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Ichigo Daifuku, Japanese Strawberry Rice Cake 苺大福 [Recipes Sweets スウィーツレシピ]



日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報サイト”Hachidory” から ご覧ください。


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Do you like strawberries?

I'm sure most of you do.

They look so pretty and are pleasing to palate of most of the people.

The season of the strawberries looks fading away in Japan, but on the contrary, it is going to start soon.

Visit this page that I posted a few years ago if you want to know why.

 

The strawberries are not only pretty and tasty, but very useful ingredient too. 
They humbly help me when I want pink color in my sweets making.

 Sakuramochi

 

Today, I'm going to share my "Ichigo Daifuku" recipe with you.

 

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"Daifuku" is the glutinous sticky rice cake stuffed with the sweet red bean paste, and it is a traditional Japanese sweet.

But "Ichigo Daifuku" is not a traditional one.

Somebody invented this and it was spread all over Japan not so long ago.
When I first saw it, I was in shock, Oh ! the combination of a strawberry and sweet red beans ?  No Way !!
I shut it out.

But the times passed… I love it now!

May be my taste bud changed or I am more generous to the new idea or both....?

 

To make it look cute, I let only one strawberry sit on Daifuku, but when I eat it, I need to pop in another strawberry into my mouth.

This way, Ichigo Daifuku is tastier twice much !!


 

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Sakura Soup Japanese Vegan 桜スープ [Recipes Spring 春レシピ]


日本語のレシピはビーガン情報サイト、”Hachidory " で ご覧ください。



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It is the best season of the year !

Everything is sprouting !

The greens and the colorful tiny wild flowers captivate my heart once I go out.

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  Ohinunofuguri

 

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Hotokenoza / Buddah sitting on the cushion, named from its looks.  



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Hakobe,  very tiny and sweet, yet very poweful  flowers





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Kakidoshi, I like to drink this as tea.  It is said effective for diabetes.


It is an awesome feeling to feel the warm sunshine on my back and the breath of the spring in the air!

 

Sakura, cherry blossoms have started blooming earlier this year. 

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Sakura is not always pink.  This is white sakura. 


I think they will be fully blooming in a week time.

 

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Life of Sakura is not long, it is only one to two weeks.

Therefore, you have to leave yourself to luck when you plan to visit Japan to enjoy Sakura in the spring, unless you are ready to move to northern places to catch the timing of the blooming. 
 

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Japan is a long island, so there’s more than one-month gap between the most southern part and the northern part.

Even if you missed the timing in Tokyo for example, most likely you can still see sakura fully blooming in Sendai or Hokkaido. 

 

Today I want you to enjoy the Japanese spring with your eyes first before going to the recipe of one of them.

For all the dishes, I am using preserved sakura blossoms.


This is my hand made preserved blossoms that I made last year using the sakura called "Yaezakura" which is more suitable for cooking purpose as it has lots of petals and its color is more pink than other types of sakura.

You can purchase them from the shops.   ( I am pasting the link in the receipe.)

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I am serving you from the dessert...

 

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Sakura shaped agar agar jelly



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Sakuramohi,  most popular Japanese spring sweets




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This is another version of  "Sakuramohi", 
pupular in the western part of Japan.






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Sakura dango





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Umegaemochi 




Here are the savory dishes...

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Spring Sushi Rice





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Soup with sea vegetable to accompany sushi rice




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Spring fresh vegetable salad

 

I selected the second easiest recipe for you to try.

So scroll down to get it !

 

 

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Vegan Piggy Cookies ビーガンブーちゃんクッキー [Recipes Sweets スウィーツレシピ]


日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報誌と”Hachidory" をご覧ください


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Happy Lunar New Year ! 


In many Asian countries, the new year is celebrated according to the lunar calendar.


Japan also used to celebrate it during this season until early Meiji Era which is not so long ago.


It is the season that early spring is starting, and the plum blossoms are blooming.


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But I had never thought why we celebrate the new year on January 1of the modern calendar until I was asked by some of my friends while I lived in Singapore why Japanese people do not celebrate the Lunar New Year.   


In Singapore the biggest new year is Lunar New Year which is also called Chinese New Year.  (Singapore is a multi-racial country, so there are several new years to be celebrated.) 


