Bread for the Home Baker I

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Attended Bread for the Home Baker Workshop I conducted by Chef Daniel Tay at Shermay's Cooking School last Saturday. Have always been interested in bread making, just that the process is seemingly tedious and requires ample workspace as well as lots of patience. Recent attempts on some bread recipes further sparked my interest so decided to sign up for the workshop. I know there are hands-on bread making classes offered at Creative Culina (where I attended a Dim Sum class before), but the classes offered were conducted for 4 full-day consecutive weekends (either Sat or Sun) which I don't think I can commit.

Then again, the process itself requires time and thus it would not be easy to squeeze everything into the space of just 3hrs. But I was hopeful of picking up some useful tips and thereafter explore by myself.

Recipes introduced were:

  • Mini Raisin Bun - soft crust sweet bun
  • Dinner Roll Plan - hard crust plain bun
  • Ciabatta - moist Italian bread made with olive oil, crisp crust, large air holes, shaped as small loaf
  • Focaccia - large flat Italian bread, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and herbs before baking
  • Sponge dough - a method whereby part of the ingredients ferments for a short amount of time, after which the sponge is added to the main recipe

Very curious with the Sponge Dough as I have never heard about it before. Apparently, it adds as a 'flavour enhancer' to any bread recipe.

The mini raisin bun is really soft and fluffy. Apparently, the raisins have to be 'treated' before adding to the dough to retain its shape and taste.

I like the lovely aroma of the herbs and fluffy texture of the bread. The colourful toppings certainly enhanced its appearance as well. This earthy bread is definitely one of my to-try breads one of these days!

Always have a very vague idea of what ciabatta is, I guess it would be lovely to make a mean sandwich.
Hubby loves dinner roll and I have attempted similar bread before. Would be interesting to explore this recipe and compare results.

Due to shortage of time and constrained by the nature of bread making, I was busy trying to digest the vast amount of info, jot down notes and look at the demo at the same time. Was a little lost at some point. Like I said, it wouldn't be easy for the chef to complete the demos in 3hrs, so hats off to Chef Daniel Tay who tried to share with us as much info as he could. Nevertheless, still a fruitful class as I learnt new techniques and gained insight into the world of bread making which is rather profound and not as easy as it looks. Like Chef Daniel Tay jokingly commented, it's not worth all the effort to bake bread at home when you can easily buy it at a bakery for a dollar! Ha. True indeed!

Each participant brought home a bag of bread (recipes demo-ed) courtesy of Bakerzin as well as a bag of bread flour courtesy of Prima and Shermay's Cooking School. Chef Daniel Tay even gave us homework, to attempt one of the recipes he taught and bring it along for comments in his next bread workshop. I hope he's just joking :p

Chicken & Potato Curry Puff

The third and final recipe I attempted over the past long weekend was Chicken & Potato Curry Puff, from scratch. That's right, both the rough puff pastry and chicken & potato curry!

It has been like almost two years, since I attended Chef Christopher's Retro High Tea workshop which taught rough puff pastry, potato curry puff and chicken pie. From the workshop, I knew that making the rough puff pastry wouldn't be easy; my kitchen/house is rather warm and humid and the dough (main ingredients flour, butter and water) most likely difficult to handle. So put this recipe at the back of my mind, till recently where I gained some confidence handling dough (with the bread and tart making). Well, I could buy frozen puff pastry from supermarkets but never try never know.

Good thing it was attempted during weekend as I could take my own sweet time instead of being flustered and frustrated due to limited time. As far as possible, I would love to finish my bakes by afternoon to catch some sunlight for photo-taking. Alas, a lot of times I ended up finishing in the evening, and had to wait till next day for photography. Well, then again, my photography skills are that great to begin with lah, as compared to bloggers whose photos look good enough to eat! I aspire to be like them one of these days :p

Ok, back to the rough puff pastry (will not post recipe here due to copyright). I prepared the dough on Sunday night so that it could be sufficiently chilled. To make sure the dough is not too difficult to manage, I chilled the flour and butter beforehand before mixing/pressing them together into a rough crumbly ball. The surface that I use (only available space is my dining table which is glass top) to roll and fold the pastry has to be well floured I realised, otherwise the pastry will stick to the surface. Same goes for my wooden rolling pin (probably a stainless steel one would be better). Butter melts really really quickly!!! Basically I have to roll and fold the pastry a few times, chill in fridge for 20 mins, take out roll and fold again for like at least 3 times. After that, I chilled the pastry overnight.


