As Autumn gets gradually deepen I always feel like having strong Matcha Green Tea. It may be because it is quite a special season for many Japanese as it is the season of Autumn colour and that reminds us of a scenary in Kyoto, our old capital town that looks great in red and yellow fallen leaves.
Matcha is quite bitter tea so you have to have some sweet before sipping the tea. However, this Autumn I made sweet with Matcha powder instead of drinking Matcha Tea. I used plenty of Tea powdermixed in to a Mochi layer and I also dusted the outside of the sweet with lots of Matcha powder. My Mochi became so green and when you see the round shape covered with this beautiful green, it looks as if it is a stone covered with moss in a Japanese garden in Kyoto.
Cream Matcha Mochi
It is a sweet that has a soft Mochi layer wrapping up whipped fresh cream with Sweet Azuki Bean Paste inside. The outer Mochi layer itself is made with lots of Matcha powder but I finished it up with plenty of Matcha powder dusted around of the Mochi.
When September starts, we are officially in Autumn. Autumn is described as a special season in many ways in Japan. ‘Autumn is for reading books’ ‘Autumn is for sports’ ‘Autumn is for appetite’ and ‘Autumn is for harvest’. Many fruits have been growing during summer and become ready to be picked this season. One of them and the most famous one in England are Apples.
For this month I made a Japanese sweet in a shape and flavour of Apples
The colour of real apples are quite various from dark red to green and yellow, but the most significant one must be a red one. So I made red apples with a tinge of yellow on the top.
During later summer there is one shrub that gets lovely bluey flowers in my garden. It is the Blue Hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Oiseau Bleu’). As I am not good at pruning the shrub lost its shape a little but after many years of neglect it still gives us beautiful flowers every summer.
There is another thing in nature that gives me huge pleasure during this season. That is the sight of the abundant crop of Blackberries in the fields. I went to pick some and by seeing its beautiful shiny crop I thought that I should use them for my sweets. The Blue Hibiscus flowers and deep reddish black colour of blackberries combined in my mind to be my next sweet design idea…
So that is how this creation was born. It is my Blue Hibiscus as the Japanese sweet for August.
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.