It was a kind of surprising and interesting fact for me that people there preserve each race’s tradition as I got the impression that the country and people there were more westernized and progressive than Japan and Japanese people. 


At that time, I was a young Japanese language teacher.


“The language is deeply related with its culture, and without knowing, understanding and being able to explain it, one cannot really teach the language well to the foreign students. “   


That is what I found after I started teaching Japanese to foreign people in a foreign country.  


“Why do Japanese people celebrate the new year on January 1st of the modern calendar, not the lunar calendar?”


My search had started. 


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My favorite lunar calendar that I pusrchase and use each year

 

It was unfolded that many of the traditional events I had been celebrating since my childhood are not following the actual dates, which means they are celebrated irrelevant to the seasons and do not make any sense.  May be obon/the day to honor the ancestors, and otsukimi/moon viewing day are the only two events that Japanese people are still following the lunar calendar.


I think very few Japanese people are paying attention to these facts and most of the people are using unsuitable words to express the natural phenomena of the seasons and practicing unmatching seasonal events.


The words we often use for the new year such as


迎春/geishun/welcoming spring”,


干支/zodiac”,  


七草粥/shichikusagayu/porridge with seven kinds of wild spring plants”


are effective only when they are used during the new year of the lunar calendar. 


Spring is too far away from January 1st, zodiac is the concept that was born from the lunar calendar, those seven kinds of wild plants are not showing their faces yet in January of the modern calendar, so the farmers have to grow them artificially in the green houses using unnecessary fossil fuel to meet  the demand of people to make the porridge on the 7th of January.


I mentioned in previous post that the year of pig had started.


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Esther who was born as a farmed animal but is now living happily as a family member 


When I said it, I was following the current custom that general Japanese people are practicing.


But, in fact the year of pig has just started.


Ironically, Japan is now on full alert of the outbreak of classical swine fever/hog cholera, and 16000 piggies have been culled so far.


It is normal that those farmed animals are treated as mere commodities, therefore no medical attentions are given and they just have to endure their pains and sufferings.


All the media is reporting how big the damages are and sympathizing with the farmers and business owners. 


What about piggies? 


They are the ones suffering the most.


They are a living creature who feels pain and fear just like us.


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My heart sinks whenever I hear the reports and opinions with no regretting words towards them.


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Visit these sites to learn more about pigs.


A Pig's Perfect Day


Dot, the piglet


 


How did you find ?


Aren't they adoreble ?


O.K, let me share the recipe of vegan piggy cookies now to be compassionate to them.


After making, may be you can also share them with somebody and start your conversation about piggies and pass those information that you gained from those sites.


Anyway those cookies look so kawaii and taste yummy, no one could resist eating them. 


( or some might think too cute to eat them ! )


Here you go !


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Vegan Mochi Shabu Shabu ビーガン餅しゃぶしゃぶ [Recipes, Winter 冬レシピ]

日本語のレシピはビーガン情報サイト "Hachidory" を ご覧ください。


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The year of 2019 has started.


However for many Japanese people living in Japan, it will be  the year 1 rather than 2019.   

Because it is common to count the year by Era in Japan. 

When the new emperor takes over the position it becomes the year 1.  At this moment, it is year 31 of Heisei Era, but from April 30, it will be year 1 as the son of current Emperor will be throned on this date.

It is easier for us to remember the charactaristics of the particular period when we express the year in this way.

But it is sometimes very comfusing. 

I often can't remember or am at a loss which year of A.C. any particular things happend or how old they are in reality when the years are written in the form of Era.


Anyway it is going to be the year 1 soon. (Nobody still does not know the name of the new Era.) 


2019 = 1   I must remember this.


The name of the Era could change suddenly one day, but there is another way of counting years that cannot change in this way, which is called Zodiac and characteristic about Japanese (may be Asian) year.


Zodiac has 12 kinds of animals.
(What a sweet tradition, isn't it ?)



This year is the year of Pig.




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Esther, my faorite piggy



So we surely need to be nice to the piggies, especially this year.

 

How can we be nice to them ?


Think about it !


And we have to show it in our actions !!


For me, it is to spread the reality of the situations of the piggies and convince people that they are loveable and affectionate animal who deserve to be treated in the same way as dogs, cats and us  .


