Winter in Japan is very cold and snowy but once Spring comes all the plants in the field and mountain start to grow rapidly. As you might know already Japanese like to add some seasonal touch into food and it can be a shape or some flavour added to create a taste of the delightful season.
One of the wild Plants we traditionally add into making Mochi is ‘Yomogi’ leaves. It is a type of Mugworts (Artemisia indica var. maximowiczii) and it used to grow anywhere by the road or field. The upper side of leaves is dark green and the lower side is white-ish colour covered with tiny hair like structure. When you mix the leaves into a sweet it gives a dark green colour but what we like the most about using this plant is the very distinctive slightly bitter flavour that it gives. When it’s added to sweet and combined with sweet bean paste the bitterness of the leaves enhances the sweetness of the bean taste and creates the harmony in flavour.
I created this Yomogi Mochi as one of the sweets for having during the ‘Hanami’ Cherry Blossom viewing occasion.
I know the Easter has gone, but never mind.
I like making bread. My love in bread making started from making Hot Cross Buns several years ago. Since then I always make some Hot Cross Buns during Easter time. Although I said that I did not have enough time to make any special sweet for the Easter in my previous post I managed to make Hot Cross Buns. Without Hot Cross Buns Spring never comes to my kitchen.
In normal Hot Cross Buns I like to add several spices and orange zest. I love the smell when you toast it. However, this time I did it differently. I made “Matcha Hot Cross Buns”.
Matcha Hot Cross Buns
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.
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