As promised, the duck and I proudly share a photo celebrating a snack we ate outside our home:
Our friend T had wanted to visit Plants and Cakes, a cafe in Frankfurt that offers plant-based, gluten- and (refined) sugar-free treats, for a while. Almost two years later, we finally had our cake and ate it too. After a quick examination of the display case, the duck and I predictably ordered the one matcha treat we could find: A raw Mango Matcha Brownie. Its flavor was a bit too mild for our tastes – the hint of matcha, mixed with the fruitiness of the mango, couldn’t satisfy our matcha cravings. We also got a Peanut Choc Raw Cake Pod with oats to share with T and her travel friend, which was divine! Our considerate cake companions kindly let us try their raw mini cakes too. So we also got to taste passionfruit with berries, I think, and something with white chocolate and peanut, maybe? All told, we had a lovely, flavorful afternoon. 4/5 tea leaves for our culinary satisfaction (as matcha snobs), 5/5 plants and cakes for the convivial company, and an appealing ambiance. ・🪴♡🍰・
This was also the perfect opportunity to test the photographic abilities of our compact new camera friend before we went on a cinematographic adventure the next day. More on that some other time.
Our friend Y moved to Wales some time ago. The duck and I haven’t managed to visit her yet. But, after she sent us a postcard with a recipe for Pice ar y maen, an enticing Welsh treat, the duck and I knew we had to try it. It only took us well over a year and the passing of the best-before date of the dried currants we had imported for this sole purpose. Despite our unreliable baking skills, the result was worth it. When we devoured our first portion of Welsh cakes, the duck and I almost felt as if we were in Wales for a moment. Five smug powdered sugar flakes for a successful imaginary jaunt to Wales ✧✦✧✦✧
Now we only have to get our physical bodies onto the sofa/spare bed in our friend’s Welsh house. I’m sure that after we eat real Welsh cakes, the duck and I will revoke the favorable rating of my baking attempt. Until then, I will be the one who made the best Pice ar y maen the duck has ever eaten. Ha!
P.S.: I promise the next post of this sort will celebrate a snack we ate outside our home!
At the beginning of the year, I wrote about wanting to break my habit of being a completionist. I‘ve gotten worseam still working on that.
‘Tis the season of Christmas cookies and extra-delicious food, a.k.a. the perfect backdrop for writing about one completionist habit I don’t mind (though it does annoy people around me): food. Whenever I prepare a meal that’s not entirely inedible, I will eat it. I happily finish my plate, refrigerate or freeze intended leftovers, and always use up all the ingredients I buy – unless they’ve gone bad prematurely. The only time I’m not happy with this habit is when I eat out and haven’t brought an empty container for leftovers. Last summer, in a rare instance of outside dining, I ordered a vegetable pasta dish that was served in a medium-sized frying pan! The portion was at least 2-3 large leftover lunches large. I determinedly switched to main quest mode and began shoveling. When I had reached satisfactory fullness, you could hardly tell I had transferred any skillet pasta onto my plate. I was on a mission. So, I kept eating. I hadn’t felt that full in months years! But my aversion to wasting food trumped the growing fear of my stomach bursting. I kept on eating… until a knight in shining armor and an apron appeared at my side. Our excellent server had noticed my pained face and offered me a takeaway box for my leftovers. Yes! There’s no way I could have finished this pan-sized portion. My no-food-goes-to-waste-willpower has its limits.
I felt regret: Why hadn’t I thought about inquiring about a container myself (I would have happily paid for one) before the pain had set in? But I was also happy that I had one more day of good food before reverting to my own miserable cooking attempts. Thankfully, the duck wasn’t there to witness my embarrassment… or cheer me on all the way to my painful demise.
Today, the duck and I want to share the visual result of one of our past baking adventures. Truth be told, even though we usually improvise our own meals, when we bake, we don’t dare go without a recipe (our knowledge of the chemistry of baking is practically non-existent). Last summer, we wanted to eat bake a dairy-free cheesecake. This recipe from the fantastic Vegan Heaven blog looked simple enough for us to try out. Since the duck loves to experiment, we agreed that, as long as we stuck to the measurements, we might be able to create the exact cake we were craving: a lemon and blueberry cheesecake. The local grocery stores didn’t carry any lemon-flavored soy yogurt. So we added a pack of sweetened lemon peel and a few drops of lemon juice to our vanilla yogurt. We also used cream-flavored pudding powder instead of vanilla and swapped the raspberries in the original recipe for blueberries. The result was a surprisingly delicious (and omnivore-approved) German-style lemon and blueberry cheesecake, worthy of being shared alongside our images of some of the fancier outside foods we’ve eaten. 5/5 blueberries for the experience of baking a vegan cake that (in our opinion as dairy-skeptics) tastes even better than its dairy counterpart and for being able to share it with some of our favorite people ♡♥♡♥♡
At this point, the duck and I would like to thank nope, not Pam for encouraging us to share more photos of our at-home meals! And, if you’re wondering what makes a cheesecake German, here’s the duck and my take on it: There are numerous varieties of German cheesecake. Most of them sport a shortcrust base and rely on quark, rather than cream cheese, for the filling.
