I went Blackberry picking the other day. I was not sure if the fruits would still be there, but there were some. So I got Blackberries and some Watermelon in my refrigerator and I wondered what I could make with them… It has to be some kind of summery dessert which could be prepared quickly. In this heat I don’t have much patience to get a result and then I found a perfect solution!
Watermelon & Blackberry with Shiratama Mochi Balls
What I had to do was just making ‘Shiratama’ Mochi balls and some syrup. The rest of the task was combining all the ingredients together in a chilled glass bowl. Easy!
After a few cool days the summer is back in London. ☀️☀️☀️💦 I wonder what makes people feel we are in summer. For me one of those things is Watermelons. When I see Watermelons laid down in front of groceries shops, I feel the season has arrived. Watermelons are one of the popular summer fruits in Japan and I have many childhood memories of it. Two years ago I made a Japanese sweet in Watermelon shape. It was made with the Japanese sweet ‘Nerikiri’.
This summer I made a Japanese sweet in a Watermelon shape again, however, this time I wanted to make it slight differently from the last one. I chose ‘Mochi’ as the material and that is because I see many Nerikiri Watermelons on Social Media but none in Mochi type so far. You see I like a challenge!
So my Mochi type Watermelons were born.
One of the most popular cakes in Japan is definitely Strawberry Shortcake. Shortcake seems originally from the States and the Japanese version is of course very similar to it. It normally has two or three layers of whte sponges and decorated with whipped fresh cream and fresh strawberries between layers and on top, but when you eat it you can tell the difference. You will find that the sponge of Japanese version is amazingly soft and light. I tried to create our beloved cake as a ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweet.
I named this sweet as ‘Strawberry WA-Shortcake’. the word ‘WA’ means ‘something Japanese’ so WA-Shortcake means a Shortcake in Japanese style.
In February I created a Japanese Sweet in a Rose shape for Valentine’s Day. It was a type of sweet called ‘Nerikiri’. This month I made another rose shaped sweet and this time it is Mochi Rose. ‘Mochi’ is a sticky and gooey rice cake that is getting so popular in London but actually it is not the easiest material to make into some shape. This Mochi Rose is my second attempt in a flower shape by following the Clematis I created in May. I like trying to create something new.
Unlike the pink Rose in February for Valentine’s Day, the colour of the flowers I had in my mind for summer is orange and yellow.
Tomorrow, the 7th of July, is a day called ‘Tanabata’ Day in Japan. It is not a national holiday but we have events and festivals on that day all over Japan. It is based on an old story that a young couple (stars) who fell in love with each other far too much and neglected their work made the God got very angry. The God decided to make them live separately on each side of the river (the Milky Way), however, seeing that how sad they became, he felt sorry for them and gave them permission to cross over the Milky Way once a year on the night of the 7th of July if the weather is good and the sky is clear. I posted this story in more detail two years ago so if you are interested to know please visit the post.
This is the story that happens in the sky above us, so what can we do down on the earth? We wish it’s going to be a clear sky on the day so that the couple will see each other. As the gesture that we are wishing for their happy meeting we put a bamboo outside our houses and write our wish on a piece of colourful rectangular paper called ‘Tanzaku’ and hang it on the bamboo. Around this time of last year I was working with a British retailer in London. He placed a bamboo outside his shop and asked his customers and passer-by to write their wish and hang the Tanzaku on his bamboo. Amazingly to me it was a huge hit. All people loved the idea and enjoyed the sight of it so much.
By imagining the sight of Tanabata Bamboo I created this sweet for July.
In my previous post I mentioned about the Football World Cup. Both England and Japan went through the Group matches to the knock out stage. I created British Bulldog sweet for supporting England so I have to create some other sweet for supporting Japan too.
Shiba Inu for Japan
In order to support Japan I made one of typically Japanese dogs ‘Shiba Inu’.
How does he look?
Anyway, the tournament match Japan x Belgium is on tonight. Actually it has just started right now. I hope my little Shiba Inu will help Japan win the game!
Go 🇯🇵 Japan!!
It is the time for another World Cup (Football)! I don’t normally watch or support any professional Football teams but I like watching national teams playing especially in The World Cup. When I watch The World Cup I must admit that I become quite nationalist. I mean of course I support the team Japan very much. Yesterday, both Japan and England had a match and went through the group matches to the knock out tournament. England narrowly avoided playing Japan.
Since I live in London, I support the England team too. As one of the two seasonal Japanese sweets I wanted to create a sweet in this World Cup theme. In order to show some solidarity to British people what might be the a suitable design? My mind had run though some ideas. England flag is a little too simple as a design. Could it be a Lion? Or maybe a Dragon? I had to widen the area from England to Britain and then the idea came to me of the British Bulldog?!
British Bulldog, Japanese Sweet
For the last Halloween I created a Black Cat sweet. Although I haven’t shown any other designs on my blog, I actually have been working on some other animal designs and this is a great opportunity to introduce one of my Dog shaped sweets.
It seems like when June comes (it means when summer comes to England) I always think about Strawberries & Cream. It may be because it is the month that Wimbledon Tennis Tournament is coming nearer which is famous for ‘Strawberries & Cream’. Last year I made ‘Strawberries & Cream Cup‘ as a Japanese sweet and I made another version of it for this June.
Strawberry & Cream Mochi
They might look like cupcakes but these are Mochi type ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweets. This is a Japanese Sweet that goes as close to a Western sweet as it can get. This time I received good revue from the people who tasted this sweet. They said that “it tastes exactly like Strawberries & Cream!”.
I thought it was just yesterday that I had introduced sixteen of Japanese sweets I had made in 2016. Today, the 16th of June, is another ‘Wagashi’ (Japanese Sweet) Day that people place sixteen sweets as an offering to the God and wish for good health and happiness. I am not going to explain about the custom this year so if you are interested to know about the Wagashi Day, please read my post last year.
Since the Wagashi Day in last year a lot of unfortunate sad incidents have happened in the world. I just really wish we will have a safer and happier world by the Wagashi Day next year.
These are the sixteen Japanese sweets out of all the sweets I made in year 2017.
Have a Happy 🍡 Wagashi Day!!
It’s so spring here in London all of a sudden! Once the sun starts shining above our heads everything bursts out in the fiels and the garden. One of the plants that looks almost dead during the long miserable winter time but is the first to show signs of life in my garden is the Clematis. When the temperature becomes slightly higher, tiny green buds emerge from dead looking branches and then if you don’t care for it quickly enough all the leaves get tangled up and become a mess. However, if you look it after it well you gets a beautiful reward!
There are many different types of Clematis. Some flower in spring and some in autumn. Some get small flowers and some get huge ones. The one I love the most is the type with bluey purple flowers with a slight pinkish tinge and which come out at this season. The Clematis in my garden is quite similar to this one in this photo and will start flowering soon.
I created a Japanese sweet in a Clematis shape as the monthly sweet for May.