large bowl. crumbling with hands. Take 150g of this mix away. You will put them on top of cake just before baking.img_4778
  2. Break eggs and separate them into yolk and white. Mix yolk and milk and pour the milk into the remained mix of step1. Use spatula and mix them gently.
  3. Whip  the white of step2. until it gets hard.
  4. Add the whipped white to the mix of step2. and mix well gently.
  5. Pour the mix into buttered baking tin.
  6. Drop about 80% of berries on the mix in the tin.
  7. Cover the top of mix in the tin with the crumbled mix which was taken away in step1.
  8. Sprinkle the remained berries on top of the mix in the tin.
  9. Bake the cake in a preheated (170 degrees) oven for 45 minutes.
  10. Cool it down for at least a few hours before you serve.

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When you try my recipes, please leave the comment and give me feedback. There is no need entering your email address to leave messages so if you are not happy to give me your personal information just skip that question. (I can not remove that question due to the worldpress system.) You can also contact me on my Contact Page or you can also share your attempts on Instagram with #jhomerecipes.

I hope you find this information useful for your happy healthy life!

Travel to Yamaguchi – 2. Kintai-kyo Bridge

travel, Yamaguchi

2. Kintai-kyo Bridge

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Kintai-kyo bridge is a hitsorical bridge which have been playing an important role to lead this area successful. In a past, here was a center of a small country (Japan consisted of many small countries at that time) which located in this area. “Joka machi” means a small town which surrounded a castle, and was often busy of many markets or other business. But unfortunately, this joka machi was surrounded by a big pond or more like river and people had to take boats to get there. This was really annoying, because this river often overflew and people can not take boats. Thus a big strong bridge was needed for people to get to joka mechi. You can learn interesting history of this bridge from their website.

 

You have to pay a few hundreds yen to pass this bridge and there you will see many Japanese cultural buildings.

 

Of course, if there is a castle, there also should be beautiful garden that a king could see from his room. There was a small pond and you could see some pretty turtles. My husband was so excited and talking to a turtles and then turtles was staring at him back!

 

There are a few popular ice cream shops there.

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We tried three kinds of flavour from more than 100 options. They were amazingly nice!

 

I hope you can enjoy this article! xx

 

Travel to Yamaguchi – 1. Sanzoku Restaurant

travel, Yamaguchi

3. Sanzoku Restaurant

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Where is Yamaguchi…?

Yamaguchi prefecture is located next to Hiroshima prefecture. If you stay at Hiroshima for a while, Yamaguchi prefecture is worth visiting. Although Yamaguchi prefecture is less urban than Hiroshima, you can enjoy different warm atmosphere there.

 

Sanzoku means “mountain pirates”, who lived with a group in a mountain and stole things from travelers. Japan is a small island and there have been few areas which are not governed by any local authorities. So the places where mountain pirates could act were limited and Yamaguchi prefecture is one of the most famous area of them.

 

In Yamaguchi prefecture, there are some restaurants where you can try their wild foods like big onigiri (rice ball), grilled chicken legs/river fish etc…

 

To get to the restaurant, you can take JR train to the nearest station from Hiroshima. Please note that there are not so many train service because that area is mountainous countryside. So I recommend you to leave Hiroshima early morning and have lunch in Sanzoku restaurant. The nearest restaurant from Hiroshima station is Kuga area brunch.

 

 

If you are interested in Sanzoku restaurants, please message me before you go because this place is a little bit complicated. If you go to a wrong way from Kuga station, you can not go there! I will give you some details of way and Japanese memo you can show people you find there so that they will guide you to the restaurant! The nearest station “Kuga” is located in a small village and people there are very very kind. (They can easily recognise that you are from outside of village or not.)

 

 

This branch consists from three separated restaurants which are designed with different concepts. One of the restaurants are designed like a Japanese castle so you can have a very special time there!!

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Travel to Hiroshima – 3.Countryside

Hirohsima, travel

3. Countryside

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In the countryside, you are always welcomed with heartwarming atmosphere. I have a few recommendation to go but please note that these places are little difficult to get to with public transport. At least you can see these rice field very easily from trains as well.

