Ten foods that changed my life

These foods are things I ate at some point in the last thirty three years and nine months and they’ve been forever lodged in my mind. I can’t forget them for some reason whether it be the texture, the taste or a combination of the two. Sadly, most of them are foods that I either need to travel to the other side of Australia for, or in some cases, to another country.

1. Canele (Canele de Bordeaux)

I met my first-ever Canele in Japan during the Canele Boom of 1996. Every time I turned on the tv or opened a magazine there would be a story about these little parcels of joy and how there was a two-hour wait for them or a three-week waiting list because, everybody and I mean everybody, was buying them.

To describe them simply, they are a custard cake with a caramelized exterior. The outside is crunchy due to being cooked in copper moulds lined with butter and beeswax and the inside, texture-wise, is a bit like a custard crumpet.

They are divine. That’s all I can say.

2. Melon bread

Melon bread is called ‘melon bread’ because it looks like  a rockmelon (cantaloupe) not because it tastes like melon. Taste-wise, you can buy many varieties from green tea flavoured to chocolate and maple, but the basis of melon bread is a slightly sweet bread surrounded by a crunchy, cookie-like crust made of butter and sugar.

There is a story that the shape became popular when people couldn’t afford to buy rockmelons and satisfied themselves with melon-shaped bread instead and another story that the name meringue bread changed to melon bread over time. Whatever its beginnings, it has been made in Japan since the end of the 1800’s.

And it’s damn good.

3. Ootoro sushi

I had my first-ever piece of ootoro blue fin tuna by mistake. I’d ordered normal, run-of-the-mill budget tuna, but instead I received a glistening piece of tuna that just melted in my mouth.

Akami on the left, chuutoro in the middle and ootoro on the right

Ootoro is the fattiest part of the tuna and looks almost like the best marbled Kobe beef. Chuutoro is the slightly fatty part of the tuna and akami is the normal part of the tuna.

It was a $20 piece of sushi, but I was more than happy to pay it.

4. Godiva truffles


I received a small box of godiva truffles for Valentine’s day one year. It was love at first bite.

Godiva are one of the most expensive chocolates brands you can buy in Japan and they fly them in from Belgium several times a week. I’ve recently discovered the chocolate assortment at the David Jones department store in Perth at an eye-boggling price of $45 for the smallest box of 15 chocolates.

5. M’s tomato chilli pasta sauce and home-made pasta

The ingredients are simple: onion, garlic, olive oil, chilli and tomatoes. He cooks it down for a good hour or so and sometimes blends it with the handmixer to make a rich, divine sauce.

Served with a good sprinkling of bitey parmesan, it’s foodgasm material.

Used in a lasagna with layers of freshly made pasta sheets, ricotta and mozzarella cheese? OMG….

Btw, if you’ve never made your own pasta…you’re seriously missing something good. G.O.O.D.

6. Bulgarian-style yoghurt

Made by the Japanese manufacturer, Meiji with milk and the LB81 strain of bacteria imported from Bulgaria, it’s yoghurt as it should be – thick, creamy and completely unadulterated with anything – no artificial setters, no flavours, no preservatives.

Why Bulgaria? Well, I guess Bulgaria is the ‘home’ of yoghurt. You can make yoghurt in Bulgaria, by getting some ants from your garden and dumping them into warmed milk. The bacteria is in the soil, it a part of life and that’s why they eat yoghurt with every meal.

The Meiji yoghurt, called “Bulgaria” has a hint of sour with a natural sweetness and the closest I’ve come to finding something similar to it is the Harvey Fresh Lactose Free Natural Yoghurt that is only available in Western Australia.

7. My homemade custard

I made custard from scratch with eggs and cream for our Christmas in August lunch and oh my…

I LOVE custard but I’m ashamed to say I’ve always settled for stuff made from custard powder or out of a tub from the dairy section of the supermarket. But that’s what it is – stuff. It’s not custard.at all.

The only thing that could have possibly made it better would have been infusing the milk with a vanilla bean. Mmmmm.

