I went Blackberry picking the other day. I was not sure if the fruits would still be there, but there were some. So I got Blackberries and some Watermelon in my refrigerator and I wondered what I could make with them… It has to be some kind of summery dessert which could be prepared quickly. In this heat I don’t have much patience to get a result and then I found a perfect solution!
Watermelon & Blackberry with Shiratama Mochi Balls
What I had to do was just making ‘Shiratama’ Mochi balls and some syrup. The rest of the task was combining all the ingredients together in a chilled glass bowl. Easy!
I made Yomogi Mochi for April. I don’t know why I feel like having Yomogi Mochi especially in spring but I made Yomogi Mochi and posted about it last year too. Maybe because ‘Yomogi’ is wild leaves you can find in a field and we are in the season now that lots of plants are just coming out after being under a cold weather. My Yomogi Mochi this year looks quite similar to the last years. So what is the difference?
Yomogi Mochi, 2018
The outer layer is a ‘Mochi’ type of Japanese sweet with Yomogi leaves mixed in. It has a slightly bitter leafy taste but with sweetness and a bouncy and gooey Texture. As the centre I used ‘Tsubu-An’ Sweet Azuki Beans paste without skin removed during the process. Yomogi and Tsubu-An are just a great combination and I could not think of using any other bean paste for Yomogi flavour.
Comparing to the snowy weather three weeks ago it is so much more like spring now. It is not just because the temperature is higher but because the sunlight is brighter and the air is lighter. Although the forecast says there is a possibility that this weekend might become cold again, the season always moves forward by going back and forth a little. It means we are definitely getting closer to spring!
It means we are in Early Spring now. I quite often design sweets depending on which season we are in. I pick some significant signs of the season such as colour, flower or mood of the season. So what is early spring like for me? It is the season some leaves start to come out (Green) on a tree and field, but in some area it is still covered with snow (white). It is a little too early to see a view of full Sakura cherry blossom in the most places, however, but in some warmer area some trees probably starts blossoming (Pink). The smell of early spring is a grassy green smell. So what I have to do after running my imagination is put all these images together.
Matcha Swirl Mochi
I needed to assemble all the elements of green, white and pink together. I was imagining a mountain in early spring. For autumn season I made Autumn Mountain Mochi and reached up to this swirling sweet of early spring version of the mountain.
I developed a tasty sweet last summer. I received a great compliment from the friends who had it. I was very happy with it and planned to post it here soon after but … I didn’t get round to it yet. However, I made a very similar one and maybe this one is a better version for some people. Because it’s Dairy Free this time. I re-designed the sweet as one of two Japanese sweets for February.
Coconut Choco Mochi
It is a Mochi (Rice Cake) type of Japanese sweet. The soft and gooey outer layer of Mochi is flavoured with Chocolate powder. What the outer Mochi layer wraps up is the difference between the first verision and this version. It is Coconut Cream and sweet Azuki Bean Paste with Desiccated Coconut on top.
Winter in Japan is very cold and snowy but once Spring comes all the plants in the field and mountain start to grow rapidly. As you might know already Japanese like to add some seasonal touch into food and it can be a shape or some flavour added to create a taste of the delightful season.
One of the wild Plants we traditionally add into making Mochi is ‘Yomogi’ leaves. It is a type of Mugworts (Artemisia indica var. maximowiczii) and it used to grow anywhere by the road or field. The upper side of leaves is dark green and the lower side is white-ish colour covered with tiny hair like structure. When you mix the leaves into a sweet it gives a dark green colour but what we like the most about using this plant is the very distinctive slightly bitter flavour that it gives. When it’s added to sweet and combined with sweet bean paste the bitterness of the leaves enhances the sweetness of the bean taste and creates the harmony in flavour.
I created this Yomogi Mochi as one of the sweets for having during the ‘Hanami’ Cherry Blossom viewing occasion.
There is a Japanese traditional food that is a Japanese favourite but almost all foreign people disliked it. That is ‘Mochi’ Rice cake. Many western people have said that “Mochi is not enjoyable even if it is as sweet or savoury, and however it’s grilled or cooked with sauce”… That is until now. Mochi became very popular just recently at least in London. It has been used as topping on some dessert such as Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream.
Because I knew western people didn’t like the texture I was avoiding to make any sweet with the Mochi texture in London. However, there is huge demand for Mochi nowadays. What is happening? It was so unthinkable before.
So I created this sweet with Mochi and Raspberry to make it looks like a western cake.
Raspberry Mochi Cake
How does it look?