Posts tagged ‘Easy’

September 22, 2012

Banana Carrot Cake, No Egg, No Butter, No Sugar

by 田草川(たくさがわ)かおる






Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker /Mum:-)


Thank you for visiting my blog.


After eating so many fancy cakes for her birthday this week, the las cake she asked for was a simple banana cake.

20120922-171904.jpg I tried to make it as pretty as possible, using my special ring tin.


I don’t usually use this tin because it takes longer to cook, but every once in a while, it is nice to make something different 🙂



What was interesting was that Yumi’s grandparents, who are both not so fond of sweet things, ate this cake, and even had second helpings! That’s a nice compliment to recive 🙂 Better write down the recipe before I forget!!!







-240g very ripe Banana (almost all brown outside), mashed

-100g Carrots, grated

-100g Rice bran oil

-50g Organic Honey

-100g Organic soy milk


-300g Organic plain flour

-2 Tablespoon Aluminium free baking powder

-1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon

-30g walnuts, chopped



Step 1: Mix all the wet ingredients  (banana, carrots, oil, honey, soy) in a large bowl

Step 2: Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, BP, cinnamon, walnuts) in a large bowl, pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix

Step 3: Pour into a greased tin (I lightly floured my tin as well) and bake at 180C for 30min, or until a skewer comes out clean.



Better save some banana to ripen so I can make it again!



April 29, 2012

Grandma’s Rock Cake

by 田草川(たくさがわ)かおる

Hi, this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.


I think the passion and love for cooking inside me comes from my grandparents, who used to live in the countryside of Japan near the sea. Every time we visited them for a holiday, Grandpa would take us fishing to catch something, and Grandma would cook the catch of the day in her small kitchen.

She also had this funky gadget you put on a gas stove, and it became an oven! With that “Magic Box”, she would bake us cream puffs and cookies and many other things that a child would only dream about. This rock cake was one of our favorite, and she would bake it and send it in parcels to us when the holiday was over.

I made some arrange to it by cutting out the butter and using dates, but as long as you know the basic recipe, you can play around with it!

My recommendation is to use at least one type of dried fruit, and one type of nuts. Basic combinations are:

Raisins + Walnuts

Apricots + Almonds

Cranberry + Macademia

You can also put in things like sesame, cooked beans(Adzuki beans or red kidney beans are my favorites), or rolled oats. It’s difficult to make a mistake, so use your imagination and enjoy!!


Basic Rock Cake Recipe (makes about 15-20 cookie size cakes)

-220g (or 2cups) Organic wholemeal flour

-1 teaspoon Aluminium free Bakin Powder

-30g (or 2 Tablespoon) Organic raw sugar

-2 Tablespoon shredded coconuts

-3 Dates, chopped

-2 Tablespoon walnuts, chopped

-1 egg

-2 Tablespoon Oil

-4 Tablespoon Organic Soy milk



Step 1 : Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, BP, sugar, coconuts, dates, nuts)  in a large bowl; In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients (egg, oil, soy milk)


Step 2 : Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, combine using a spatula. Make a round dome shape cake about Tablespoon size on a cooking tray, bake in pre-heated 180C oven for 12min, or until golden on top.


Soooo easy, and it will last in an airtight container for about 3-4 days. Hope you enjoy making it with your kids!



April 6, 2012

Basic Biscotti

by 田草川(たくさがわ)かおる

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

I hope you are enjoying your Easter Holiday. Great opportunity to visit, invite and share good food with family and friends! For me, holidays are great time to cook, because I can leave my 18 month daughter Yumi with my husband, and concentrate on cooking. Also we will be seeing people, meaning I can cook more than usual to share the meal!

Here is a recipe that can be used in variety of ways; make it sweet and have it as an accompany to coffee after dinner, make it savory and have it as a finger food before dinner, or make it full of good filling and give it to kids for a good snack.

I use wholemeal flour for extra fiber and texture, and add several different nuts and fruits. You can try with what ever you have in your cupboard. Like my basic healthy muffin recipe, I hope you can find your favorite combination!

