April 23rd, 2007

Food Hygiene & Awareness Part 1 – Effective hand washing



This week I’d like to spend some time writing about the importance of high standards in food hygiene. It is obviously an essential issue to me as a food maker & seller, since, if my customer were to get food poisoning/ or find foreign objects in the product, I would get prosecuted (!), let alone get a bad reputation, I’d have to quit the stall & put an end to my passion!

The reason why I decided to write about this rather difficult subject here is so that I can revisit what I have learnt (I did a short course on Food Hygiene & obtained a certificate prior to doing my stall), & also to share this information with you, as pretty much all of it is of a beneficial piece of advice that can be used in anyone’s home.
It’s an ultra lengthy subject, covering topics such as correct food storage, cleaning, etc, so I’m aiming to write up about these in bit by bit series!

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So first off, lets wash our hands before we handle our food.

Sounds like a piece of cake? Not worth covering as a subject? Well please persevere & read on, you’d be surprised to know how it is worth covering as a first subject, aswell as to fully master the art of hand washing! When I did my hygiene course, I myself was surprised about how little I knew about how to effectively & correctly wash my hands!

Some key facts to persuade you to wash correctly:

  • Hands are the main route for transferring food poisoning bacteria to your food
  • Effective & frequent hand washing prevents the spread of cold & flu
  • Even though hands may appear to be clean, they may carry germs or microorganisms that are capable of causing disease
  • It is important to know how to wash properly because as you can see from the diagram below, there are parts that are often missed:


Wash hands when:

  • entering the kitchen
  • before preparing food
  • after touching raw food such as meat, eggs
  • after touching waste or the bin
  • after cleaning
  • after blowing the nose, even if you’ve used layers of tissue to do so
  • after touching an animal
  • after changing a nappie
  • after using the telephone
  • after smoking
  • often when someone in your home is sick



  • 1. Remove rings & watches.
  • 2. Wet hands & wrists thoroughly with warm running water.
  • 3. Use soap & lather thoroughly.
  • 4. Rub hands together – Right over left, left over right.
  • 5. Palm to palm, interlace your fingers & continue scrubbing by sliding your fingers back and forth. Clean under your nails as well. Steps 4 & 5 should take atleast 20 seconds. For a visual guide to this, see my pictures below.
  • 6. Rinse the hands with clean running water thoroughly.
  • 7. Use disposable paper towel for drying (Don’t use a common hand towel – remember that germs thrive on moist surfaces). Make sure you dry your hands thoroughly too, as damp hands also spread bacteria.
  • 8. Turn off tap using the paper towel, to protect your hands from recontamination.
  • 9. If you were washing in the rest room, use a clean paper towel to open the door.

Step by step pictures of how to wash hands effectively


I found a quicktime movie of hand washing on a medical site, so click here to view their page.


On Thursdays & Fridays (my weekly baking days), I probably wash my hands atleast 50 times… Which, despite it being undeniably total neccesity for hygiene sakes, the down-side of it is it strips moisture and the natural oil from my skin, & it’s always dry n’ itchy… I feel as though my hands alone have aged dramatically since I started the stall… I use hand cream if I remember to do so – but I refuse to wear gloves to bed like my mom does – that’s like admitting that I’m turning in to real mumsy character…!

April 17th, 2007

An article about me on UK JACK!

Coco&Me article clipping from UK JACK newspaper


On Wednesday last week, a Japanese Newspaper called UK JACK (a weekly publication circulating mainly in London) had published a small article about me! Click this link to see the jpeg in full size.

Many thanks to Naoko-san, Kunichika-san, & Chie-san for making this happen.


So for this week’s blog entry, I’ve translated the article in to English:


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What prompted you to come to the UK?

I came to this country when I was 6 due to my father’s work. At first it was only meant to be for 3 years. But have now approached the 25th year!


What is your activity here?

After graduating with a Graphic Design degree from St. Martins, I worked as a Designer for 6 years. Upon becoming pregnant, I had a lot of time to spend at home, which was when I realized my passion for making desserts. This passion saw me through a hobby to now regularly selling them!


What is your motto?

“To live each & everyday to the full”. Even when I’m feeling tired, or feeling down, I try to turn thoughts in to action.

What do you love & hate about yourself?

I like the part of me which obsessingly pursues what ever it is I’m ‘in’ to. But hate the part of me that is easily flustered & is stubborn/ obstinate.


What do you love & hate about the UK?

It’s very easy going here. I like that. But I dislike that there is a big gap when it comes to the quality of state schools available, & well-to-do families with more money to spend (ie: to afford to live in a good school catchment area) get better education for their children.

What surprised you in UK?

Rice pudding.


What three words describe London?

Relaxed, bad-transport & dirty…

Which tourist destination did you like?

A small town called Padstow in Cornwall, & it’s surrounding areas. It’s quiet & peacefully still as if time had stopped.


When you want something delicious in UK…

I buy fresh & yummy ingredients at Broadway Market & cook at home!


What did you think was ‘good/ inspirational’ recently?

Louis Hamilton of F1. His eyes remind me that of my son’s. I wish for my son to be able to have a big dream, have the strength to pursue it & ‘get it’, just like Hamilton did.


Anything made you angry recently?

I don’t get angry much.

Who do you respect?

The Head Pastry Chef at the Waldorf. He gave me the astonishing opportunity to work in a five-star hotel kitchen – despite the fact I had no professional patiserrie experience what-so-ever! People like him who give chances to others selflessly is inspiring.


What do you treasure?

A little embarassing to say, but it’s the love of my family…!


What do you miss from Japan?

Every Japanese people I know says MOS BURGER is really good, so I’d LOVE to eat it one day!!


What would you like to take back to Japan?

I’d like to introduce my friends in Japan to Porridge. It’s delicious with honey…


What would you like to do next?

I’d love to turn my recipes & stories I write in my blog in to a book. I might even want to write a fictional novel… And when I have more time, develop the Coco&Me brand!


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April 8th, 2007

Happy Easter!

Coco&Me Easter Egg

(Left column: smooth, & crocodile pattern egg moulds. Middle column: the lustrously sheen egg halves prior to packaging. Right column: the final packaged product with label & more chocolate goodies inside!)


For this Easter I have managed to make 18 large eggs, & about a 100 solid chocolate bunnies. These are all two-toned – a swirl in one colour, & then another colour to complete the shape. Inside, I have put in a bag of assorted El Rey couverture chocolate buttons, & a chocolate bunny.


One day I’d like to write a (lengthy) post about how to make these eggs, as it’s actually not so difficult to make & the satisfaction level goes mile high when the eggs come out of the mould super-shiny, just like how every good quality chocolates should do. You just know that the taste of these chocolate eggs would meets your high anticipation…

But for now, I’ll just quickly explain the making process:


How to make Easter Eggs:

    • 1. temper chocolate
    • 2. make a swirly pattern in to your (half) egg moulds
    • 3. temper chocolate which is another colour from your swirl
    • 4. pour it in the mould
    • 5. pour back the chocolate from the egg in to your bowl, so that you are essentially left with a coating/ film of chocolate on the mould surface
    • 6. Wait slightly, & then pour again for another coating so that the egg shell becomes thicker
    • 7. When the preferred thickness of the egg shell is achieved, thoroughly let it solidify
    • 8. De-mould. It should come out easily if your chocolate was tempered correctly!
    • 9. Place a bag of sweets, etc in the egg
    • 10. Prepare a flat tray with tempered chocolate, & dip the edge of one side of the egg. Stick the two egg sides together
    • 11. Let it dry completely & then package!