Traditional Japanese Cakes to Celebrate the New Year of Monkey 2016

Cakes from Ginza Cozy Corner Bakery in Tokyo

The 9-cake set will be sold for 2,100 yen (US$17.45) and the 12-cake set for 2,700 ($22.45) plus tax.


Video: Shedding Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder

As the days get shorter, darker and colder, people seem to be getting gloomier.

For folks with seasonal affective disorder, the changing seasons can make them sadder than most, to the point of depression.

Why does this happen? What can someone with the condition do about it? This video has the chemistry to explain this disorder and some possible treatments.

Watch American Chemical Society video at You Tube (3:48 minutes) . . . . .

Researchers Identify Molecule with Anti-inflammatory Properties in Maple Syrup

Arthritis and other inflammatory diseases could someday be treated with medication containing a molecule from maple syrup. Université Laval researchers demonstrated in a recent study that quebecol, a molecule found in maple syrup, has interesting properties for fighting the body’s inflammatory response.

Discovered in 2011, quebecol is the result of chemical reactions during the syrup-making process that transform the naturally occurring polyphenols in maple sap. After successfully synthesizing quebecol and its derivatives, Université Laval researchers under the supervision of Normand Voyer, a chemist with the Faculty of Science and Engineering, evaluated its anti-inflammatory properties. They called on colleague Daniel Grenier of the Faculty of Dentistry, who developed an in vitro model for determining the anti-inflammatory potential of natural molecules. “We take blood cells called macrophages and put them with bacterial toxins,” explained Professor Grenier. “Macrophages usually react by triggering an inflammatory response. But if the culture medium contains an anti-inflammatory molecule, this response is blocked.”

The researchers carried out tests that showed quebecol curbs the inflammatory response of macrophages, and some derivatives are even more effective than the original molecule. “The most powerful derivative has a simpler structure and is easier to synthesize than quebecol,” said Normand Voyer. “This paves the way for a whole new class of anti-inflammatory agents, inspired by quebecol, that could compensate for the low efficacy of certain treatments while reducing the risk of side effects.”

The study, coauthored by Sébastien Cardinal, Jabrane Azelmat, Daniel Grenier, and Normand Voyer, was published in a recent issue of the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

Source: EurekAlert!

Lemon Poppy-seed Cake


1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds
4 tsp finely chopped grated lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp sour cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar
3 eggs
icing sugar


  1. In bowl, stir together flour, poppy seeds, zest, baking powder and salt until well combined; set aside.
  2. In separate bowl, stir together lemon juice and sour cream until smooth; set aside.
  3. In another bowl, using electric mixer, cream butter until light in colour. Add granulated and icing sugars; beat for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition.
  4. Adding flour and lemon juice mixtures alternately to egg mixture in two additions each, mix batter until smooth; scrape into greased 9-inch round cake pan. Bake in 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Makes 12 to 15 servings.

Source: Style at Home

Today’s Comic

Cute Food: Sweet Fish-shaped Pie

Sea Bream Pie with Almond Cream Filling and Marron Glace

The price of each pie is 3,000 Yen (about US$ 25).