 

I. Takehara

Takehara is pretty town where you can see Japanese traditional building or so. You can get train to Takehara station from Hiroshima station. You can visit their website and learn how beautiful their town is.

If you use Hiroshima airport, you are so good! You can get there wonderful hotel, Hotel Kamogawaso (one of the best hotel I like in Hiroshima) in 15 minutes by taxi from the airport. 15 minutes from Takehara station by taxi, but you can also ask hotel to arrange a  car and they will pick you up at the station or airport. Visit their website and I can help you to book the hotel if you want to ^^

Once you arrived at the hotel I think you want to explore around the hotel because you can see beautiful Japanese countryside. You can learn how Japanese rice fields work!

There is another hotel, Kanpo-no-yado next to Kamogawaso and we stayed there this time, in fact, although they do not have a website written in English so I decided not to push this hotel. But this hotel is also good. To me Kamogawaso isthe best option if I am with guests and want to have a luxurious night. But Kanpo-no-yado is good option when I am with my family and want to spend relaxed time.

The foods were amazing in both hotels. (The photos are taken in Kanpo-no-yado. Please imagine that even better options are available in Kamogawaso!)

 

 

See? You should come to try these fabulous foods!!

 

II. Saijo

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Ah!!! Maybe I should not pick this town up now because I do not think my English skills is good enough to explain how wonderful this town is!

But once obvious thing I can say is people who once lived here say they never wants to move anywhere! Well also this is where I was born… this is not the reason I like this place so much!haha

Saijo is a very famous big town in east Hiroshima. This town is so mysterious as well, for instance, there is very countryside but you can get anything you need to. Very peaceful and quiet but still successful town. There are some things which make Saijo famous and popular.

First, there is a national Hiroshima University I graduated from, and there are always young students in the town. I do not why but people in Hiroshima have been cherishing students of Hiroshima University so you are treated very well. In fact, Hiroshima university students have good reputation of “good at focus on things” or “try very hard”. Do you know why? That is because Hiroshima University is in the mountainous area and there is nothing that amuses students! People from urban city say they would be depressed if they had to spend all day!!

 

Second, Saijo have several Japanese sake brand and you can visit their factories in the sentre of the town. Often you can try some of their products and you can buy very fresh sake from them. the factories all locate near Saijo station and you can also find some restaurants which sells foods using these sake.

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Third, there are so many nice restaurants in Saijo. To Japanese person, if I can have nice sake and some sashimi, then nothing can beat this! You should visit this place.

This place is called “Yatai mura”. In this small place, there several small restaurants are located, and you can experience a nice and warm service. In this restaurant you can try grilled fresh fish or meat.

 

If you are very hungry I recommend this restaurant. Restaurant “Hanagokoro” is always amazing! If you try very Japanese food, this restaurant is highly amazing. If you can’t speak or read Japanese, do not worry. University students are working here so they will always help you. To get there, take taxi from Saijo satation and you will be there in 10 minutes.

 

It is sad but most of traditional places in Hiroshima had destroyed during WWII. Hiroshima city is very urban and successful city and we are proud of it, but still something is missing. In countryside you can still see how Japanese people have lived and helped each other there. That is why I love countryside and recommend you to visit. You can see many colours in the same prefecture.

There are many many more things I want to tell you about Hiroshima, but I will stop here today. I know that traveling to Japan is not cheap so that I want you to have a best time you have ever experienced.

If you are interested in something about Tokyo or Hiroshima or anywhere else, please feel free to ask me. I can not promise but I am sure I can help you some how!

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this article!xx

Travel to Hiroshima – 2. Miyajima

Hirohsima, travel

2. Miyajima

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Miyajima is a beautiful island which belongs to Hiroshima and Itsukushima shrine there is one of the most famous world heritage in Japan. To people like me that were born in Hiroshima feel really proud of this beautiful and historical place. And of course I love Miyajima and can’t remember how many times I went there!

