Blackberries and Mirabelles

It was about a month ago that I picked the first Blackberry of the year. On the way back home from a little walk to the local Sunday market I noticed the berries were just getting ripe. It means that one year has passed since I had missed all the possibilities to pick Blackberries last summer and I did not want to miss the chance this time again. So, my Blackberry picking time started!

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I have picked Blackberries twice so far this summer. Since then the weather became very rainy in London and I haven’t had a chance to do the third one yet. Apart from eating them fresh as a dessert with some other fruits and yogurt I made Frozen Yogurt and Sourdough Bread with them and also added Blackberries to anything I bake.

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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.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

You might not have guessed but I am a quite Harry Potter fan. I have to admit that I am not the young generation who grew up with the characters whilst the books were published but I have read all the stories and saw all the films. I even read the sequel story “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” which was written in the theatre script format. I generally like going to theatres and am also accustomed to reading scripts, however, in this book I occasionally had problems visualising the scenes described how it would be created on the live stage. As you can image the story was about the wizardry world so there are several scenes the characters are using magic or some un-natural event occurs. That is why I wanted to go and see it for real. For the people who would like to see the play, don’t worry I am not going to give away any spoilers here.

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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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My Beautiful Redcurrants!

Britain is in the best season in a year now. It is also the great season for soft fruits. About two weeks ago I was given a very beautiful surprising gift. It was a huge bowl-full of magnificent Redcurrants which was from a very grand garden of a good friend of mine.

Redcurrants

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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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