Tag

Chestnut

Autumn Food

Chestnut truffles

Chestnuts or Kuri as they are known in Japan are very popular in autumn. Japanese people like to cook them with rice and you will also find them in many desserts.

This is a quick recipe to make your own chocolate truffles. Perfect as a wagashi with a matcha tea.

You will need a pack of already cooked roasted chestnuts. Tip them out into a bowl and start to mash them.


Add two tablespoons of coconut palm sugar and start to cream the chestnuts with the sugar. This can take a little time. Add to this one heaped tablespoon of cacao powder and one tablespoon of melted coconut butter and again start to cream it altogether. Add a teaspoon of water at a time to make a dough. Do not add to much water you do not want a wet dough. Roll into balls and then roll the truffles in cacao powder.

You can also dip them in melted chocolate like my pumpkin Halloween truffles on another recipe on this website or why not add a centre of your choice it could be a nut or nut butter maybe even marzipan. You could even add chopped fruit to the dough or roll the dough in chopped nuts.
Why not experiment and give them a try. I would love to see anything you make so please tag me on Instagram and I will feature what you make.
Have fun in the kitchen.

 

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Autumn has arrived Aki Kinu

When the cicadas can be heard no more, the leaves start to turn and the temperatures cool, we know Aki Kinu ( Autumn has arrived in Japan ! ) This is known as Kigo a word or phrase that is used in Japanese poetry to associate with Japanese seasons.

In Japan people are very much in touch with the changing of the seasons. Aki 秋 is the word for autumn/fall in Japan and after the hot humid heat of the Japanese summer people look forward to the cooling breezes and clear blue skies that the new season brings.
During the heat of the summer people loose their appetites so when autumn comes people refer to it as   Shokuyoku no Aki ( Autumn the season of Appetites).
Autumn is the season of the rice harvest and there is an abundance of delicious produce to have at this time from, matsutake mushrooms, persimmons (kaki), chestnuts known as Kuri or marron when it is in a sweet or dessert and sweet potato.



Even the Starbucks gets on board with seasonal flavours and where we have a pumpkin spice latte the drink of the season at the moment maybe a sweet potato or chocolate marron flavour. Japan sometimes also refer to autumn also as Aki no Mikaku ( autumn the season of flavours ).
You may like to try making some simple rice dishes with mushrooms or chestnuts that are popular at this time.


Another thing that people anticipate with the changing seasons is Momiji, this refers to the Japanese maple tree. As well as viewing the cherry blossoms in spring people in Japan are also excited about the turning of the maple leaves from green to bright vivid red and orange, this is known as kouyou or autumn colours.

There is a word in Japanese Fuubutsushi this refers to the little things that signal a change in the seasons, the feelings, scents, images and sounds that might evoke memories or anticipation of the coming season. I think when we become more aware of this it helps us to centre ourselves and celebrate the passing of time.

As well as viewing the beautiful leaves and partaking in eating delicious food. Japan has other sayings for autumn.
Dokusho no Aki ( Fall the season of reading ) with the nights drawing in people find it easier to sit and read.

Also Koraku no Aki ( Fall the season of athletics, or activities outdoors). I guess this is why on the second Monday in October Japan have a national holiday known as sports day. This year it was brought forward to coincide with the Olympics 2020 and will be again next year in 2021.
Maybe it’s time to get out those winter blankets that you have put away over the summer, in Japan they have something called a kotatsu a table with a blanket and a heater underneath, doesn’t that sound cosy.
What ever way you choose to enjoy autumn I hope you all stay safe and well. Why not take some inspiration from my autumn recipe food section and cook up something to celebrate the season with what ever seasonal produce you can find.

