Washing Grains

Last year, I replaced my VO5 Hot Oil Treatment with olive oil. Since then, I’ve been thinking about some other products I’d once used, but have long forgotten.

Back when I was in high school, I loved The Body Shop. I still do, actually.
In the early 1990s, they had a product called Japanese Washing Grains. It was a grainy powder that could be used with a little bit of soap to exfoliate your skin. If I recall correctly, the suggested regiment also involved elderflower toner and cucumber moisturizer. I’m not sure when I stopped using these products but I suspect they became too expensive when I went away to University. When I moved away from home, I had to make room in my limited budget for more important things – like beer…err, I mean, books. Ya, that’s it, books.

I wanted to revisit the Japanese Washing Grains because I remember how much I once loved them. Apparently, they were simply ground rice and adzuki beans and the effect was similar to the microdermabrasion products that have been popular in recent years.

The Body Shop does carry a product similar to my old favorite. It comes in a 4 ounce jar, and retails for $22.00, plus tax. That just seems like a lot to me for a half cup of beans and rice. After a visit to the bulk barn, I discovered a scoopful of adzuki beans can be purchased for only $1.50.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

Using an old coffee grinder, I keep around for projects like this; I ground up a few handfuls of dry beans and rice and put it in a jar.

This container holds just over 8 ounces of grains. My University degree was neither in math nor business, but it certainly doesn’t take a financial expert to figure this one out.

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Creme Brule

Crème Brule is my favorite dessert.

A few years ago, I learned how to make it at home and since then it’s become my thing. In some circles, I’m the crème brule girl. When we invite people for dinner, they expect it now and on the few occasions when I’ve gone rogue and made another dessert instead, I’ve noticed a slight tinge of disappointment in the faces of our guests.

I’ve tried a few different recipes over the years. I’ve made variations with pumpkin, coconut and white chocolate espresso, but my favorite is the classic crème. It’s simple and perfect. It’s also very easy to make with this recipe:


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a medium sized bowl, combine:

5 egg yolks*
2 cups Whipping Cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla

*When separating the eggs make sure to remove as much as the whites as humanly possible, apparently this is what leads to lumpy custard. Lumpy custard is the worst!

Whisk until creamy.

Distribute mixture evenly into 6 small ramekins.

Set ramekins in an 8×12 baking pan and fill pan with water until the water level is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for 1 hour. The custards should jiggle slightly in the centre.

Let the custards cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Add the crust before just before serving.


With a paper towel, gently remove any excess moisture from the surface of the custards. Any moisture will prevent the sugar from hardening.

Sprinkle the top of each pot of custard with a tablespoon of fine brown sugar and caramelize using a small blowtorch (available at most kitchen stores).

Serve to friends and enjoy the praise as they marvel over your culinary genius.

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