To get to Miyajima, there are two ways; to use tram or the national rail line. As I told you many times in this website that Hiroshima was designed very efficient and convenient, both ways are really easy for us to use, but if you visit Miyajima on the first day of your stay in Hiroshima and you have plenty of time, then I recommend to take the tram. The tram goes more slowly than trains, but because of the tram runs into the centre of city, you can see the actual city including atomic bomb dorm. (Do not worry whether the city is still harmful because of the radiation. You can actually get 5m close to the building which was destroyed by the bomb.) Whenever I get city trams and see this successful town, I feel so proud that our ancestors worked so hard and built Hiroshima from nothing. Of course, you can enjoy your trip with train, which runs very mountainous way. So your choice is, actually, nature or urban city. Miyajima is a island so you have to get a ferry to the island from the nearest station. (Both tram and train arrive at same station.) You might get confused when you find two similar ferry stations in front of you. But do not worry. They were just owned by different companies and the price and destination are all same. You can take any ferry you find!

 

First of all I want to say you should try the popular foods there, Anago (Conger), which is very similar to eel but has less fat. We often put grilled Anago on rice and pour sauce on the top (Anago-don). Maybe the restaurants around there can be divided into two styles; oyster restaurants or Anago restaurants. We tried an Anago restaurant located between train station and ferry station.

Yes, symbol “あなご” means Conger. you will see this character so many times around this area. What makes this area so special about congers is their quality. Congers caught in this area are very meaty and have perfect amount of fat. Usually congers are not featured because they are very similar to eels and have less flavour than eels. Although the congers from this area have very strong flavour so actually the chefs do not need any strong sauce. In this area you can enjoy real congers taste.

 

Once you land on Miyajima, I imagine you will follow your guidebook and visit some places. (I will not mention how wonderful the shrine is or there is a small aquarium etc… because these are too obvious staff! But it does not mean they do not deserve to be visited! Because I went there countless times, I focus more on minor points!) Just in case of that you have more time to spare, I will show you some more extra fun you can have there.

 

[Age momiji (deep fried Japanese cake)]

Have you tried Anko (sweat black beans paste)? It is often found in the Japanese cake. Momiji manju (“Momiji” means maple. “Manju” means Japanese cake. Momiji manju is Japanese cake shaped as maple. These are some options of filling inside, and Anko is the most basic one.) is loved by Japanese people for a long time in Hiroshima. And last 5 years this deep fried momiji manju called “age momji” has been featured and so popular. Please try if you find a shop you can try fresh one!

 

[Walk through the gate]

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If you are very lucky, you can walk through the gate which bottom is usually sunk deeply in the sea. (You can clearly see the height of the water.) You can check the time you can walk through in the website. (I am sorry but the website managed by the local organization is written in only Japanese. If somebody wants to check the time then you can leave me a comment so that I can help you!)

It is said that you can get the luck if you go through the gate, please try!

 

[Find a sweet deer who wants to have a seat in the restaurant!]

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I do not know why and nobody knows why, but he is always there.

In Miyajima there are so many wild deers and live with people. In the past, biscuits for deers are sold but that made deers expect people always to feed them so the government decided to ban people to feed deers. Government has been trying very hard to look for the way both deers and humans can be happy in this island but still many people ignore our governments efforts. I even saw some foreign people gave them tissue and deers were eating. These things always made me so upset. When you find deers in Hiroshima, please try to let them how they naturally should be. A little touch does not bother them but feeding them affects their heath a lot.

From these history, sometimes naughty deers put their heads in your bag. Or bite your skirt. However, there is a very well-behaving deer in Miyajima as well. He is waiting for the owner to open the door and welcome him. Around lunch time, sometimes he try to look into the restaurant as if he wonders if there is an available seat for him! Unfortunately I have never seen him welcomed into the restaurant and while he is sitting like this, nobody can enter the restaurant so I am sure the owner is not happy about this!

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The next morning I passed the same place and he is still there! Such a sweet deer.

 

[Mojito cafe]

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You know what, all these bottles are Bacardi!!  It must be new because I have not known there was a cafe like that. It seems like you can choose the flavour. Maybe I will try next time!

 

[Stay at traditional hotel]

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This time we stayed at hotel 聚景荘 (Jukei-so) which located high in the mountain and you can enjoy the view from the room…

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And of course, dinner as well!

