How was your Easter? It was very nice that we had great weather for this Bank Holiday weekend. About one week before Easter time six people gathered in a Tea shop in Soho London and my Workshop in April finished successfully. It’s great the daytime is becoming longer now and when we started the Workshop at 7pm the outside is still bright.
Wagashi Making Workshop (April/19)
This time all the participants had tasted my sweets before and we had two workshop repeaters amongst them.
Look how smiley everybody in the workshop is. Of course they looked very serious when they had to concentrate on making the shape of the sweet but quite often we all went in bursting a laughter! It was such a relaxed great atmosphere. It’s great to see everyone was enjoying the time being there.
Happy Easter, Everyone! There are many Easter related food and sweets but there is one thing I make every year, which is Hot Cross Buns. I like its spicy taste and the smell filling in the kitchen while you are baking. It is just heaven! I am trying to stop using animal products these days but I love Cream or Clotted Cream on that spicy buns.
This year, however, I decided to make something similar in shape but completely different. The sweet I made was not baked→steamed, not buns→Manju. Got it? I made a Japanese steamed sweet ‘Manju’ with a cross on top.
Steamed Cross Manju
Steamed Manju is good as it is, whether it is hot as just steamed or cold with a bowl of tea or coffee. However, because I made these Manju look like Cross Buns this time I also set it out like the teatime version on Easter.
Two weeks ago I hold a ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweet Making Workshop. It was at a Tea specialty shop in Soho London and the workshop was combined with a Japanese Tea tasting session. This time we had six participants and they were composed of two friends with a daughter, a couple and a French lady. They all had been to Japan or lived there before so everyone knew what we were going to create so I could start the class very smoothly.
Wagashi Making Workshop (03/2018)
These are the Wagashi sweets I planned to make together with the participants.
Yesterday was the Pancake Day in the UK. It is the day people make pancake in order to consume the ingredients in the fridge such as eggs and milk before Easter starts. So I tried making ‘Dorayaki’ Japanese Pancake and then … in somehow I failed. The pancake part did not come out well. I was hoping that I would be able to post a photo of beautifully baked Dorayaki pancake here but now I don’t have any photo. It could be because I used one of the brand new frying pan? I will take a revenge on making great Dorayaki sometime soon, but in the meantime I am going to show you the photos of my recent ‘Taiyaki’ fish shaped Bake instead.
Taiyaki with Shiratama Mochi Balls
These are the Taiyaki I made a few days ago for my teatime.
We are in March now and going to have one of the Japanese customs tomorrow on the 3rd of March. It is Girl’s Day called ‘Hinamatsuri’ and we pray for the health and happiness of girls by decorating special Hina Dolls in our houses on the day. This day is also called ‘Momo no Sekku’ which means Peach Festival and we place peach flower in a room or eat peach fruit or peach flower shaped sweets. I have created some sweets in a shape of Hina dolls in the past but I made a simple dessert for the coming event this year.
Momo-Mochi Matcha Zenzai
I created ‘Momo’ (Peach) flower shape in a bowl and had it with Matcha tea in ‘Zenzai’ style. Zenzai is a sweet soup type dessert that we normally make with sweet Azuki (Red) bean paste during a cold season. I created this Matcha version to make it suitable for spring. It is very easy to make at home so I am going to share how to prepare this dessert.
I apologize that I have been absent for quite a while. I went back to Japan at the end of December for spending New Year’s Day with my family and also for meeting up with some friends whom I haven’t seen for many many years. I was hoping that I could make some sweets whilst I was staying in Japan but it was difficult to work in somebody else’ kitchen where you don’t have the right tools and materials you normally use. I ended up not making any sweets there. So here is my first sweet in 2019.
Raspberry & Cream in Meringue Style
Today is the 14th of February and as you can guess I created this sweet for Valentine’s Day! I have been thinking some possible designs for this occasion such as something with heart shape. But as that was a too obvious and well used idea I wanted to make something a little more subtle to express Love this year. I had one image in my mind. It was perfectly swirled soft pink meringues with a softly whipped cream sandwiched in between and I wanted to create this as Japanese sweet.
Before the year 2018 finished I received an order of my sweets from a Tea shop My Cup of Tea (Piccadilly Circus, London). I was asked to make two types of sweets for their Tea & Sweet Tasting event. I have already introduced one of the sweets that I had created for them. That is Gingko, here on my blog. It was a ‘Mochi’ type sweet with the soft and sweet Mochi outer layer wrapping up sweet white bean paste filling inside created into a shape of Ginkgo leaf in yellow autumn colour.
So I wanted make another sweet with a different type of material. I also wanted it to have a little more colourful design and then I chose a sweet in a pretty flower shape of Cosmos.
This is one of the designs I selected as ‘Nerikiri’ sweets. Nerikiri is one of the most traditional Japanese sweets that is used to serving at a tea ceremony. Because it was still Autumn time I created it into a Cosmos flower. It is actually quite a nostalgic flower for me from my childhood. It comes in a shade of white to striking dark pink colour on very soft and delicate looking leaves. Continue reading
Wish you all have Wonderful 2019!!
Have a Wonderful & Peaceful Christmas!!
There is one annual event that I join as Sakura Junction at this time of a year. It is a Japanese Christmas Market that gets held in North London. This is the only occasion that I sell my Japanese sweets to public and I enjoy chatting and seeing the reaction from people. Last year the day we had the market London woke up in a blanket of snow which continued to fall till the evening. This caused so much difficulty for people driving or parking their car and the public bus services were also all cancelled. So it was disastrous for us that people couldn’t come to the venue even though they wanted to. This meant a very limited number of visitors.
The market is a craft fair so a lot of stall holders sell their own creations which are somethings Japanese related. They will be a great Christmas gift for your friends and families. However, it seems like that the things the visitors are after the most is food, Japanese food! We have several stalls that serve hot meals and sweets so you can have lunch first and look around to find beautiful things, and then enjoy teatime with Japanese sweet in one location.