8. Maple Macadamia Royal Copenhagen ice cream

Every year during the Christmas school holidays when I was in primary school my father used to take my sister and I for two weeks to Surfer’s Paradise in Queensland. We’d have McDonalds every day for lunch (at that stage we didn’t have  McDonald’s in my home town and the nearest one was over 100kms away so it was a HUGE novelty for us), go to the Grundy’s game centre, play putt putt golf (mini-golf) and have waffle cones from the royal copenhagen ice creamery.

Actually, it’s impossible to walk past the ice creamery without buying an ice cream because you can smell their hand-made waffle cones baking from a mile away Watching the person sitting in the window with those big waffle irons, turning them, checking them and pulling out the baked waffles before rolling them deftly into cones was also part of the fun.

I’d always get two scoops one each of Old English Toffee and Maple Macadamia, topped with whipped cream, fudge and nuts in a waffle cone. I think the last time I had one I was 13…it’s been a loooooong 21 years!

9. Sourdough bread

I’m always on the search for chewy, rustic, sourdough bread. I’ve had some not bad ones from Lawley’s bakery in Mt. Lawley and the New Norsica Bakery in Subiaco, but my favourite was the wood-fired artesian roll I had at the newly opened hippy bakery in my hometown.

I still dream of this roll.

10. German baked cheesecake

This was another gem of a find in my hometown. I went back for seconds and thirds of this cheesecake. I secretly wanted to buy the whole cake on display in the showcase, but at $7 a piece and probably $80 for the entire cake, I wasn’t that insane. I was insane enough, however,  to take a piece with me on the plane as I left.

I can’t wait for my trip home in December!

What foods have lodged themselves in your mind forever?

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10 thoughts on “Ten foods that changed my life

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  1. 1. Shrimp and Crab Au Gratin. I had it once at a seaside restaurant ages ago and never had it again, but thinking of the creamy, cheesy, yumminess makes my mouth water every time.

    2. Pineapple Upside down Cake. It doesn’t even have to be from scratch. There’s just something about it that gives me the warm fuzzies.

    3. Devilled crab. I had it a couple times. It was a concoction created by my ex and was fantastic oddly enough. I’ve never been able to replicate it.

    4. Crab meat drenched in melted butter. Is there some sort of theme here?

    5. Candy apples. The cinnamon, the crisp, the sweet, the sour all wrapped up in sticky childhood memories.

    That’s just a few. On any given day, the theme may change but many of my food loves go back to childhood memories.

    1. Mmmm..shrimp and crab are good too….I’ve never had butter sauce but I’ve seen it on enough food channel shows to think there has to be something awfully good about it.

      I dunno about the candy apples. I think I like to have my apples as apples and my toffee as toffee – no need to mix them up 🙂

  2. I can never look at Godiva the same way. My aunt worked at one of their manufacturing plants here in the states. They have bags (no, really BAGS!) of it in their freezer. $10 for 5 pounds of rejects. I get a bag every winter and it lasts me forever.

    1. Wow…5 pounds of rejects of rejects for $10…Looking at the Godiva website, the prices seem a lot more reasonable over there…

    1. Mmm…yummy 🙂 I don’t think in this backward shithole place where I live that I’ll ever get access to some though 🙂

  3. when i visited friends in the States a few years back, they presented me with a care package, in it was Godiva Biscuit Collection, 50 pieces of yummminess, the tin is still being used to hold various things, its oval and quite nice “)

    Canele look familiar to me or at least i have seen something similar but as a big one in a black and red box (i think) will look out when i shop next.

    i dont eat yoghurt and now wont look at it the same after you said..

    *by getting some ants from your garden and dumping them into warmed milk) i think i shall pass*.
    Me and ants do not mix, EVER, i have had some not so nice experiences with them, they turn my stomach.

    i love Waffles but i dont like them as a cone, the smell makes me queasy.

    Sourdough Bread, i have a loaf in my freezer, your roll looks so yummy.

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