Going through my previous posts, it was 2003 when I first heard (read) about trans fat. Since then I had been looking for trans-fat free vegetable oil products, especially margarine, because that's what I wanted to have on my breakfast toast almost every day, and substitute butter with when baking. Unfortunately, unlike many Western countries, both Japanese government and food industry have been rather reluctant to look into this issue, and I had been jealous of those who can buy Smart Balance or Earth Balance anytime at nearby supermarkets.
It was early 2006 when I bought imported trans-fat free shortening online for the first time and tried it out for baking. It worked fine for biscuits but not when I substituted the butter in a cookie recipe with it. (BTW now they cannot sell this product in Japan.) As for trans-fat free margarine, the one I could find was this thing called "Burgarine" which cost JPY 600 for 250 g! Too expensive. Luckily (?) most reviews rated its taste negatively and I didn't feel the urge to get one.
But the other day, at an organic food shop here in Kochi, not too far from my place, I found a margarine that contains less than 0.5 g trans fat per 100 g of the product, tastes good, can be used as a butter substitute AND does not cost a fortune!
Actually this margarine was already out in the market a couple of years ago; it was just my ignorance that kept me from getting one until recently. But even if I had found it on those Japanese online shopping sites, the shipping fee must have kept me from ordering some anyway.
But now I can buy this locally. No shipping fee necessary. So nothing stops me anymore. :D
They say that "fermented soy milk" is used for the good taste, and palm kernel oil is used to make this margarine solid.
Yes. This tastes good. So far I have tried this on breakfast toast and with the biscuits in the top photo. I didn't take photos but I also used it as a butter substitute for baking cookies, too. It worked perfectly. And according to their website, they use carotenoid from carrots to color this margarine. (They must have read the Little House series??)
Now, the price-- It costs JPY 330 for 180 g. Yeah, still expensive, but much better than Burgarine. Oh, something like this really makes me happy!
Also, last night I worked on my laptop to try out some tips I found on Japanese websites to make Windows XP run faster. They are similar to what's written here. Now my display is in "Windows classic" style and I don't see Windows logo when the PC is starting up, but boy, it's faster! It made my life so much easier. Why didn't I do this earlier? But it's definitely better than not knowing about it at all so let's not complain.
Things are looking up, maybe?
P.S. To make the whole wheat biscuits in the photo, I used this recipe and replaced some of the a.p. flour with whole wheat flour and used butter instead of shortening.