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.
It is Mother’s Day in Japan (and the U.S).
Have a Happy Mother’s Day!!
This Sunday, the 13th of May, is Mother’s Day in Japan and the U.S. In the U.K it was the 11th of March this year and will be the 31st of March next year. Although it is not the fixed day in Britain, Mother’s Day in Japan is always the second Sunday of May of each year. So it will be this Sunday for the year 2018.
I guess what we do on the day is universally quite the same. We appreciate our mothers for her hard work, care and love to us. We send a card and a gift to show our appreciation. The gift can be quite often flowers. I heard that this custom originally started in the U.S as the memorial day of a woman who was a peace activist and cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War. On her funeral her daughter gave a white carnation to all the attendants of the ceremony. So the carnations became the symbol and the flower to give on this special day for mothers.
For cereblation the Mother’s Day in Japan I created a Japanese sweet in a red Carnation design.
The 5th of May is a National Holiday in Japan that is called the ‘Kodomo-no-Hi’, the Children’s Day. We celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of children, particularly boys (because there is the Girl’s Day on the 3rd of March). There are several things we do traditionally for that day. As the National Holiday in Japan we of course have special food related to this day. One of them is ‘Chimaki’ which is a steamed Mochi sweet wrapped in bamboo leaves and the other one is ‘Kashiwa Mochi’ that is also a Mochi sweet wrapped in an oak (Kashiwa) leaves.
There are also things we do for the day but not food related. We decorate our houses with a model of ‘Kabuto’ Samurai helmet by hoping the boy becomes big and strong. Last year I created a Kabuto sweet by being inspired by its shape. And the most significant thing we do traditionally for this Children’s day is placing a huge Koi Carp shaped banner called ‘Koinobori’ outside of the house. It is made of light cloth and when wind comes in from the carp’s moth and goes through its body, it flows up in the air and looks like it’s swimming above the roof.
‘Koinobori’ Koi Carp
I have actually made this Koinobori sweet two years ago. It went quite successfully so I made it again this year.
However, there is a small difference between this year’s Koinobiri and my previous creation.
For us Japanese Spring time is all about ‘Sakura’ Cherry Blossom. You might think all the Cherry blossoms are the same, however, there are many different types. The species with single petal flower start blossoming first and then other types with multi petals follow to open flowers. So that, although the best viewing time is quite short for each tree, we can enjoy viewing Sakura Cherry blossom for quite a long time betwee mid – late March and throughout April in Japan.
These days it is getting quite well known that Japanese have a picnic party eating and drinking under a full blooming Cherry tree. It is called ‘O’Hanami’. It literally means ‘the viewing of Sakura blossoms’ and it tells how much we love seeing Sakura. I tried to think a perfect Japanese sweets for this O’Hanami occasion which is something delicious in the Cherry blossom theme and also easy to pick and eat outdoors.
The sweet I created for the O’Hamani occasion is ‘Ukishima’. It looks quite like a western cake but is actually a very Japanese sweet with a soft, light texture. When I tasted this sweet the first time, I fell in love with it! The best thing about it is it’s so moist.
Although it’s a rainy weekend in London,
Have a wonderful time! 💕
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.