Monday, August 24, 2015

crisp blood orange thins

I looked in the biscuit tin yesterday and there were only 2 biscuits left in there. With a biscuit crisis on my hands it was time to bake. But what to make? I looked through my copy of Mix and Bake and decided to make some crisp lemon thins but as it's blood orange season, I thought I'd use blood oranges instead of lemons. I picked up a bag of blood oranges at the fruit market so expect to see all things blood orange on the blog for the next few weeks.

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Blood oranges are a bit zingier than regular oranges so I thought they'd work well in this recipe.


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I made the biscuit dough in the food processor and honestly weighing and measuring the ingredients took longer than it took to make the biscuit dough. I thought about icing the biscuits but instead made some blood orange salt to sprinkle over the dough before baking.

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Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. 

Crisp Blood Orange Thins - adapted from the Very Crisp Lemon Thins recipe from Mix and Bake by Belinda Jefferey

Makes 40-50

Ingredients
1½ cups (225 g) plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
160 g caster sugar
1 tbs finely grated blood orange rind
150 g unsalted butter, chopped
30 mls strained blood orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blood Orange Salt (optional)
1 tsp finely grated blood orange rind
1 tsp salt (I used salt flakes)

In the bowl of a large food processor combine all the dry ingredients with the grated orange rind. Add the chopped butter and whiz until the dough starts to come together. Mix the orange juice with the vanilla. Slowly add a little of the blood orange juice to the dough until a soft dough forms around the blade. You may not need to use all the juice.

Remove the dough from the food processor and gently form the dough into 2 logs. Wrap each log in baking paper and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until the dough has firmed. While the dough is chilling, prepare the orange salt if using. In a small bowl combine the rind with the salt and put to one side.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325ºF. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Unwrap the dough then using a serrated knife, slice each log into 5 mm slices. Place the rounds onto the baking trays leaving some room to spread. If you like, you can sprinkle the top of each biscuit with some of the orange salt. Go easy with the salt though, you just need a tiny sprinkle otherwise the biscuits will be inedible.

Place the trays in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are crisp and the edges are golden brown. I usually rotate the trays half way through the cooking time. Cool on the tray for about 10 minutes before removing the biscuits from the tray onto a cooling rack. When cool, store the biscuits in an airtight container.

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These thin crisp little biscuits are perfect served with a nice cup of tea.

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I hope you all had great weekends. It was a lovely day on Saturday so I went out shopping and came home with 2 new pairs of shoes and some summer clothes. Roll on summer!

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen,

Jillian

Monday, August 17, 2015

blueberry frangipane tartlets

Hi every-one, once again you can credit/blame Martha Stewart for this blog post. I saw some blueberry tarts in her book, 'Martha's Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations' and thought, well I can make those. I love a good frangipane tart topped with fruit and if you look through the blog, you'll find stacks of frangipane tart recipes just none using blueberries. Using those pictures as my inspiration, I decided to come up with my own recipe for Blueberry Frangipane Tartlets. 

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I whipped up some pastry using my favourite almond shortcrust pastry, made the frangipane filling, took some home-made berry jam out of the fridge, bought the blueberries then got sick. I put the pastry and filling into the freezer and waited until I felt better before putting the tartlets together. I used the straight sided 7 cm tartlet rings I bought at Mora in Paris and managed to make 8 tartlets from this recipe. If you use regular 8 cm fluted tins, this recipe should make six tarts.

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In Martha's recipe she put the blueberries over the jam before adding the frangipane filling. I made the first batch that way but it was pretty tricky smoothing the frangipane filling over the top of the blueberries.

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For the second batch I just popped a few blueberries into the frangipane filling before sprinkling with the flaked almonds. When cooked they looked exactly the same but it was far easier doing it this way, so that's how I've written the recipe. 

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The beauty of a frangipane tart recipe is you can get away without blind baking the tartlet shells. If making pastry gives you the heebie jeebies, you can always use shop bought but make sure it's all butter pastry. The same with the jam; home-made is lovely but shop bought is fine. Fresh blueberries not available, then frozen blueberries will work just as well or use another soft berry of your choice. 

