It was ‘Hinamatsuri’ the Girl’s Day yesterday. I have mentioned about the Japanese culture of praying for the good health and happiness of girls on the 3rd of March on my previous post. We decorate our home with Hina Dolls of Emperor and Empress as well as some other figures on red carpeted shelves, that are between five to seven shelves (or even more) traditionally. I created some sweets in shapes of the dolls in the past. On this day we don’t just decorate but also eat a sweet called ‘Hishimochi’ which means diamond-shaped Mochi which I also have created it once before.
There is one sweet that people particularly in the Kyoto area eat for the Girl’s Day but I was not familiar with it until recently. The sweets are called ‘Hichigiri’. I heard that this sweet was born in the palace in the old time in probably the Heian period. People needed to make many Mochi to serve so many guests that they were too busy to roll up each Mochi piece into a ball shape. Then they just pulled small pieces and left the pulled shape as it was. If you understand ‘Kanji’ (Chinese) character you know Hichigiri (引千切) means literally ‘pull and cut into a thousand’. I could imagine that the Palace kitchen was so busy.😆
So this year I tried creating these sweets for Hinamatsuri.
Mt. Fuji shot for the first Weekend of 2019!
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.
Despite the scares happened last week, London is still a safe and great place to live and visit. One such place I went a few days ago after delivering some Japanese sweet to Wasoukan Cafe (Notting Hill, London) was one of the Royal parks.
It is Holland Park in the Kensington area of West London and it is not that I traveled to our Neighboring contry, the Netherlands. Although it is located in the middle of rich residential area, the park is wide spread and is composed of several different types of garden.
As soon as you enter from the main gate you unexpectedly face several palm trees. I think it is quite unusual as a Royal park.
Have you been to Japan? Where did you visit? I am sure one of the places you’ve been in Japan must be Kyoto. Everybody loves visiting Kyoto. It is the old Capital City of Japan with lots of temples and Shinto Shrines. You find old fashioned shops standing on narrow stone paved path. You feel like you’ve been Time slipped into 200 years ago.
There is lots of famous food in Kyoto. One sweet many people buy when they visit Kyoto is ‘Yatsuhashi (八つ橋)’. It is a Mochi type of sweet with Cinnamon flavour either soft (Nama-Yatsuhashi) or baked hard. You might think Cinnamon is very western spice but I believe we started using Cinnamon quite a long time ago. It came from China and it still has the Chinese name ‘Nikkei/Nikki‘ as well as the western name.
The famous soft type Yatsuhashi is normally cut into a square shape and folded into a triangular by wrapping sweet Bean Paste inside. The spicy scent of Cinnamon is very appetising and it goes well with Tea or Coffee as well as Green Tea.
Cinnamon Mochi Wrap （八つ橋ラップ）
I made my version of Yatsuhashi in a slightly western appearance.
The Saturday a week ago was a very happy day for me. I was unexpectedly given three gifts on the same day.