When did ‘Yuzu’ became a household name? Maybe it is not that well known yet but if you are an official foodie, you must have heard the name at least once. For me the first time I heard the name Yuzu coming out from an English person’s mouth was on TV programme ‘the Great British Bake Off’ a few years ago. One of the contestants was using its juice as the key ingredinent for his special cake. So what is Yuzu?
Yuzu is a small citrus fruit we cultivate in Japan. It has a quite tough skin and a sharp taste so it is not for eating fresh as a dessert fruit, but it has a marvellous aroma so we add the juice or skin into some dishes and a dipping sauce for enhance the flavour.
When I saw the baking programme I thought ‘where did he get that Yuzu from?’ I believe almost nobody knew about the fruit in England at that time and it was impossible to find Yuzu anywhere in London. How funny the time passes and the situation changes. Now, just a few years later, the bottled juice is available in major supermarkets and if you are lucky, even fresh ones can be found in some Japanese Food shops.
In a cold evening it is wonderful to have a Hot Pot with a hint of Yuzu flavour. So Yuzu is a flavour of Winter.
I made a Mochi sweet that has a scent and flavour of Yuzu.
So I made this Matcha Soy Latte in exactly same way as my quite recent post: Iced Matcha Tea but just change Water into Soy Milk.
There are several grades in ‘Matcha‘ Green Tea sold in a shop. I normally use average grade of Matcha Tea for baking Cakes. That is because the delicate flavour of best Matcha Tea gets kind of lost during baking. However, for this Matcha Soy Latte because it is for drinking, tasting and admiring the intense Matcha flavour, I used higher grade Matcha Green Tea Powder.
I have been on a quest for searching a great way of using ‘Houjicha‘ Japanese Green Tea. When I saw a photo of Parfait dessert on a magazine I thought “This is it! It must be definitely tasty if I make this with Houjicha flavour”. I also wanted to add some colour and texture to it. As I posted earlier I have been harvesting Raspberries in my garden so I decided to use some into this dessert. With soft, melting but slightly crunchy texture, roasted Green Tea aroma and fresh sweet and sour soft fruit … I think it is perfect to combine Houjicha and Raspberries all together to make a Parfait.
Houjicha Latte Parfait with Raspberries
It is a great dessert for a dinner with friends. The best thing about this dish is that it is so simple to make. No fiddliness and no failure. I added some Raspberry and ready-made Meringue but you can use any other soft fruit or you don’t need to add anything at all. It is delicious as it is.
Rosy Sake Jelly with Raspberry Sauce
This is the sweet dish I made for the Sake Cooking competition. The theme of my dishes for the competition was ‘Sake for Eating’. This dessert was a food but I wanted to put some reminder that Sake is alcoholic ‘Drink’. That is why I wanted to use a wine glass for serving this dessert.
My thoughts behind this dish were
1. I wanted to keep all the flavour and taste of Sake in my dessert without losing any by heating Sake. That is the reason I decided to make Jelly.
2. I like flavour of Sake, however, I wanted something ‘more than just Sake’. I infused Sake with Rose Petals in order to enhance the delicate Sake flavour. The consequence of that made the Jelly has fragrant Rose smell and also slightly Rosy pink colour. I managed to infuse Sake in both flavour and colour.
3. It has been changing in recent years but Sake still has the image as it is the drink for men more than for women. I wanted to create something which suggests that Sake could be something romantic.
Rosy Sake Jelly with Raspberry Sauce
‘Sake Souffle Quiche with Fig & Pine Puts’ and ‘Rosy Sake Jelly with Raspberry Sauce’
As I announced in my previous post I received the second prize in Gekkeikan Masters Cooking Competition. I had to develop two dishes, one in savoury and one in sweet, by using ‘Sake‘ (Japanese Rice Wine) which should not be a Japanese dish. This is the photo of my dishes at the competition venue.
My savoury dish was Sake Soufflé Quiche with Fig & Pine Nuts and the dessert dish was Rosy Sake Jelly with Raspberry Sauce. I was originally developing this Soufflé Quiche for making it in one bigger tin and then cut into smaller size for 2 to 4 people.
My Sake Souffle Quiche in a bigger size
However, during the process in the competition the situation had changed and I had to adjust the recipe for using smaller tins. I had to use a small portable oven on the site so baking it in smaller tins was much quicker and also had less chance of burning the top and bottom so that it was a good move for me in the end.
Here is the recipe of my ‘Sake Soufflé Quiche with Fig & Pine Nuts‘ in a smaller size.
Sake Soufflé Quiche with Fig & Pine Nuts
Wow … what a day, what an experience.
It was three months ago, I saw this advertisement about Sake Recipe Competition.
‘Gekkeikan Masters Cooking Competition’
The notice must have been out there for a while but when I saw this poster it was just a week before the deadline. The applicant had to create two recipes, one in savoury and one in sweet by using Gekkeikan ‘Sake‘ (Japanese Rice Wine) which should not be a Japanese Dish. Developing two recipes in a week seemed rather hard but I tried anyway. Then right after New Year’s Day I received an email saying that I was shortlisted for the final! They said that six finalists were selected from over one hundred applicants. That sounded pretty impressive. 😀
However, I faced the first problem … The contestants had to cook the dishes in the final day and serve them to judges. I submitted a baked dish but there was no oven at the venue! I had to develop some other dishes which you didn’t need to use an oven. I had tried several dishes but was not happy with them. And then one week before the final day I was told that I could bring a small oven if I wanted. Great! So I decided to stick to my original idea but had to adjust the recipe a little for making it suitable for cooking in a small oven.
The final stage of the competition took place at Ichiryu Udon noodle restaurant last Sunday (the 24th January). But there was a bigger problem waiting ahead of me…
By going through the preparation for markets and recent private order I had a chance to make ‘Shiro-An’ so I can finally post ‘How to Make’ it here.
‘Shiro-An’ is one of the main ‘An/Anko‘ Sweet Bean Pastes for Japanese Sweets which is made from white beans such as Butter Beans or White Kidney Beans. I used to think that it is just one type of Anko but since I started making wider range of Japanese Sweets I now realised that ‘Shiro-An’ is definitely the most important one among of all ‘Anko’ Sweet Bean Pastes.
Shiro-An is not just a tasty filling but it is also an essential ingredient for making Japanese sweet. Because it is 1. in white colour so that you can change it into any colour you want 2. having a very smooth texture, it is very versatile and basically it acts like a great shape shifter. It can be used in all sorts of sweets in disguise. My recent hit sweet ‘Ukishima’ and also ‘Nerikiri’ are just two examples that ‘Shiro-An’ is used into a different shape. Unless you are told you don’t realise.
So How do you make ‘Shiro-An (白あん)’/ White Bean Paste? Well, professionally it is a long process but I am going to show you the easier method. Some steps are omitted here but the product you get tastes very good. What you need is just patience and lot of care.
Did you know that all the tea is made from the leaves of exactly same tea plant, Camellia sinensis? They might be grown in different countries in different climates, but yes, English Breakfast tea, Japanese Sencha tea, Chinese Oolong tea or Sri Lankan Ceylon tea … any tea is from the same leaves. The difference is just the process of how to make them from leaves into a tea. I found it very fascinating that the same tea leaves can taste so different just by how it is treated.
In Japan we have several types of tea. Unlike Chinese tea most of Japanese tea is steamed and unfermented. That is why it has kept a clean green colour and aroma with lighter flavour. Some of the famous ones are as follow.
Have you heard of ‘Kinako’? If you like Japanese sweets, Kinako is one of the ingredients you come across occasionally. It is a yellowy powder substance that is made of Soybeans. You can make it at home but I recommend to get it from a shop because it is very hard work and also it is probably much nicer, from my experience anyway.
When I was a high school student our domestic science teacher made us study about certain Japanese food ingredients. My group chose ‘Dried Shiitake Mushroom’ and some other group chose ‘Kinako’. They made home-made Kinako and we tried tasting it during the class. I remember that it tasted quite the same as the one from the shop but the texture was far too dry and we felt almost like choking. So, you don’t have to try making it by yourself. Get it from a Japanese Food shop.