Apple & Rhubarb Coconut Crumble Cake (Dairy Free)

What would you make when you have only one stick of rhubarb in your refrigerator? Most of the time I cook rhubarb with some apples and dried fruits and make some compote to go with vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt, but one stick of rhubarb? Surely it is too small quantity to make a dessert. Rhubarb contains lots of moisture and that is why it is suitable to use for making compote. I thought it would be great if I could use the juice from it to moisten a cake.

In my mind rhubarb is also strongly connected with crumble, so I got the image that juicy rhubarb compote on top of a well baked cake with a cluster of crumble on the top too … So basically I decided making a cake with compote and crumble, with everything combined together 🎂

Apple & Rhubarb Coconut Crumble Cake

Apple & Rhubarb Crumble Cake4

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Afternoon Tea in Canary Wharf

Last year I made a debut to a very British customs ‘Afternoon Tea’. The concept of it is similar to Cream Tea that I occasionally have, however, they are a little different. Basically Afternoon Tea is a mixture of lunch and tea time together which serves tea with some sandwiches and dessert. By knowing it is a traditional custom for upper class people, it is a little intimidating experience but it is becoming more popular among wider range of people these days.

I had another opportunity to try this high end custom (at a reasonable price) the other day. It was a farewell occasion with somebody who helped me out and is leaving the UK soon.

Afternoon Tea

To be honest it is quite difficult to choose the venue. Of course if you want to spend lots of money for the best experience there is no problem. The top quality afternoon tea costs over £100 per head. However, if you want to find a venue for a great experience but reasonably priced, you have to do a lot of research.

Afternoon Tea 13I finally booked a table in a hotel, but I was worried if it was not as good as I hoped it would be. However, once we arrived at the hotel I got a good feeling. Although the restaurant is located on the ground floor, we were led to the Executive Lounge which is on their 14th floor. There were some other people having tea already but tables were placed with some distance so our conversation was not disturbed at all.

We settled at the table and not waiting that long, our tea arrived, followed by a three tiered cake stand.

Afternoon Tea

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Yomogi Mochi

Winter in Japan is very cold and snowy but once Spring comes all the plants in the field and mountain start to grow rapidly. As you might know already Japanese like to add some seasonal touch into food and it can be a shape or some flavour added to create a taste of the delightful season.

Yomogi

Yomogi

One of the wild Plants we traditionally add into making Mochi is ‘Yomogi’ leaves. It is a type of Mugworts (Artemisia indica var. maximowiczii) and it used to grow anywhere by the road or field. The upper side of leaves is dark green and the lower side is white-ish colour covered with tiny hair like structure. When you mix the leaves into a sweet it gives a dark green colour but what we like the most about using this plant is the very distinctive slightly bitter flavour that it gives. When it’s added to sweet and combined with sweet bean paste the bitterness of the leaves enhances the sweetness of the bean taste and creates the harmony in flavour.

Yomogi Mochi

I created this Yomogi Mochi as one of the sweets for having during the ‘Hanami’ Cherry Blossom viewing occasion.

Yomogi Mochi4

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Mochi Kaki/Persimmon

It was until the last few years that I did not see any Kaki/Persimmon (Sharon Fruit) sold in any shop anywhere in London. But now this fruit is sold regularly with the names as Kaki, Persimmon or Sharon Fruit. The first name ‘Kaki’ is actually a Japanese word so it is obvious that the fruit is not native in the UK and imported. When I was a child I saw Kaki tree with lots of fruit hanging down during its season in every garden. If you go to the Japanese country side you can still spot bright orange colour in here and there.

I have made a Japanese sweet in this Kaki shape before. That time it was a type of sweet called ‘Nerikiri’ which is made with ‘Shiro-An’ sweet White Bean Paste but I was thinking that it would be very tasty and great texture if I make the outer layer with soft ‘Mochi’ Rice Cake and fill it with soft sweet bean paste.

Mochi Kaki/Persimmon

So this is the outcome of my tasty dream.

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‘Mochi’ Rice Cake shaped into  Kaki/ Persimmon.

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Raspberry & Chocolate Square

Valentine’s Day has arrived. I have introduced my ‘Raspberry Chocolate Heart’ for this special day in my previous post. Whilst making the Chocolate Heart I got an idea for improving the look of the sweet.

Raspberry & Chocolate Square, Wagashi

This is it! It is using exactly the same ingredients with the previous Raspberry Chocolate Heart but I made it into a little more western sweet look.

raspberry-chocolate-sq-top

Instead of making the shape into a heart, I placed a pink heart on top.

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Purple Magic Cake

Here’s the thing, I had some Purple Sweet Potato (Ube) and Soy Milk (made by me) at home. I wanted to use them and make something tasty for tea time. I started cooking Purple Sweet Potato into purée and then I came up with the image of soft purple cream oozing out of soft sponge when you put a fork into it … That was the moment I decided to make a ‘Purple Magic Cake with Soy Milk’.

You might be wondering ‘What is a Magic Cake?’ OK, I explain. A Magic Cake is a custardy moist spongy cake made with whipped Egg and quite large quantities of liquid. When you bake it comes out in three layers with a very light spongy top layer, soft and moist middle layer and creamy custardy base layer.

I have put a recipe of a type of Magic Cake almost a year ago on this Blog. That was ‘Sake Soufflé Quiche with Figs & Pine Nuts’ which I received the Second Award in the Sake Cooking Competition with that recipe last year.

My experiment went on ….

Purple Magic Cake with Sweet Potato & Soy Milk

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Sho-Chiku-Bai  

Have you heard about ‘Sho Chiku Bai‘? You might think “Yes, it’s a ‘Sake’, isn’t it?. That is correct, but there is an origin that the company named their sake with that name. ‘Sho-Chiku-Bai‘ means ‘Pine Tree – Bamboo – Plum Blossom’ in Japanese in this order. They are the three objects Japanese think very auspicious so that we use an image of these three a lot for happy occasion such as a wedding and during New Year period.

I wanted to make some kind of sweet based on ‘Sho-Chiku-Bai’ and came up to this idea.

Sho – Chiku –  Bai

sho-chiku-bai-two-top

It is made of a type of Japanese Sweet called ‘Nerikiri‘ and not marzipan which you might think it looks like.

sho-chiku-bai-two-front

The main ingredients are Beans, Sugar and Rice Flour. It is very simple but through a lot of complicated process.

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Petal Mochi (Hanabira Mochi)

Happy New Year to you all again!  Hope you had great Christmas and New Year’s Day. The first sweet I would like to introduce you in 2017 is this sweet called ‘Hanabira Mochi‘.

Petal Mochi (Hanabira Mochi)

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Hanabira‘ means flower petal in Japanese so I shall call this sweet Petal Mochi.

It is a sweet we traditionaly have only during New Year period. It started in the palace to celebrate a New Year by eating two layers of white and red mochi with some other food. Until the Meiji period the custom spread out to people in the country and the food got simplified onto some similar type of sweet that I made here.

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