Happy Easter, Everyone! There are many Easter related food and sweets but there is one thing I make every year, which is Hot Cross Buns. I like its spicy taste and the smell filling in the kitchen while you are baking. It is just heaven! I am trying to stop using animal products these days but I love Cream or Clotted Cream on that spicy buns.
This year, however, I decided to make something similar in shape but completely different. The sweet I made was not baked→steamed, not buns→Manju. Got it? I made a Japanese steamed sweet ‘Manju’ with a cross on top.
Steamed Cross Manju
Steamed Manju is good as it is, whether it is hot as just steamed or cold with a bowl of tea or coffee. However, because I made these Manju look like Cross Buns this time I also set it out like the teatime version on Easter.
I had some organic Oranges so I wanted to use the whole of them including the skins. I decided to make my favourite Magic Cake with the Oranges. However, there was a problem. I had all the basic ingredients except for butter at home. Instead of going to the shop to buy some unsalted butter I wanted to try using Coconut Oil. Because the characteristic of Magic Cake is its custardy creamy base, I was a little anxious if the taste would come out as it should be. But I tried making it as an experiment anyway.
Orange Magic Cake
By my exeperiment the Magic Cake with Coconut Oil was just fine. It might have been better actually. It worked as a Magic Cake and tasted much lighter on my palate.
The 5th of May is a National Holiday in Japan that is called the ‘Kodomo-no-Hi’, the Children’s Day. We celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of children, particularly boys (because there is the Girl’s Day on the 3rd of March). There are several things we do traditionally for that day. As the National Holiday in Japan we of course have special food related to this day. One of them is ‘Chimaki’ which is a steamed Mochi sweet wrapped in bamboo leaves and the other one is ‘Kashiwa Mochi’ that is also a Mochi sweet wrapped in an oak (Kashiwa) leaves.
There are also things we do for the day but not food related. We decorate our houses with a model of ‘Kabuto’ Samurai helmet by hoping the boy becomes big and strong. Last year I created a Kabuto sweet by being inspired by its shape. And the most significant thing we do traditionally for this Children’s day is placing a huge Koi Carp shaped banner called ‘Koinobori’ outside of the house. It is made of light cloth and when wind comes in from the carp’s moth and goes through its body, it flows up in the air and looks like it’s swimming above the roof.
‘Koinobori’ Koi Carp
I have actually made this Koinobori sweet two years ago. It went quite successfully so I made it again this year.
However, there is a small difference between this year’s Koinobiri and my previous creation.
Apparently it is National Tea Day in the UK today. Britain is officially one of the biggest tea drinking countries. People’s day starts from having a cup of tea for breakfast, morning and afternoon breaks and even after an evening meal. Any film or TV drama located in the UK will always have one or more scenes drinking tea with the famous phrase “Would you like to have a cup of tea?”.
Although more people have started having a taste for coffee, people’s love of tea will never dissappear in this country.
There are many types of tea around these days. What kind of Tea do you like? I wonder which tea should I have for this special day?
What I matched with this Rose Japanese Wagashi sweet is this herbal Tea. It is a Wild Berry herbal tea which has a wonderful rosy red colour and full of fruity fragrance.
Have a lovery Teatime ☕ on this special day!!
During the Easter Holiday I make Hot Cross Buns almost every year. I like the spices and dried fruits inside the buns and of course plenty of clotted cream on the halved and slightly toasted buns too. However, this year I wanted to make something a little different. Something a little more Japanese … so, I decided to add a Japanese ingredient into buns.
Western people might think that Japanese are eating rice all the time but actually we love bread. In Japan we have all sorts of bread from savoury to sweet. One of the Japanese favourite sweet bread is Anpan which is a bun filled with ‘An‘ (Sweet Azuki Bean Paste) in the centre. I decided making this Japanese nation’s favourite buns for this Easter by mixing with one of the most famous Japanese flavour ‘Matcha’ Green tea.
Matcha Hot Cross Anpan
As this was for the Easter I made a cross on top and call it Matcha Hot Cross Anpan!! It went fairly well, apart from … it’s overbaked. The batteries for my timer ran out so I did not time the baking. I distructed using the computer and forgot about the baking. It turned out that the top became too dark and hard to see the cross. It also dried up a little and the Sweet Bean Paste is not as moist as it should be.
After I introduced my Matcha Swirl Mochi in my previous post with a hope that the arrival of warm sunny spring is nearer we had another snow in London, but yesterday turned out to be a very sunny day. In Japan we say that it is ‘San-kan-shi-on’ (三寒四温/ 3 cold and 4 warm) which means “the weather moves onto Spring by having three cold days and four warm days”. It is describing the weather condition particularly in East Asian countries, however, I feel it is the same here in London.
The sunshine outside looked so welcoming yesterday and I could not resist stepping out into the garden. My garden has been messy during winter time and I did the first gardening of this year. I hope good weather stays so I can do some tidying up bit by bit before the real spring arrives here.
Spring is a season of new life. I created some sweets in this ‘New Life’ theme which is also the theory of Easter that comes next week. I wonder whether you can see what it is supposed to be?
Last week the whole of Britain was covered with snow even in London, Devon and Cornwall which is supposed to be the warmest area in UK. It was certainly very cold and as soon as I took my hands out from gloves they froze up. I thought those could be the coldest days I have experienced in England.
But now the severe weather has gone and the sunlight seems brighter. It means we are very closed to in Spring! When we talk about spring in Japan the first thing/flower we think about is Sakura cherry blossom, however, the most noticeable flower in early spring in the UK is the Daffodil. When the weather is warmer I start to feel desperate to go out for a walk. By walking in a park I see some gathering of bright yellow in a flowerbed. It is the unmistakable colour of Daffodils which makes me realize ‘Spring has finally come!’.
For the monthly sweet for March I thought there is nothing more suitable as the design than the Daffodil. The colour of this flower is very bright yellow but not too harsh on my eyes.
It is Pancake Day today. To be honest I did not have any plan of making Pancake or even having any Pancake at all. But when I saw some beautiful and tasty looking Pancake photos on some people’s posts I could not resist making one.
I did not have any fresh fruits at home, however, I remembered that I had some frozen Redcurrant in my freezer. So my pancake making had begun …
Soufflé Pancake with Redcurrant Sauce
I used my recipe when I made a similar Soufflé Pancake two years ago. That time I used fresh Strawberries for making sauce. I also changed some ingredients so I am writing the new recipe with some changes below.
There are many sweets and cakes I made but have not made into my Blog page so far. The sweet I am introducing here is one of them. This is the sweet I created imagining a fallen leaf in Autumn colour, so naturally it was meant for Autumn. Although I was planning to introduce this on my Blog before, there were so many things I had to do between October and just recently so I did not manage to do so. I just want to post this before the end of this year.
‘Ochiba’ – Fallen Leaf