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Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

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Blueberry Frangipane Tartlets – makes eight 7 cm tartlets

Pastry
110 g (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
¼ cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
¼ cup almond meal
1⅓ cups plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold water

Frangipane
75 gm (2½ oz) unsalted butter
75 gm (2½ oz) caster sugar
1 large egg
75 gm almond meal
1 tbs plain flour
1 tsp grated lemon rind

Topping
¼ cup berry jam
1 punnet blueberries
¼ cup flaked almonds
Icing sugar

To make the pastry, combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor, and whiz for a few seconds until well combined and free of lumps. Add the cold butter and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and sufficient cold water and whiz until a soft dough just starts to form around the blade. Remove the dough from the food processor and gather the pastry into a ball; flatten slightly before wrapping in plastic and placing in the fridge. Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes. You’ll only need about half of the pastry dough for this recipe but the pastry freezes well so just wrap the remaining pastry in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface (I use greaseproof paper) and roll out thinly with a rolling pin. Grease eight 7 cm tartlet tins. Line the tins with the pastry and trim the edges of the tart tins with a sharp knife. Place the tartlets onto a baking sheet then lightly prick the pastry surface with the tines of a fork and return to the fridge while you make the filling.

While the tartlet shells are chilling, make the frangipane filling. Place butter and caster sugar in a food processor and whiz to combine. Add the egg, the almond meal, the flour and lemon rind, then pulse to combine. Otherwise you can make this the old fashioned way, creaming the butter and sugar in a bowl using a wooden spoon or electric beater before adding the remaining ingredients. 

Spoon 1 – 2 teaspoons of the berry jam over the base of the tart shells. Evenly divide the frangipane filling between the tarts and gently spoon over the jam. Place 5 blueberries into the frangipane filling then sprinkle a few flaked almonds over the tarts.

Place the tray on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake at 190°C/375°F for 30-40 minutes or until the frangipane filling has slightly puffed and is golden brown. Baking time will depend on your oven so start checking the tarts after 20 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and cool the tartlets on a wire rack. Gently remove the tarts from the tins; lightly dust the tops of the tartlets with icing sugar and serve with a few extra berries. A dollop of cream wouldn't go astray either.

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I hope you all had lovely weekends. I spent the weekend in Brisbane celebrating my Dad's birthday and baked all weekend!
 

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian

Monday, August 10, 2015

blood orange marmalade cake

It's citrus season in Australia and the first blood oranges have just appeared in the shops. I've featured many blood orange cake recipes on the blog but this time I wanted to incorporate some marmalade in the recipe. I used some home made blood orange and vanilla marmalade I had in the fridge and as blood oranges are still pretty expensive I substituted mandarin rind and juice for the blood orange juice and rind in the cake recipe.

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I checked on-line to see if any-one else had had the brilliant idea of including marmalade in their cake and found many recipes, including this one from Nigel Slater. At least I knew I was on the right track. I'm pretty sure this cake would work well with any citrus based marmalade and juice such as lime, cumquat or tangelo.

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The cake came out of the oven nice and moist with a good orange tinge. I could have left the cake as is but in my head I had an image of the cake topped with glistening slices of orange rind. 

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I carefully sliced one of the 2 blood oranges I'd purchased and cooked the slices in toffee. This is such a simple way of candying fruit and the end result is so tasty I'm a bit surprised there were any slices left to decorate the cake.

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Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. This recipe makes a small loaf or a 17 cm round cake. To make a larger loaf or an 8 inch cake (20 cm) just double all the ingredients. The cooking time shouldn't need to be adjusted.

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Blood Orange Marmalade Cake
125g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
100g (3½ oz) caster sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 blood orange, a regular orange or a mandarin
50 g (2 tbs) blood orange or regular orange marmalade, rind chopped into small pieces
2 eggs
¾ cup self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup almond meal
¼ cup blood orange juice

Method
Grease, flour and line the base of small loaf tin or a 17 cm round tin with baking papaer. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl and mix together with the almond meal. Set to one side.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, caster sugar, orange rind and the marmalade. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl, then gradually mix into butter mixture. If the mixture starts to look curdled, add a spoonful of the flour mixture. Add the remaining flour mixture into the batter alternating with the orange juice to make a soft batter. If the batter looks too thick add a little more juice. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake the cake in the oven for 45 minutes until the top is lightly golden and cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. If the cake tests a little moist, switch off the oven and leave a further 10 minutes. Leave the cake to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack.

