Ox Year has begun!

The year 2021 has just started but we are already in the fifth day in the New Year! Since we entered into this pandemic time has passed too fast. Now we are facing an even tougher situation particularly in the UK and our movement will be more restricted soon.

Ox Year has begun!

For celebrating the New Year I created some Japanese sweets. One of them is the red and white sweet with Japanese ‘Mizuhiki’ design that I used for my New Year card. Another one is this sweet. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2021 is the year of the Ox. I know the design on this sweet is a cow and not ox nor bull, but in Japan we include all their family.

I made this sweet with an image of a happy cow jumping up on the spring field. I wanted to create something rather comical to cheer us up by hoping this year will be a better one than 2020!

This sweet is vegan and gluten free.

Happy New Year!

Tsukimi Dango

How was the weather where you are yesterday? It was the day the full-moon should be seen last night that people in Japan celebrate and enjoy viewing the beauty of it. By hoping to see the beautiful full moon we traditionally eat round (moon-shaped) Mochi. However, the shape of the Mochi varies depending on the area.

Tsukimi Dango

I was hoping to see the beautiful full moon and made two types of Tsukimi Dango. ‘Tsuki’ means moon and ‘Mi (Miru)’ means to view in Japanese.

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Ohagi-Dango on Autumnal Equinox Day

Yesterday, the 22nd of September, was the Autumnal Equinox Day this year. One week period around that day is called ‘Higan’ in Japan and people cleanse ourselves spiritually by doing right things and cleaning ancestors’ graves.

Tri-colouered Ohagi

Tri-colouered Ohagi

On the culinary side of this tradition during the week we have sweets called ‘Ohagi’. It is a mochi type sweet with half pounded sweet rice with ‘Azuki’ sweet red bean paste. Some of them are flavoured and decorated with ‘Kinako’ toasted soyabean powder, green seaweed or black sesame seeds.

Ohagi Dango

I love Ohagi and can eat 2-3 pieces of them easily all one go! It is normally quite big and filling, and for the people who’d like to try all the flavours for a teatime it might be a little hard. So I made a version of all three types of sweets on one skewer! In this way everyone can taste all the flavours. 🍡

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Happy Wagasgi Day

The 16th of June is ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweet Day. Although the ceremony is an old tradition that started in 848, it was forgotten once for a long time and reintroduced to the modern Japanese people in 1979. As a part of the ceremony we place sixteen sweets as an offering to the God in order to pray for good health.

Instead of offering sixteen sweets I have been introducing sixteen sweets from all my creation of the previous year recently (2018, 2017 and 2016 with the more detail of the Wagashi Day).

My Sixteen Wagashi in 2019

So I introduce sixteen Wagashi from all the Japanese sweets I created in the year 2019 here.

Happy Wagashi Day for you!

’Temari’ Ball

Around the New Year’s Day period I feel like I am more Japanese than any other time of a year. It must be because New Year is traditionally such a big event for Japanese and we have three days national holiday in Japan. As my New Year card I used the photo of ‘Kagami Mochi’ sweet this year. Kagami Mochi, two pieces of round Mochi placed on top of each other and decorated with a citrus with a leaf called ‘Daidai’, seemed to be a very spiritually Japanese thing for me. My spirit has been still in traditionally Japanese mode all through January and my second sweet of the year 2020 is this ‘Temari’ Ball.

 

‘Temari’ Ball

temari_top

Handcrafted Art ‘Temari’ Balls

‘Temari’ is a Traditional Japanese handcrafted ball which is made with cloth and embroidery. The materials and pattern provide a very Japanese quality. I made a sweet which is supposed to look like a Temari. Instead of creating a pattern of embroidery I tried to produce the Japanese-ish image with the colour combination.

Temari2-3

I made two types of Temari sweet in a different colour combination, one with pink and purple and the other one with green and orange-yellow, and placed a tiny golden ball on top.

The darkest colour of each type is coloured with food. The purple with Ube, purple sweet potato, and green with ‘Match’ Green tea. Both types have a ‘Koshi-An’ Azuki Red bean paste as the centre filling so you can enjoy the taste combination of “Purple sweet potato x sweet Bean paste” and “Matcha x sweet Bean paste”, I assure you that both go so well.

This sweet is Vegan and Gluten free.

Wagashi Day 2019

Today, the 16th of June, is the Wagashi Day (please read the article about this day that I posted in 2017). It started as the day that the emperor made sixteen of ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweets as the offering to the God when the plague took place and destroyed people’s lives in the Heian period. Although the day was set as the Wagashi Day since then, the custom of the offering almost died down. However, just recently people started bringing this Memorial day back.

By following the custom of offering, I re-introduce sixteen sweets of my Wagashi I had created in the previous year here.

16 My Wagashi in 2018

Here are the sixteen sweets from all Wagashi Japanese sweets I have created in the year 2018.

With these sixteen sweets offering/photos I just hope our world is going to reshift towards a better direction. Happy Wagashi Day!

Wagashi Workshop in London (03/18)

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.

Spring 1-2

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Sakura Season Starts, So Does Sakura Sweet

Now officially it is spring in the UK. Which means Sakura season has started. Sakura is a Japanese word for Cherry tree and also Cherry Blossom. People in Japan love Cherry blossoms and go crazy when this season starts or even before when the season comes nearer. I mentioned about our tradition in Sakura season three years ago on this blog so if you are interested about the custom please read my old post.

As well as our traditional Cherry Blossom viewing ‘Hanami’ we like to eat all sorts of food which is in flavour or shape of Sakura blossom. There are many ways to produce Sakura related sweets and I will try making several different types in this season.

 

Sakura sweet in Japanese Crêpe style (with recipe)

This is a baked type Sakura sweet in crêpe style.

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