The next day, prepare the chicken and potato curry. Basically fry all the ingredients (chicken, potato cubes, onion, curry powder and leaves, garlic, ginger, lemon grass) and let cool to room temperature.

Then it's where all the 'fun' began. To prevent pastry from melting too quickly, I worked with very small piece at a time (enough to cut just 2 to 3 pieces). Once again, surface well floured to prevent sticking. Gotta work fast as the longer each piece of pastry was handled, the more tacky it became. It was also not easy to fold/seal the pastry after adding the filling which included a small slice of hardboil egg (I think I was too generous :p). Most of my puffs turned out really ugly looking with odd shapes and some actually opened during baking.

15 mins of baking and viola, my first chicken & potato curry puff. The egg wash gave the puffs a very glossy touch which I thought looked good. These are the better lookers :p
The puffs were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside with generous filling. Hey, not bad at all! Hubby likes!
The next morning, the puffs looked almost the same but turned soft :( Even after zapping in microwave, they were no longer crispy (probably got to heat up using oven instead of microwave? I didn't try though).
That said, they were still quite well-received by colleagues who tried them =D and I'm definitely pleased with my first attempt.
With this rough puff pastry, I can proceed to make chicken pie, sardine puff... maybe next time I'll on the air-con in the living room when rolling/folding the pastry. Well, the next long weekend, perhaps.

Apple Tart (Crostata de mele)

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Over the past long weekend, the second recipe I attempted was Apple Tart or Crostata de mele (I think this is Italian). Recently, I'm more into pies, breads and tarts, taking a break from cakes and cookies for a while.
Came across the recipe posted by blogger 'She Bakes and She Cooks' and was drawn by its country-style and rustic look. Since I have all the ingredients, the steps look pretty manageable and I quite like apple pies with lots of cinnamon, why not?
I start with shortcrust pastry since this needs to chill for at least an hour.
Shortcrust pastry:
  • 225g plain flour
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 60ml full-fat milk (I use low fat milk)
  • 2 egg yolks
Steps:
  • Mix the flours, sugar and butter in an electric mixer using dough hook (original recipe - mix in food processor).
  • Add milk and egg yolks. Dough will form. If dough is too wet, add a little more flour.
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough till smooth.
  • Wrap in clingwrap and place in chiller for an hour.
Next, the apple filling.
Filling:
  • 5 red apples (original recipe - golden delicious or granny smith apples, but I only have red apples in the fridge)
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbs honey
  • Cinnamon according to preference (original recipe - a pinch)
Steps:
  • Peel and core the apples, then cut into 8 pieces. (The apple slicer from Ikea is perfect for this!)
  • Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat, and when it begins to froth and brown, add the apple and cook until brown and softened; about 5-10 minutes depending on the ripeness of the apples.
  • Add the honey and cinnamon, reduce heat to medium-low and stir continuously for about 10-15 minutes or until the apples are golden and caramelized. Cool to room temperature.
Combine:
  • Preheat oven to 180 degree celcius.
  • Grease a 24cm loose-bottomed tart pan.
  • Once dough has rested, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 5 mm thick and line pan with pastry. (I have to work pretty fast with the dough as my house is pretty warm and humid; dough tends to soften and break quite easily)
  • Place cooled apples into pastry shell.
  • Cut remaining pastry into 1cm-wide, long strips to make a lattice and place over the pastry shell and apple filling.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes.
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving with ice cream or cream. (optional)
Apple tart before baking. The apple filling tastes even good on its own :d~~~