You can serve the cake lightly dusted with icing sugar or glazed with some warmed marmalade. I iced the cake with a simple glacé icing and some candied orange slices.

Blood Orange or Mandarin Glacé Icing
1 tsp butter
½ cup sifted icing sugar
The juice of ½ blood orange,a regular orange  or a mandarin

Method
In a small bowl, mix the butter into the sifted icing sugar. Gradually beat in sufficient juice to make a slightly runny icing. Allow the cake to cool completely before icing and decorating with some candied orange slices

Toffeed Blood Orange Slices
1 small blood orange, thinly sliced and seeds removed
2/3 caster sugar
2/3 cup water

Method
In a frying pan combine the sugar and water, place over a low heat stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 - 8 minutes or until the toffee starts to turn golden. Add the blood orange slices and turn frequently until the slices are well coated about 3 - 5 minutes. Remove the slices and place on baking paper. Allow to cool at room temperature before storing in a single layer in an airtight container.

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This recipe makes a lovely moist deeply orange flavoured cake. I had my slice with a cup of tea and it was absolutely delish!

See you all again next week,

Jillian

Monday, August 03, 2015

chewy and not so chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies

A few years ago, a dear friend gave me a copy of Martha Stewart's Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations for Christmas. To say that Martha Stewart entertains in a lavish manner is an understatement. I was looking through the book last week and realised I've not made any of the recipes. I tagged a few recipes and as the biscuit tin was looking a bit empty, I thought her recipe for chocolate gingerbread cookies sounded nice. Then I thought about a chewy triple ginger cookie recipe I really like and decided to adapt it using Martha's recipe as my inspiration.

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I used half the dough and put the rest of the dough in the freeze for later. I baked a dozen cookies using dough that had chilled for just 20 minutes and those cookies came out flat and crisp. I took them into work where they were demolished, so I don't have any photos to share with you. Then I baked another 6 cookies using dough that had been in the fridge for a few hours. 

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Those ones I rolled in coffee crystals. Both were delicious but the second batch of cookies came out higher and were chewy.

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The third batch I made with dough that had been in the fridge for a few days. I shaped the dough into a roll about 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide, coated the roll in raw sugar then cut the dough into 1 cm slices before baking. They were really delicious and my favourite, but they weren't chewy.

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These are still a work in progress as the cookie itself, though lovely and spicy, wasn't quite chocolatey enough for me. Next time I'll be bumping up the cocoa but for now I'm happy with my restocked biscuit tin.

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Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

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Chewy and not so Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies - makes 3 dozen

Ingredients 
160 gm (5½ oz) softened butter 
100 gm (3½ oz) each dark muscovado sugar and caster sugar 
60 gm (2 oz) honey or golden syrup 
1 egg 
330 gm (11½ oz) plain flour
1½ tbl dutch cocoa
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
1½ tbsp ground ginger
½ tsp each ground cinnamon and ground cloves 
40 gm (1½ oz) fresh ginger, finely grated 
30 gm (1 oz) candied ginger, finely diced
125 g (4 ½ oz) dark chocolate, cut into chunks 
pinch of salt and white pepper 
Raw sugar or coffee sugar crystals for coating 

Method
Beat butter, sugars and golden syrup in an electric mixer until fluffy and pale (3-4 minutes). Scrape down sides of bowl, beat in egg, then sieve over dry ingredients and stir to combine. Squeeze as much juice as possible from fresh ginger into the dough (discard solids) add candied ginger, chocolate chunks and a pinch of salt and white pepper and stir to combine. The dough is quite soft so shape the dough into 2 logs; wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap before putting into the fridge to firm for a few hours. If you'd like to make crisp cookies then chill the dough for 20 minutes

When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 180C°/350°F. Line baking trays with baking paper then roll heaped tablespoons of the mixture into balls, before coating in raw sugar. If you like, you can coat the roll of cookie dough with raw sugar before slicing the roll into 1 cm slices. 

