May Snack of the Month: Kashiwa Mochi・かしわ餅

Kashiwa Mochi・かしわ餅 are often eaten during Children’s Day・子どもの日 which is usually around the first week of May during Golden Week holidays. It is a simple mochi with red bean paste inside wrapped in a decorative oak leaf. よもぎ・mugwort is another popular flavour for kashiwa mochi which has a fresh grassy taste. I opted for the simple kind.

I usually keep these flowers at my bedside and they are the most beautiful thing to wake up to, despite not knowing their name in neither English or Japanese.

First DIY Sweet: Hydrangea Edition

When I lived in Tokyo I went to a few classes to make Japanese sweets so it wasn’t my absolute first attempt at wagashi but it was my first solo attempt! All I can say is, I further understand why this is a specialized profession.

The pink color is a result of mixing red cabbage and lemon juice, it was really interesting to experiment and that is one aspect I would like to try again. Inside, I made a mochi ball, or dango, which is surrounded by white bean paste and then topped with the coloured jellies using agar agar.

So similar to the hydrangea・ajisai・紫陽花 I showed earlier, this is a pretty classic seasonal sweet that might be found in sweet shops when the hydrangeas begin to bloom.

I might need a few more tutorials before my next attempt, though I did learn a lot and have a fun doing it. I guess the bar has been set pretty high by all my usual sweet shops!

New Matcha Day! Featuring Flowers

I believe this delicate blue flowers are a kind of Queen Anne’s Lace. The little pink one is a peony・bōtan・牡丹 from Kichi Zoh. The matcha is from a shop nearby using matcha leaves from Yame・八女, a city just south of Fukuoka. It has a really nice balance and flavour, but I think the last one I just finished is still my favourite! Always fun to try new ones.

Post-Vacation Treats

This week has been the Golden Week holidays, a time when several national holidays fall closely together so most people get about a week off. A friend came to visit and we explored around outdoors as much as we could. Yesterday was really the first day back home so I had 2 little treats from Kichi Zoh. A beautiful purple iris namagashi and purple 団子・dango with red bean, white bean and purple sweet potato wrapped around soft mochi.

I got some really beautiful flowers that I cannot name at the florist. The blues and purples are a fun departure from my usual palette. Imagine my surprise coming home and finding I am growing raspberries! My giant branch is a raspberry bush! At the florist where I bought it, the shop owner told me the flowers would quickly wilt but the branch would last several months. She didn’t mention anything about bearing fruit! I can’t wait for my little harvest.