 

These all are served in a course dinner. Don’t you think amazing?

 

***

There are many stories and histories in Miyajima that guidebooks never tell you. There are also many people who actually live in the island behind the mountain. I am very grateful if you decide to spend more time there than the original plan after you read this. xx

 

 

 

Travel to Hiroshima – 1. Teppan yaki

Hirohsima, travel
  1. Teppan yaki

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Here we come!! This is our soul food, Okonomiyaki (Hiroshima style). Maybe when you hear the word “Teppan yaki”, you might imagine a posh restaurant where chef shows you impressive performance actually in front of you. But here, Hiroshima, when people use this word, they mean okonomiyaki restaurant. I will be really upset, If you go to Hiroshima and come home without trying this amazing food!

 

Hiroshima is very interesting town. After atomic bomb destroyed the whole city, people worked so hard and built a new beautiful town. So the city was designed to be very convenient and efficient for visitors. Main functions of the city were gathered in the centre, and you can go almost anywhere with public transports.

 

My favourite restaurant is “弁兵衛 (Benbe)”, a small okonomiyaki restaurant chain which located in the very centre of Hiroshima. Compared to the old okonomiyaki restaurants, they have a range of options in their menu. So I am very confident that you can satisfied with them!

Here is their website where you can learned about them (which are written in English).

 

We ordered some sides.

And of course…

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Oh no! This was too nice!

 

They are amazingly fresh and so fulfilling. I also recommend you to have the counter seats. There you can sea that chefs are beautifully cooking.

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Staffs are very kind and happy to take care of you. We had a really good time.

 

By the way, there is my cousin’s Bar BBB Hiroshima near the restaurant.

https://m.facebook.com/bbbhiroshima/

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Her bar is very unique because of its concept which focuses on Baseball. She has been a huge baseball fan and actually started her own bar to share her passion. Hiroshima has its baseball team called “Hiroshima Toyo Carp” which symbol is red carp. Unfortunately, she supports a different team called “Yomiuri Giants” which bases in Tokyo. Thus the bar always welcomes you whichever team you support as long as you love baseball or you wants to learn Japanese culture. She had lived in America for 5 years so that she is a good English speaker. Even if you are not interested in baseball, that will not bother her, just tell her you read this website!

The sign is a little bit confusing and you might be lost because there are many small bar around there. (I always get lost!) I recommend to print out the map and check how to get there beforehand.

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I hope you will have an amazing night in Hiroshima!xx

 

If you are curious of oknomiyaki recipe please visit

Hiroshima style ⇒ Okonomiyaki (Hiroshima style)

Kansai style ⇒ Okonomiyaki(Kansai style)

Travel to Tokyo – 6. Udon

Tokyo, travel

6. Udon

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If you come to Japan, then please do not miss this chance to try Udon noodles. One thing I want to stress here is that you do not have to go to posh restaurants for nice udon. At least when it comes to udon, I can not agree that posh restaurants are better then casual restaurants. There are some famous casual udon restaurant chains in Japan and they are all amazing. Especially, “丸亀製麺(Marugame Seimen)” and “はなまるうどん(Hanamaru Udon)” are my favourite. All menu are available for about £2.00 – 5.00 so you can feel very easy and relax. Luckily, they have so many branches all over Japan so I think you can find at least one during your trip even if you do not try to. So today, I will introduce these restaurants which are very close to Japanese people’s life.

 

This time, we went to Marugame Seimen in Tokyo Haneda Airport (B1). What makes their restaurants special is their help yourself system. Before you go to the counter, you need to decide Udon to order. (There is a menu board in front of the door.) If you are curious of their menu and price, you caan visit their website from here. When you go to the counter, tell your order to the kitchen. There are also menu board on your head at the counter.

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Once you order udon, slide your tray to left and the chef will give you udon in a minute. Then keep slide your tray with udon, then you will reach topping and rice ball area. If you want something there, take plates beside toppings and add them on your tray. If you don’t want anything just pass that area, then you will reach the till area and pay money for your order.