Ingredients (to make about 12 regular size or 24 small size biscotti)

-160g Organic wholemeal flour

-2 teaspoon Aluminium Free Baking Powder

-1/3 cup Organic rolled oats

-1/4 cup Walnuts

-1/4 cup Almonds

-1/4 cup Sultanas

-1/4 cup Dried Apricots

-2 Tablespoon Organic raw sugar or Organic Maple syrup

-2 Free range Eggs

-1 Tablespoon Olive oil


Step 1: Lightly roast walnuts and almonds, chop roughly; preheat oven to 180 degrees C

Step 2: In a large bowl, mix flour, BP, sugar, rolled oats, nuts and dried fruits; In a separate bowl beat eggs and oil (if you are using maple syrup add it to this liquid bowl)

Step 3: Mix the wet ingredients to the dry, on a baking dish, spread the mixture so they are  about 15cm by 25cm by 2cm; Bake for about 20min

Step 4: Take out what you have baked, cut it to 1.5-2cm thick; turn the oven down to 160 degrees C and bake on one side for 10min and another side for 8min

Be careful at Step 4: It can be quite hot. I like to make this into two 7cm by 25cm by 2cm, it’s just the right size for my daughter to hold in her hand and eat. You can make this savory by omitting  sugar and dried fruits, adding salt and spice instead. My favorite combination is with almonds, tomato paste (2-3 Tablespoon), oregano(2 teaspoon) and at the very end of baking (the last 8min) sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top! Makes a great starter of a course meal 🙂

Hope you enjoy it!

April 5, 2012

Basic Healthy Muffin Recipe

by 田草川(たくさがわ)かおる

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

I love to bake, but only easy things, and when I know the recipe, I will repeat it often enough to memorize the recipe by heart. Basic Healthy Muffin Recipe is one of those recipes I use every week, and because it has a million varieties to it, I never get tired of it!

Here is the basic ingredients (to make about 18-24 mini muffins or 9-12 regular muffins; depending on things you add)

-220g Organic flour (wholemeal, if possible)

-1 Tablespoon Aluminum-free baking powder

-1 Egg (70g)

-150ml Water (or Milk or Orange juice, depending on what you are going to make)

-1-3 Tablespoon Organic raw sugar or Maple syrup or Honey

-2 Tablespoon Olive oil

As you  can see, there are hardly any sugar in this recipe. We don’t have any white sugar in our house, and I use maple syrup in my cooking. You can use substitute sugar with dry fruits, like dried apricots and sultanas. They are quite sugary, so don’t add them too much, if you are on a diet 🙂


Step 1: Mix all the dry ingredient in one big bowl, all the wet ingredients in one medium size bowl, beat the wet ingredients so they mix well, and fold it into the dry ingredients.

Step 2: Pour the batter  into mini-muffin pan that has been greased lightly (you can use paper liners which make the cleaning a lot easier, however, I like it when the muffin bottom gets crispy and Yumi can eat on her own without the paper so our house is paperless!) and bake at 180 C for 12-15min.

When you are using regular size muffin pans, bake for 20-25 min.

The temperature and baking time varies depending on your oven, so always try shorter and check if it is cooked by putting in a toothpick. If it comes out smooth, its done! Let it stand for 5min and take the muffins out on cake cooler (or a large plate) to cool completely.

Too easy? Here are some ideas to the basic recipe to make it tasty!

Add 1 mashed banana, the real black soft ones are the best for baking!

Add 1/2 cup of chopped dried fruits, I always keep sultanas, apricots and dates in my cupboard.

Add 1/2 cup of nuts, walnuts go with most fruits, also almonds and pecans are nice to have.

Add left over steamed/ boiled vegetables like pumpkin and sweet potatoes.

Add grated carrots and beetroot for colors, vitamins and fiber.

You can always mix nuts with dried fruits or veggies. I like to add nuts for its texture, but if you are allergic to it, try adding rolled oats. It adds that extra texture to make it filling too!

