Monday, November 22, 2004

Sugar High Friday #3: Spice Up Your Winter!



Yup, you got it! As I could ecstatically announce a couple of days ago, Jennifer let me host this months installment of the fabulous IMBB?-spin off, Sugar High Friday!

Sugar High Friday is, as the name might imply, a day were the sweet-toothed bloggers among us join forces and blog about - well, something sweet we've done, all centered around one theme - this time, the theme will be: SPICES!

Now, I'm not gonna let you just run amuck in the spice-jungle out there - so here's the catch:

The spice you use, should be one of the three: nutmeg - cardamom - allspice. Why these three? I had to choose, didn't I? The three here very much encapsulates winter for me - warmth, fragrant - ah, delish! And, um - vanilla would just be too easy! (although it might be a suggestion for a SHF in it's own right!)

But, but, but... Hey! Okay, you want suggestions? You want tips? You NEED information - 'kay then:

Nutmeg: that little knobbly nut wrapped in it's delicate lingerie of another spice, mace. You either grate it yourself (making sure to take some skin of your knuckles, too!) or buy it ready ground. Myristica fragrans is the Latin name, and it started out growing in the Molucca Islands, but is now found throughout Indonesia and in Grenada, with Grenada ones being of choice, regarding Penzeys. Goes really great with eggs, custard, milk, raisins, pumpkins, blueberries...

Cardamom: Isn't that just the funniest little pod? Until recently, I never thought that the ground stuff is actually the hard labor of someone taking out the little black seed of the pod, then grinding it up - but it is! Okay, maybe not hard labor - it is a bit fiddly doing it, but definitely worth it in my opinion! Oh a slightly doughy, cardamom-fragrant bun, and what would a chai be without it? Comes in black, green and a white? (I never heard of that one before!) variety - I usually go for green, because that's what's easy to come by here... Put a pod in your coffee - infuse the cream for a custard or ice cream with it - pair it with almonds, or marry it off with cinnamon, allspice and cloves - but be aware of it's strong and sometimes very perfumey scent...

Allspice: Pimenta dioica, and is - as the name might reveal - a spice that has a little bit of everything to it. Growing in South America and the West Indies, it's a small, hard berry you'd use to enhance the flavor of carrots, apples, poppy seeds and the spices it's usually referred to work as a blend of: cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. You might say it's one of the more savory spices - but as a part of almost any cake spice mix, I say what would a Spice Cake or Apple Pie be without a pinch of it?

Alright. Terms and conditions. You make some kind of dessert/cake/sweet thing/whatever takes your fancy, but it must contain one of the chosen spices - or all of them, if you're that eager! You blog about it on Friday the 10th. of December 2004 - and e-mail me a link to your entry (zarahjordahn@hotmail.com) Or, in case you don't have a blog, but would really like to join - you send me an e-mail with the entry and pictures if you want, and I'll post it here on my blog. Then you wait. And you go just a teeny-tiney bit impatient, 'cause we all know that as soon as you've posted your own entry you just wanna see everyone else's! Then, when you're just about to send me angry e-mails, I'll post a round-up of all the entries here! Now if that's not pretty easy, I don't know what is! Come join the fun!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oooooh, spicy! I've got a couple of recipes in mind already :) BTW, ground nutmeg loses its flavour and aroma pretty quickly; whereas whole nutmegs are good for years if kept in a jar in a dark cupboard. I still have plenty left-over from our honeymoon as well as half a jar of nutmeg jelly. Hmm, maybe I'll do something imaginative with that....

I'm looking forward to this, Zarah!

Angela

Cathy said...

Zarah - what a great theme - this could be really interesting!

Anonymous said...

Zarah you crazy girl you! I am really looking forward to this Sugar High Friday! Thanks so much for hosting it this time around! Your choice of themes/ingredients is great!

Jennifer - http://www.domesticgoddess.ca

Anonymous said...

I am very much looking forward to this...and December is definitely an awesome month for this theme.
Alice

Zarah Maria said...

Glad your all looking forward to it - I sure am so myself!

Angela - you're so right! I forgot to put that in there - ALWAYS grate nutmeg yourself, the taste is SO much better! And plese enlighten me: nutmeg jelly? Now what is that?

Anonymous said...

Zarah - We spent our honeymoon in Grenada last summer and did a spice tour of the island and visited nutmeg processing stations. Nutmeg grows in a fleshy golden pod. In the past these pods were just dried out and used instead of gravel to line paths; however, someone discovered that the pods (or pericardium) also contained the flavour of the nutmeg.

So, the pods are boiled up in water and turned into jelly. It's fantastic spread on toast and I think it would make a great glaze for an apple tart. I've been eeking out my jar of jelly since we got back (keeps very well as nutmeg is naturally antiseptic). Also, the pods can be caramelised and eaten whole. We had a gorgeous dessert which was basically caramelised pods in a light syrup ontop of a shortbread base. With some incredibly strongly flavoured vanilla ice-cream on top.

I also came home with a tub of the caramelised pods which the chef at our hotel prepared for me. Bliss.... I'm definitely a nutmeg girl :)

Angela

Anonymous said...

nice theme...looking forward to it (ronald of lovesicily.com)

Carolyn said...

Angela's comment about the pod of the nutmeg reminds me of all the goodies one can make from the husks of the walnut. Thanks for the SHF on spices.

Some person said...

I cant wait, I have been scouring my cookbooks for inspiration. What a great weekend winter project!