Let me share one of my favourite places for Japanese mochi and sweets in Japan. Mihashi is a kanmidokoro, a cafe selling all my favourite traditional sweets which opened in Ueno during the Edo period (it now has multiple stores in Japan).
We came here for their signature anmitsu dessert but I also wanted to havve some mochi. A light second lunch before dessert if you will.
We traditionally eat ozoni at the start of a New Year when we make our own mochi (using a machine, we don't pound it with a wooden hammer here XP) from scratch and eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner until it runs out. Ozoni is a light bonito dashi broth with mochi, chicken, shiitake, prawn and a fluffy egg. I loved how there was a garnish of mitsuba (I'm yet to find this herb locally) which made a subtle difference to the broth. Mum also ordered the isobeyaki which is grilled mochi brushed with soy sauce and wrapped in seaweed.
Anmitsu is a traditional Japanese dessert with small cubes of agar jelly, a mitsu (brown sugar syrup) is poured over the jelly and eaten with red bean paste, fruits and sweet gyuhi mochi. I chose the Shiratama Cream Anmitsu just in case I hadn't had enough mochi…an anmitsu served with vanilla soft cream, shiratama (rice flour dumplings) and mandarins.
Shiratama Cream Anmitsu
Mihashi is the best place for anmitsu and their menu consists of variations of anmitsu with seasonal fruits, strawberries, shiratama, green tea, soft serve etc. The most popular dish here is probably the Matcha Anmitsu, anmitsu with bitter sweet green tea ice cream which is handmade.
I love love love Ella’s Patisserie (Forest Road, Hurstville) – there is even a Le Cordon Bleu certification behind the counter, so you know it’s going to be good. Some people go to Ella’s for their instant ramen menu but I go for their cakes, more specifically their mango mousse cake which is DIVINE. Their fruit mousse cakes are amazingly light, airy and fluffy with a strong taste of natural fruits. So whenever there is a celebration or a birthday in the family, we get a huge mango mousse cake.
Most recently, it was my dad’s birthday so I came home expecting a Mango Cheesecake… instead my mum brought out a Hamburger cake from Ella’s Patisserie. It looked like such a real hamburger it was weird to eat it especially with the sesame seeds on top, but it was delicious – a sponge cake filled with chocolate mousse (meat patty), fresh kiwis (lettuce) and strawberries (tomato), fresh cream (mayo) and omg the "cheese" was mango mousse. The combination of chocolate and mango may sound weird but it was so tasty – we each had seconds XP
Two weekends ago, I finally found the courage and pushed myself to try my hand at making macarons. I set aside a whole Saturday afternoon to make these babies and opted to make the Italian style macaron rather than the French style, because the Italian recipe seemed much simpler – equal ratios of almond meal and icing sugar.
I think watching Masterchef has instilled a fear of making macarons for me and so I had prepared myself for failure and disappointment. A good thing really because I failed… like three times 😦 So off I went and made three major boo boo’s:
First the almond meal was a bitch to sift through so I only sifted it once (in hindsight I should have used a food processor to grind the almond meal more) so it probably wasn’t the most fine of almond meal.
Secondly, when boiling my sugar to 118degrees EXACTLY, I had formed sugar crystals which hardened, so I had to start again. (I made toffee from the failed sugar boiling attempt though)
Thirdly I was scared to overbeat the egg mixture so I didn’t get the stiff peaks I needed = runny mixture.
After all the prep, I was ready to give up, but it would’ve been such a big big waste of time and effort, so I continued to pipe them. The piping was relatively easy and I had piped perfect little circles, but since my mixture was too runny the circles started to look like ovals and then just splats of mixture – oh well. Into the oven for 10mins and lo and behold – my macarons had pied!!! (Pied is the little rough frilly bit at the bottom of the shell). Unfortunately because my oven is tiny they burnt a little and the green has discoloured to a murky green with a hint of brown (I didn’t use any colouring for the shell). Quickly made some green tea ganache filling, squeezed onto one half of the shell, twisted the other half of shell on top – all done! I was really happy with the taste and the texture, crisp on the outside but chewy inside – the only disappointing thing was the look of it.
Guys, it was such an effort – I started at 2pm and finished at 6pm (including the washing up), but I did have a sense of accomplishment that my first attempt weren’t inedible and in fact tasted pretty good, though I was disappointed with the look of it. I was dead tired but I’ll probably try again sometime this week because I’m craving Salted Caramel macarons XP
Ooh they’re glossy, all piped and ready to go
Wafu style Macarons – Green Tea Macarons
(see how my pied/foot got burnt and a little discolouration on the top)