Merry Christmas!

Christmas card

Have a Wonderful & Peaceful Christmas!!

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Poinsettia

B9330269811Z.1_20171118101738_000_G4BKBEKRJ.1-0It is the final month of the year and only one week’s left before a brand new year starts. It means the biggest event for most of the families in the UK is coming soon. It is of course Christmas! There are many things that relate to Christmas and one of them which is quite significant is a plant called Poinsettia. Poinsettia is originally for a warmer place but maybe because of its bold colour combination of vivid red and deep green it makes the most Christmassy looking decoration in your house.

Poinsettia

This is one of my ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweets for December.

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Wagashi Sweets for Christmas Market

Poster 2018This Sunday Sakura Junction will be having a stall in a small Christmas Market in North London. The special thing about this Jolly Hobbies Market is that many stall holders are Japanese or the stuff sold there will be something related to Japanese culture. Hence, it’s Japanese Christmas Market! The number of visitors is definitely increasing every year. This year’s event was notified on Time Out recently so I believe we are going to have very many people.

I have been a part of this event for 7 years now. The products I have dealt with have changed slightly but I always stick to one thing ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweets. This year I am preparing two types of food. One of them is of course my speciality Wagashi and the other type is ‘Gyoza’ Dumpling cooked on site. As I mentioned on my previous post this year’s Gyoza comes in two flavours. One is for vegetarians and the other one is Turkey meat with Christmas seasoning. I tried tasting at home and it worked very well! So I hope everybody likes it on the day.

I have only two more days to prepare but actually I haven’t decided all the Japanese sweet products selection yet. I have been providing two seasonal sweets for a Kimono shop’s Matcha Bar every month for the last three years so I would like to pick some of the sweets that had received great feedback from their paying customers. A few sweets definitely on my list are Sweet Rose, Apples, Mochi Mont Blanc and Matcha Swirl Mochi so far. Purple Sweet Potato Mochi might be chosen too. I am also going to take one brand new very seasonal sweet I just created with very Christmassy decoration.

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Japanese Christmas Market is Coming to North London

There is one annual event that I join as Sakura Junction at this time of a year. It is a Japanese Christmas Market that gets held in North London. This is the only occasion that I sell my Japanese sweets to public and I enjoy chatting and seeing the reaction from people. Last year the day we had the market London woke up in a blanket of snow which continued to fall till the evening. This caused so much difficulty for people driving or parking their car and the public bus services were also all cancelled. So it was disastrous for us that people couldn’t come to the venue even though they wanted to. This meant a very limited number of visitors.

The market is a craft fair so a lot of stall holders sell their own creations which are somethings Japanese related. They will be a great Christmas gift for your friends and families. However, it seems like that the things the visitors are after the most is food, Japanese food! We have several stalls that serve hot meals and sweets so you can have lunch first and look around to find beautiful things, and then enjoy teatime with Japanese sweet in one location.

Poster 2018

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Wagashi Workshop in London (Oct/18)

This post became a much delayed report but last month I had an opportunity to hold another ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweet Making Workshop in London. This time it was at the very posh lovely Tea speciality shop My Cup of Tea which is located near Piccadilly Circus. Maybe because it was a weekday and also in the early evening we had two male enthusiasts amongst female participants. It is great to see many people from both gender getting to know about Japanese sweets culture and being interested in even making them.

 

Wagashi Making Workshop in London October 2018

The theme of the sweets we made in the Workshop was Flowers. I planned to make three sweets that are visually pretty but not too complicated to produce for beginners. After a short introduction the workshop commenced.

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Mochi Mont Blanc

Autumn is here! It is the season that some particular delicacies appear in food markets. Such delicacies are mushrooms, persimmon, nuts and so much more. Amongst all these foods in this season the one that stands out especially for Japanese people is definitely Sweet Chestnut. We love Chestnuts very much. We use them for making all sorts of sweets and even for savoury dishes. The most loved sweet with chestnuts in Japan is undoubtedly Mont Blanc which of course is a western cake with a soft sponge as the base and topped up with a swirl of sweet delicious chestnuts cream. Every Autumn when I find sweet chestnuts at a front of green groceries I have been thinking that I would arrange this nations favourite cake into a Japanese sweet ‘Wagashi’ someday.

Mochi Mont Blanc

So this year I finally managed to make my own Japanese sweet version of Mont Blanc. Instead of sponge I used soft sweet ‘Mochi’, rice cake, as the base. For making the delicious Chestnut flavour to stand out, I selected simple plain flavoured one.

Mochi Mont Blanc3

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Firework on Guy Fawkes Night!

Today, the 5th of November, is Guy Fawkes Night and sometime also called Bonfire Night. It is the day that in 1605 Guy Fawkes and a group of people plotted to explode House of Parliament in England. However, they failed and got arrested and then were executed after brutally tortured. Later on people celebrated the attempt of Guy Fawkes and started making bonfires in a square and also putting up fireworks and fire crackers in the evening on Guy Fawkes Night.

Firework

So, I made Firework, Japanese sweet. I feel a little odd to post about Fireworks sweet in November. Because Fireworks season is normally summer in Japan and it seems like an out of season post. However, I made this Fireworks sweet for British people and this is one of my monthly sweets for November.

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It’s the Dracula 🧛‍♂️ Time!

For the last three years my monthly ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweets for October were all in the Halloween theme. For this year it has to be the same. I tried to think very hard this time and then decided to make … Dracula! The idea came to my mind quickly but it took a long time to come up with the design which would be easy enough to create. I finally decided to go for one design after trying so many possible models, however, as I started making it for real, the shape of some parts and the way to create them changed several times.

Dracula, Japanese Sweet

So here it is! The Star of this Halloween!!

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Apples🍎

When September starts, we are officially in Autumn. Autumn is described as a special season in many ways in Japan. ‘Autumn is for reading books’ ‘Autumn is for sports’ ‘Autumn is for appetite’ and ‘Autumn is for harvest’. Many fruits have been growing during summer and become ready to be picked this season. One of them and the most famous one in England are Apples.

For this month I made a Japanese sweet in a shape and flavour of Apples

Apples

The colour of real apples are quite various from dark red to green and yellow, but the most significant one must be a red one. So I made red apples with a tinge of yellow on the top.

Apple1

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