‘Momo-no-Hana’ Mochi

I feel the sky looks brighter these days. The atmosphere is lighter and the air is warmer. I sense that the spring is coming nearer day by day. I even feel birds’ song sounds so much more cheerful. Maybe they are happy that spring is just around the corner.

Peach flowersAbout two weeks ago I posted that the 3rd of March was the Girls’ Day in Japan. The symbol of the Girls’ day is ‘Momo-no-Hana‘ Peach Flower, and this flower is also the sign for the arrival of spring. I made a Japanese sweet inspired by Peach flower for this month.

 

‘Momo-no-Hana’ (Peach Flower) Mochi

Momo no Hana Mochi 6-22

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Hina-Doll sweet for the Girl’s Day

It is the Girl’s Day ‘Hina-Matsuri’ today the 3rd of March. For a few weeks until this day in Japan we place a set of dolls called ‘Hina-Ningyo’ in a room and celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of girls.

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from Wikipedia (Hinamatsuri)

There are many different scales in Hina-Ningyo and some gorgeous one is composed of several shelves with a red cloth on top and each shelf is decorated with either some figures or ornaments. The most important part of this is the very top shelf where a male and a female figures are placed. They are the Emperor and the Empress.

There are several sweets that are traditionally only for this occasion. One of them is a diamond shaped sweet in tri-colours of pink, white and green called ‘Hishi-mochi’. Last year I created Hishi-moch with a type of Japanese sweet called ‘Ukishima’ but this year I made the Hina-dolls too.

Hina-Ningyo/Hina-Dolls the Sweet

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Mochi Kaki/Persimmon

It was until the last few years that I did not see any Kaki/Persimmon (Sharon Fruit) sold in any shop anywhere in London. But now this fruit is sold regularly with the names as Kaki, Persimmon or Sharon Fruit. The first name ‘Kaki’ is actually a Japanese word so it is obvious that the fruit is not native in the UK and imported. When I was a child I saw Kaki tree with lots of fruit hanging down during its season in every garden. If you go to the Japanese country side you can still spot bright orange colour in here and there.

I have made a Japanese sweet in this Kaki shape before. That time it was a type of sweet called ‘Nerikiri’ which is made with ‘Shiro-An’ sweet White Bean Paste but I was thinking that it would be very tasty and great texture if I make the outer layer with soft ‘Mochi’ Rice Cake and fill it with soft sweet bean paste.

Mochi Kaki/Persimmon

So this is the outcome of my tasty dream.

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‘Mochi’ Rice Cake shaped into  Kaki/ Persimmon.

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Raspberry & Chocolate Square

Valentine’s Day has arrived. I have introduced my ‘Raspberry Chocolate Heart’ for this special day in my previous post. Whilst making the Chocolate Heart I got an idea for improving the look of the sweet.

Raspberry & Chocolate Square, Wagashi

This is it! It is using exactly the same ingredients with the previous Raspberry Chocolate Heart but I made it into a little more western sweet look.

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Instead of making the shape into a heart, I placed a pink heart on top.

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Raspberry Chocolate Heart on the Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming. Surely the sweet on the Day has to be Chocolate. According to me, if it is Chocolate sweet the flavour should be Raspberry.

So I made Japanese sweet iwith Chocolate and Raspberry flavour.

Raspberry Chocolate Heart, Wagashi

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I have to remind you that this is not a normal Chocolate sweet. It is still a Japanese sweet ‘Wagashi’ with Chocolate flavour. So the ingredients of the outer part is mainly White Beans with Chocolate Powder.

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Camellia

It is usually ‘Red’ that I see as the first colour in my garden at the start of every New Year. It is the flowers of Camellia we have at the very back of the garden. Dots of the deep red are the sparkles which brighten up the garden in wet and gloomy days but the shrub hasn’t had the colour yet this year. It has many flower buds waiting to open but they are still tightly closed. Maybe it’s because of the mild winter this season. Only recently we have started having normal cold weather. Nature is sensitive to climate change so my Camellia shrub must have been a little confused.

By hoping to see my Camellia Red soon, I made some sweets in the shape of the flower.

Camellia, Nerikiri

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It is Japanese sweet called ‘Nerikiri‘. I made a Red flower with a white tinge and a white one with a red tinge.

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Purple Magic Cake

Here’s the thing, I had some Purple Sweet Potato (Ube) and Soy Milk (made by me) at home. I wanted to use them and make something tasty for tea time. I started cooking Purple Sweet Potato into purée and then I came up with the image of soft purple cream oozing out of soft sponge when you put a fork into it … That was the moment I decided to make a ‘Purple Magic Cake with Soy Milk’.

You might be wondering ‘What is a Magic Cake?’ OK, I explain. A Magic Cake is a custardy moist spongy cake made with whipped Egg and quite large quantities of liquid. When you bake it comes out in three layers with a very light spongy top layer, soft and moist middle layer and creamy custardy base layer.

I have put a recipe of a type of Magic Cake almost a year ago on this Blog. That was ‘Sake Soufflé Quiche with Figs & Pine Nuts’ which I received the Second Award in the Sake Cooking Competition with that recipe last year.

My experiment went on ….

Purple Magic Cake with Sweet Potato & Soy Milk

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Sho-Chiku-Bai  

Have you heard about ‘Sho Chiku Bai‘? You might think “Yes, it’s a ‘Sake’, isn’t it?. That is correct, but there is an origin that the company named their sake with that name. ‘Sho-Chiku-Bai‘ means ‘Pine Tree – Bamboo – Plum Blossom’ in Japanese in this order. They are the three objects Japanese think very auspicious so that we use an image of these three a lot for happy occasion such as a wedding and during New Year period.

I wanted to make some kind of sweet based on ‘Sho-Chiku-Bai’ and came up to this idea.

Sho – Chiku –  Bai

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It is made of a type of Japanese Sweet called ‘Nerikiri‘ and not marzipan which you might think it looks like.

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The main ingredients are Beans, Sugar and Rice Flour. It is very simple but through a lot of complicated process.

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