Happy Easter!

I was planning to make some sweets in the Easter theme. Yes, I tried but unfortunately I did not have enough time. You wonder why I have been so busy these days? I promise to tell you about it soon.

However, I have some photos of Japanese sweets in the Easter theme that I made in 2014. Because not many people have seen them I decided to take this opportunity and re-introduce my creation to you.

Easter Chicks & Eggs, Japanese Sweet

Easter Chicks

These are “Easter Chicks & Eggs” made of Japanese sweet, ‘Nerikiri‘ which are free from Gluten, Dairy and Egg. Yes, it’s Egg free!

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🎂 One Year Anniversary!

Happy B SJ

Today is a Special Day for Sakura Junction. It was this day, one year ago, I started this Blog. It is the one year anniversary! Hooray!

Although I wanted to write a Blog for such a long time, I could not start until last year. I wondered if there would be anybody that wanted to read my post or even if I could write something readable and carry on writing …

Now one year has passed and I appreciate that many people have stopped by my blog. I am so happy that you are very supportive to me, especially the people who take the time to leave nice comments.

Before starting the Blog there were many subjects I wanted to write about. I have written some of them but there are lots more I haven’t done yet. Maybe I am not a fast writer but hopefully I can cover all the things I want to write gradually.

Birthday Ukishima Cake with Strawberry An

So, for my Blog’s one year anniversary I made a Birthday Cake. Oh, actually it is not a normal cake. It is a Japanese sweet ‘Ukishima‘ cake and decorated with ‘Strawberry-An‘. When I was thinking what I could make for this special occasion an idea popped into my head and I had to make it. The spongy base is plain ‘Ukishima‘ and cream part is ‘Shiro-An (white bean paste)’ mixed with Strawberry topped with dried Raspberry. And of course the candle is edible made of ‘Nerikiri’ Japanese sweet. The whole thing is free from Gluten and Dairy.

Birthday Ukishima cut

It might look big, but it is quite small. You can compare the size with the fresh strawberry.

I am happy that I can celebrate the first year. I hope I can do that for the following years to come.

Birthday Ukishima

Thank you very much for reading my Blog, my lovely readers!   😀

Melting Moments with Houjicha Cream

Melting Moments with Houjich Cream

Do you know ‘Houjicha’? It is Roasted Green Tea which is Japanese Tea with a marvellous aromatic scent. I enjoy having it when I want to relax and cleanse my body. Although it is Green Tea, it looks quite brown because it’s roasted.

I normally use loose leaves for making tea but recently I’ve got this lovely powdered Houjicha. The tea leaves were very finely ground and has kept the wonderful aroma and taste. This powdered type is quite a new thing for me and even in Japan (I think). I found it is great that you can add it into whatever you want to make without brewing tea.

Houjicha

Powdered Houjicha & Houjicha loose tea

I have been trying to use this powder in several ways and in order to enjoy its aroma at the maximum in the finished products I think it is the best using it without heating. The scent is so good that I don’t want to lose any during the cooking process. I think ingredients also should be limited. You know what they say; “Simple is Best!”

Melting Moments with Houjicha Cream

Melting Moments with Houjicha Cream double

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🍶Sake Tasting Seminar

Sake seminar

In the evening of ‘Hinamatsuri‘ (Girls’ Day, the 3rd of March) I attended the Sake Tasting seminar which was organised by Japan Centre. The venue was the popular Ramen restaurant Shoryu near Piccadilly Circus in London. Although it was early evening on Thursday the Ramen shop was packed with Ramen lovers. As soon as we arrived in a private Dining Room downstairs we were welcomed with a glass of chilled sake 🍶. Lovely 💓

Seminare scene 2

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Hishi-Mochi Ukishima on Hinamatsuri

Usa hina

My little Rabbit Hina-ningyou

The 3rd of March is Girls’ Day in Japan. It is called ‘Hina Matsuri‘ or ‘Momo no Sekku‘ and we celebrate girls’ health and growth (Don’t worry we have Boys’ Day as well). This day we decorate ‘Hina Ningyou‘, the dolls of a princess and a prince or even with lots of their servants and music players on red carpeted shelved space, with Plum blossoms in a room.

My Hina Ningyou are Rabbits. I brought them when I came to England. They are very small and cute.

There is certain food we eat on the day that is all pretty and beautiful for girls of course. Main meal is definitely ‘Chirashi-zushi‘ which is Sushi rice served with colourful fish, vegetable and egg on top. We also have a clear soup with ‘Hamaguri‘ Big Clam.

One of the typical sweets for this day is ‘Hishi-mochi‘ which is Rice cake in a diamond shape in tricolours of pink, white and green). ‘Hina arare‘ (pastel coloured Rice crackers) and lots of sweets in flower shape & colours are often had as well. The girls have a drink called ‘Amazake‘ which is sweet Sake. Yes, it is a kind of Sake. Although there is alcoholic Amazake but normally we have sweet sake without alcohol, so young girls can have it on this Hinamatsuri.

I have been thinking what I should make for this day and wanted to try something new for me. And then one idea stuck in my mind so … here it is.

Hishi-Mochi Ukishima 

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Another day, another ‘Tai-yaki’

Tai-yaki SJ (2)

On the day I did not have any sweet at home, the first & only thing I thought and wanted to make for my afternoon tea was ‘Tai-yaki‘. It is a fish shaped Japanese sweet with sweet Azuki bean paste filling.

It was sunny day even in London in winter and a Robin & a few Blue Tits were flying around in the garden. I felt Spring was getting closer. I had to have something nice.

Taiyaki halved

A cup of hot Sencha Green Tea was very nice too.

If you want to try out Tai-yaki, the recipe is on my old post. Please check it. Cheers  🙂