Japanese Anemone

Japanese Anemone

Japanese Anemone

Apart from Grape Mochi the sweet I have created for my September Japanese sweet. I used a perennial flower called Japanese Anemone as the inspiration for this time. Japanese Anemone get lots of flowers around this time of a year which has either pink or white petals with a greenish yellow round centre. When the flower’s gone this round part stays and it looks like small a pom-pom on a stick sticking out from the plant.

Japanese Anemone

I chose Japanese Anemone as the design for this month’s sweet not just because it is a very seasonal flower in gardens right at the moment but also it has the word ‘Japanese’ in its name. What else is more suitable for this occasion than that.

Japanese Anemone2p

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Grape Mochi for September

September has just started. It means it’s the time that my sweet for this brand new month should be introduced. During the spring – summer season we get various fruits and vegetables harvested or found in a shop and I have used some as inspiration for the flavour or the image of my sweets such as mango, strawberry or Raspberry. So what kind of plant or fruit I can use for my sweet this month?

The variety of fruits are becoming less in this season. Luckily I found a very good one. Actually it was in my garden. I noticed that there were some branches stretching out from the next door. That was a grape vine and the fruit was just getting ripen. Yes, it is not my plant but some branches are coming into my side and reachable, AND nobody-else seems to care, And I think it is a sin to waste food so I took some grapes and tasted. It was a little sour and tangy comparing to the shop bought ones but not too bad to eat.

Grape

The Grapes from my garden

So, it is the Grape season now and I used this inspiration for creating my September Japanese Sweet.

Grape Mochi

This is a Mochi type sweet. I decorated the plain Mochi with Grape pattern as a reminder of what is inside.

Grape Mochi1p

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The Memory of Summer Holiday – Goldfish

When schools break up for summer holiday, it is the signal that lots of local festivals are ready to start all around in Japan. Many stalls appear in a square that sell food or goods to the people visiting. There are some stalls for offering games too and ‘Kingyo-sukui’ is the one of them. ‘Kingyo’ means Goldfish and ‘Sukui’ is a noun form of a verb to-scoop in Japanese. So what does ‘Scooping-Goldfish’ mean?

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Children enjoying ‘Kingyo-sukui’

On the Kingyo-sukui stall they bring a pond with many small Goldfish. The customers pay to get a small ladle which is made of paper and can keep scooping goldfish until the paper tears up and it is no longer possible to scoop up any fish. That is the time that game is over! At the end of the game you can take the goldfish home you scooped. I have to say I was very good at Kingyo-sukui when I was a child. I could get about 20 goldfish easily with just a one paper ladle.

So when I see Goldfish it reminds me of the Summer holiday. It is very nostalgic and that is why I chose Goldfish as the design for the sweet for August.

Goldfish

Although the fish is called Goldfish, the main colour of them is Red, bright red so the Goldfish on my sweet is also Red.

Goldfish 6

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Mango Mochi

I want to know whether we are still in the summer in London. It’s neither hot or warm any more. It is actually quite cool. It is the first day in August today but I already feel like that summer has gone. Autumn must be coming soon or we are already in Autumn. I know usually Indian summer comes around September but still it is too cold for mid summer.

In order to get rid of this cold rainy feeling I had to make something very summery sweet. In my mind ‘Summer = tropical = fruit = … Mango!’ That is why I chose Mango as the flavour for my Mochi for August.

Mango Mochi

Mango Mochi 1

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Sunflower

It is the middle of Summer in the UK. The weather is so far so good. Many sunny days and also a few rainy days. It is great for plants and nature. In the summer time one plant you cannot avoid talking about is ‘Sunflower’. The most significant things about this flamboyant flower are its huge flowerhead with array of magnificent yellow petals and big leaves. It’s called ‘Himawari’ in Japanese and it means the ‘thing moves with the sun’. It came from the plant’s nature that the flowerhead moves its direction by always trying to face toward the sun. 

Sunflower

During this summer time I wanted to make this most summer-like flower as a Japanese sweet.

Sunflower pp4p

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Purple Sweet Potato Mochi

It was the time I had to develop sweets for Wasoukan Café (Notting Hill, London) for July. It is a ‘Kimono’ shop with a café counter that the staff serves ‘Matcha’ Green Tea in a Tea Ceremony style and also two types of monthly Japanese sweets. Yes, their sweets are made by me and I have been developing two new Japanese sweets every month for them. The staff told me that they were amazed at the popularity of ‘Mochi’. So I had to decide what kind of Mochi sweet I should deliver to them for this month… I wanted a colour and the flavour which go well with the Mochi texture and considered several possibilities and then an idea came to my mind.