Apple tart fresh from the oven. The aroma of the buttery shortcrust pastry smells heavenly, along with the honey & cinnamon-coated apples :d~~~

Humble, country-style apple tart.Couldn't wait for the apple tart to cool down completely, and helped myself to a slice. The apple was cooked perfectly with honey; I liked it that I could bite into bits of apples, instead of mashed apples. Though I added lots of cinnamon already, the taste and smell still wasn't distinct enough to my liking. Must add more next time! The pastry was sweet and texture just like, shortcrust pastry. The thickness at the bottom was okay, but I though the sides were a little too thick.
Was quite happy with my first attempt of the apple tart, I guess I could possibly attempt other tart or pie recipes like banana tart, pumpkin pie...

Mini homemade burgers

I love long weekends where I can wake up late and indulge all the time I want to bake or cook =D (I'm very clumsy when having to rush).

Was browsing through several blogs and came across 'Little Burger' recipe posted by Grace of Kitchen Corner. Don't you just adore petite, bite-size burgers? During my recent trip to Tokyo, I saw several bakeries selling mini burgers; they just looked so adorable and tantalising! Having attempted the crusty bread roll and sweet bun, I felt I should be able to make the burger buns. And to match the mini buns, I need mini meat patties as well :)

First, prepare the meat patties since they need to chill for 3-4hrs after preparation. Once meat patties are ready, the buns would be as well (after kneading, proofing, baking).
Grace's recipe calls for 1kg of minced pork which I thought was too much for me. Decided to half the quantity to 500g. Since minced pork are sold in 300-400g packs at supermarkets, decided to buy a pack that weighed 330g and top up the rest with silken tofu. I guess minced pork and tofu patties could be a healthy option :) In fact, I could experiment with minced chicken next time.
Minced Pork & Tofu Patties
Ingredients: 20 meat patties

  • 330g lean minced pork
  • 170g silken tofu
  • 1 small purple onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • Pinch of powdered cumin seeds (I bought McCormick)
  • 1/2 Tbsp powderd coriander leaves (I bought Masterfoods. In Grace's recipe, it's stated as coriander seeds but I mistakenly saw as leaves. Since bought, might as well use it)
  • Pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper
  • Handful of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 Tbsp english mustard
  • 1 small egg
  • 58g breadcrumbs (I bought Jap brand used for deep frying)
Steps:
  1. Fry the onion with a little oil in a pan for few minutes until softened. When the onion completely cool down, mix it to the meat.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well (I use hand). (If the mixture is too sticky, add more breadcrumbs. I also added more parmesan cheese).
  3. Shape the meat into patties depending on size and thickness desired. With this recipe, I managed to get 20 pieces of meat patties. My idea is to size them the same as tomato and cucumber. In fact, realised I should have quartered Grace's recipe since the bun recipe only yields 10 buns.
  4. Place the patties on a tray with greaseproof paper or Silpat. The patties will be slightly soft as tofu is used instead of all meat.
  5. Sprinkle some bread crumbs on top of each patty and press down gently. Cover with clingwrap and chill in the fridge for 3 - 4 hours.
  6. When ready, fry the burger in a little oil or butter on medium high heat for few minutes, depending on the thickness of the patty.
Mini burger buns
Ingredients: 10 buns
  • 300g bread flour
  • 7g yeast (I use instant yeast from Phoon Huat)
  • 9g sugar
  • 6g salt
  • 4g milk powder
  • 190g (1 egg + water)
  • 20g butter
Steps:
  1. Knead all the ingredients with a dough hook for 15 minutes. As my dough was a little sticky and did not pass the 'window pane' test yet, I switched to hand kneading for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Once ready, place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with clingwrap.
  3. Proof for 40 minutes (or longer till double in bulk) then divide it into 10 portions.
  4. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Then shape it into little buns and proof for another 40 minutes or double in bulk.
  5. Bake in a 190'C preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Saw in a bread making recipe book when browsing at Kinokuniya: To make the buns with smooth rounded top, I have to 'push' the dough in an upward movement. The top will be smooth. As for the bottom, pinch the dough together and try to smoothen (bottom will not be as smooth)
The little buggers (pun intended) look so cute can!
Slice the bun, insert with pan-fried patty, tomato and cucumber, there you have it, mini homemade burgers :) For variety, add cheese and veggies or whatever you like in your own burgers.
The patty tasted a tad on the bland side (though the mustard smelled quite distinct), probably due to the tofu. It doesn't really matter since I can add condiments like ketchup, mayonaise, chilli sauce, just like fast food restaurant. In fact, homemade burgers are more healthy since amount of seasoning can be controlled :D
The bun's texture is close to store-bought (hurray!). After slicing the bun into 2, spread some butter on the surface and lightly toast for a crisp texture. Yum! Even with this size, I need a few bites to finish it. I guess guys may just take 1 or 2 bites? LOL. I guess kids would like it since it's 'their size' of burger.
Party ideas. Make fun and colourful labels, stick them on toothpicks/satay sticks and skewer the toothpicks/satay sticks through the mini burgers. Here I use sticker labels. I guess they would be a crowd pleaser =D
All in all, it takes half a day to prepare and make the burgers. The meat patties can be prepared a day ahead and store in fridge, and use when ready. The buns can also be baked the day before, keep in airtight container and toast them before use.
Tedious process but nothing beats homemade :)

