Today the third of March is Hanamatsuri – Girls’ Day in Japan (Don’t worry, there is Boys’ day too). I have mentioned about this day in the past so if you are interested please read the articles in 2017 and 2018.
There are several traditional food/sweets we eat on this special day and Hishimochi is one of them. It is a diamond shaped sweet made with three coloured Mochi (in pink, white and green) place on top each other. In 2017 I made this Hishimochi sweet with steamed Japanese sweet instead using Mochi.
This year I made this Hina Mochi instead that is a Mochi type sweet I got inspired by Hishimochi. It is a round Mochi in the traditional Hishimochi tri-colours.
💕Happy Valentine’s Day!💕
What is significant for this day where your are? Valentine’s Day is the western idea to show how much you love your wife, husband, girlfriend and boyfriend. This was not a custom in Japan until the 1970’s when one chocolate company advertised that “it is the day a girl can tell her love to a boy by sending chocolates as the gift”. Since then the chocolate industry has been go crazy before Valentine’s day every year.
Chocolate Heart Mochi with Red Currant Jam
I made this Chocolate flavoured Mochi for Valentine’s Day this year.
It is a heart-shaped Japanese sweet with chocolate flavoured Mochi outer layer and sweet white bean paste and homemade red currant jam inside. For this special occasion it has the golden love potion powder sprinkled on top.
The Great thing is that you can taste this sweet at the Matcha Bar at the Havan Store (262 Kensington High Street, London). They will serve this sweet during February.
It’s Vegan and Gluten free.
Maybe love is like a Chocolate Mochi! 💕Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!💕
I created something I have never made before. I received an order for a Birthday Cake by one very enthusiastic customer of my sweets when they were served at the Kimono shop in Notting Hill, London. There were two options for a Japanese sweet cake. One of them is a traditional Japanese sweet in a cake shape and the other one was a cake with a traditional but sponge-like Japanese sweet as a base with some Japanese decorations. Japanese sweets I often make are mainly made with beans, sugar and rice flour so that they are vegan. I could happily make the traditionally Japanese vegan sweet into a bigger cake shape, however, I have been thinking to try making a very western looking cake but actually a Japanese sweet.
Japanese Birthday Cake
I suggested the latter option to the client and she agreed with it, so here is the Japanese Birthday Cake I made for her.
When did ‘Yuzu’ became a household name? Maybe it is not that well known yet but if you are an official foodie, you must have heard the name at least once. For me the first time I heard the name Yuzu coming out from an English person’s mouth was on TV programme ‘the Great British Bake Off’ a few years ago. One of the contestants was using its juice as the key ingredinent for his special cake. So what is Yuzu?
Yuzu is a small citrus fruit we cultivate in Japan. It has a quite tough skin and a sharp taste so it is not for eating fresh as a dessert fruit, but it has a marvellous aroma so we add the juice or skin into some dishes and a dipping sauce for enhance the flavour.
When I saw the baking programme I thought ‘where did he get that Yuzu from?’ I believe almost nobody knew about the fruit in England at that time and it was impossible to find Yuzu anywhere in London. How funny the time passes and the situation changes. Now, just a few years later, the bottled juice is available in major supermarkets and if you are lucky, even fresh ones can be found in some Japanese Food shops.
In a cold evening it is wonderful to have a Hot Pot with a hint of Yuzu flavour. So Yuzu is a flavour of Winter.
I made a Mochi sweet that has a scent and flavour of Yuzu.
🎍 Happy New Year! 🎍
Another New Year has arrived.
Thank you all for visiting this Blog and supporting me.
I wish you all have a very Happy 2018!!
My second sweet for November is also in the Autumn Colour theme. The shape is the leaf of ‘Ginkgo’ which becomes the most brilliant yellow colour during this season. Ginkgo is one of the most ancient plants which has not evolved for millions of years. The Ginkgo tree is originated in East Asia and I think there wasn’t many in the UK before. However, I noticed lately more Ginkgo trees along many avenues in newly developed area.
I have a beautiful childhood memory with Ginkgo leaves. I think it was in somewhere in Kyoto. I was about 3 or 4 years old and running around in a Shinto Shrine ground which was covered with magnificently yellow Ginkgo Leaves fallen from the numerous trees. It was like a massive carpet spread out as far as I could see.
So, I chose the image of my childhood memory for making the November sweet.
We are in the middle of Autumn – Winter transition now. It is getting very cold lately but this chilling weather is the key to the magnificent sights of nature during this season. When the temperature drops the colour of leaves change from green to yellow or it goes even further to orange and then red. It is due to the chemical reaction in leaves. This is called Autumn Colour and can be seen on the leaves of deciduous plants.
‘Autumn Mountain’ Mochi
So, as one of the sweets for November I wanted to create a sweet in Autumn Colour. I want you to imagine all the mountain changing the colour from its deep green to various colour of yellow, orange and red but in a very tiny scale.
Do you know what these are?
One of my Mochi Ghost received an invitation to the Halloween Fancy-dress Party. He wanted to disguise himself so he put a blond wig on and then he became …
Mochi Ghost ‘Trump’
He thinks he looks alike somebody you know? Can you tell who it could be?
I needed to make two Japanese sweets for October. It is quite normal that a typical Japanese sweet maker gets an idea for designing their sweet from some seasonal flower/plant/fruit or event occurring during the month. So what is the most significant thing I could use for designing this month’s sweet?
As a ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweet designer who lives abroad a big event in October is Halloween. I had already decided one of the two sweets would be a Mochi Ghost, but I wanted to make another one in the Halloween theme too. When I was searching images of this theme it became obvious that the second sweet has to be a Halloween cat. It is not an any cat, it has to be a Black Cat.
Halloween Black Cat 🐈
So, these are my Black Cat sweets for this Halloween.