When it becomes hot and humid in summer, there is only thing comes to Japanese people’s mind.
Summer + Hot = …
“Kakigori” Of course!
‘Kakigori’ is Shaved Ice with some sweet syrup. We love it during a very hot and humid Japanese summer. Japan is composed of a collection of many islands that lies very long from the North to the South so that there is slight difference in weather but anywhere in Japan we cannot escape from the heat and humidity in summer time. So, what do we do? We enjoy eating the food that beats it!
That is the way how Japanese people’s mind work. ‘Kakigori‘ shaved Ice is the best remedy. Actually I have introduced ‘Kakigori with Mango‘ last year (Remember this ↑ flag?). Mango flavour is fairly modern in Japan, so this time I made the most traditional flavour for Kakigori. That is ‘Uji Kintoki‘ flavour.
Uji Kintoki Kakigori (宇治金時）
Uji-Kintoki Kakigori, Shaved Ice with Matcha Syrup & Sweet Bean Paste
There is a Japanese traditional food that is a Japanese favourite but almost all foreign people disliked it. That is ‘Mochi’ Rice cake. Many western people have said that “Mochi is not enjoyable even if it is as sweet or savoury, and however it’s grilled or cooked with sauce”… That is until now. Mochi became very popular just recently at least in London. It has been used as topping on some dessert such as Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream.
Because I knew western people didn’t like the texture I was avoiding to make any sweet with the Mochi texture in London. However, there is huge demand for Mochi nowadays. What is happening? It was so unthinkable before.
So I created this sweet with Mochi and Raspberry to make it looks like a western cake.
Raspberry Mochi Cake
How does it look?
It was great weather last sunday. Shamefully I was not planning anything particular to do in this lovely day so decided to go for a walk locally to my first visit to Highgate Cemetery. It is a famous cemetery that well-known people are buried.
I have several English friends who like to go cemeteries. They say it is calming and makes them feel peaceful. However, for me as a Japanese person a cemetery is somewhere spooky so I never be keen on visiting there. In old fashioned Japanese horror films ghosts always appear under willow trees near a cemetery. By thinking lots of bodies under the ground walking around there is also quite disterving to me. Anyway, that is why this became my first visit to this famous place. It was something new for me.
In order to reach the cemetery I went through Waterlow Park in Highgate.
The park has a wide grass area with some huge trees and some colour too.
There are several types of alcohol in Japan. Two most well-known ones are ‘Sake’ (Rice Wine) and ‘Shochu’ (Spirit made from materials such as rice, wheat or sweet potatoes). We also have some liquors and the most popular one is ‘Umeshu’ Plum Liquor. I like Umeshu. Although it is an alcoholic drink I have been familiar with it since I was a child. My mother used to make it at home with fresh ‘Ume’ plums. It is very refreshing having it on the rock, neat Umeshu with some ice cubes especially after having a bath in summer. You wait a little until the ice starts melting and dilutes the Umeshu a little then you drink it. Aaaaaah, so heavenly.
Recently I had a chance to attend an ‘Umeshu’ seminar. I loved to find out more about my favourite drink.
The seminar was held at Shoryu Ramen restaurant in Piccadilly Circus, London. It was hosted by Japan Centre and Choya, the biggest Umeshu company in Japan.
The lecturer was Mr. Suzuki from Choya who had just landed in London on the same day. It was great that he incorporated a quiz into the seminar. He explained some facts regarding the Umeshu and gave us questions.