April 5, 2012

What to do with 1kg of Flour

by 田草川(たくさがわ)かおる

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

As a mum of a very hungry baby (Yumi turned 18 months and eats more than her 3 year old cousin!), it is important for me to have healthy and easy snacks handy to keep my baby happy. She grew up with my home made snacks, and I think I bake about twice a week.


These photos were taken before she was 1, and you can see her enthusiasm to eat 🙂

I buy organic flour, which is about $4 a kg, so it is a bit expensive than regular flour, but when I think of the amount that Yumi eats, it is very worth the cost.

With 1kg of flour, I tried making different things to show you the variety. There are always muffins to bake ( I bake more than 1000 mini muffins a year!)

 This is Pumpkin muffin with nutmeg, using my basic healthy muffin recipe. I like this recipe because it has a lot of vegetable in it, and no sugar! You can add the sweetness with maple syrup or fruit preserves (also home made)

 Another one of my favorite is Biscotti! The trick to cooking this is baking it twice! I make it with my daughter (she loves to mix!) and this is good because you don’t have to worry too much about being over beaten. A great take out snack, keeps Yumi quiet until she finishes 1 stick!

 This scone is made with yeast, and needs to spend a night in the freezer, but can be stocked in the freezer for about 2 weeks, so usually, I make a batch and keep it there to have fresh oven baked scone whenever I feel like! A great recipe to use up THAT veggie too 🙂

 I don’t bake cookies as much as other things, but this no egg, no butter, no sugar recipe was too good not to share! A bit crumbly so I won’t recommend it giving to kids like Yumi who wants to run around while they eat! This cookie taught her manners, always sit when you eat!

 This looks like my Healthy mini muffins, but they are 3 times bigger and NOT BAKED!! Instead, it is steamed, and takes less than 20 min to prepare and cook! A very good snack or even a breakfast, just be careful with the steam!

Each of these recipes use 200 to 250g of flour, and they are all easy and tasty, so why not give them a try with your kids? I can’t wait to do more baking with my daughter 🙂

April 4, 2012

Greens! With sweet&sour sauce

by 田草川(たくさがわ)かおる

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting  my blog.

As I mentioned before, we are supposed to eat 350g of vegetables a day. When you weigh this, it’s quite a lot, and eating this as a salad can be quite difficult, unless you really love fresh veggies. Also, if you are on a diet, salad is not the best option for 2 reasons. One, the dressing can be high in calories, so you have to eat it with salt & pepper & lemon juice, which can be boring after some time. The second reason is fresh vegetables tend to “cool” your body, and if you want to lose weight, you should be “warm”ing your body, so rather than eat raw vegetables, it is recommended to eat cooked (steamed or grilled without oil) vegetables.

So, my saga continues to eat yummy cooked vegetables, and here is a new flavor that you can try.

You can use any vegetables with this sauce, I made the sauce in double batch, and used it the day after with red capsicum, mushroom, onion and tofu! It was also yum,yum, my daughter ate all the tofu,,, Hope you can find your best combination!

Ingredients for 2

-1 Onion

-1 Green Capsicum

-1 Bak choy

-1 bunch Garlic chive

-2 Free range Eggs

-Sesame oil for cooking


-200ml Water

-2 Tablespoon Soy sauce

-3 Tablespoon Mirin

-1 Tablespoon Oyster sauce

– Ginger(about 1/2 your thumb size)

-1/2 Tablespoon vinegar

-1 Tablespoon potato starch mixed with 1 Tablespoon water


Step 1: Chop all your vegetable into strips, garlic chives can be cut into 5cm lengths; beat eggs in a bowl

Step 2: Heat sesame oil in a frying pan, cook eggs until they are half cooked, take them out on a plate and cook vegetables in the same pan; in a different saucepan cook the ingredients of sauce EXCEPT ginger, vinegar and potato starch (this is to be added at the end)

Step 3: When the sauce comes to boil and the veggies are cooked, add ginger, vinegar and potato starch to the sauce, make it thick; add eggs to veggies, finally mix the sauce with veggies and serve

All this process is done in less than 10min, so be quick :-)! You can make the sauce separately beforehand and mix it with any veggies that you like. There are so many combinations to choose from, just take what’s left in your fridge!

March 27, 2012

Something Purple?

by 田草川(たくさがわ)かおる

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

When cooking a meal, I have been taught by my mother to

“Keep your table colorful”

This means that I should have a good balance of Green/Red/Yellow/Brown on my plate. Green and Red are usually vegetables that provides vitamins for your body. Yellow are the traditional Japanese dried foods, like beans and dried daikon radish,  which are rich in minerals and fiber. Brown are meat, fish or tofu that provides proteins.

By keeping the table colorful, you will be able to eat what is necessary for your body and be happy by looking at pretty foods! This is why I try to cook 3-4 dishes every meal, using some “Jobi-Sai(foods that will keep in the fridge for few days,and can be enjoyed in many meals)” and sauces, this is quite easy!

One of the colors we didn’t eat much in Japan was Purple. OK, so we do have purple cabbage and purple onion so they became a salad from time to time, but it wasn’t very common.

The other day, I found something interesting in the market, and it became into this dish!


The vegetable I bought was “Purpler Carrot”!! Steamed with other vegetables, it stained it nice into a nice color, and gave me heaps of ideas to do other things with it. As a starter, enjoy it as is, it is sweet and tasty 🙂

Ingredients for 2

-1/2 Purple Carrot

-4 Mushrooms

-1 Eggplant (the thin type)

To make,

Step 1:Slice all the vegetable into your finger thickness

Step 2:In a heavy pot (thicker the pot, the better) lay your mushrooms first, then the onions, eggplants and finally the purple carrot. The order is kind of important because some vegetables give more water than others. Sprinkle everything with a touch of salt, add 2 Tablespoon water and cover with lid. Cook on low heat for 10min.

This is it! The steam and salt brings out the lovely sweetness from the vegetable, and you can eat it as is, or with a dash of soy sauce or lemon. The important thing is DO NOT ADD TOO MUCH WATER!! As you cook, water will come out of the vegetables and it will cook in its own sauce.

You should stay close to the stove while you cook, especially in the last 3 min, because although my pot is trustworthy enough that it doesn’t burn, if yours is not very thick, tragedy does happen 😦

Too simple? Then try it! I hope you like the new color and taste on your plate!

March 25, 2012

Eggplant in Miso and Sesame paste

by 田草川(たくさがわ)かおる

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

One of my favorite vegetable is eggplant! I love them so much, and use it in many different styles of cooking from Japanese to Chinese to Italian to Indian, and feel that I can eat it everyday!

But in Japan, we have a saying

“Never give eggplants to the new bride”

not to be mean and stingy, but to show consideration to the young bride. Because eggplants are type of a vegetable that can “cool” your body, and for young girls, it is preferred to keep their body temperature “warm”.

Nevertheless, I eat it often, but try to have it with ginger or other body warming vegetables if possible.

The recipe I am about to introduce today is so good that I have to stop myself from eating the whole bowlful! It has a hint of  ginger and chili powder to keep you “hot”! Goes well as an accent on a dinner plate, since it has a strong flavor to it. I served it with marinated capsicum, broccoli cooked in garlic oil and marinated chicken. All four of these were put on plate under 30min, with rice and miso soup to complete the dinner!


-1 Large Eggplant

-1/4 Carrot

-1/4 Lebanese Cucumber

-1 Tablespoon sesame, roasted and grounded

-1/2 teaspoon Chili powder

-1 teaspoon  Sesame oil

-1 teaspoon Soy sauce

-1/2 teaspoon garlic, chopped

-1/2 teaspoon ginger, chopped

-1 Tablespoon Miso

-1 Tablespoon Apple vinegar

To make it,

Step 1: Boil or roast the eggplant and remove skin, tear into bite size pieces, chop carrot and cucumber into thin slices and rest on tea towel to remove excess water

Step 2: Mix everything in a bowl to make dressing, add vegetables and mix well

Serve and Enjoy! I think you can add cooked vermicelli to this, and would make a great salad with more volume. Or put it on top of somen/udon noodles and mix it eat it like a Asian style pasta! Yum, the combination is endless!!

March 12, 2012

Pumpkin Adzuki Muffin

by 田草川(たくさがわ)かおる

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

My daughter Yumi LOVES muffins. I started baking them when I moved to Australia, that is about 8 months ago, and I think I have baked over 1000 muffins now. Not the regular one but mini muffins, but still, that is a lot of muffins.

I bake at least once a week, 20-24 mini muffins at a time, and this year, I have done 16 lots and all of them in different flavor.

Yesterday, I baked it using some left over yogurt, and it turned out BEAUTIFUL 🙂 !!

This recipe is for myself so I can make it again 🙂 !

Ingredients(Makes 24 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins)

-240g (or 2 Full cups) Organic wholemeal flour

-1 Tablespoon Aluminium Free Baking Powder

-2 Tablespoon Organic raw sugar

-1 Free range Egg

-100g Yogurt (YES, This was the SECRET!!)

-80cc water

-100g cooked Organic Adzuki beans or sultanas

-150g cooked pumpkin, mashed

-1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preparation: Grease muffin tins lightly with oil or line with paper cups, heat oven to 180 C

How to make

Step 1 : Mix all of the dry ingredients(Flour, Baking powder, sugar)  in a large bowl

Step 2: Mix all the wet ingredients (egg, yogurt, beans, pumpkin, oil) in a large bowl

Step 3: Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mix until just combined, pour into tin and bake for 15min(mini muffins)

They turned out so light and fluffy and soft and moist! Yum!!

Yes, this is definitely my golden recipe, however, I do like my old recipe as well because this new muffin is so soft and fluffy, it doesn’t keep its shape when I chuck it in my bag for Yumi’s snack! I usually carry her muffin in a zip lock bag, but with this one, it has to be in a container to maintain its form.

Oh well, I hope you ENJOY this as much as us 🙂

February 23, 2012

30 min Dinner : Chicken Kara-age and Baked Eggplant

by 田草川(たくさがわ)かおる

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artisit / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.


This is another 30min dinner, using the left over chicken meat from the Basic Chicken Stock. I made Japanese style pan fried chicken and baked eggplant. It was a surprise that my 17 month daugher LOVED this baked eggplant, I gave it to her with some organic pasta and she just ate everything and ate so much, it made me happy 🙂

This night, we went to meet our sister who just had a baby, so I prepared the baked eggplant before we left, marinated the chicken and off we went! Coming back, it had to be quick, so while heating the eggplant, I fried the chicken, chopped vegetables and here we go, it was done!


I made this Kara-age with corn flour, and although my husband said it was the best tasting chicken ever, I think I prefer it with potato starch. So, I will try this dish once again before introducing it!


The baked eggplant was another “using up all your vegetable dish”.

Ingredients (for 2 people, the photo is for 1)

– 1 Eggplant (I wanted to put the cooked sauce in the eggplant itself, so I used the big round eggplant. You can make this in an oven proof bake dish, if so, you can use any type og eggplant, large or small!)

-1 Medium Onion

-5-8 Mushrooms

-2-3 Tomatoes

-1-2 cloves Garlic

-1 teaspoon oregano

-1/2 cup Basic Chicken Stock

To cook:

Step 1: Cut all the vegetables (I usually cut as I cook, because vegetables like onions and garlic needs longer cooking time. Rather than waiting, I cut and cook as I go), cook on a frying pan with a little bit of oil and oregano

Cook the vegetables in this order: Garlic-Onion-Mushroom-Tomato-Eggplant


Step 2: Add stock , cover with lid and cook until it thickens.


You can cook until this part, and put the sauce somewhere cool to rest.

Before serving,


Step 3: Pour sauce into baking dish, spread some breadcrumbs or cheese and cook on 180 C oven for 8-10min, until the top gets golden.


Enjoy 🙂


NOTE:You can add meat or tofu to this sauce and serve as a main dish. It is really tasty and as I mentioned, this makes a great pasta sauce too! It went really well with the Shell shaped pasta that Yumi loves 🙂

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