Archive for the ‘Japanese confectionary’ Category

Another morning, with left over chestnut sweets from the tea ceremony:


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The sea outside is greenish blue, with a silver shimmer of dim sunlight. I light an incense stick from Auroville, India, “Musk”. Put a few drops of pinetree and rosemary essential oil in the diffuser.

Then I start making my morning green tea, japanese ‘Sencha Midori’ from ‘Sing Tehus’, Copenhagen, from Kagoshima, southern part of Japan. I choose a black laquer tray and put a black ceramic teapot, Kyusu, on it, a white teacup and the japanese paperclad teacontainer. Brew my usual tea in this way. Though beautiful – it is actually better the usual way, just a metal filter in a bigger teacup. This pot somehow filters too much cloudiness or “stuff” away, so it becomes too clear for me…. I get too brews out of it, that’s it. (The pictures are from a ‘nirmal’ brewing, with a chestnut sweet, left over from a tea-ceremony.)

While sipping tea, I start reading William Blake, an ongoing project of mine, getting to know english poets from the romantic period, and right before and after.  Big favourites are Wordsworth and Coleridge, whom I have read intensively, and whose hiuses or museums I have visited in the UK. Then Keats and his museum on Hampstead Heath (not too far from Mei Leaf : ) Spring 2018 I visited three teashops in London, met such welcoming people and beautiful places, with professional gong fu tea: Postcard Tea, Mei Leaf, Camden, and The Chinese Tea Company, Portobello Road. They are doing great work, and it’s tempting to order more tea. Still some “Duckshit” tea left from tge last mentioned.

William Blake (1757-1827) seems to have been quite poor during his lifetime in London, working with doing etchings for others, of ancient sites and stone monuments in the UK. His genial drawings/paintings were only exhibited once, and were quite badly received. They ARE different, but today he has been recognized as a great visionist and poet. Quite religious, having done motivs from the christian Bible, and also from the big inspuration for him, Milton (16th c.). He was just about 20 years older than Wordsworth and Coleridge – which reminds me of Goethe, who was just about that much older than the rest of the GERMAN romantic movement. There always comes a younger generation, who breaks free and regards the older as too stiff and not revolutionary enough. Blake and Goethe have nearly the same year of birth and death.

More birth and death in poetry: Blakes ‘Songs of Innocense and Experience’ (1789). The first part is light, easy, nearly naive. The second something completely different. Magic, shamanistic, an evolution of the earth: “Hear the voice of the Bard! / Who present, Past and Future sees / Whoose ears have heard / The Holy Word / That walked along the ancient trees.”

Part of this is also ‘The Garden of Love’, arguing that religion should be about LOVE – childhood, flowers, the garden – and not about RESTRICTION.  A newly built chapel with the words “thou shalt NOT” written over the door. The priest in black robes, and tombstones of death.

“I went to the Garden if Love / And I saw what I never had seen: / A chapel was built in the midst, / Where I used to play in the green.”

I wonder if that is one of the main forces in New Age and the more global awakening and spirituality, that sweeps the world: to not FORBID, restrict, exclude – but to include, love, see things happening as possibilities, not punishment. Open – not closed. All inclusive – not exclusive. Insight for everyone – not only the few.

Have a good weekend, Ulla


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More sakura (cherry blossom) tea (matcha) in more humble surroundings…



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Here some japanese sweets i made…


They are made of traditional japanese white bean paste (koshian), and partially colored with green matcha tea, to symbolize the first greens coming out of the earth now, or snow drops maybe? Ceramic plate: from Notre Dame. Danish design. Photographed in Torvehallerne, Copenhagen.

Have a wonderful spring…

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Autumn is here – and with it the edible chestnuts, sweet chestnuts, or “spisekastanier” in danish.

My plan for the wonderful tea-ceremony, I was invited to last weekend, was to make sweets entirely out of chestnuts collected in nature – there are a few trees around. But there were´nt so  many, so I had to rely on the vegetable market at Torvehallerne, Copenhagen. 800 gr.


Here a closeup. The plate is japanese “Oribe” deisgn, green and brown and white, in the shape of a fan. The teabowl is in the same colours, with a cross shaped pattern in the bottom. The tea is matcha from Koyama-en, Uji, Japan.


This one is not too pretty – just to show the red bean paste in the middle, which is my invention compared to the original recipe (no filling). But how original is that again… red bean paste in japanese sweets ; )


Best autumn regards, Ulla

PS. You want the recipe? Cut the chestnuts in the top end, cook them in water for about 30 min. Take the soft part out with a spoon. Mix this with 20% of its own weight with sugar, fx 500 gr chestnut, 100 gr sugar (I used Sukrin Gold). Divide in portions of 50 gr, make round (or 30 gr + 20 gr red bean paste for filling). Wrap a linen cloth around each, twist, open – so you can see the pattern of the cloth on the surface.


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Inspired by a “real” japanese wagashi, traditional confectionary, which had dried yuzu-peel inside – I made this homemade version with danish “sukat”, candied lemon peel… transparent in the cold winterlight:

thebloggen_IMG_12218_sukatkuzu…on a new plate with white-green oribe-design.

thebloggen_IMG_12221They tasted cool and fresh…
Homemade by Ulla Conrad.

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Luckily, not every okashi/wagashi needs to be made of homemade (4 hours in the kitchen…) beanpaste. The only ingredients in these small ones are: Cooked chestnuts and sugar. After giving the chestnuts a cut each and cooking them for 30 min., take the soft part out with a spoon, and blend with 1/5 of its weigh in sugar. Ready.

thebloggen_IMG_11953_kuchigiri13On display for the photographer in the stonegarden just infront of a big window…

thebloggen_IMG_11957The marks in the paste show that they have been twisted in a “chakin” cloth, hence the name… “shibori” means twisted…

thebloggen_IMG_11962… and even the cloth itself has left its pattern on the surface. – Red laquer plate. Teabowl by Gregory Miller.thebloggen_IMG_11965

Enjoy and join us for tea…

Best, Ulla

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Autumn also here – with handmade “nerikiri kinton”, nerikiri meaning the beanpaste used, freshly served and to be eaten in 1-2 days – and kinton meaning sweets made of thin “strings” of paste pressed through a sieve… Did I catch the colours of autumn?

thebloggen_IMG_11849The beanpaste was pressed into two layers before being pressed through…

thebloggen_IMG_11850Closeup. In fact, just before serving these in a october tea ceremony, we added leaf gold onto each one which added  some more class to them… : )

The japanese looking square plate was found in an Red Cross shop on the island of Fanø.

Enjoy the autumn colours in your naborhood, and keep warm in the beginning winter cold, Ulla


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thebloggen_IMG_10904Here is a purple version of Asagao, morningglory, with a little dot of matcha green…  🙂


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thebloggen_IMG_10872_okashi_asagao_aug2013 These purple flowers, morningglories, “asagao” in japanese, or “purpur-pragtsnerler” in danish) have been growing on my balcony, since I read a story connected with them, and then searched for the seeds on the internet.

thebloggen_IMG_10874The story goes: The tea-master Sen no Rikyu had quite a lot morningglories in his garden, and their fame reached the shogun Hideyoshi. He was invited to a teaceremony, but the day he entered the tea-garden, there were no flowers at all in sight. First he was sisseapointed – but in the tearoom, in a vase, there was a SINGLE morningglory. He was satisfied…

thebloggen_IMG_10878 These japanese sweets are made of sweet beanpaste, matcha and agar agar…


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