Life is like a box of chocolates.

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Alright, can we call ourselves chocolatiers? Because we want to make chocolates for Valentine’s Day and it’s…a year away. Why do we want to make chocolates? Well…

If there’s one souvenir we constantly request to Japan goers or when we visit Japan, it’s Royce’s Nama Chocolates. The chocolates are a blend of milk chocolate and fresh cream. It is best eaten straight out of the fridge, and it’s soft and creamy. We love it and always crave it, but all Japanese imported goods come with a price so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that Just One Cookbook has a recipe on Nama Chocolates. The other surprise? It’s simple to make and only requires three ingredients: cocoa powder, dark chocolate and whipping cream. After incorporating the chopped chocolate with the warm whipping cream, pour the mixture in square tray and pop it in the fridge for several hours. Once it’s been chilled, we cut the chocolate into cubes and sifted cocoa powder. Honestly, it’s the easiest and prettiest confectionary we can present as a gift, so far.

Enjoy!

- Robyn

KFC: Karage Faux Chicken

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Half my Facebook feed is infiltrated by 30 second recipes and I am addicted. When Robyn introduced me to Tastemade Japan, I was in heaven, salivating except I had no idea what was going on because I don't understand Japanese.

We talked about this recipe for a while and doing it as a challenge to see how well we understood the recipe purely from the visuals and our familiarity with the use of some Chinese words that the Japanese language use. Robyn suggested using a dictionary and I apparently yelled at her.  In the end, we got a bit of help from our friend Google. 

The end result was a beautifully crispy "fake chicken". The recipe required us to use Konnyaku, a Japanese yam cake that has a crunchy rubbery texture. We froze it and defrosted it to transform the yam into a spongy texture, similar to frozen tofu. The coating was very easy to make, just a mixture of egg, soy sauce, flour, and chicken bouillon. It turned out way better than we both imagined.

Luckily, this recipe was simple enough and we succeeded! Otherwise, it might have ended up like a Pinterest Fail, or rather, Tastemade fail. Honestly, so much can go wrong from such a short 30 second video, disguised to make everything look easy. 

Link to the Tastemade video is below.

- Ken

Onigiri: Great Balls of Rice

This summer in Toronto has been rainy and we took advantage of the sun as soon as it came out.  The plan was to find a vigorous hike and bring along homemade onigiri, Japanese rice balls filled with different seasonings and toppings.  With the help of Maori Murota's Tokyo Cult Recipes, our plan went into action. We were pounding the rice balls with the rice ball mould I purchased from Japan and store-bought seasoning from our local Asian grocery store.  Honestly, making onigiri is the easiest food we've made on the blog so far.   

If I was cooped up at home and didn't want to buy groceries weekly, grilled rice balls is the way to go.  All you need is rice and soy sauce.  Pack the rice, grill the rice and add some soy sauce for flavour and colour.  And the other onigiri with seasoning?  Mix it with the rice and start moulding the rice.  We were on a roll and sneaked some before our hike the next day.   

Our ideal day was to hike to Tiffany Falls in Hamilton and enjoy the view with the balls at the falls.  Unfortunately, our day did not measure up to our plans.  Due to our lack of research, getting to Tiffany Falls from the lot was merely a 326 m stroll. We looked ridiculous geared up with our backpacks and hiking shoes.  The destination was beautiful, but there was certainly a feeling of a lack of accomplishment with such an effortless hike.  To lift our spirits, we drove to a nearby beach to attempt at a suntan, along with indulgence of Japanese snacks and onigiri.  I know, I know - there are no photos of the beach, but we were there, I swear!

Overall, it was a beautiful day to be immersed with nature.  Happy Summer! 

- Robyn