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A wake of flowers

Discovered the first comb of blooms on my basil the other day. As my herb box flowers into its wake over winter, I look forward to harvesting the two small but productive bushes, and seeding the ground underneath with leftover seeds I intend to turn into random salad greens. The basil has already decided to replace itself with a new, freshly sprouted seed on the side, I see. I am hoping that by aggressive cutting, I can maximise the amount of harvest before the plants truly give up their ghosts. That first comb of basil blossoms was a very pretty pale purple. I trimmed it off and pressed it in my heaviest cookbook for posterity. My hope is to collect enough basil and mint flowers to press, dry and grind with sugar, perhaps turning it into a nice cookie topping or flavouring by Christmas.

Also exploring the possibility of mochi pepperkakor. I discovered recipes today for a Hawaiian dessert called butter mochi, which reminds me more than slightly of similar kueh in texture, type and form. The idea of a baked, buttery, egg-rich, coconut milk flavoured, glutinous flour based custard is the basis for one of my most favourite kueh, the Indonesian kueh ambon, which also seems to feature coconut water or coconut-based alcohol for fermentation. At least one recipe seems to suggest for cookies, normal baking flour is directly substitutable with mochi flour in a 2:1.75 ratio. Another notes that the thickness of mochi cookie dough rounds produces interesting variable textures after baking. Thin, pepperkakor-level rounds would produce a crispness akin to biscotti. This is great, since the most labour-intensive part of pepperkakor making is getting the dough thin enough to be and stay crisp. My luck with this has gone everywhere from gingerbread textures to crisp yet not crunchy biscuits, rather unlike store bought pepperkakor.

My Black Friday purchases, not really on sale, were a nice steel whistling kettle and two mason jars. Our aged whistling kettle was something I'd found abandoned on the stove by a previous tenant when I first moved in with Seth, and it had followed us ever since, faithfully getting grubbier and developing rust spots on the inside. The last straw was when I noticed a distinct rattling, like sand, at the bottom of the kettle and poured it completely out only to find hundreds of little black enamel flecks in our sink. Some basic research tells me that enameled kettles don't hold well against the potentially high heat of gas stoves. We've only ever moved into places with gas stoves since the beginning. So in spite of every heat resistant assurance and pretty colour I saw online, a nice, traditional steel kettle it is. The two mason jars, a two-litre and four-litre, are for longstanding pickling projects I've intended to try all year. I have had cherries freezing away in my fridge since summer, waiting to be steeped for a year in decent but inexpensive sake and sugar, maybe in the basement, where they will hopefully not horrify anybody. With any luck, this will yield two products: a nice cherry sake liquer to be taken with a lot of ice, and leftover drunken cherries for a heck of a jam. The larger jar might perhaps hold about twelve eggs, preserved in tea brine. Always wanted to try making my own salted eggs for porridge. I would more gladly try to make century eggs, but the process for that seems... involved, with three kinds of ashes and/or different kinds of salts. I liked lab in school a great deal, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with putting together all that.

I was under the weather today, so Seth made up some canned mushroom soup, which I always find comforting while ill, and put out crackers and cheese. I tried Saint-Marcellin for the first time. It's like a very small, young, amazingly runny brie, with a strong flavour and smell, very mushroomy. It was a surprise to break open the thin skin and find this liquefied cheese inside. The pungent flavour does mean it is easy to use sparingly though. It may pair well with the nice fig preserve Seth bought me a while back, and which needs eating. As I write this, the fluffiest cat is waiting to lead me to bed. Perhaps tomorrow, there will be more flowers waiting to bloom?

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
resonant
Nov. 25th, 2012 04:08 pm (UTC)
*pauses to run and put the kettle on*

Wait, basil goes with cookies?
vampyrichamster
Nov. 26th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
I think the flowers will add a nice herbal scent to lemon-flavoured cookies, especially paired with mint. I'm not thinking of making a pesto cookie!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )