When I come back from Japan my suitcase is always full, actually too full and overloaded which means sometimes I have to remove some stuff from it. It’s normally filled with Sencha green tea, sweets and some other Japanese food that are either difficult to find or too expensive in London. However, when I returned this time in February there were something different I brought back in my luggage.
They were my brand new tools for making Japanese sweets. Now I am back in London and started creating Japanese sweets. I could not wait to see if I could use them properly. I have seen that many professional sweets makers were producing beautiful sweets by using the same tools and could not wait to try out how I can use this.
This sweet is the very first trial I made as a practise, so it is far from the perfection. I realised that controlling the grip of the tool is the key to producing a great result and I need a lot of practice. One of the petals came off by cutting too deep, but I am quite pleased to see the outcome as this was my first attempt. I don’t know how it looks to you but I hope you can see this as the shape of Chrysanthemum or some kind of flower. I am going to carry on practising and hopefully I can show you the great result of a Chrysanthemum by this autumn.
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.
I apologize that I have been absent for quite a while. I went back to Japan at the end of December for spending New Year’s Day with my family and also for meeting up with some friends whom I haven’t seen for many many years. I was hoping that I could make some sweets whilst I was staying in Japan but it was difficult to work in somebody else’ kitchen where you don’t have the right tools and materials you normally use. I ended up not making any sweets there. So here is my first sweet in 2019.
Raspberry & Cream in Meringue Style
Today is the 14th of February and as you can guess I created this sweet for Valentine’s Day! I have been thinking some possible designs for this occasion such as something with heart shape. But as that was a too obvious and well used idea I wanted to make something a little more subtle to express Love this year. I had one image in my mind. It was perfectly swirled soft pink meringues with a softly whipped cream sandwiched in between and I wanted to create this as Japanese sweet.
Wish you all have Wonderful 2019!!
Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday. Today, one day after Christmas, is called Boxing Day and the Winter Holiday continues in the UK. This year I created two Japanese sweets for Christmas. One of them is Poinsettia in my previous post and the other one is Christmas Wreath.
I had been having some idea of making this design for the last two years but this is the first one I tried to make into a shape. This is my Christmas Wreath.
Sweet Roses for brightening up London’s grey Saturday!
These Japanese sweets will be at Japanese Christmas Market in North London this Sunday. See you there!!
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.
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.
I am going to hold another Wagashi Making Experience Workshop in London. It will be in October so the sweets I am planning to show how to make are mainly in a Halloween theme as the photo below.
Wagashi Making Workshop in London
on: the 18th of October (Thursday), 19:00 – 20:30
at : My Cup of Tea (5 Denman Place, London W1D 7AH)
After a few cool days the summer is back in London. ☀️☀️☀️💦 I wonder what makes people feel we are in summer. For me one of those things is Watermelons. When I see Watermelons laid down in front of groceries shops, I feel the season has arrived. Watermelons are one of the popular summer fruits in Japan and I have many childhood memories of it. Two years ago I made a Japanese sweet in Watermelon shape. It was made with the Japanese sweet ‘Nerikiri’.
This summer I made a Japanese sweet in a Watermelon shape again, however, this time I wanted to make it slight differently from the last one. I chose ‘Mochi’ as the material and that is because I see many Nerikiri Watermelons on Social Media but none in Mochi type so far. You see I like a challenge!
So my Mochi type Watermelons were born.