cream scones, french almond cake, and more flowers

At the risk of calling the existence of this very blog into question, there are some moments of unparalleled food pleasures that cannot be adequately described in words. This past Sunday was such a day, one so filled with wonderful meals, happy spring sights, and lively conversation that I feel I can hardly do the memories justice in simple linguistic devices. The surest way to convey the same delight and happy atmosphere would be to recreate it in more decadent lunches, suppers, and afternoon teas, of course! At the very least, I invite every reader to stop and smell the roses, as they say, and take in the littler pleasures of spring and the new season.

Sunday morning dawned with more elegance than spring usually affords: birds chirping, sunlight filtering in through the curtains, cheerful cries from young children on their way to the still on-going cherry blossom festival. Even after a rather sleepless night (coffee after dinner–never again), I awoke bright-eyed and positively giddy with excitement for the afternoon lunch I had with the same wonderful two ladies of Ichi Hana flowershop where I bought the first of the season’s sakura. And since there’s nothing more lovely than showing gratitude through baked goods, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to whip up a batch of fresh cream scones to take with.  Continue reading


matcha shortbread squares

I’ve long been itching to try a matcha-flavored confection, not only because I’m exceedingly fond of the tea itself, but also due to the fact that I currently live in the very heartland of green tea and tea-flavored sweets. Of all the various possibilities of matcha treats–cookies, tiramisu, puddings, trifles, to name a few–I settled on a more simple but classic method: shortbread. It had been far too long since I’d made a batch of the crisp, flaky, buttery cookies, and having prized upon Clotilde’s own especially tempting sugar-rolled recipe over at C&Z, the call of the tea leaves summoned me to my kitchen, irregardless of the fact that it was already past nine on a Monday night.
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homemade grapefruit marmalade

Thriftiness, I’m convinced, lends even the most mediocre fare a flavorful radiance that can only be achieved by repurposing formerly wilting produce. The satisfaction of resourcefully using otherwise neglected ingredients seems to tuck in a particular palatable delight. However, I say this only so far as my experiments in the world of sugared confections go. I have a decidedly less-stellar performance record of savory culinary adaptations in the kitchen (read: pantry stir-fries gone awry). But I was truly ecstatic over my first batch of homemade marmalade, finally making use of a bag of delicious (but seemingly bottomless) Japanese grapefruits given to me by a good friend.

Although I have never envisioned myself as a jam-maker or marmalade brewer (?), thanks to the inspiration from a favorite blogger (thank you She Who Eats) and a Saturday afternoon to while away while my laundry dried outside in the intermittent sunshine, I felt emboldened to give marmalade-making a go.  Continue reading

persimmon sponge cake

Anyone who is treated to a dinner party is a lucky duck indeed. Anyone who is treated to three full-out dinner parties in one week is far too popular for her own good. I was convinced my life here in Japan was already too good to be true, and last week’s marathon of social events only added to the surreal beatitude. 

On Monday, God said, Let there be drinks at a local bar owned by a kind Hawaiian, and so delicious kahlua-milk drinks were had. 

On Tuesday, God said, Let there be unending plates of sushi, sashimi, fried squid, eel, mussels, sting-ray, cod-roe, octopus, and innumerable rounds of sake, and so there was ceaseless food and drink among Junior High School teachers and the Vice Principal. 

On Wednesday, God said, Let there be a feast of thanks among expat friends, and so there was turkey, stuffing, pasta, salad, mashed potatoes, bread, cheese, wine, Bailey’s, coffee, and pumpkin pie

On Thursday, God said, Take a break and eat raw vegetables, and so there were carrot sticks and a baked sweet potato.

On Friday, God said, Let your coworkers shower you with platters of crab, rare $100 mushrooms, marinated chicken from France, spaghetti with truffles, risotto, fresh cuts of beef and pork, white wine, plum wine, beer, and a blueberry cake, and so each person consumed half of his or her own weight in food delicacies. 

On Saturday, God said, Let there be a repeat of Friday except for at lunchtime, and so more exquisite food was consumed in an indulgent fashion. 

On Sunday, God said, Run in a 5k race, and give thanks to all those around you, and so a persimmon sponge cake was made and distributed in gratitude.  Continue reading