Apparently it is National Tea Day in the UK today. Britain is officially one of the biggest tea drinking countries. People’s day starts from having a cup of tea for breakfast, morning and afternoon breaks and even after an evening meal. Any film or TV drama located in the UK will always have one or more scenes drinking tea with the famous phrase “Would you like to have a cup of tea?”.
Although more people have started having a taste for coffee, people’s love of tea will never dissappear in this country.
There are many types of tea around these days. What kind of Tea do you like? I wonder which tea should I have for this special day?
What I matched with this Rose Japanese Wagashi sweet is this herbal Tea. It is a Wild Berry herbal tea which has a wonderful rosy red colour and full of fruity fragrance.
Have a lovery Teatime ☕ on this special day!!
I made Yomogi Mochi for April. I don’t know why I feel like having Yomogi Mochi especially in spring but I made Yomogi Mochi and posted about it last year too. Maybe because ‘Yomogi’ is wild leaves you can find in a field and we are in the season now that lots of plants are just coming out after being under a cold weather. My Yomogi Mochi this year looks quite similar to the last years. So what is the difference?
Yomogi Mochi, 2018
The outer layer is a ‘Mochi’ type of Japanese sweet with Yomogi leaves mixed in. It has a slightly bitter leafy taste but with sweetness and a bouncy and gooey Texture. As the centre I used ‘Tsubu-An’ Sweet Azuki Beans paste without skin removed during the process. Yomogi and Tsubu-An are just a great combination and I could not think of using any other bean paste for Yomogi flavour.
We are in April. We had a cold winter with quite a lot of snow in the UK but even we must be finally in Spring? I keep receiving posts and photos that say ‘Sakura’ Cherry blossoms came to Japan far too early this spring. Single-petaled Cherry species always blossom earlier than multi-petaled ones and it normally starts opening at the end of March and becomes full bloom at the beginning of April. However, this year single-petaled blossom almost ended even before April came. April is the beginning of the academic year in Japan so the entry ceremonies to schools and companies are held at the beginning of April. It is normally a great sight that people posing with full Sakura blossom as the background for the photo shoot on their special day, but maybe it did not happen this year.
Because the weather was so miserable for the last week or two in London I did not go for a walk very often. I went to the nearby park to see the Sakura blossoming situation two days ago and noticed that half of the flower buds were already open. It is a warm and sunny day yesterday so most of the buds would be open by now.
Since I started making Japanese sweets I always make some sweet in the theme of Sakura Cherry Blossom in spring. I made a sweet quite literally in a Sakura flower shape last year so this year I wanted make something Sakura as an image.
During the Easter Holiday I make Hot Cross Buns almost every year. I like the spices and dried fruits inside the buns and of course plenty of clotted cream on the halved and slightly toasted buns too. However, this year I wanted to make something a little different. Something a little more Japanese … so, I decided to add a Japanese ingredient into buns.
Western people might think that Japanese are eating rice all the time but actually we love bread. In Japan we have all sorts of bread from savoury to sweet. One of the Japanese favourite sweet bread is Anpan which is a bun filled with ‘An‘ (Sweet Azuki Bean Paste) in the centre. I decided making this Japanese nation’s favourite buns for this Easter by mixing with one of the most famous Japanese flavour ‘Matcha’ Green tea.
Matcha Hot Cross Anpan
As this was for the Easter I made a cross on top and call it Matcha Hot Cross Anpan!! It went fairly well, apart from … it’s overbaked. The batteries for my timer ran out so I did not time the baking. I distructed using the computer and forgot about the baking. It turned out that the top became too dark and hard to see the cross. It also dried up a little and the Sweet Bean Paste is not as moist as it should be.
A few days ago I received a private order for my Japanese sweets. The client wanted me to deliver 15 Wagashi sweets to her. Apart from the specific request that she would like to have 4 Daffodils and the rest should be ‘Mochi’ type sweets I was given the honour to select the suitable sweets that would be favoured by western people. So the sweets I picked and packed were like this.
Spring Gift Set
After I introduced my Matcha Swirl Mochi in my previous post with a hope that the arrival of warm sunny spring is nearer we had another snow in London, but yesterday turned out to be a very sunny day. In Japan we say that it is ‘San-kan-shi-on’ (三寒四温/ 3 cold and 4 warm) which means “the weather moves onto Spring by having three cold days and four warm days”. It is describing the weather condition particularly in East Asian countries, however, I feel it is the same here in London.
The sunshine outside looked so welcoming yesterday and I could not resist stepping out into the garden. My garden has been messy during winter time and I did the first gardening of this year. I hope good weather stays so I can do some tidying up bit by bit before the real spring arrives here.
Spring is a season of new life. I created some sweets in this ‘New Life’ theme which is also the theory of Easter that comes next week. I wonder whether you can see what it is supposed to be?
Comparing to the snowy weather three weeks ago it is so much more like spring now. It is not just because the temperature is higher but because the sunlight is brighter and the air is lighter. Although the forecast says there is a possibility that this weekend might become cold again, the season always moves forward by going back and forth a little. It means we are definitely getting closer to spring!
It means we are in Early Spring now. I quite often design sweets depending on which season we are in. I pick some significant signs of the season such as colour, flower or mood of the season. So what is early spring like for me? It is the season some leaves start to come out (Green) on a tree and field, but in some area it is still covered with snow (white). It is a little too early to see a view of full Sakura cherry blossom in the most places, however, but in some warmer area some trees probably starts blossoming (Pink). The smell of early spring is a grassy green smell. So what I have to do after running my imagination is put all these images together.
Matcha Swirl Mochi
I needed to assemble all the elements of green, white and pink together. I was imagining a mountain in early spring. For autumn season I made Autumn Mountain Mochi and reached up to this swirling sweet of early spring version of the mountain.
Last week the whole of Britain was covered with snow even in London, Devon and Cornwall which is supposed to be the warmest area in UK. It was certainly very cold and as soon as I took my hands out from gloves they froze up. I thought those could be the coldest days I have experienced in England.
But now the severe weather has gone and the sunlight seems brighter. It means we are very closed to in Spring! When we talk about spring in Japan the first thing/flower we think about is Sakura cherry blossom, however, the most noticeable flower in early spring in the UK is the Daffodil. When the weather is warmer I start to feel desperate to go out for a walk. By walking in a park I see some gathering of bright yellow in a flowerbed. It is the unmistakable colour of Daffodils which makes me realize ‘Spring has finally come!’.
For the monthly sweet for March I thought there is nothing more suitable as the design than the Daffodil. The colour of this flower is very bright yellow but not too harsh on my eyes.
I developed a tasty sweet last summer. I received a great compliment from the friends who had it. I was very happy with it and planned to post it here soon after but … I didn’t get round to it yet. However, I made a very similar one and maybe this one is a better version for some people. Because it’s Dairy Free this time. I re-designed the sweet as one of two Japanese sweets for February.
Coconut Choco Mochi
It is a Mochi (Rice Cake) type of Japanese sweet. The soft and gooey outer layer of Mochi is flavoured with Chocolate powder. What the outer Mochi layer wraps up is the difference between the first verision and this version. It is Coconut Cream and sweet Azuki Bean Paste with Desiccated Coconut on top.