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Mid-Autumn Festival

16 Sep

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Hope you are enjoying this long weekend!

Yesterday was Mid-autumn festival (中秋節) and we could see a beautiful full moon. Just a couple days ago the moon still looked small, so I was quite surprised to see that it really became full moon in 2-3 days. Kids enjoyed walking the neighbourhood with lanterns on their hands. They liked it so much that we did this a few times this week ^^.

 

 

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In Japan, we also have similar tradition in the middle of September called Otsukimi“(お月見), Tsuki means moon and Mi means see. For us we celebrate looking at the beautiful full moon having rice ball mochi. We don’t walk with lantern but it’s interesting that we have same moon celebration around the same time.

 

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Following Chinese tradition, I bought several types of mooncake this year. My personal favorite is lian yong (lotus paste) mooncake (I like lian yong pau too!), and I got both baked type and snow skin type. Both with single egg yolk, as double egg yolk was already sold out for this brand when I got them. For me, single egg yolk is enough anyway ^^*.

 

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My mother-in-law gave me this black sesame flavor mooncake and it was good, too! Together she gave me the round one from Ipoh. It’s nice to try those seasonal & traditional desserts.

Hope I get to try some next year again!!!

Thanks for visiting Caramel Factory blog!

Class and other updates*

17 Mar

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Hi there!

It’s been a few months since I commented my last post ><… Sorry for my late updates and thank you so much for visiting this site meanwhile! I was also happy that so many of my students contacted me asking about the classes and caring for my condition. I’m doing fine^^. And I’m glad to inform you that I will finally be starting my classes again in end of April! I will be updating class schedules at the end of this month, so hope you can check once it’s out!

 

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New students are also very welcome! My classes are from beginners and it will all be hands-on workshop. I am limiting the class to 6 students only so the class will be held in intimate style! For the details of class fee & others, I will post together with the schedule!

 

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By the way, I went back to Japan in December to January and spent the New Year with my family. It was almost after 10 years… or more? since I spent my New Year back in Japan. I missed Japanese New Year, but was hesitant to go back in winter because it’s a little too cold there (and we barely had any winter clothes). My parents-in-law and my brother-in-law also came along! Fortunately this year was rather a warm winter and kids also had great fun without falling sick!

This snow photo is from Nagano. My daughter had been asking me to show her the real snow, so we arranged a trip to Nagano with my parents and my sister family. Yes, it doesn’t really snow in Tokyo!

 

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Our traditional New Year dish called “Osechi”. – at Karuizawa Prince Resort.

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I also tried many Christmas cakes and some festive foods,

 

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such as stollen and Galette de Rois,

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and visited my favorite pastisserie.

It was a great trip!

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This is Gateau Chocolat. It’s simple and nice. I’ve been baking with this recipe for almost 20years! I am looking forward to baking with you again @ Caramel Factory ^^.

 

Cheers,

Tomoko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hinamatsuri Celebration*

6 Mar

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March 3rd is a Children Day for girls in Japan (Boys’ on May 5th)!

This was the 5th time we celebrated the day for Hanae. As an annual event, we took out traditional Japanese Hinamatsuri doll from the box a few weeks ago and decorated in the living room. Luckily our son didn’t pay much attention to this and kept it safe. As for Hanae, she was more curious to this event than last year, perhaps after learning the meaning and details in her Japanese kindergarten!

The day itself happened to be a school holiday for Hanae, so I decided to take them to 1U Jusco to get some cultural experience and ingredients for our dinner. I expected there to have some sort of Hinamatsuri food or snacks, but they didn’t have any to my disappointment…

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But we managed to get vegetables and ingredients and started preparing for our dinner from early afternoon.

Hanae (and Dylan?) helped me prepare!

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We made Chirashi-sushi dish ^^*. 

Chirashi-sushi normally contains carrot, mushroom (boiled and sweetened with soy sauce and sugar), lotus (boiled and soaked into vinegar and sugar), kinshi tamago (a very thin sliced egg), prawn, green bean and others in sushi vinegar rice. It’s a colorful celebration dish.

We also made karaage, soup and milk pudding for dessert. All together with Hanae.

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“I can’t wait to eat my dinner~♪”

  

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Seeing Hanae help me so much and enjoying the whole process, I felt she has grown so much in the last one year ^^*.

Happy Children Day, Hana!

Hanae 3yrs

*Hinamatsuri 2014 – Hanae 3yrs old*

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Hello, 2015!

7 Jan

Singapore

A Happy New Year to you all!

I spent my New Year holidays in Singapore! It was a big family trip with my parents and my two sisters’ family from Japan, total 8 adults and 5 kids! Our kids were all between 8 months baby to 4 years old, so we tried to have a rather relaxing trip. We enjoyed good Chinese food, hotel stay and Night Safari for the first time! We also went to The Gardens By the Bay in the night time. It was a little too cold but the concept was amazing! Our two kids enjoyed the spontaneous waterfall path and the Christmas decoration, too.

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Excellent view from MBS roof top swimming pool

We also tried out a couple of coffee shops. On January 1st, we went to Tiong Bahru Bakery and I was surprised and excited to see Ghalette de Rois, a French pie pastry for New Year celebration! Of course I had it with a nice cup of cappuccino. Yum! After this I saw a few more Galette de Rois in other pastry shops. It seems like Galette de Rois is not a rare item in Singapore. I remembered that I taught this item in January 2013. Hope to teach this again in future!

Chinese New Year is coming soon, and I can feel the excitement in the city. I wish you all for a wonderful 2015 to come!

Cheers,

Tomoko

Wrapping up 2014!