Sweet Buns

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Following the successful attempt of the crusty bread rolls, I decided to once again try Happy Homebaker's recipe and this time, the Sweet Bun, seeing that it could be a master recipe for variations like adding toppings or fillings.

Kept thinking about baking during work :p hence decided to try after work, instead of waiting till weekend.

After carefully weighing and preparing the ingredients, I mixed all the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl followed by all the wet ingredients. Once again, decided to let the electric mixer do the job. However, noticed that the dough was much softer and stickier (than the crusty bread roll dough) and some dough was stuck at the side and bottom of the mixing bowl.

Worried that the dough might not get a good workout, switched to hand kneading after 10 minutes of machine. Certainly not easy to handle (probably due to more fat content) but I resisted the temptation to add more flour as instructed by Happy Homebaker.

After 15 minutes (total 25 minutes) passed, the dough still seemed rather soft and sticky so decided to knead somemore. After another 10 minutes, the dough passed the 'window pane' test was quite elastic in fact! But still, felt a tad sticky. Being kiasu, I kneaded for another 10 minutes!

Finally got tired kneading and placed the dough in a lightly greased bowl and covered with clingwrap for proofing of 1hr. After 1hr, the dough grew but didn't seem double in bulk. Didn't think it matter, so proceeded to knead the dough before letting it rest for another 15 mins.

15 minutes later, divided the dough into 9 portions and placed them into aluminium trays and let rest for another 15 minutes (cover with clingwrap).

It's time to bake, after brushing the surface of the buns with egg, sent them into preheated oven at 190 degree celsius to bake for 15 minutes.

Ting! Hmmm, how come my sweet bun looked different and a little weird (unlike Happy Homebaker's)!? LOL!

I had placed 4 buns into one tray, now they looked merged. Didn't matter since still could be separately easily. There was a crust around the bun, was crispy when hot but turned hard when bun cooled down.

Some parts of the bread actually cracked?

The bread was not bad though, texture was quite soft and fluffy, tasted slightly sweet with milky taste. But as it cooled, it became slightly harder.
Curious huh? Wondered what I did wrong during the process? A few factors perhaps?
- Over kneading of dough? Kneaded for almost 45 mins in total!
- Didn't let the dough proof enough during first round. 1hr was probably not enough when I noticed the dough didn't actually double in bulk?
- After resting the dough for 15 minutes, instead of just pressing out the gas, I gave the dough some punching! LOL.
- Should second proofing be longer as I only proof for 15 minutes (for crusty white bread, second proofing was 50-60 minutes)?
- Didn't cover the dough properly during second proofing (I did lay the clingwrap over the aluminium tray)?
- Oven temperature was too hot?
Well well, looks like I got complacent a little early with my previous success :( A little deflated now, but definitely not giving up!

Mini Crusty Bread Roll

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Had this urge to try my hands on bread baking recently and came across a recipe posted by Happy Homebaker. Ingredients used are really simple, just bread flour, instant yeast, salt, sugar and water and steps looked quite manageable and assuring as well.

Hubby loves crusty bread roll, naturally he was happy to hear my bread making plans. So over the long weekend break, finally found the courage to attempt the recipe and with success two times!

First Attempt on Thursday night

I mixed all the ingredients into my electric mixer and let the mixer work them into a dough first. Since it was my very first attempt, decided to hand knead the dough, as indicated in the recipe. The dough was super sticky and for 30 minutes, I was sort of messing around with it, rather than kneading the dough properly. The dough didn't look ready, still sticky and didn't pass the 'window pane test'. Surrendered and called hubby for help to takeover the kneading as my arms were aching! I must say that hubby was quite a natural when it came to dough kneading :) So after another 15 to 20 minutes, the dough was ready. Although the recipe indicated 20 to 30 minutes of kneading, I guess factors like humidity and temperature played a part, so kneading should actually be adjusted accordingly.

We placed the dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl and let it proof for 1hr. And after 1hr, the dough almost doubled in size :) So magical!

Lightly knead the dough and divided them into 12 mini rolls and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Thereafter, press them into discs and re-shaped into rounds again. Place the rolls spaced apart, on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or Silpat. After dusting the surface of the rolls with some flour, clingwrapped the tray and let the rolls proof for another 50mins to 1hr.

These were my 13 mini bread rolls (instead of 12 as I made them smaller) before the second proofing.

After 50 mins to 1hr, sent the bread rolls into the oven, 200 degree celsius for about 13 to 15 minutes. Tada! My golden brown bread rolls, oooh, the aroma of freshly baked bread :d~~~
My (our) first crusty bread rolls! The crust was crispy, bread fluffyand slightly chewy. It tasted really good fresh from the oven. Hubby loved it and finished a few at one go.
Once left overnight, the crust was no longer crispy and in fact the bread roll turned even more chewy. Probably would be good to pop them into the oven for a few minutes. But this was exactly the texture that hubby liked O.o
Happy that my first attempt at bread making was successful!

Second attempt on Sunday evening

The bread rolls were all eaten by Sat, and hubby wanted more. So a second attempt on the crusty bread rolls.
This time, I decided to let the electric mixer do all the kneading. After a good 30 minutes of kneading, the engine of the electric mixer got quite hot and still the dough looked quite sticky. Ok, no choice we had to switch to manual kneading once again. The dough seemed much softer this time, probably due to high humidity on Sun?
After another 15 to 20 minutes of kneading, the dough ready for first proofing.
1 hr later, the dough doubled in size :)
The dough was indeed much softer this time and I wondered if the rolls would turn out softer?

The rolls after second proofing. How come they seemed much bigger than the first attempt? Haha, coz I rolled 12 this time instead of 13.

After 13 to 15 minutes, the bread rolls were ready!
The rolls were slightly softer than the first attempt. Whatever, they were delicious! Sweet labour of love indeed.

Thank you to Happy Homebaker for sharing the recipe. Surprisingly bread making doesn't seem as intimidating as I imagine; for this recipe, just lots of labour and patience. I'm now inspired to attempt other types of bread!

Shopaholic in Tokyo Apr 09

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Here's sharing some of the stuff I bought from Tokyo.