It is a Mochi type of sweet with Purple Sweet Potato Paste. Western people are rather sceptical about the idea of using Sweet Potato as a sweet but in Japan we love to use several root vegetables as sweet and Sweet Potato is one of the most popular ones. It has the natural sweetness and more importantly the flavour goes so well as the Japanese sweet. I saw some BBC program which introduced the reason that many people live a very long healthily life in one area of Japan was due to Purple Sweet Potato. They did not show any scientific evidence to this theory so I am not sure if it is true or not but one thing I can say is we like Purple Sweet Potatoes.

Purple Sweet Potato Mochi

So, here is my Sweet Potato Mochi. It is not just a normal Sweet Potato Mochi but it is a “Purple Sweet Potato Mochi” for this month. 😀

Purple Sweet Potato Mochi

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‘Strawberries and Cream’ Cup

Oh, it’s nice to have a little rain today. I know it is not as hot or humid as how Japan is at the moment, but it has been very hot here in London. It is also in the height of Wimbledon Season here and the British People’s minds are also heating up in cheering British male No.1 player Andy Murray and the female player Johanna Konta. Both of them just got through to the quarter-final yesterday. Hooray!

Anyway, where there is an event, there is also a famous food or drink, isn’t there? For instance if the event is RHS Flower show, it is a Pimms and if the event is Wimbledon, it is certainly ‘Strawberries and Cream’. It sounds so stylish but it is actually just some fresh strawberries serving with cream on top, but people love to have it in the court side or ‘Henman’s Hill’ whilst cheering for their favourite players.

So, as an homage to this Wimbledon season I wanted to arrange this traditional British dessert into some Japanese sweet, but how …. ?

Strawberries and Cream Cup

This is the outcome of all my thinking about ‘Strawberries and Cream’. It is made of a traditional Japanese Sweet called ‘Nerikiri’ and I shaped it into a very western looking sweet. I placed three small strawberries and some cream in a cup which is also made of Nerikiri pastry and of course you can eat the whole thing including this cup.

Strawberries & Cream1

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Teru Teru ‘Mochi’ Bōzu

It has been quite good weather for a while in London. It sometimes rains during the evening and is sunny in the daytime. This is perfect for the plants. In the meantime the rainy season continues in Japan and although it is not the typical season even Typhoon is approaching now. I have seen so many photos of beautiful Hydrangea from Japan which is in full bloom in bright pink and blue in the rain. Yes, the rain is good for plants, definitely. However, sometimes it rains just too much even for Japanese so that people, particularly children, wish it would stop and become sunny the following day …

TeruTeru editYou might not know but there is such a traditional magic to stop the rain in Japan. It is a charm and you don’t need a magic wand. You don’t need a magical powder. Instead, what you need is a simple mascot! The mascot is called ‘Teru Teru Bōzu’ and you can easily create one by yourself. I assume you are motivated to try making this Japanese traditional Please-Stop-The-Rain-Tomorrow-Mascot. I add “How to make Teru Teru Bōzu” at the end of this post so that you can make one.  🙂

Teru Teru ‘Mochi’ Bōzu

Teru Teru Bōzu is the symbol of this rainy season. Why not have it as a sweet?

Teru to edit cut

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Mochi Hydrangea

It is ‘Tsuyu’ Rainy season again, I mean in Japan. Instead, we are having a heat wave here in London right now. Actually it is the longest heat wave in June for 20 years. But back to talking about the rainy season in Japan. We get an announcement when the rainy season starts in each region, however, it is quite common that it stops raining after the declaration. This year seems to be the example of that year because I just checked today’s weather in Japan and saw ☀ for almost all the area.

Anyway, however the weather is, it is June and it is the begining of the rainy season and the symbol of the season is ‘Ajisai’ Hydrangea flower.

Mochi Hydrangea

Last year I designed a Japanese sweet Hydrandea by getting  inspiration from the flower of June. It was a ‘Nerikiri’ type of sweet. However, because ‘Mochi’ is very popular in London, I have been trying to think how I could make this flower in a Mochi type of sweet. I came up with an idea and here is the result.

Ajisai 5 Continue reading