Annin Tofu@7-11 in Japan – Go get one!

almond jelly, annin tofu

The annin tofu at 7-11 is hands downs the best almond jelly I have had in my life!

Almond jelly, known as annin tofu is a Chinese dessert(杏仁豆腐 in Chinese) that is very popular in Japan. In fact, I saw it in a cook book written by a Japanese person when I first learned about it. I lived in Taiwan at the time. Quite a few vendors sold them in the traditional markets in Taiwan, not difficult to find at all. I bought a huge chunk, took it home, chopped it into small square pieces and served them with fruits that I like. Oh! I mixed sugar and hot water, too. Almond jelly is meant to be served chilled with fruits in light sugar water.

almond jelly, annin tofu

Or course you can find almond jelly in Chinese restaurants in its country of origin. Chinese restaurants all over the world serve it. Here in Japan, however, you can find it in pretty much every restaurant that serves Chinese food and you can pretty much always find it in convenient stores as well. They are now frequently served in a cup, not chopped up and they come with no fruits. I have had one from a no-name convenient store(sorry, I forgot! but I know it is not one of those ones that you can easily name) which was served in a bubble-tea-looking cup. The guy worked at the convenient store gave me a small spoon. I asked for a straw though, it reminded me so much of a bubble tea so I figured it’d be best to use a straw.

Now comes what this post is about. The annin tofu at 7-11 is hands downs the best almond jelly I have had in my life. It should probably be addressed as almond pudding rather than almond jelly. It is so so so good. I don’t know what they put in there to make it so good. A typical recipe for almond jelly calls for: almond powder, whole milk(and/or heavy cream), sugar, gelatin and water(I will post a link below). On the 7-11 annin tofu’s label, alcohol is listed as an ingredient. It doesn’t say what alcohol though. I am dying to know their secret ingredient. Anyways, if you see my post and you are currently in Japan and you have not tried this dessert that I am talking about, go get one in 7-11. It is soooooooooo good!

almond jelly, annin tofu

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Eating Pig Blood – Blood Pudding(Blodpudding) with Lingonberry Jam and Pig Blood Cake

Blood Pudding with Lingoberry Jam

Blodpudding can be found in Swedish supermarket. I was told to slice it up, pan fry it and eat it with Lingonberry jam. It tasted good but interesting. The blood pudding itself came seasoned, not much seasoning is needed during the cooking process. It is not something I had ever tried before. It tasted a bit like sausage to me. I would eat it again but I don’t think it is something that I would frequently purchase.

Blodpudding

Blood Pudding

As a Chinese child, I grew up eating strange parts of animals, blood included. I guess I always knew that people from other places in the world eat blood product also, but I assumed that mostly it would be in the form of sausage. It seems to me that people of the west are not particular fond of food items that looked unfamiliar. So, the best way of selling blood product woud be to include it in a sausage. I felt intrigued when I saw the blood product above since it looks rather close to the Chinese version of such thing. Here, I share some photos with you. The Chinese version of such thing usually isn’t flavoured, threfore, it is usually cooked in some sort of soup.

pig blood

pig bloodSource: http://taiwanfoodculture.net/lp.asp?ctNode=2688&CtUnit=1092&BaseDSD=17&mp=1502

While blogging about my encounter with the Swedish Blodpudding during my vacation here in Stockholm, I stumbled upon this website that included a number of blood recipes: http://www.phlebotomist.net/blood-recipes . Intriguing, really intriguing I must say. I did not know that cow blood could be drunk fresh. At the same time, I must say that I also stumbled upon a number of photos of blood draining process that took place in order to produce such food. “Just cause people wanna eat the burger doesn’t mean they wanna meet the cow”….it’s a line I have not been able to forget since I saw the movie called The Island. Well, guess who won’t be cooking Blood Pudding for a long long time?

Flour Mixtures – Crepe, Waffle, Pancake, French Toast and …Mirin

nutella banana crepe

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Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I love breakfast. I love going out for breakfast, making and decorating my breakfast. Starting out the day with a great breakfast just brings me nothing but happiness and it makes me feel that the rest of the day is going to be great. Here are some of the items that I often make for myself: crepe, waffle, pancake and French toast. I used to always make them according to recipes until they all started to look very similar to me. I started to wonder if they could all just be the same thing.

This is how I see it:

crepe: egg, milk, oil, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, flour

waffle: egg, milk, oil, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, flour, baking powder/soda

pancake: egg, milk, oil, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, flour, baking powder

French toast: egg, milk, oil, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, toast

….. I guess the leavening agent is what separates them?

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While I blog about flour mixtures, I want to also write about mirin, Japanese seasoning wine. Mirin is a little sweet and light in taste. I discovered this ingredient when I was about 10, trying to make Tamagoyaki, the egg piece found on tamago nigiri sushi. It is a versatile ingredient. I almost feel that I can use it in everything and anything that I make. Since I currently reside in Japan, like most Asian households, we do not have an oven. I therefore cook more often than I bake and I rarely get my hands on vanilla extract. Mirin is one ingredient that I always have in my kitchen cabinet so I use it to substitute vanilla extract when I make crepe, waffle, pancake and French toast. It is a rather pleasant addition to those breakfast items that I just loooove.

My Attempt of Making Honey Berry Muffins

Baking Powder + Too Much Honey = Sinkage
Baking Powder + Too Much Honey = Sinkage?

My banana muffins were a success. They turned out great. It was such a simple recipe that I decided that I could modify it by adding a new ingredient in and end up with another yummy batch of muffins easily. Well, that wasn’t the case.

I roughly followed the same recipe, but added berries and honey for making honey berry muffins. I think I put in about half a cup of honey or more. I squeezed it out of a plastic bottle, didn’t measure. The dough looked so pretty sitting inside the muffin tin that I decided to take a photo before sending it into the oven.

These honey berry muffins even looked pretty OK when I peeked through the glass of the oven. The let-down happened 30 minutes after I got them out of the oven though. My explanation for my failure: the baking powder puffs up the muffins during the heating process and the muffins stay in puffed up shape even after the heat goes away. Baking powder make flour mixture and honey puffs up during the heating process, too but honey weights down the flour dough and brings the poofyness down after the heat goes away and creates sinkage… Yes, I managed to make honey berry muffins with sinkage in the centre. I have made honey cupcakes before that turned out pretty OK though. In my vague memory, that recipe didn’t include any leavening agent. I am going to have to find that recipe.

Baking powder + too much honey = sinkage?
Noted 03.08.2012

Banana Muffins

banana bread muffin

I’ve just come to realized that if there’s a theme to my Instagram photo album, it’d be called “Breakfast!”. Being a student for the past two and a half years, I have enjoyed the freedom of being able to get up late and spend however-much time I like to make and to decorate my breakfast. I may not be the world’s best cook, but I am big on presentation. Anyhoo, there’s not much here, just a very easy recipe for making muffins.

Recipe

1 Mashed Banana
1 Egg
0.25 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Melted Butter

0.5 cup Yellow Sugar
0.5 cup White Sugar
A pinch of Salt
1.5 cup Flour
1.5 teaspoon Baking Powder

0.5 cup Musli
Some Musli for decoration

Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix them together and then blend in the musli. Scoop the dough into muffin tins. Sprinkle some musli on top to decorate. Bake at 175 degrees C for 20 to 30 minutes. This makes exact 6 muffins in my muffin tin when I scrape out the every bit of dough with a spatula.