I made lots of piggy shaped vegan cookies and passed to my friends during New Year, telling them enjoy as much as they want, but try to reduce the consumption of the real piggy.


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Now I move to the topic of New Year food. 

Which food do you think that most Japanese people consider a "must" for New Year  ?


It is definately "Mochi/glutinous rice cake".


In the countryside, there are still families pound Mochi using a big mortor and pestle made of wood at the end of the year to enjoy lots of Mochi during New Year.   


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My friend, Kami san threw Mochitsuki party for us. 



Nowdays it is normal to buy the ready-made ones from the shops.

The most popular way to eat Mochi on a very first day of the New Year is "Ozoni/mochi in soup". 


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But there are many ways to eat it, so from the second day onwards, people usually eat in different ways. 

We look for unusual or innovative ways of eating it as we often have lots of Mochi left in the fridge after the New Year.


Today I am sharing one of such recipes, "Vegan Mochi Shabu Shabu" with you.



When it is sliced into thin layers, mochi changes to lighter and more pleasant txture, yet is still elastic and stretchy.


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So enjoy mochi's uniqte texture when you cook this heart and body warming winter recipe.




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Vegan Tofu Cream ビーガンクリーム [Recipes Sweets スウィーツレシピ]


日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報サイト Hachidory を ご覧ください。



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The festive season is here !


Which song comes to your mind first when the Christmas season has arrived ? 


for me, it is 


"♫♬ Dashing through the snow ♩♫, in a one horse open sleigh...♬♪" 


or


♫♬  We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas...♫♬ ” 


or  


♫♬  Silent night, Holy night, all is calm, all is bright...♫♬  " 


or  


♫♬ I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know...♫♬ "


Many old days’ Christmas songs come out from my mouth.


However, Christmas is not the festival we traditionally celebrate in Japan as most Japanese are not Christians.   


But it is the day that many kids are looking forward to.


Why ?   Because they can eat the whole decoration cake, and receive the presents !


When I saw the present from Santa beside my bed in my childhood, I was so excited, and regretted that I missed to see him again.  


I used to envy my friend from bottom of my heart, who told me she saw him after hearing the sleigh bell approaching to her.   


After growing up and had my own family, I gave the presents of the same pleasure to my kids like my mother did for me, though it was a tropical Christmas, not a white Christmas like I had.


I suppose Christmas is the biggest childhood fond memory for them too.   


However, unfortunately this season is not a happy one for all of us.


There are many beings who are suffering because of this festival.


We have to think of them as Christmas is the day that we share our happiness with everyone.


The consumption of the chickens and cow’s milk drastically goes up during this season in Japan.  (I guess it is same in your country too.)


I told you that Japanese people do not really celebrate the Christmas, but many of us eat the whole cake decorated with thick cow’s milk and strawberries on a day of Christmas, so the all the cake shops increase the production to twice, triple of usual to cater for the needs of those people. 


You might be thinking the cows can produce milk anytime, but the fact is they can produce milk only when they gave birth to a baby like we humans.


Why do mothers produce milk ?


It is to feed their babies, their own babies.


However what is happening in the dairy industry is that the babies are taken away from their mother straight away, and mothers, no matter how much they cry for their babies or not, their nipples were geared with the machines to suck up their milk for humans.


Those cows are artificially inseminated every year and are forced to give birth until their bodies are too worn out to produce the babies any more.  What is waiting for them next is to be sent to the slaughter house, though they can still live, may be next 6 years if the circumstances allow them to do so.   


I do not write about those babies here today, but their fates are even more heart breaking.


 


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just born-baby that I witnessed at the farm



Normal Dairy Farm


Humane Dairy Farm


 


The bond between mothers and babies is profound for any species. 


Nobody should interfere this sacred bond. 


Do we need to drink milk ?


No, It does harm than good to humans.


There are many studies indicating that, and I also have heard many actual experiences that the physical condition improved after stopping the intake of dairy.  I myself felt it.


There’s no need to hurt the cows. 


For those who still miss the cheese, cream and milk, there are many kinds of alternatives available nowadays.  


You can easily obtain them by searching net and YouTube. 


Here’s my small contribution too. 


There are several ways to make vegan cream for decoration, but today I am showing the one made mainly from tofu.


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Here you go….


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