Have a lovely weekend!🍎🍏🍎🍏🍎🍏
Have a lovely weekend!🍎🍏🍎🍏🍎🍏
Autumn is here! It is the season that some particular delicacies appear in food markets. Such delicacies are mushrooms, persimmon, nuts and so much more. Amongst all these foods in this season the one that stands out especially for Japanese people is definitely Sweet Chestnut. We love Chestnuts very much. We use them for making all sorts of sweets and even for savoury dishes. The most loved sweet with chestnuts in Japan is undoubtedly Mont Blanc which of course is a western cake with a soft sponge as the base and topped up with a swirl of sweet delicious chestnuts cream. Every Autumn when I find sweet chestnuts at a front of green groceries I have been thinking that I would arrange this nations favourite cake into a Japanese sweet ‘Wagashi’ someday.
So this year I finally managed to make my own Japanese sweet version of Mont Blanc. Instead of sponge I used soft sweet ‘Mochi’, rice cake, as the base. For making the delicious Chestnut flavour to stand out, I selected simple plain flavoured one.
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.
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.
My second sweet for November is also in the Autumn Colour theme. The shape is the leaf of ‘Ginkgo’ which becomes the most brilliant yellow colour during this season. Ginkgo is one of the most ancient plants which has not evolved for millions of years. The Ginkgo tree is originated in East Asia and I think there wasn’t many in the UK before. However, I noticed lately more Ginkgo trees along many avenues in newly developed area.
I have a beautiful childhood memory with Ginkgo leaves. I think it was in somewhere in Kyoto. I was about 3 or 4 years old and running around in a Shinto Shrine ground which was covered with magnificently yellow Ginkgo Leaves fallen from the numerous trees. It was like a massive carpet spread out as far as I could see.
So, I chose the image of my childhood memory for making the November sweet.
We are in the middle of Autumn – Winter transition now. It is getting very cold lately but this chilling weather is the key to the magnificent sights of nature during this season. When the temperature drops the colour of leaves change from green to yellow or it goes even further to orange and then red. It is due to the chemical reaction in leaves. This is called Autumn Colour and can be seen on the leaves of deciduous plants.
So, as one of the sweets for November I wanted to create a sweet in Autumn Colour. I want you to imagine all the mountain changing the colour from its deep green to various colour of yellow, orange and red but in a very tiny scale.
Do you know what these are?
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.
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.
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.
So, it is the Grape season now and I used this inspiration for creating my September Japanese Sweet.
This is a Mochi type sweet. I decorated the plain Mochi with Grape pattern as a reminder of what is inside.
Just before Halloween I received an order for a gift box of Japanese Sweets. I was told that the gift was for a family with Japanese and also some non-Japanese people so that the client wanted me to make variety of sweets that could be enjoyed by everybody. I thought a lot to decide which sweets were most suitable and seasonal for this occasion.
These are the finalists for “Autumn Sweet Box Set”.
The selected sweets for this occasion in the photo (↑) from right to left
In case you cannot get a good view of them from the top these are the side shots of them which are much closer.