Flatten the cookies slightly before placing on the oven trays, leaving about 5cm (2 in) between each cookie to allow for spreading. Bake in the preheated oven swapping trays halfway to cook evenly. 

Bake for about 10-15 minutes. When you take the cookies from the oven they'll still be soft but will harden as they cool. Cool on trays, then store in an airtight container until required. 

Cookies will keep for 5 days.

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Who doesn't like a freshly baked cookie, still warm from the oven?

I'm writing this from my sick day where I've been languishing for the past 3 days surrounded by piles of tissues. I can't wait to feel better.

See you all again soon,

Jillian

Monday, July 27, 2015

plate 2 plate - kaiserschmarrn

Have you ever heard of a dish called Kaiserschmarrn? Until Juliana suggested this as our dish for July's Plate 2 Plate blog post, neither had I. This is what it looks like, made and photographed by Juliana.

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From what I've read the dish was originally created for the Austrian Emperor's wife. She asked her chef to come up with a light dessert and the fluffy little dumplings he created did not fit the bill but the Emperor loved the dessert so much he ate it all by himself. This recipe for Kaiserschmarrn comes from a book by Konditorei Zauner which Juliana kindly translated from German into English for me.

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I found this recipe challenging because I didn't have a reference point as I'd not seen or tasted Kaiserschmarrn before. 

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I found a few recipes online and Zauner's recipe was the only one that pre-cooked the milk and flour before adding the egg whites. Most of the other recipes made a pancake like batter and after frying the pancake on one side the cooking process was completed in the oven. 

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I decided to make a test batch and found the quantity of flour daunting so I halved it before cooking off the milk and flour. When I cooked the flour and milk, it just turned into Perkin's Paste (a thick paper glue from my childhood for those non Australian readers). Juliana thinks European flour is probably a little different from Australian flour because she didn't have the same problem.

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The batter tasted a bit bland so I added a little knob of butter, some vanilla and a tablespoon of sugar before folding in the beaten egg whites. The end result was like a souffle omelette, lovely and pillow like in texture but it promptly deflated making it impossible to photograph. 

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I returned to the drawing board, this time baking the pancake for 5 minutes before cutting the Kaiserschmarrn into pieces and gently frying the pancake pieces in butter and a little sugar. These were more sturdy and could be photographed but I actually preferred the soft pillowy ones. 

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As it's winter in Sydney and apples are at their peak, I accompanied the Kaiserschmarrn with some apple I stewed with sultanas (golden raisins), also known as appletani by my friend's children. It made for a comforting winter dessert. Juliana served her kaiserschmarrn with blueberries. Her Swiss blueberries are so much more delicate than the monster blueberries we get here.

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Here's the original recipe for you without any of my changes.

Kaiserschmarrn
500 mls milk
250g flour
4 eggs, separated
1 pinch of salt
1 Tbs sugar
Butter for the skillet

Heat the milk with the flour and stir until a thick mush forms. Cool. Add the egg yolks and salt to the cooled flour mixture. Whip the egg whites with the sugar until stiff and carefully fold into the flour mixture.

Heat butter in a skillet and pour in half of the batter. Cover and cook until the underside is golden then flip and carefully tear the pancake apart with a fork. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

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I'm a little jealous of Juliana's lovely vintage pewter plate, so here's one last photo of it.

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I hope you enjoyed July's Plate 2 Plate post. Many thanks to Juliana for her lovely photos. You can read her blog post here.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian

Monday, July 20, 2015

brovst dream cake

Last year when I bought a copy of Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann, I immediately bookmarked her recipe for Brovst Dream Cake

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Just last month I saw another modernised version featured in Simon Bajada's book, New Nordic, containing berries. I decided to combine the best parts of both recipes to bring you my version of this old fashioned Danish cake. 

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I found blueberries in the fruit shop so I decided to use them in my version of the recipe.

