The Memory of Summer Holiday – Goldfish

When schools break up for summer holiday, it is the signal that lots of local festivals are ready to start all around in Japan. Many stalls appear in a square that sell food or goods to the people visiting. There are some stalls for offering games too and ‘Kingyo-sukui’ is the one of them. ‘Kingyo’ means Goldfish and ‘Sukui’ is a noun form of a verb to-scoop in Japanese. So what does ‘Scooping-Goldfish’ mean?

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Children enjoying ‘Kingyo-sukui’

On the Kingyo-sukui stall they bring a pond with many small Goldfish. The customers pay to get a small ladle which is made of paper and can keep scooping goldfish until the paper tears up and it is no longer possible to scoop up any fish. That is the time that game is over! At the end of the game you can take the goldfish home you scooped. I have to say I was very good at Kingyo-sukui when I was a child. I could get about 20 goldfish easily with just a one paper ladle.

So when I see Goldfish it reminds me of the Summer holiday. It is very nostalgic and that is why I chose Goldfish as the design for the sweet for August.

Goldfish

Although the fish is called Goldfish, the main colour of them is Red, bright red so the Goldfish on my sweet is also Red.

Goldfish 6

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

You might not have guessed but I am a quite Harry Potter fan. I have to admit that I am not the young generation who grew up with the characters whilst the books were published but I have read all the stories and saw all the films. I even read the sequel story “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” which was written in the theatre script format. I generally like going to theatres and am also accustomed to reading scripts, however, in this book I occasionally had problems visualising the scenes described how it would be created on the live stage. As you can image the story was about the wizardry world so there are several scenes the characters are using magic or some un-natural event occurs. That is why I wanted to go and see it for real. For the people who would like to see the play, don’t worry I am not going to give away any spoilers here.

Harry Potter5

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Mango Mochi

I want to know whether we are still in the summer in London. It’s neither hot or warm any more. It is actually quite cool. It is the first day in August today but I already feel like that summer has gone. Autumn must be coming soon or we are already in Autumn. I know usually Indian summer comes around September but still it is too cold for mid summer.

In order to get rid of this cold rainy feeling I had to make something very summery sweet. In my mind ‘Summer = tropical = fruit = … Mango!’ That is why I chose Mango as the flavour for my Mochi for August.

Mango Mochi

Mango Mochi 1

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My Beautiful Redcurrants!

Britain is in the best season in a year now. It is also the great season for soft fruits. About two weeks ago I was given a very beautiful surprising gift. It was a huge bowl-full of magnificent Redcurrants which was from a very grand garden of a good friend of mine.

Redcurrants

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Sunflower

It is the middle of Summer in the UK. The weather is so far so good. Many sunny days and also a few rainy days. It is great for plants and nature. In the summer time one plant you cannot avoid talking about is ‘Sunflower’. The most significant things about this flamboyant flower are its huge flowerhead with array of magnificent yellow petals and big leaves. It’s called ‘Himawari’ in Japanese and it means the ‘thing moves with the sun’. It came from the plant’s nature that the flowerhead moves its direction by always trying to face toward the sun. 

Sunflower

During this summer time I wanted to make this most summer-like flower as a Japanese sweet.

Sunflower pp4p

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Purple Sweet Potato Mochi

It was the time I had to develop sweets for Wasoukan Café (Notting Hill, London) for July. It is a ‘Kimono’ shop with a café counter that the staff serves ‘Matcha’ Green Tea in a Tea Ceremony style and also two types of monthly Japanese sweets. Yes, their sweets are made by me and I have been developing two new Japanese sweets every month for them. The staff told me that they were amazed at the popularity of ‘Mochi’. So I had to decide what kind of Mochi sweet I should deliver to them for this month… I wanted a colour and the flavour which go well with the Mochi texture and considered several possibilities and then an idea came to my mind.

It is a Mochi type of sweet with Purple Sweet Potato Paste. Western people are rather sceptical about the idea of using Sweet Potato as a sweet but in Japan we love to use several root vegetables as sweet and Sweet Potato is one of the most popular ones. It has the natural sweetness and more importantly the flavour goes so well as the Japanese sweet. I saw some BBC program which introduced the reason that many people live a very long healthily life in one area of Japan was due to Purple Sweet Potato. They did not show any scientific evidence to this theory so I am not sure if it is true or not but one thing I can say is we like Purple Sweet Potatoes.

Purple Sweet Potato Mochi

So, here is my Sweet Potato Mochi. It is not just a normal Sweet Potato Mochi but it is a “Purple Sweet Potato Mochi” for this month. 😀

Purple Sweet Potato Mochi

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What a ‘Sake Experience’!

I told you that I love Sake before and I am even certified as a Sake Sommelier too. I’m a bit concerned that if I say so it might sound like I drink a lot of Sake everyday😆. On the contrary I have it only on a very special occasion. In that way I think I can appreciate the special taste more. Anyway, Sake is the Japanese Rice Wine and becoming very popular in the world. It has started being brewed outside of Japan lately and I have recently met British people who have their own ‘Sakagura’ (Sake brewery) in London. It was so unthinkable until very recent that I see Sake made in the UK with my own eyes.

Sake event 2So, this week was one of those special occasions that I had Sake. I went to one of Sakaguras in London, however, this one is not a Sake brewery. It was a Japanese restaurant which has a huge selection of Sake to serve. The occasion was for attending ‘Sake Experience’ event which was organised by Japan Centre. It was designed for Sake lovers to discover new great Sake or for people who don’t know much about Sake but want to try something new. It is also the occasion to suggest people how to match what kind of Food with different kind of Sake.

🍶’Sake Experience’🍶

Sake event 4At each table, people were greeted with a glass of Sake cocktail. It was a Sake & Gin cocktail with Pineapple Juice with a hint of Yuzu (Japanese citrus). It was very smooth and tasty. It was a great start.

Soon after the first Sake was introduced to our glasses and the event commenced. The person explaining all about that evening’s Sake was Atsuhide Kato, the CEO of Kato Kichibee Shoten Brewery in Japan. He brought the best selections from their brand “Born” series.

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