First saw this interesting 'Egg Timer' at a blog (based in Taiwan), which supposedly can help to cook the perfect egg. Although it seems like a German product, I'm quite hopeful that Tokyo would carry it as well, since Tokyo is well known for being in the fore front of new and innovative products.
Was hunting for it at Kappabashi during my first day in Tokyo, but couldn't find it. My second guess would be Tokyu Hands, one of my favourite mall in Japan. To my dismay, the branch at Ikebukuro didn't carry it as well. Was elated when I finally found it at the Shibuya branch!

The egg timer is shaped like half an egg, with indicators of soft, medium and hard. The red portion will shrink as temperature rises, and we can stop cooking the egg at whichever consistency prefered based on the markings. Imagine I can now have the perfect 'hardboil' egg with semi-runny yolk, just like those sold at ramen shops! Can't wait to test it =D

A digital weighing scale is a must for baking, since precision is quite crucial for dessert making. I have one at home already, but at times, may need to have two e.g. when separating egg white from yolk and didn't want to transfer bowls. Bought this at Tokyu Hands as well, comes in juicy colours such as blue, pink, orange, green... It can measure to 0.5g precision. Cool! In fact, all the digital weighing scales sold at Tokyu Hands come in yummy colours and designs, unlike my boring grey one.

Another cool product from Tokyu Hands. Just slide the lock through whatever packing (e.g. flour, sugar) and it is sealed. Comes in a pack of 3 of same length and different colours. I think there are 3 or 4 lengths available. Regret that I only bought one pack :( Was unsure whether I need it initially as I already have those seal-it clips from Ikea. But these are just so easy to use and looks really neat; the ones I bought are perfect length for the Prima flour packing. The clips from Ikea are quite difficult to clip sometimes if packing is too thick, and not so long as well.

Does anyone know if these 'Anylock' are available in SG? I want somemore!!!
Cushion covers from smart, Jiyugaoka. http://www.smart-interior.com/
The colour scheme blend perfectly with my sofa and definitely brighten the living room :)
Cute handphone pouch with sweet cupcake design bought at Loft. http://www.loft.co.jp/. Tiny roo is a series of the Rootote brand.
Bought this cute little clips at the stationery level of Tokyu Hands. There are all sorts of cute stationery here, and I could have bought a whole bunch of them if I were impulsive enough :p

Now onto the snacks/desserts. Bought this 'Sakura Pie' at Tokyu Food Show, Shibuya, available during sakura season only. Airy and crispy with bits of sugar tinted in sakura pink.
Also from Tokyu Food Show, cute little bunny with cheese and custard filling. The sponge cake is springy, with quite strong flavour of egg, cheese and custard is an interesting combination.

Last May, I have bought the cheesecake from Shiseido Parlour, which comes in a striking blue packaging. For this sakura season, they introduced a hot pink packaging and sold as 'sakura cheesecake'. Well, it still tasted like cheesecake.Ok, these are just a fraction of what I have bought for this trip. Well, if not for money no enough and luggage space no enough, I would love to buy more :p
I miss Tokyu Hands and Kappabashi Dogugai already :(

Tokyo 9-14Apr09: Day 4 & 5

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 Day 4

Not much to share about Day 4 & 5 as I was busy shopping and playing Yu-Fo catchers :p

I guess it's kind of embarrassing to admit, yes both hubby and I were quite hooked onto these Yu-Fo catchers. The entire mechanism and trick into getting the prized catches is just so intriguing. All the prizes can be 'caught', just a matter of how - the method, the positioning, the exact angle, a little bit of luck :) It's not that we wanted those items, it was the thrill of getting them =D
The arcades have an amazing array of prizes - from soft toys, to sweets, chocolates, ice-cream, potatoes (yes, no joke), t-shirts, bags, watches, cups, mugs, plates, cooking pot (yes, no joke. Hubby caught one Mickey Mouse cooking pot)
We would go into every single arcade at Sunshine 60 Street everyday we passed by, whether going out or coming back to the hotel. LOL.
Our lunch for Day 4. The value-for-money Matsuya. We bought our tickets from the vending machine and handed it to the counter staff.
Within minutes, our meal was served. My order - grill pork with ginger. The set meal cost 580 yen and come with rice, miso soup, salad and grill meat. Water, various sauces and pickled ginger are lined at the counter for self-service.