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The cake is a simple vanilla flavoured cake, that's cooked twice so it's important not to over cook the cake before adding the coconut topping. I decided to use some oats as well as shredded coconut in my topping to make it extra crunchy.

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The cake came out high and handsome and smelled delicious.

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For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. 

Here's the recipe for you, which makes a 17 cm cake. The topping made a generous amount and I didn't use it all. In fact, I think this cake would probably be best baked in a 20 cm/8 inch cake tin but you'd need to drop the initial bake time a little, maybe to 25-30 minutes. 

BROVST DREAM CAKE - makes a 17 cm cake

INGREDIENTS
200g (7 oz) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
200g (7 oz) caster sugar
60g (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
125 mls (½ cup) whole milk
150g (5 oz) fresh or frozen red or blackcurrants or blueberries
Cream or custard, to serve

TOPPING
50g (1¾ oz) butter
112g (4 oz) soft brown sugar
30 ml single cream
75g (2½ oz) coconut or rolled oat flakes or a mixture of both

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line the base and sides of a 17 cm springform tin with baking paper.

2. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 10 minutes, until pale and fluffy.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and fold to combine. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla and milk. Fold in the currants or berries.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the middle of the cake is just firm to touch.

5. Meanwhile, put the butter, sugar and cream into a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and stir in the coconut +/- oats. Remove the cake from the oven and spread the glaze over. Increase oven temperature to 210°C/410°F and then bake the cake for 10-15 minutes more or until the top layer turns golden brown.

6. Allow the cake to cool in its tin for a few minutes before releasing the springform. Cool and allow the topping to set before cutting into slices. Serve with cream or custard.

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I had my piece of cake for afternoon tea on a very cold Sunday afternoon with a nice strong cup of tea. Loverly!

See you all again next week,

Jillian

Thursday, July 16, 2015

shopping in kyoto

During my stay in Japan, I actually made 2 separate trips to Kyoto with a quick side trip to Hiroshima. On my first visit to Kyoto I stayed in Northern Higashiyama where there was a distinct lack of shops. Until the last three days of my trip, I did no shopping at all. Nothing. Eventually I found a Muji store while I was in Hiroshima and broke the shopping drought there. The second time I was in Kyoto, my hotel was in the middle of the shopping district so there was no longer any excuse. Once I'd checked in, I hit the streets in search of the shops.

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I found this beautiful store called Marcourt just a short walk from my hotel but unfortunately I wasn't able to take photos of it's interior.

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The building was obviously a bank in it's former life. I found these interior photos online but I couldn't find a credit. If any-one knows who took these photos I'd love to credit the photographer.


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I also found this lovely flower shop, called Azur,

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which seemed to specialise in hydrangeas.

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I went on a hunt for this building housing the Mina Perhonen boutique. Can I just say trying to use Google maps which only use Japanese characters is not easy. It took me 2 goes but I found the building in the end.

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The building is a grand old lady.

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The boutique houses some uncharacteristically brightly coloured clothing.

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I found this cute shop near my first hotel and vowed to return but ran out of time. Unfortunately the shop doesn't have a website. 

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On my last day in Kyoto, I woke bright and early because I was going to the Toji Temple Market.

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It's a bustling market even at an early hour and I came home with some tasty candied fruit and some pottery bowls, which are still to be unpacked.

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I took this photo solely for the elderly ladies you see in the foreground. Japan has a rapidly ageing population and I shared many bus and train trips with this cohort of lively travellers all of whom wore these hats. I was almost tempted to buy one for myself!

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I still had time to squeeze in one more temple so I decided to visit the Ryoanji Temple with it's famous rock garden.

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The temple is set in beautiful lush gardens.

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and has a lovely lake and a restaurant is located in it's grounds.

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On the bus ride back to my hotel I was seated next to a very elderly gentleman who was busy folding paper. He presented me with a paper frog, a butterfly and an aubergine which I carefully brought back to Sydney with me in my carry-on. I spent the last few hours in Kyoto madly dashing between the Nishiki food market, the Ippodo Tea Company, the Takashimaya food hall and Angers where I bought most of my purchases. I was far too busy to take any photos.

So there you have it, the final photos from my trip to Japan. See you all again next week with something from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian