Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Obachan's Christmas Wreath 2008 (With Cookies)

I wish you had a wonderful Christmas time. :)

It's Dec. 27th today and I'm adding some photos to this belated Christmas post @ an Internet Cafe, AGAIN. (No, not the one I posted about the other day.) Looks like Heaven thought that I haven't suffered enough in 2008 -- My ADSL connection got upset a couple of days ago, and went dead right after I posted this entry with only two photos yesterday. So I had to come here to email the technical support of my ISP anyway, and I decided to upload these photos as well, because I really think these are better than the two dinner photos I posted yesterday.

Obachan's Christmas Tree 2008

I felt like a small tree this year and it was a right choice, I guess. The tree was again one of those Daiso 100yen stuff. The cookies were home-baked and not a great success. Well, you can't expect much when baking cookies in a cheap toaster oven without temperature control, you know.

I was worried that it might take hours to make this wreath without a glue gun, but it didn't take too long. :)

And here comes my light fruitcake.

It was not as soft as I wanted, to tell you the truth, and that was my fault. This year, I wanted to tie the cake with ribbon with no wrapping -- as in the photos above -- and I didn't want the cake to be too wet because it would mess up the ribbon. So, though the recipe told me to make syrup and brush the cake with it until it is used up, I didn't follow the instruction; I only brushed my cake with rum a couple of times. What I got as a result was a rather chewy cake which wasn't sweet enough. I think I'm going to mature it some more, this time following the recipe's instruction.

Carrot Cake (Baked in my Electric Rice Cooker) with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yes. It worked. I mean, theoretically it should be possible to bake cakes in an electric rice cooker. It cooks rice by heating its inner pot. Then the batter in the heated inner pot should be "done," too, eventually. Some Japanese websites even dare to say that for baking certain types of cakes, electric rice cooker may be more suitable than oven because inner pressure and temperature are controlled more precisely. I doubt it, though. Anyway, for me, using a rice cooker for baking a cake was not as care-free as using an oven, and the texture of the cake was more like steamed cake than oven-baked ones. But I should say that the result was quite satisfactory.

This is how the carrot cake looked when it came out of the rice cooker.

And with cream frosting and decoration ...

See inside?

Oh, I got the carrot cake recipe here, if you're interested.

* Let me add a little warning if you're interested in baking cakes with electric rice cooker. I did have a satisfactory result, but I don't necessarily recommend this unorthodox use of the rice cooker, unless it "officially" has a baking function.

To make this cake, I poured batter into the inner pot and pressed the start button. When the rice cooker beeped for the first time, the cake was not done yet, as expected. I switched on the rice cooker again right away to let it cook some more. (Be careful. Some "smart" rice cookers take it as abnormal heating and give you an error message.) The cake was still not done yet at the second beep. I pressed the start button again to let it cook for 10 to 15 more minutes and manually stopped the cooker.

So it's a bother, isn't it? Besides, many websites warn that baking cakes somewhat damages the teflon coating of the inner pot. I assume that recent electric rice cookers with a baking function must have special program to keep certain temperature for longer (than regular rice-cooking) until batter will be done, and also have heavy-duty teflon coating on the inner pot.


And my cookies. Only two kinds this year: gingerbread cookies and shortbread cookies.

And my creations looked like this altogether...
(Maybe I could make a postcard out of this?)

And the dinner photos...

Obachan's Christmas Dinner 2008

Yes, I managed to make this Christmas dinner, after all. Despite some challenges, I didn't give up and enjoyed a Christmas dinner. After the dinner, I kept nibbling on desserts for hours, enjoying the sparkling wine, wishing the moment to last forever...

Dear readers,

Thank you so much for your support, especially for the past couple of weeks when it looked like things were going worse and worse.
I'm so lucky to have you as my friends.

*** Merry Christmas ***

- obachan -


Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan, Your Christmas dinner looks so good and what a lovely table you set. Hope you enjoyed your Christmas and lets hope 2009 is a little less um, interesting.

Abundant blessings to you,

Anonymous said...

Your table setting looks beautiful and your dinner looks yummy! I am looking forward to your photos! Your blog has been an inspiration to me. Thank you for your gift!

Display name said...

merry christmas obachan :) here's to a peaceful new year

Pinkity said...

Dearest Obachan,

Merry christmas and a wonderful and peaceful new year!

Here's to a wonderful 2009! :)


Anonymous said...

your dinner is a triumph of a meal. 5-Stars.

K and S said...

your Christmas dinner looks so good! glad to hear you had a nice Christmas :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy you had a nice Christmas after all. Have a wonderful New Year.

Anonymous said...

Dear Oba-chan,
It looks lovely- I wish you had someone else to appreciate it with you :(
Best wishes for your new year.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Obachan. Here is to a great 2009. Thank you for all the posts in 2008. I love the small window into your life in Japan.

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan,
Merry Christmas! Love your blog and how you live a rich life in a small town. Please keep it up! Gambatte kudasai!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Obachan!
It is lovely photo and I love your blog:), I looked forward to seeing your Christmas Dinner!
Wishing you a very happy new year 2009!
Thank you always!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Thanks, Obachan! Happy Holidays to you too and best wishes for the New Year!

Your creations and pictures are wonderful!



Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas and a beautiful and successful New Year 2009! :)

Your small Christmas tree looks adorable and the cake looks delicious! :)

Anonymous said...

Everything looks so wonderful and cute! Thank you for your inspirational blog. :D

Best wishes for the new year.

ghanima said...

Merry Christmas, Obachan! Sometimes life really does seem to want to kick us while we're down, doesn't it? Ah well, I find that during the hard times, I'm most grateful for friends to take comfort in. All the best to you in the New Year.

Anonymous said...

what a nice looking dinner. the first time i saw using a rice cooker to bake was on youtube.

here is the link if you haven't seen it

happy holidays


Rachael Hutchings said...

Happy Holidays Obachan! Beautiful Christmas dinner! I love the idea of cooking a cake in a rice cooker. I'm going to have to try that in mine! Can you do Japanese steam cakes in the rice cooker then as well?

karaimame said...

Wow! I never thought it was possible to make a cake like that in the suihanki! :) I need to try it.
Your christmas dinner looked so delicious, simple and good! Way better than ours .
Thanks so much for your great posts, I just love to read your blog.
To end, have a very happy new year! ( akemashite omedetou gozaimasu! ;)

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Obachan! Your Christmas dinner looks awesome!!

Amelia Yap said...

Looks like you had a very satisfying Christmas dinner!
Hope you can get a new oven soon...

Happy New Year~~

obachan said...

Thank you so much, everyone. Sorry I'm not responding to you guys individually, but I do wish all of you a wonderful holiday season with a lot of happiness and laughter.

Fuji Mama
I assume you can make Japanese steamed cake in the rice cooker, but I'm not sure. And there are concerns about using rice cooker for baking. I added a few passages about that to this post because other readers may be interested, too.

obachan said...

Oh, BTW, my Internet connection is back now. (It got slower again, though!)

jamie said...

A late greeting, but merry Christmas, Obachan! I hope 2009 brings you much luck, fortune, good health and joy.

I've missed reading your blog for a while as I've been busy, but have recently made it a habit to do so again. Your photos of your Christmas dinner, decorations and food look so lovely.

Cheers and a happy new year ahead!

froy said...

Good to see that you managed to have Christmas despite all odds. May 2009 be full of good food and free from obstacles to your happiness!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Obachan



from malaysiaelayne

tina said...

Akemashite, omedetou gozaimasu. Kotoshi mo yoroshiku o negai shimasu.

Anonymous said...