Sweet Spicy Pork Loin

pork tenderloinIn Japan, pork loin is relatively cheap and often goes on sale. One of the small-sized pieces of meat are great for a 2-person dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day. I love the flavors in this recipe, which I originally saw here.

1 small pork tenderloin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp each cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp chili oil (In Japan I use ラー油, raayu.)


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Mix the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Rub the spices all over the outside of the pork tenderloin. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the pork on all sides. Then place in a small oven-save pan (use something with edges).

Mix together the brown sugar, garlic, and chili oil. Spread the mixture evenly over the top of the pork tenderloin.

Bake for 25 minutes until cooked through. Let meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


Pumpkin Spice Steamer

pumpkin spice steamerI’ve heard a lot about pumpkin spice lattes this season, and I can imagine the popularity. I don’t drink much coffee, though, so I thought about creating a similar drink without the coffee. It was surprisingly easy, and is much cheaper (and probably healthier) than buying it at a coffee shop. I imagine you could add coffee, too, if that’s your thing!

Ingredients (serves 1)
240mL (1 cup) milk (low fat or whole are both fine; I haven’t tried any other varieties)
2 tsp brown sugar
a sprinkle each of: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt (OR a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice)
1 thin slice fresh ginger (OR a sprinkle of powdered ginger)
2 tbsp pumpkin puree*
a few drops vanilla extract

*Pumpkin puree is not easily found in Japan. I have seen canned pumpkin once at an import store. It’s also available online. Leftover pumpkin puree can be stored in the freezer in a ziplock bag for months.You can use frozen puree in this recipe, since it’ll thaw in the hot milk.


Put all ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Heat over medium-low heat until steaming – do not allow the milk to simmer or boil, or a skin will develop on top.

Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls

biscuit cinnamon rolls8This recipe for cinnamon rolls uses a different dough from most cinnamon rolls. As a “biscuit”, the dough is not very sweet, and is more firm. However, when contrasted to the sweet filling, the result is a not-overly-sweet treat. Originally from here.

3 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
113g (1/2 cup) butter
50g (1/4 cup) shortening
1 egg
180mL (3/4 cup) buttermilk (in Japan: use 175mL milk + 1 tsp lemon juice and let sit 5 minutes before using)
1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
30g (2 tbsp) butter


For biscuit dough: Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in the butter and shortening with a pastry cutter or two knives. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and stir until combined.

For filling: melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir and cook until the butter turns brown. Let cool slightly. In a small bowl, mix sugars and spices.

Roll the biscuit dough into a rectangle 10 by 12 inches (25 by 30 cm). Spread or brush the browned butter onto the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over.

Roll up the biscuit dough tightly, with the seal on the bottom. Slice with a sharp knife into 1″ (2.5 cm) slices. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake at 200C / 400F for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. (If the dough is too soft to slice neatly, chill the dough in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes and try again.)