 

 

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Moon viewing and celebrating autumn

As the shades of autumn are becoming even more apparent now with fields turning as golden as the evening light. It is an important time in Japan for the rice harvest. The first of October is known as world sake day “Nihonshu no Hi” and is the New Year’s Day of  Sake. It marks the first day of the sake making season as it is a time when the rice is gathered from the fields to start the production into sake.
The morning sky is laced with the fish scale cirrocumulus clouds and I can understand why the Japanese call them Uroko gumo (uroko meaning scale)

There is a bountiful harvest of foods the most popular in Japan at this time being sweet potato, chestnut, mushrooms, pumpkin and edamame. Mixing some of these with rice is one way to enjoy both at the same time, also using seasonings like soy sauce and mirin.

As the evenings darken we draw our attention to the moon. One such event in Japan is known as Tsukimi or Jugoya  which is a moon viewing festival that dates back over a thousand years.

This year it falls on October 1st to coincide with the sake new year. It is custom to drink sake at tsukimi and eat the foods of the season. Another food that is popular to eat is Dango. Round rice dumplings in the shape of the full moon. Piled into a pyramid shape they are made as offerings at this time.

People may decorate their houses with susuki ススキ (pampas grass) . Pampas grass symbolises the coming of autumn and was once used to thatch roofs and feed animals.

Near the well known Heian shrine in Kyoto tucked away is the Shinto shrine Okazaki, dedicated to childbirth and conceiving, the symbol of the shrine is a rabbit and you will find many statues and images of rabbits there.

Another symbol of Tuskimi is the rabbit, this is because unlike some people who see a face in the moon the Japanese see an image of a rabbit in the moon pounding Mochi with a huge mallet.

You can find more information on previous posts I have made  by searching Otsukimi or microseason posts 15 or why not take a look at my autumn recipe section there you will find takikomi gohan a mixed rice dish, or lots of ways to enjoy Kabocha.

With many festivities cancelled this year this is one that you can definitely enjoy either on your own or with family.
Happy moon viewing.

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha Bread & Butter Pudding

Bread and butter pudding is normally made with bread,butter,eggs and milk ( so much dairy ! ) I decided to make a vegan pudding that was so comforting and no diary needed.

First you will need about a quarter of a kabocha Japanese pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and steam in a steamer until tender. Leave to cool a little and then take off the skin. Add this to a food processor or blender. To this add some plant based milk ( around one cup ) then add a tablespoon of sweetener of choice like maple syrup and some cinnamon, pumpkin spice and nutmeg. I will let you decide how much you want to put in. Process until smooth if it’s to thick to pour add a little more milk. It should be the consistency of thinner pouring custard.

Take a loaf of uncut bread. I used a nice white sourdough and cut up some slices. Then cut each slice into two. Butter each with coconut butter or vegan spread. Butter a small ovenproof dish and add your first two slices butter side facing up. Pour on some of your pumpkin mixture and scatter with a few raisins,sultanas or cranberries. Layer like this until your dish is full and finish with topping it off with the final pumpkin mixture. I added some chestnuts to the top but pecan would be nice also. Sprinkle a little nutmeg or pumpkin spice on the top and bake in a moderate oven until the bread is crispy on the top.

Cut and serve warm with some vegan cream.

Autumn Food, Blog

Chestnut Autumn Wagashi

This is a simple wagashi for autumn made of only three ingredients,chestnuts,sugar and koshian a smooth sweet bean paste.

First either roast and shell your chestnuts or like I did you can buy them already done in packets like this.

You will need around 15 whole chestnuts,add these to a bowl and start to mash them if you have a suribachi ( mortar and pestle ) use that. I used the flat end of a rolling pin to mash my chestnuts. Add to this two tablespoons of organic unrefined cane sugar and cream the sugar into the chestnut mash. Then divide your mash into three and put in separate plastic wrap roll into a ball and flatten out. Undo your wrap and in the middle of each place a ball of your bean paste. Gather up the sides of your flattened chestnut and make sure you cover the bean paste roll up in plastic wrap again to shape. I dipped mine in some sesame seeds for extra flavour and to make them look pretty but you don’t have to do this.

Lovely served with green tea as they are very sweet.