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There are some free topping and drink as well. Japanese people often put some finely chopped spring onion and grated ginger etc… These essential toppings are available for free. And water and hot tea are also available for free. Usually there are boxes of these toppings on your table and you can take them as much as you want. Or sometimes there are tables just for toppings and drink. In any case, you will find them after you pay.

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This time we ordered “Kake (plain udon just with soup)” and “Curry udon (udon with Japanese curry)”. These pictures were taken after we added toppings.

My husband added spring onion to his curry udon after this, and he loves it. When you visit there please enjoy your original udon!

 

If you are now curious how to make udon, please visit my recipe to make udon.

 

I know sometimes it needs courage to go into the restaurants when you do not know how they are. I hope this article will help all the foreign people who wants to make closer experiences to Japanese people’s life! xx

Travel to Tokyo – 5. Kappabashi Shopping Street

Tokyo, travel

5. Kappabashi Shopping Street

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What makes this place so special is that there are countless shops which sell kitchen equipments including huge fridges for business etc. Recently, the quality of Japanese knives have been focused in the world and more foreign people are now looking for the best shop to get Japanese knives. If you are one of these people, Kappabashi shopping street is the very right place! (I got a knife for my husband’s brother in fact! Some shops offer you to carve your name on it for free.)

 

I got new wooden bento boxes from those shops. Thank you for checking my instagram account and telling me my bento boxes are cute. Yes, I got them from those shops!

In the past, someone once asked me about how to make bento look beautiful. Your bento does not have to look beautiful at all but if you want to try then these shapes are good for you. Here are examples.

There are some kinds of wooden bento boxes. The bento box on the left is very thick so it lasts very long. The box on the right is called “Magewappa”, which is very Japanese traditional style. They use special wood to make Magewappa so that foods do not go bad and the wood keeps sticky rice fresh. But Magewappa is week and easy to get moldy.

I recommend to get there in the morning. If you become the first customer to them, the shop owner often gives you presents. On that day, the owner gave us wooden spoons!

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I can guarantee that 100% you can enjoy shopping there!! I hope this article helps you enjoy traveling to Tokyo!

Travel to Tokyo – 4. Hostel

Tokyo, travel

4. Hostel

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Some people prefer to stay at luxurious comfort hotels. In fact, I was a person like that in the past. However, these days I totally changed my mind. Whenever I come back to Japan, although I miss Japanese food a lot and want to try real traditional Japanese foods in a posh restaurant at least once, I want to act like I am home rather than keep visiting new places. As long as these places are very familiar to me, I already know what I want to eat and where I want to go. I felt more like that I need my own house in Japan. I mean, I need “a kitchen”.

In Japanese supermarkets, of course, you have different options and when you see there are so many fresh fish I can not help wanting to cook by myself! So I decided to stay in hostels during this trip. (I did not think about it in Japan, but from next time I think I will record and share what I cook with Japanese ingredients in a hostel!)

 

If you are looking for a reasonable hostel but still wants to enjoy Japanese cultures, I have great recommendation for you; Tokyo Guesthouse. toco .

 

The reason I recommend this hostel is that the price is very kind and the house is a very traditional Japanese building. The doors, windows and furniture… you can feel histories from them.

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They have a beautiful Japanese garden as well. A staff explained to me that the rocky mountain on the right in the second picture was made of rocks taken from Mt.Fuji. Staffs are very kind and nice. Of course they can speak English.

 

You can order small Japanese breakfast every morning for 300 yen. The menu is 2 onigiri (rice balls) and miso soup, and the flavour of onigiri and soup changes every morning. Every morning, we gathered in living room and have a nice chat about our lives. It was very lovely memory, actually.

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The access is quite good. There are two main stations which is 5-10 minutes walk away from the hostel so that you can easily get a train on Yamanote line or underground on Hibiya line. From Tokyo station, it takes only about 10 minutes to the nearest station. You can check the detail on their website https://backpackersjapan.co.jp/toco/english.html

 

There are a lot reasonable and traditional options in Tokyo. And I am still looking for better one, because I had been a Japanese residence for 25 years! As a traveler, I am a still beginner. I hope we can share my experience and this website gives you some useful information! xx