New Year and Kagami-Mochi

The transition period from the end of a year to New Year in Japan is interesting. Traditionally we close a year by listening ‘Joya-no-kane’, 108 gongs of a huge bell at a Buddhism temple. In the Buddhism world it is believed that each person has 108 evil passions so each time hitting the bell it is removing our passion from us before starting the new year.

However, when we celebrate the New Year in a totally Shinto style. Of course we are all sin-less thanks to the Joya-no-kane on the previous night so it is a happy celebratory morning. When I was a child my family used to have a morning bath and changed into brand new underwear. When we sat at the table the first thing to do is haveing a little alcoholic beverage called ‘O-toso’ in a flat goblet and hope that all family would be well and healthy all through the year. We moved onto the breakfast having ‘O-sechi’ (special New Year meal prepared previously) and ‘O-zoni’ (Mochi in broth).

There are so many other customs we do only in New Year but one of them is placing ‘Kagami-Mochi’ in certain places. It is basically a set of two round mochi ( which are pounded glutinous savoury rice and not the dessert mochi sweets with ice cream inside) with a citrus fruit ‘Dai-dai’ on top. Normally it also gets decorated with some green leaves and white paper cut into Shinto style, but how you decorate it depends on the family.

Kagami Mochi

All the things I wrote above are the customs in Japan. I’ve been living in the UK for a long time and haven’t done much traditional custom in the past, however, I felt I wanted to do some for this year so I made Kagami-mochi.

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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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Raspberry Mochi

Do you know Mochi? Have you eaten any before? Mochi is one of the recent phenomena in the Japanese food industry that became very popular in the world all of a sudden as a surprise. It’s a soft gooey rice cake that was made by pounding glutinous rice. It can be either sweet or savoury and also hot or cold.

The best know Mochi in the western countries is the one with ice cream inside and the other type is with a fresh Strawberry and sweet bean paste wrapped up inside the Mochi sheet. This Strawberry ‘Daifuku’ Mochi is one of my favourites, however, it is not just strawberry that the Mochi goes so well with. You can have all sorts of juicy fresh fruit in a Mochi.

Raspberry Mochi

Here is my creation of Raspberry Mochi to show you that. I selected juicy but firm raspberries and filled them with smooth raspberry sauce. I wrapped them up carefully with a sheet of sweet and soft Mochi.

RaspberryM

This Raspberry Mochi is one of my regular products when I have a market stall that I know people love. I was planning to have a stall in a big Japanese culture market in June and it was sadly cancelled unfortunately of course because of the pandemic.

However, a great news for the people who live in London is that you can get two of my Wagashi Japanese sweets at the moment. This Raspberry Mochi is one of them and I received great feedback already from the customers. They are served at the Havan Store (262 Kensington High St, London W8 6ND). You are not allowed to walk into the shop yet but you can get a takeaway.

The Havan is located right next to Holland Park so how about getting some sweets and their gorgeous Matcha tea as a takeaway and have a lovely teatime in the park. πŸ˜‹πŸ’•

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!

Fortune Mochies

It’s Chinese New Year today!

Fortune Mochies

For cerebrationg Chinese New Year I made Fortune Mochies! It’s in a shape of fortune cookie but the outer layer is made of Mochi sweet instead with a hint of cinnamon and filled with smooth sweet Azuki (red) bean paste.

Fortune mochi

– Mochi gives you happiness! –

Hope everyone bocomes happy in year 2020!😊

Grape Mochi

This is one of the Mochi sweets I recently made. I used fresh red grapes as well as some sweet white bean paste as the centre filling. The size of the grapes was a little smaller side for using for this type of sweet but it was very juicy and tasty. In order to make biting easier the skin of the grape was removed before wrapped up in the Mochi layer.Β  So it got three thing – looks pretty, tasty and easy to eat.

Grape Mochi

This sweet is Vegan and Gluten free.

I would also like to announce to all Wagashi lovers in London. I am going to have a WAGASHI Making Workshop in the Halloween Theme soon.

October poster2

on: the 19th / October (Saturday), 11:30 – 13:30
at: The Havan (262 Kensington High Street, London W8 6ND)

This time the venue is in a wonderful shop in High Street Kensington which serves a bowl of beautifully thick and creamy Matcha tea and lovely vegan sweets.Β  They are also a kind of concept shop and have a lot of lovely things. They are offering 10% discount of any purchase on the day for all the participants. Isn’t that Great?

[The tickets] If you are interested in participation, please visit the detail page (←click here to the Link). The class is limited to a small group of people so book now not to be disappointed! Cheers!

Wagashi Making Workshop in October

Oh, Nooooo, we are in October! It’s been raining every day and cold winter is coming soon! The sky is dark and miserable. I already miss summer. However, for the Japanese sweet lover who lives in or near London there is a great experience coming to you. I am going to have a ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweet Making Experience Workshop this month. Because it will be held in October, the theme of the sweet we are going to make is Halloween. I love making Jack-O’-Lanterns and Ghosts but haven’t made them in a workshop yet. It will be a great fun making these cute & spooky sweets together.

 

Wagashi Making Workshop in London (19th/Oct)

I have been using different venues for the last few workshops and this coming workshop will be also in a new place. However, it is going back to a little closer to central London this time and also it will be held daytime on Saturday, so this will be much easier for some people who really wanted to participate but couldn’t before.

October poster2

on: the 19th / October (Saturday), 11:30 – 13:30
at: The Havan (262 Kensington High Street, London W8 6ND)

The venue Havan is a new type of cafΓ© which is located in the High Street Kensington area. It is an Ethical Lifestyle Boutique and Matcha Tea Bar. The shop owners are great Halloween lovers and I am very excited to have a Wagashi Workshop in the Halloween theme at their shop. As well as great thick and creamy Matcha tea and lovely Vegan food they have many interesting products. Come and join me in the workshop and you will probably find something interesting to take home with you from the shop.

[The tickets] for this workshop are available now from here (←click here to the Link). The class is limited to a small group of people so don’t miss out on this great opportunity! See you there then!

Cinnamon & Cream Mochi

This summer I made Mochi in several flavours and this sweet is one of them.

 

Cinnamon & Cream Mochi

I named this sweet as Cinnamon & Cream Mochi but it is probably more suitable to call it ‘Yatsuhashi’ Cream Mochi.

Cinnamon Cream Mochi

People who have visited Japan, particularly in Kyoto, might have heard the name Yatsuhashi before. It’s a famous sweet from Kyoto that Mochi flavoured with cinnamon and Kinako (roasted Soybean powder) wrapping up sweet Adzuki (Red) bean paste filling.

My Cinnamon and Cream Mochi is a Mochi sweet coated with the same mixed powder as Yatsuhashi sweet. I used Sweet Adzuki (Red) bean paste and whipped cream as the central filling. The cream inside has been softly whipped and if you have this sweet half frozen, the cream part becomes almost like Ice cream. Basically it is a fusion of Japanese and western sweets and it’s great to have as a dessert after a dinner.

It’s Gluten free.