Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday. Today, one day after Christmas, is called Boxing Day and the Winter Holiday continues in the UK. This year I created two Japanese sweets for Christmas. One of them is Poinsettia in my previous post and the other one is Christmas Wreath.
I had been having some idea of making this design for the last two years but this is the first one I tried to make into a shape. This is my Christmas Wreath.
It is the final month of the year and only one week’s left before a brand new year starts. It means the biggest event for most of the families in the UK is coming soon. It is of course Christmas! There are many things that relate to Christmas and one of them which is quite significant is a plant called Poinsettia. Poinsettia is originally for a warmer place but maybe because of its bold colour combination of vivid red and deep green it makes the most Christmassy looking decoration in your house.
This is one of my ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweets for December.
Today, the 5th of November, is Guy Fawkes Night and sometime also called Bonfire Night. It is the day that in 1605 Guy Fawkes and a group of people plotted to explode House of Parliament in England. However, they failed and got arrested and then were executed after brutally tortured. Later on people celebrated the attempt of Guy Fawkes and started making bonfires in a square and also putting up fireworks and fire crackers in the evening on Guy Fawkes Night.
So, I made Firework, Japanese sweet. I feel a little odd to post about Fireworks sweet in November. Because Fireworks season is normally summer in Japan and it seems like an out of season post. However, I made this Fireworks sweet for British people and this is one of my monthly sweets for November.
What is the most significant thing /character for Halloween? When you go shopping to a grocery shop or even your usual supermarket, you see many pumpkins piled up in a box. They are for carving into lanterns. I always think it is such a waste if they are just used as lanterns and not to be eaten. Once I was given a big orange pumpkin and I tried cook it instead of carving a scary face on the surface, but I failed, miserably. It was very watery, spongy and tasteless and how ever you cooked, it was unedible!
So my answer for the question I made at the beginning is Jack-O’-Lantern for me! It must be. You see pumpkins everywhere during this season. I made Jack-O’-Lantern Japanese sweet two years ago with Japanese sweet ‘Nerikiri’. It is a material which is very suitable to create a shape and pattern on the surface. This year I made it again, however, the material I used was ‘Mochi’. I wasn’t sure if I could make the detailed look of Jack-O’-Lantern with such a gooey and bumpy material but I tried it anyway.
For the last three years my monthly ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweets for October were all in the Halloween theme. For this year it has to be the same. I tried to think very hard this time and then decided to make … Dracula! The idea came to my mind quickly but it took a long time to come up with the design which would be easy enough to create. I finally decided to go for one design after trying so many possible models, however, as I started making it for real, the shape of some parts and the way to create them changed several times.
Dracula, Japanese Sweet
So here it is! The Star of this Halloween!!
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.
Cream Matcha Mochi
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.
In the UK it’s the Bank Holiday Weekend until today, so …
Have great week, Everyone!
During later summer there is one shrub that gets lovely bluey flowers in my garden. It is the Blue Hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Oiseau Bleu’). As I am not good at pruning the shrub lost its shape a little but after many years of neglect it still gives us beautiful flowers every summer.
There is another thing in nature that gives me huge pleasure during this season. That is the sight of the abundant crop of Blackberries in the fields. I went to pick some and by seeing its beautiful shiny crop I thought that I should use them for my sweets. The Blue Hibiscus flowers and deep reddish black colour of blackberries combined in my mind to be my next sweet design idea…
So that is how this creation was born. It is my Blue Hibiscus as the Japanese sweet for August.