Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sweet Eats :: Afternoon Tea (Part 2) - The sweet stuff!

I guess our affection for Afternoon Tea in Roppongi Hills was pretty obvious in my previous post, as we worked our way through their menu for brekkie each morning. Clearly, this wasn't enough...there are other meals in the day and other branches of Afternoon Tea to try!

And so one afternoon we were in Tokyo's Isetan department store in Shinjuku, having a bit of a browse...when there before us stood another branch of Afternoon Tea! The place was packed...all with ladies (not a man in sight!) with a very civilised queue of people waiting on seats placed outside. Ok, let's have a sticky-beak at the menu. And that's when we jointly exclaimed, "Hey, this is different, they don't have the same menu as Roppongi Hills!"

But it was the range of french toasts that caught our eye & before we could say "Are we actually hungry?", we'd joined the seated queue, perusing the menu while we waited. In fact, they even took our order while we waited...what efficiency! And then I realised how often Tiff must have come to Afternoon Tea when one of the waitresses recognised her! So here is what we ate...

For me: French toast sandwiched with a pinky-hued berry cream cheese, served with berries and maple syrup. It was delicious - yummy textures with the little baguette pieces perfectly caramelised. Yum factor: 4.5/5

And for Tiff: French toast sandwiched with custard and served with stewed apples and cream. She was super-happy with her choice. Yum factor: 4/5

Well that was afternoon tea...let's not forget supper! Believe it or not but we had to forego dessert most nights in Tokyo cos we stuffed ourselves so much for dinner! After eyeing off the dessert menu many times, we somehow found the stomach to fit in some sweet goodness on our last night. Both Tiff & I had the warm apple pie with cream. I think I enjoyed it more than Tiff as it was more like an apple cake than a traditional pie. Yum factor: 4/5

And Tiff's boy had the raspberry parfait...but told the waiter to hold the raspberries! We were like, "what, no raspberries....that's the best bit!?" Oh well, each to their own but I found out later he doesn't like the combo of raspberries and chocolate. Anyway, I think he was pretty pleased with his devilish ice cream sundae with little brownies and chopped banana topped with chocolate sauce. Yum factor: about a 4/5

Ok, so I think we've saturated this blog with enough exploits at Afternoon Tea! I even brought some goodies back with me just so I don't forget! Is it time for a cup of tea & a biccie now?? N

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sew Sweet :: Two Calling Birds

So I was trawlling around blogland and what did I see... but a lovely felt book over at Pinku. I have to have it. If it isn't at my local Kinokuniya I will have to do the previously unthinkable and buy online! I have a terrible phobia of buying over the internet. It is not that I have had a bad experience... must be something to do with techno gobbley- gook.

Anyway back to the book... there are a lovely felt decorations abounding in it. I obviously couldn't wait and had to create my own replica as you can see above. The felt I used isn't very strong so it is a bit on the droopy side... and the circular bit needs to be reinforced... but I am pretty happy with it.

There were too many possibilities for disaster just to cut this baby out free hand so I created a bit of a pattern. Here it is:

If you are wanting to use it go ahead. If it doesn't download well, due to techno gobbley -gook give me an email and I will send you a PDF! T

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sweet & Soft :: Christmas Rush

It is misery-guts weather here...and so many of us Sydney- siders are suffering. We just don't know what to do with ourselves if we can't go outside! The upside is that we are in the grip of our longest ever drought and a bit of rain really is a blessing.

Whilst others are hiring 3 DVDs I was finishing off these guys. We are still in the midst of a pre-Christmas softie rush as wholesale orders have been appearing out of surprising places. I finally finished off this batch which are off to the fabulous Hunter Gatherer in Melbourne. This little store has its own clothing label that supports women who sew from home, in sweat-shop free conditions with a fair wage. It also supports little businesses like ours.

I really enjoyed making Lenny. He wants to be the KISS fan club president and can't go past a toffee apple! T

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sweet Inspiration :: Milk knows best

This little superhero looks like he's ready to take off and save the world, blinding his enemies with those gold accessories alone! Actually, it's the cover of the Autumn edition of super-cool French kids mag, Milk. It arrived in the post last week along with a French foodie mag, Saveurs. This is thanks to an international magazine swap I started recently between myself and a dear Sydney friend who's now working in Switzerland. She misses her Australian Gourmet Traveller mags, so I decided to be her personal subscription service while in return she sends me European magazines from her travels! Yay!

I love this mag - lots of slick professional photo shoots and lots of inspiring ideas and uses of colour. You only have to flick through it to realise just how big the childrenswear industry many gorgeous outfits and furnishings that I'm sure cost the earth, but Milk manages to display them all with a fun style and sense of humour. I mean, just look at this other cutie superhero - he just cracks me up...

And these girls look like they're getting up to sweet mischief...

There are also features on real kids' bedrooms like this one...

And I love these sweet cushions and textiles...

Hmmm...I know I can rely on Milk to keep me inspired and giggling for a little while to come! N

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sweet Eats :: The sweetest sushi

I'm always amazed at how travelling has opened my eyes, ears & tastebuds to so many wonderful experiences. Sometimes I feel like my memory is a library of little stories that hit me as flashbacks when I least expect them. I could be standing in the shower not really thinking about anything, when I'll remember the hot crispy wafers from a street stand on a cold autumn night in Prague, the satisfaction of standing on top of a Scottish mountain after a 4-hour hike or the refreshing summer dip in a Swiss lake. Experiences not even a photo can capture.

So our recent trip to Tokyo once again added to my memory bank of stories....this place was such a feast for the senses. And no trip to Tokyo would be complete without sampling the local goodies....sushi & sashimi. On my last trip to Japan when I was nine, I ate my way around the country with spaghetti bolognese, such was my disgust at the local raw delicacies. But I wasn't gonna miss out this time!

I met up for dinner with some family friends currently working in Tokyo, and they took me through the dimly lit back lanes of Tokyo's famous fish markets, the Tsukiji Markets to a restaurant called Aozora. It was one of those places that tourists probably wouldn't venture, since there wasn't an English menu in sight, nor did anyone speak English! Luckily I was with native speakers so this wasn't an issue! It had a real authentic feel, full of Japanese business people (almost all men!) eating, drinking, talking loudly & smoking a lot!

The pic at the top is a free appetiser of a sesame jelly topped with raw sea urchin...sounds kinda disgusting but I quite enjoyed the textures. And here's what else we ate:

A starter of seared tuna with wasabi - I think this was the house specialty - it just melted in the mouth...

A selection of sashimi - I had no idea what fish they all were, but it was all so fresh and delicious...

A mixed sushi platter, including some seafood you wouldn't find in Australia...

And finally, the most tender chargrilled tuna and vegetables with a delicious sweet sauce:

As you can see, we ate quite a bit of tuna. It's funny, I'm normally not a huge fan of tuna sashimi, but this meal was an absolute revelation - the tuna here was so sweet, especially the paler cut which was marbled with fat. Unbelievable. I can taste it now. All I can say is thank goodness for that memory bank. N