My Japanese husband isn’t at all a big fan of traditional Japanese confections, wagashi 和菓子. Especially those filled with red bean paste Anko 餡子, I never have to include his share. Over the summer, I got hooked on this one and for the umpteenth time I kept making it at home. My children were almost tired of eating, but my husband actually took a fancy and feasted on my Warabi-mochi わらび餅 like he never had before.
If you think Japan is only a heaven for Sushi and Ramen, you can expect more. Here in the Land of the Rising Sun, it is also a Shangri-La for anyone with a sweet tooth. My first trip to Depa-chika was an unexpected delight. The moment I entered the bustling food hall, other than hearing “Irasshaimase” repeatedly from all directions, what filled me with awe was a wide assortment of beautiful confectioneries lining up attractively in gleaming display counters.
Finally they are showing up on the supermarket shelves. Everytime this year we luxuriously pamper ourselves with the newly harvested Tochiotome とちおとめ strawberries from Tochigi, a Japanese prefecture north of Tokyo. Their berries are so very plump juicy and full of sweetness, no way we’re going to begin summer without them.
As I was at the doorsteps struggling to reach deep inside my bag to pull out my bunch of keys, I heard a low-pitched voice calling me from behind. 「伊藤さん、伊藤さん！良かったら、このみかんどうぞ。うちの庭で採れたのよ ～ 」 It was my neighbour who lives directly opposite us. Katayama-san is already 80, yet still full of charms – she doesn’t even look that old actually.
For many years, I have kept my New Year’s resolution the same. I guess by far, this is the hardest goal I’ve ever tried to achieve. My doctor had warned it’s a high time that I grit my teeth, clench my fists and set my mind to it – ah, losing weight is no joke!
I know this isn’t the right season for this recipe, but sorry …! I didn’t want to see my last bits of Yuzu go into waste. So today, here you go – Yuzu bits in Chiffon cake! They are almost the same colour, so many people tend to easily pass lemon and yuzu as a same fruit. However, Yuzu’s unique oriental aroma with sense of sour bitter taste subtly give it away.
Not with raisins, nor with lemon curd, I made scones with Japanese brown sugar – Kokuto 黒砂糖 today. English scones with a little Japanese twist. If you like scones and do not mind having some Japanese flavour to go along with, then you should try these.
Ever crave for something you ate during a holiday aboard? I actually wrote this post for my younger sister who has this problem. Since I moved to Tokyo, my 3 sisters have been taking turns to visit me every year. Each time Irene comes, this will surely be included in her must-eat list. By the way, have you heard of Rapoppo らぽっぽ ?
Black sesame seeds are very commonly used among Japanese cuisine, be it in savoury dishes or sweet pastries. I love adding them in my cooking too. These tiny seeds give a little nutty taste and apparently has an effect of lowering cholesterol and preventing high blood pressure. Japanese like to grind the seeds first before consuming as they believe this way, its nutrients will be easier to absorb into our bodies.