My Japanese friend Kimio gave me today original matcha from his hometown, Fukuoka:
Do you know matcha? It's a traditionally made green tea powder made from the only few top young leaves of the green tea plants, hand-picked after a specific seasoning (mainly covering the leaves to protect them from the sun), then hand-removed veins and imperfections, to be ground in a stone mill. It's one of the things that is to this day made traditionally by people, and is by now not mechanized! :-)
To drink matcha, you need a special drinking bowl, a bamboo scoop and traditionally carved bamboo whisk (which I have ordered today :P). The whisk is something of a pinnacle of Japanese engineering — it's hand-carved from a single piece of bamboo, making it both beautiful and functional! Stay tuned for the matcha set showcase soon.
This weekend was truly awful in the weather department — it was gloomy, rainy, cold and windy, so apart from some usual grocery shopping, I opted for staying home :-)
I also had a plan to master the cheesecake icing, that gave me so much trouble earlier the week, and since I got my food coloring gels, I decided to try them too! As you can see, the mission was a success, and I ended up with 24 delicious strawberry-colored cupcakes with strawberry jam filling, and creamy, super-sweet, delicious cream cheese icing :-)
Check out some of the sneak peek images I took, because the recipe is coming soon:
My work colleague likes these kind of cakes, so I decided to make one for his birthday this week — it is an apple tart with beautiful pastry decorations: the grid, braided edge and some flower-shaped crisps.
Oh my, look at these irresistible cupcakes! They look like they are just vanilla, but there's some butterscotch in there for a seriously amazing sweetness ending... So perfect!
I had some leftover meringue after making meringue hearts, and decided to make something cheeky — if you're brave, you can give your crush these cute, little blobs, or as I call them poopies. You can even make small hats for your cupcakes out of them, or place a cute little flag saying "Love me" or "Date?" for a cute, funny, little ice breaker! :-)