The smells that remind me the most of Japan are dashi stock and Matcha tea. Just a whiff and I am instantly transported to this wonderful country.
A few years ago me and Mr. J went on a long overdue travel to Japan. We attended a tea ceremony in a little humble teahouse in of Kyoto somewhere just a few blocks off Chion-in temple.
Three other couples were waiting to attend the tea ceremony and we were asked to take off our shoes and leave all our bags and cameras in the genkan (entryway). On our socks we climbed up three dark wooden steps to a tatami covered room.
A small stove with a big hanging pot of boiling water was on the ground, with some tea making utensils carefully laid out around it. Apart from a few scrolls hanging on the walls, and small cushions on the floor the room was bear. The 8 of us were invited to sit down on the floor and to witness the tea ceremony in silence, explanations would follow later. Our host disappeared through a sliding fusuma (rice paper covered partition). A similar partition was behind us and slightly opened unto a small tranquil Japanese garden. It was a late afternoon in spring, the air was crisp but fragrant with the trees in blossom. The whole room and garden exuded tranquillity and calm which we welcomed after a tiring day of walking around.
A tall slender Japanese man dressed in a blue kimono reverently entered the room and kneeled in front of the tea making station. He proceeded in utter silence, with the most elegant and gentle movements, with the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha tea.
The whole ceremony was beautiful and left me in state of absolute calm.
Matcha tea is everywhere and I am delighted.
- Kova Patisserie in Soho is specialized in patisserie with a Japanese twist. I highly recommend the matcha mille feuille.
- If you haven’t eaten Kinako French toast with matcha soft serve (aka # 4 most instagrammed dessert of London) at Shackfuyu then you need to go, like now, as it is just the best EVER.
- Or if you just crave some Matcha soft serve, like me, brave Soho again and get your kicks at Tsujiri.
There are of course many other places, like the Japan Centre, and I’d be pleased to hear which ones you like to go to.
In the meantime I’ve created this delicate matcha version on the humble marble cake to get my matcha fix.
Double vanilla and matcha marble cake
- 10gr of Matcha green tea powder
- 200gr of butter (melted)
- 200gr of flour
- 200gr of caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- ½ tsp of baking powder (add to the flour)
- Seeds of ½ vanilla pod
- 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
- Line a 1L loaf tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180˚C
- Separate the egg whites from the yolk in two separate bowls.
- Mix the yolks with the sugar and then alternatively add a little bit of the molten butter and flour mixture until all is incorporated.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff and incorporate first a ¼ to the rest of the mixture to loosen up and then carefully fold in the rest.
- Divide the batter into two bowls.
- Incorporate the two vanillas in one of the mixtures.
- Incorporate the matcha tea with 1-2 tbsp of water into the other mixture.
- Pour both mixture by alternatively adding them into the loaf tin. Once all the mixtures has been transferred use the handle of a spoon to swirl and mix around the mixture in the tin.
- Pop in the oven for 1 hour and check 10 minutes before with a knife to see if it comes out clean
- Leave to cool and…