It’s that time of year again when the duck and I like to reminisce about all the lovely cakes we’ve eaten. Last year we shared a photo of the first set of beautiful cake slices we ordered with our fabulous friend C over pizza and water at Pizzeria Mar de Napoli at Tokyo Dome City – four years ago! Those chocolate cakes will forever be the first thing that comes to mind when the duck and I think about our Tokyo pizza dinners. This (what I believe is a) mille crepe fruit cake, however, was pretty nice, too. Especially because fruit was a rare treat for a chronically poor duck and me in Tokyo. This might have been the last time we went to our favorite Tokyo pizza place before leaving Japan. We also had to share this cake with one additional person, which is never fun when precious fruit is involved… 3/5 ducks for a bittersweet memory ・✧ 🍰 ✧・
Maybe the duck and I should eat out more. It’s getting predictable just how many photos from our glamorous life as poor Tokyo (suburb) dwellers the duck and I share on here these days. Maybe we shouldn’t eat out more and instead share photos of at-home snacks exclusively? Either way, there’s no shame. My cow shall remain honorable.
After writing about thirteen traditional German Christmas treats and subjectively reviewing three of them in the past two years, the duck and I decided it was high time we tried a few more baked Christmas goods – this time, some we had never tried before. At first, we wanted to review apple-cinnamon heart cookies and a baked apple Stollen, both from the 2021 Bahlsen (a German cookies and cakes brand) Christmas lineup. We couldn’t find this particular BahlsenStollen anywhere (we were looking too early). But we did find Lidl store brand mini baked apple Stollen during one of our October grocery shops. Then we remembered the Bahlsen mini Spekulatius with milk chocolate we had seen during our apple Stollen search and decided that those sounded much more awesome anyway and grabbed a bag of those instead of the apple-cinnamon cookies. Now we had a new, even more exciting, theme for this year’s German Christmas treat taste test: Mini snacks! While we would not eat apple Stollen and chocolate Spekulatius in the same sitting (with us being decidedly peculiar when it comes to mixing fruit and chocolate flavors), those two treats promised to be a perfect representation of the fruity and the chocolaty side of German Christmas treats. Here’s what we thought:
The duck and I rediscovered this picture on our phone the other day: About four years ago, when we were still quite new to Tokyo, our housemate brought a box of vegan cookies for us all to share. He got it at a Tokyo bakery called foodmood that specializes in beautiful and immensely delicious baked goods perfect for gifting or as omiyage. This mix of cookies, crackers, and granola tasted divine. And we felt extra fancy to be munching luxurious vegan cookies at home (I think this is the same box they are still occasionally selling these days – with peanut butter cookies, maple granola, chocolate-coconut cookies, nori-cashew crackers, ginger cookies, and black sesame sticks… and a serious price tag). If we ever make it back to Japan, the duck and I might actually invest in one of these fancy cookie boxes ourselves, and, ideally, share it with friends to literally pay it forward. 5/5 duck-shaped cookies for this amazing flavor experience and the opportunity to feel truly fancy. Thanks, old new housemate! ✳✧✳✧✳
When the duck and I first started putting these kinds of food posts on here, we did it as a bit of an inside joke because our friends knew that we weren’t the kind of people who would eat at fancy places and then post the aesthetically pleasing proof on Instagram. Well, as it turns out, we have started snapping photos in the few instances that we encountered photogenic food since. And we have come to mean it when we write that “we have started following @foodmoodshop on Instagram and are now obsessed with looking at all those pretty photos of cookies and cakes that they post.” I guess that’s like all those times I started using a word or phrase ironically, to later find it has snuck its way into non-ironic everyday conversation. Oh well…
The duck and I were so proud of ourselves after we had managed to do two subjective (mainly) non-chocolate snack reviews in a row that we decided it would be okay to go back to chocolate now. See, when we espied this year’s limited edition Cadbury Inventor bars (they’re called Inventor bars because they were thought up by fans), the duck and I couldn’t resist.* At first, we wanted to go with only the variety that sounded the best to us. But then we decided that we’d been surprised by flavors we thought we wouldn’t like before, so we bought all three finalist bars.Just look at how excited (or scared?) the duck was to be trying different flavors of chocolate once again. And this time, it’s not even German chocolate – what a treat! Keep reading for our specifically subjective thoughts: Continue reading →
Fall has come once again, and the duck and I miss our beloved Japanese seasonal autumn snacks even more this year. Just look at this beautiful treat that we got to devour four years ago, sitting on a canopied bench under a pretty autumn afternoon sun after a fun exploration tour of an area we had never been to. Even though we got it at a local grocery store, we felt truly fancy when we ate this maple syrup sweet potato rice cake (at least that’s what our translator app told us this is)! 5/5 sweet potato stuffed ducks for the sweetness of Japanese autumn in a bite (and many more after that)! 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁
The duck and I still aren’t eating out a lot, especially since we don’t really like it all that much if catching up with a friend is not involved. So, there might be even more solitary or inside snack reports in the near future of this blog. What about you? Do you like eating out? Are there any foods that you miss?
Last week I reminisced about the hottest AC-less summer that the duck and I can remember. This week I want to write about another way to cool down when it’s hot outside: ice cream! When I was still good with milk, ice cream was a summer staple. I loved devouring the occasional tub of that extra creamy American style, preferably cookies and cream-flavored, ice cream. Unfortunately, that was the literal food that started my milk troubles some years ago. Gelato and frozen yogurt still worked for the duck and me for a while after, but these days, our ice-cold refreshment of choice when we’re out is sorbet (just to be safe). A side effect of not eating a lot of ice cream was the disappearance of our regular ice cream cravings which made encountering deep, beautifully bitter matcha soft serve on almost every street corner back when we were living in Japan decidedly more bearable. The duck and I had gotten used to life without ice cream until, some weeks ago, we saw that one of our favorite grocery stores, Aldi, had started selling vegan ice cream that looks just like the kind I was in love with many years ago. Of course, the duck and I had to throw our no ice cream lifestyles overboard and make this the subject of a subjective taste test – summer edition: