Tag

Sakura

Blog

Matcha Sakura Cookies

Today we had the most beautiful warm spring weather, as I look out into my garden at the blooming Sakura the bees are loving it. Time is very much slowing down at the moment but the bees are very much hard at work . I just don’t want the beautiful flowers to end, but I know soon the petals will be falling as we move on into summer.
As I had some salted preserved Sakura flowers I thought I would take today as an opportunity to make my Sakura cookies.

This time I made them with matcha.

The cookie recipe is the same but I used maple syrup and x1 tablespoon of matcha in the recipe. I didn’t need to add any water and added a little more oat flour just to make the dough better. Sometimes it’s a little trial and error with dough sometimes it may need more liquid sometimes a little more dry ingredients, in cooking it’s going with the flow and adjusting things as necessary.
These cookies came out so well it was hard not to eat them all in one go. I will save some for later although as we all know from baked goods they are always best on the day.
If you don’t have Sakura flowers you can just make these without. That little touch of saltiness with the bitter matcha and sweet cookie makes for a delightful flavour reminiscent of days in Japan.
Making these Sakura cookies is a way for me to be close to Japan’s spring time when I can’t be there.

I’m going to enjoy them with a Sakura tea  which you can buy from nugoo Japan.

How about making a cookie sandwich this one has sweet red bean paste in between two cookies

Blog, Spring Food

Micro Season Part 13 雨水 Usui Rainwater

雨水 Usui ( Rainwater )

The micro seasons for this part are as follows:

February 19–23 土脉潤起 Tsuchi no shō uruoi okoru. Rain moistens the soil.

February 24–28 霞始靆 Kasumi hajimete tanabiku. Mist starts to linger.

March 1–5 草木萌動 Sōmoku mebae izuru. Grass sprouts, trees bud.

At the start of spring in Japan before the cherry blossoms bloom another tree has its moment. For people in Japan this is just as imported. When the stunning  plum blossoms arrive it begins the arrival of spring by symbolising renewal and hope. One of the best places to view over 2000 ume trees is the Kitano Tenmangu shrine in Kyoto. They have a plum blossom festival which is held on February 25th the grounds are full with plum blossom and a special outdoor tea ceremony called Baikasai is held. Maiko serve hot matcha tea with wagashi ( Japanese sweets ) they also have a flea market at the same time.
This micro season couldn’t be passed by without talking about Hina matsuri on the 3rd of March. This is also known as dolls day or girls day. On this day parents celebrate their daughters happiness and good health. Traditionally when a girl is born parents or grand parents will buy a special set of Hina dolls, sometimes they are passed down from generations. These dolls are displayed in the house from the end of February until March 3rd. The dolls are a representation of the emperor and empress .

These are my friends Hina dolls that she has displayed in her house. Instagram (@dokodemotokyo)

Sometime girls will invite friends for a party and have traditional foods.
There are lots of foods associated with this time.
Temari sushi, decorated sushi balls take their name from the Temari balls children played with. Temari means hand balls and they are beautiful embroidered balls that are now normally used for decoration. These bit sized sushi balls are easy to make just search Temari sushi for instructions.

Sakura Mochi a traditional spring wagashi for Hinamatsuri and the coming Sakura seasons. Sakura Mochi is a Mochi rice cake with a sweet red bean paste filling and then wrapped in a salted pickled Sakura leaf. It’s a nice combination of sweet and salty. Just search Sakura Mochi for the recipe.


There are three colours associated with Hinamatsuri white for purification, green for health and pink for luck. Often you will see dango in these three colours which are popular at this time. These are also called hanami dango or Sanshoku dango. Just search dango for recipes.

Cherry blossom cookies are also a nice one to make. Recipe on this website.


Others are strawberry daifuku,cherry blossom rice balls,inari sushi and chirashi sushi (scattered sushi

This year I will be making a chirashi sushi which resembles a cake in the three spring colours known as Chakin sushi.
Seasoned sushi rice which you can either layer using the colours in-between or colour the rice. I like to use natural colours so I used beetroot juice for pink mixed into cooked sushi rice and matcha tea.  You can then add the toppings to the top of the rice cake.
I think this would be a lovely one for a party or gathering.


You could even make mini ones cup cake style or make three layer onigiri.


I also decided to make onigiri in the shape of Hina dolls.

If you would like to see things I have made in previous years just search Hina matsuri, I hope this gives you some inspiration for your own celebration.

As I have no children it has also been suggested to me that girls day is a nice day to spend with girl friends or sisters. Maybe if you have no girl children you could plan a day out or go for a meal or celebrate women in general.

 

 

 

Blog, Spring Food

Sakura Season Dango

One of the best memories I have in my life is visiting Japan at Sakura season.

If  you have never been lucky enough to witness it,seeing the blossom and the way people in Japan celebrate Hanami is just breathtaking.

I think I miss Japan the most at this time of year.  I always like to celebrate Japanese customs and traditions it helps me feel close to Japan  when I cannot be there.

How about making some tofu dango and sit with these and a bento under the blossoms and if like me you cannot be there just dream you are.

To make these three colour dango which signify purification,health and luck you will need shiratama flour and a carton of silken tofu, I used Clearspring organic tofu.  First drain you tofu and section into three equal pieces and divide into three bowls. Next add colouring to two bowls I used matcha for green and natural beetroot juice for pink. Cream the tofu in each bowl then to each one start to add your shiratama flour. Keep adding until it is a stiff dough ( people say to think of what an ear lope feels like and this is what dango should feel like when you press it ) Heat up a pan of boiling water and drop in your dango balls when they float to the top they are done,scoop them out and drop into iced water. Pat them dry and slide them onto skewers. These are delicious dipped into kinako (soy bean flour ) I actually had green kinako which symbolises the spring green bush warbler bird (uguisu).

Enjoy with a Sakura tea.

Happy Hanami

Blog, Spring Food

Sakura Mochi

Sakura Mochi a traditional spring wagashi made  for Hinamatsuri and also to celebrate spring and the coming Sakura season.

There are three colours associated with the girls day festival .  White is for purification, green for health and pink for luck. I made Sakura Mochi in the three colours. Sakura Mochi is Mochi  rice cake with a sweet red bean paste filling and wrapped in a salted pickled Sakura leaf and topped with a salted Sakura flower. They are a nice combination of sweet and salty. Perfect with a green tea.

The recipe is basically the same as my ohagi recipe. If you live outside of japan you may not be able to get the leaves and blossom so easily although you maybe able to order them online from www.souschef.co.uk

I used matcha to colour the rice green and beetroot juice for the pink.

Why not try making Sakura Mochi to celebrate spring.

Blog, Spring Food

Pink Sakura Tea Latte

I think I miss Japan the most in Spring. Seeing all the gorgeous Sakura in full bloom on the media makes me wish I was there. At least I have been lucky to experience the season first hand. The Sakura is highly prized as the season only lasts but a week or so,proving that life is fleeting and ever changing. When we look at the cherry blossoms we realise that we must appreciate things and live mindful in the moment of each passing day.

The cherry blossom in Japan this year came over a week early and was the third earliest full bloom in Tokyo on record. As for my Sakura it’s still very much in tight bud it has been so cold in the UK this year. I’m still in Japan in spirit and I am loving making these Sakura tea pink lattes.

All you need is Japanese Sakura tea ( this might be a little difficult to find outside of Japan.)

Brew one Sakura teabag in half a cup of hot water. Heat up half a cup of non dairy milk then add one tablespoon of beetroot juice and froth your milk. As the beetroot is naturally sweet you don’t need to add sweetener. Then take out your teabag and add your milk topping with froth. I actually have some pink pitaya powder that looks pretty dusted on the top or you could add some pink tea powder which is made from 100% mangosteen.

Just waiting now for my Sakura to bloom and spring to finally arrive.

Blog

Sushi Lunch

A sushi lunch to day.
Mini cucumber sushi rolls and Gunkan maki sushi .
Gunkan actually translates as warship .
This is super easy just seasoned sushi rice wrapped in nori with various toppings . Just make sure you cut your nori a little higher than your rice to hold your toppings.
My toppings included maitake mushrooms with bamboo shoots,avocado and pickled red cabbage, broccoli and asparagus,umeboshi,Sakura,hijiki and sushi ginger.

軍艦巻寿司

Blog

Sakura soba noodles

I wanted to use the last of my Sakura soba noodles as it’s cherry blossom season .
I chose to make a simple kitsune soba.
Kitsune means fox in Japanese and it is said that the fox spirits are very fond of fried tofu so hence the name kitsune soba as I added aburaage to my soba noodles. The broth was just a simple tamari and mirin.
I added a few toppings of carrot flowers,furikake,sesame seeds,diced green onion and komatsuna.
It makes a really satisfying meal so quick and easy .
Now I’m off to watch ghost in the shell.
狐そば
さくらおはぎ

Blog, Spring Food

Botamochi

The bi-annual days of the vernal equinox are nearly upon us. In Japan it is a Buddhist festival known as higan. In the spring it is known as haru no higan . To celebrate I made Botamochi. This is a traditional confectionery made of sweet mochi rice pounded and shaped with a red bean centre . It is traditional to take these with flowers and incense to the graves of ancestors at this time. In the spring the sweets are called Botamochi named after the tree peony botan . In the fall the same sweets are called ohagi named after the clover bush hagi. I covered mine with different toppings matcha,kinako and black sesame . I also made a reverse one with the rice on the inside . Spring is nearly here . ぼたもち (牡丹餅) (おはぎ) 私は春分点のために作った ほぼ春です!

This is how to make your very own ( it takes a little time but is well worth the effort !)

1 cup of Japanese rice

1 cup of mochi rice

plastic wrap

tsubu-an ( bean paste )

toppings  matcha powder,kinako ground black sesame powder

first wash your rice together really well changing the water a few times

place in your rice cooker with water up to level 2 and cook until done

then pound your rice I use the end of a rolling pin until some it’s mashed but still has some grain don’t over pound or it will be to sticky mix it as your pounding in between with your rice paddle so it’s even.

take about 70g of rice if your having rice on the outside and make balls of these in plastic wrap . Flatten each one spreading it out. Measure out balls of bean paste 30g and place in the middle of each flattened out ball ( mould  the rice around the bean paste .

If you want to do a reverse 40g rice and 60g red bean paste .

when they are all done roll them in your chosen topping .

I like to then wrap each one in plastic wrap and freeze them and defrost over night ( great for a bento dessert ) .

 

Blog

Pink Sushi

Again in celebration of the Sakura blooming in Japan and my own Sakura .
I made pink sushi for lunch . Also having this with a Sakura scone .
ピンクの寿司とサクラスコーン
幸せな花見季節
?????

Blog

Roasted Kabocha

To night roasted kabocha with a crispy coating and rice also a nice big salad with a miso yuzu dressing.
With that was a delicious and filling yudofu . I think this soup is one of the best ways to appreciate the delicate flavour of tofu. This dish is a shojin ryori Buddhist monk style of cuisine. Often you can have this meal in temple restaurants in Kyoto .
Yudofu means hot water tofu I added some komatsuna for extra flavour and a small amount of miso in the broth . It’s mostly traditional to just use a simple kombu dashi maybe with a little soy sauce . You can also add a sprinkle of sesame seeds or green onion . I added some chopped chives . I forgot how good this was . For dessert was a small piece of peach Melba cake and fruit.
カリカリローストカボチャ
ごはんとサラダ
湯豆腐
桃のケーキとフルーツ
さくら茶

Blog, Spring Food

Pink Iced Sakura Donut

Enjoying a pink iced Sakura donut and Sakura tea this Hanami weekend. 自家製 ピンクのさくらドーナツとさくらお茶. 幸せな花見季節

why not try and make these donuts for yourself

you will need:

two cups of oat flour

3/4 cup of almond flour ( ground almond meal )

2 teaspoon of Baking powder and 1 baking soda

mix these in one bowl

In another bowl

1/2 cup of apple purée ( I normally make my own ) peel core and chop two apples steam until tender and blend in a food processor) or you can use ready made in a jar .

1 tablespoon of coconut oil / melted coconut butter

1/2 cup soy milk

2 tablespoon of brown rice vinegar

1/2 cup of unrefined caster sugar

1 tablespoon of yuzu juice

For the frosting

icing sugar water and beetroot juice for colouring

sakura flowers for decoration

mix the wet ingredients in to the dry and mix in to a batter .

brush a donut pan with a little melted coconut oil and spoon in your batter I like to use a teaspoon .

bake in a moderate oven to light and fluffy risen and golden

you may find when you take them out you may need to use a tooth pick just to make the holes again .

leave to cool and turn out on to a rack

mix icing sugar  beetroot juice and add a little water at a time to make your icing . Cover your donuts with icing and a Sakura flower and maybe a little dusting of coconut .

I like to film my icing up in the freezer for half an hour . If your not eating them straight away I tend to keep mine in the freezer and defrost them one at a time .

enjoy !