23 Dec

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It’s been a very busy month for me! I blinked and it’s already the end of the year! My family and friends in Japan have already started their Christmas & New Year Holidays (in Japan, this is our biggest holiday of the year) and I am excited to spend my New Year holidays with my family in Singapore next week! Before that, I have a few more classes to go~. I have been enjoying baking many Christmas cakes & cookies with my students this month. I also baked a large Black Forest Cake for my daughter’s 4th Birthday party yesterday. Look!

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I was thinking what birthday cake to bake until the last minute, but I ended up making this Black Forest because it was so popular among my students ^^. I also baked some macarons in pink and purple color, with my favorite vanilla and chocolate flavors.

 

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I made over 100 pcs and they were snapped up within a few minutes! Yeppie~! I am thinking of baking Strawberry Short Cake for Christmas. So what’s your ‘baking plan’ for the holiday?

By the way, sorry to keep you all waiting for the January 2015 schedule. I will be posting them tomorrow, so please keep yourself posted. Thanks a lot for always supporting me and Caramel Factory!

Cheers, Tomoko

 

 

 

My son’s 1st Birthday Party!

5 Sep

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Last weekend I held a party for our son’s 1st year Birthday!!! It was a tea-time party on Murdeka Day and we invited couple of our friends and family to our house. Unlike my daughter, who is now 3 years 9 months old and is into all the princess stuff, my little boy still doesn’t have any character or toy that he likes. So I decided to go with baby blue color and a whale theme (just in my head… ^^). 

I made my signature!? macarons in pastel blue & white color,

 

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made “pinata” in a whale shape, 

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 Yes, this is papa & mama hand-made pinata!

 

And my son wore a Japanese whale costume called “jinbei (甚平)“. Well, this was a coincidence…

 

Hitting pinata was quite an exciting thing.

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Each kids took turn to hit the pinata.

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So did my daughter.

 

But my son seemed to have enjoyed the most!

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The kids were mostly between 1 ~ 4 years old and they were too young to break it open.  

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So I had to help them in the end and finally…

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The goodies came out! Hooray!

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We also did some other games and kids enjoyed playing around the house.

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As for my birthday boy, he enjoyed eating, following other kids to play,

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And singing karaoke. 


DSC_0507DSC_0508Haha…

I was so happy to see everyone’s happy face, especially my little boy! He might not remember this moment but as a parent, I was very happy that we held a memorable party for my little son! Happy Birthday Dylan!

 

 

Cute cookies~*

25 Jun

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These cookies are soooo cute~!!!

So perfect and nice!

As I was thinking how to eat…?

 

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My daughter grabbed one and finished within a few minutes.

I managed to get the last bite and it tasted really nice, too!

 

 

 

 

Japan trip…*

23 Jun

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Enjoying Japan trip…

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definitely gaining weight but it’s okay… ^^*

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Afternoon Tea Party @ my house*

25 Mar

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Last weekend I invited my friends to my house for the Afternoon Tea Party~!

I didn’t spend much time preparing for these items, but because I had parts and pieces of the stuffs from my class, the table became full with sweets!

 

 

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Here are the menu we had;

 

*Scones (Chocolate & Earl Grey Tea)

*Strawberry & Pistachio Tart

*Fruits Cake

*Green Tea Rollcake

*Japanese Cream Puff

*Raisin Sandwich Cookie

 

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My favorite Strawberry Tart!

I make this tart every year during Strawberry season. I change creme d’amande (almond cream) and custard cream creme patissiere (custard cream) depending on the time and this one was pistachio creme d’amande, which I just taught in last week class.

 

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Green Tea Rollcake is also my favorite strawberry cake! Not only eating, I also like to make this cake as it’s quite simple and quick. I sometimes make plain rollcake and sometimes green tea flavor cake, which the base is the same. Btw, I will be having this class tomorrow and also in April!

 

 

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Scone is a ‘must’ item in Afternoon tea, too ~^^. I used my ‘Rich scone’ recipe, which I taught together with Kyoto Green Tea Chiffon Cake last year (I also have this class in April), and put in milk chocolate chip and earl grey tea. Earl grey tea is my favorite scone. I also like to sometimes put raisins and cranberries.

 

I am now testing Cookie Choux recipe, which is a Japanese style of cream puff with cookie on top. I taught mini puff many times in the past, but want to make a normal size with more crunchy cookie on top!

 

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We had them together with Darjeeling Second Flush and Cold Green Tea!

 

It was a very nice tea time with my friends^^*

 

 

 

 

Coffee time*

11 Mar

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Today, March 11th, is a memorial day for Japanese. I didn’t experience the earthquake myself, but all the news of the earthquake and tsunami that happened 3 years ago have greatly shaken my feelings. I cannot imagine how much pain my family and friends had gone through at that time… Radioactive, restrictions in energy and transportation, unforeseen future, such has changed people’s lives in Japan and the way they think. It took me a while to go back to Japan after that incident, yet I could still see the damage and change that has brought to people’s life in Japan when I visited there again. But one thing I saw in Japanese was that even in such hardship, they tried to stay positive and help each other by doing what they could do. People felt guilty being happy or smiling at first but they have changed their perspective to ‘being happy brings other people happiness’. They did whatever they could do to help other people’s lives and to cheer them up.

The Malaysian Airline news has given us a great shock and we still don’t know what has happened in real. One thing is that we must thank ourselves and appreciate of what we have and live the best we can…

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By the way, hand-dripping coffee makes me fully relaxed. The process, aroma, and the taste… When I make hand-dripping coffee I forget whatever stuff that’s bothering my mind and can fully focus on making the best coffee by looking at the coffee beans and the fresh bubble coming up.

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Coffee purely gives me relaxing time.

It’s good to have something that you really like and can do daily, even just a simple thing that refreshes you after a few minutes.

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