After lunch, I spent the whole afternoon shopping at Loft, Seibu Department Store (there are a few zakka shops as well), and Sunshine City itself. While hubby went on his own to explore fishing tackle shops, electrical and IT stores like Yodabashi and Bic.

We met back at the hotel to deposit my shopping and decided to head to Shinjuku to explore the Yu-Fo arcades there, as well as the Kabuki-cho area which we didn't explore our previous visits.
Dinner was at a small Jap restaurant. It's nice to have curry rice once in a while; rich curry sauce with deep fried pork loin and served with soft, fluffy Jap rice.

Kabuki-cho is definitely an interesting and colourful area, although doesn't seem as notorious as what the area is known for; don't think the yakuza organizations would be so easily detectable or creating trouble openly. Anyway, we steered clear from dark, lone alleys and didn't hang around too late. Basically just visited all the Yu-Fo arcades around the area before heading back to Ikebukuro.

Day 5
Hubby discovered this ramen shop while he was exploring Ikebukuro area. So this was our lunch place on Day 5. Very attractive shop furnishing, very 'genki' feel.

So was the interior. Very genki with the large font menus and kakoii illustrations on the wall.
Can see that this ramen shop is very popular.

First up, gyoza. Gyoza is a must eat side dish with ramen. The skin was chewy and filling of ground pork/chives very fresh. Best with the soy-vinegar dipping sauce!

Here's our ramen. The handmade noodle was slightly thicker than those we ate before but very al dente. The broth was thick and rich but not too heavy. And I love the hardboil egg with yolk that was still runny state! The char siu was very tender but a little fat though.
There was a basket of garlic and a tool used to squeeze the garlic into tiny strips. The Japs like garlic with their ramen. No thanks, no dragon breath for me!

After the delicious ramen lunch, we went together to the fishing tackle shop at Ikebukuro itself to look at a reel that hubby was eyeing on. He couldn't decide whether to buy the previous day he was there, but finally he did.
Saw some sakura trees along the way and took a few 'obligatory' shots. With this sunny weather, a lot of sakuras were wilting.

After hubby acquired his fishing reel, we decided to go to Shibuya. I to Tokyu Food Show, whereas he, another fishing tackle shop at Shibuya.
For those who love food and desserts, I would highly recommend a trip to the supermarkets and food halls in Japan. They are certainly a feast for the eyes! I think I have said this many times :)
Strawberries which were in season! They were really sweet and juicy :d
Andersen, one of the most well known bakery in Tokyo.
Another bakery, can't remember the name. But the bread looked so tantalising.
Colourful desserts with creative ideas of packaging and display.
A trip to the Tokyu Food Show always got me drooling over the desserts.
Oh yes, and the Aoyama Flower Market with such lovely mini bouquets for sale.
Hubby and I met after an hour and deposited my shopping at one of these automated lockers. These are the newer ones which gives a ticket with pin number; the older ones are just normal key locker.
We went to Tokyu Hands and spent like 2 hrs there, exploring all the knick knacks and I was happy to find some household items which would come in handy in my kitchen.
After Tokyu Hands, we explored Yu-Fo catcher arcades around the Shibuya area =p

So cute can! I wanted the purple one with an onigiri on its head, but we gave up after a few attempts. Well, I don't actually need a soft toy.
Shibuya, bustling with vibrancy and life. We decided we gonna stay in Shibuya for our next Tokyo trip (when would that be, I wonder).
Ok, here's presenting our prized catches. Crazy huh? LOL.
Well, that's it. The end of my Tokyo trip.
Nothing to report on my last day. Basically, we woke up very early, took the Airport Limousine Bus (booked tickets in advance with the concierge) to Narita Airport and back to SG. I wonder again, when will I be back to my favourite city?