Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Chawan Mushi

Wooo Hoooo! I found this lovely photo on Bob and Angies Daily Japanese Cooking.


Bob and Angie’s Daily Japanese cooking also give instructions and very cool photos on exactly how to make it. I’ve seen it done – if you have the ingredients, it isn’t that hard, using a bagno caldo. But I’ve never had mine turn out pretty, like when normal Japanese people make them. I think it is something you learn at your Mother’s knee.

November 15, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Mom’s Fruit Cake Recipe

Wooo Hooooooo! The fruitcakes are in the oven, and already the house smells wonderful. I’ve been making these cakes since I got married. I don’t think I have missed a year, but I may have. I grew up smelling these delicious cakes every winter. I don’t think my Mom makes them every year any more. I wish I were close enough to pop one into her refrigerator for their holidays.

Mom’s Fruit Cake
Even people who think they HATE fruit cake like this fruit cake. It has a secret ingredient – chocolate!

This is the original recipe. I remember cutting the dates and prunes with scissors when I was little; now you can buy dates and prunes without pits and chop them in the food processor – a piece of cake!

1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lard or butter
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
3 Tablespoons chocolate powder
1/4 cup jelly
1 cup seeded raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup candied citron
1/2 cup cut prunes
1/2 cup cut dates

Put all in a pan on stove and bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes. Let cool. Add:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Flavor with lemon

Bake at 350° in loaf pans for one hour. Makes 2 normal bread loaf sized cakes.

My variations: I put in about three times the fruit, the difference primarily in the candied citron – I prefer using whole candied cherries, because they are so pretty when the loafs are cut. This recipe doubles, or quadruples with no problems.

Pans: Mom used to line all the pans with brown paper and grease the paper. I grease the pans, then dust with more of the chocolate powder. Use a good quality chocolate, not cocoa. When the cakes come out of the oven, let them cool for ten minutes, loosen them with a knife, then they will shake out easily. Let continue to cool until they are totally cool, then wrap in plastic wrap, with several layers, then foil, then seal in a sealable plastic bag. Let them age a couple months in a corner of your refrigerator. I make mine around Halloween, and serve the first one at Thanksgiving.

I never make these the same any two years in a row. This is the first year, ever, that I won’t be using any brandy – alcohol in Kuwait being against the law. Yeh, I have some friends who laugh and say “you can get it anywhere!” but we made a decision to obey the law. Only rarely do I regret it . . . sigh . . .fruitcakes really need brandy.

Update: If you are in a country where brandy is available, and if you want to use brandy, here is how to use it in this recipe. You know how raisins get all dried out and taste yucky in fruitcakes? The night before you intend to make the fruitcakes, take all the raisins you intend to use (depending on how many fruitcakes you intend to make) and put them in a glass container. Pour brandy over them, to cover. Microwave just to the boiling point. Let stand in the microwave overnight.

The next day, you can drain that brandy and use it in a stew or something, and in the meanwhile, you now have plump, juicy raisins to use in your fruitcake, and just a hint of brandy flavor. Yummmm!

November 15, 2006 Posted by | Christmas, Cooking, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Holiday, Kuwait, Recipes | 7 Comments

Top Posts

The Top Posts column in WordPress statistics disappeared for a few days, and oh! I really missed it. I’m not so interested in the total numbers as in what people find the most interesting. I love the new Top Posts system, where you can click on a little icon that looks like a graph, and it shows you the total history of that particular post – how often people look for it and choose it, not coming from some aggregator, but from somewhere like a google search. I like it that WordPress keeps improving itself, and listens to our feedback.

November 15, 2006 Posted by | Blogging, Random Musings | 2 Comments