Scented geranium leaves that work for culinary and aromatherapy.
One of my favourite herbal plants is a scented rose geranium, which gives off a delicious scent of rose when the leaves are crushed. The houseplants we commonly call geraniums are actually Pelargoniums in botanical-speak. They are tender perennials, originating in South Africa. But no matter the name, the rose geranium is one of my Must Have plants. While it’s not a flowering specimen—the flowers are insignificant—rose geranium is more than worth it to grow for the scent alone.
In nature, there are some plants and flowers that have complex aromas and flavors. Probably the best example of this is wine grapes. Just think of all the words to describe your favorite wines: berry, chocolate, citrus, oaky, grassy. The list is almost endless. In the world of herbs, scented geraniums are similar.
I use it as a ‘walk by” form of aromatherapy, grabbing a leaf and burying my nose in it, for a shot of wondrous olfactory bliss. This is the kind of thing you need in November, or any winter day, really. The scent is similar to the Attar of Rose scent, a true rose fragrance.
We just got our first snowfall and with that thoughts quickly turned towards soups, stews and pot roasts. When preparing these cold weather classics it’s always a good idea to have a batch of beef or chicken stock on hand, and a well-stocked freezer (see what I did there?) will have a couple litres at least of each. A good stock differs from broth in that broth is typically a liquid that meat has been cooked in, whereas stock is a more flavourful, complex and nutritious, made from simmering the butchered bones, cartilage, and connective tissues along with whatever meat is on the bones, usually for a number of hours. These compounds dissolve during the lengthy simmering process into gelatin and it is this component that makes a stock luxurious, shimmering and smooth when liquid and a savoury jelly when cold. Continue »
Fiesta Farms will be donating ingredients to a fundraising dinner to help Syrian refugees. Inna Gertsberg is one of the organizers, along with Sang Kim and Lara Zahabi, I spoke with her about the event and how everyone can get involved. This post is illustrated with images of traditional Syrian dishes that should be mouthwatering enough to encourage you to buy a ticket to this incredible dinner. Continue »
Glowing fall colour of Japanese Maple.
When I named this photo I almost wrote “Japanese Maple in Bloom”, as that’s what the fiery red leaves seem to be: fiery flowers. A Japanese maple in the fall truly appears to be a tree in full bloom. Every garden should have a specimen if you have the room. The bronze coloured leaves are great all season but when the leaves turn red in fall they are spectacular, and the intense red leaf colour tends to last a long time. Sun shining through the leaves is a sight to behold that few other trees can match. We were lucky to have a remarkably warm November this year, when the picture above was taken.
There are a tremendous variety of Japanese Maples, around 700: some are yellow-green, some have interesting bark, and some of the dwarf ones are quite compact, growing only to 8 feet. There are threadleaf, and chunky leaved cultivars. Fall in love with Japanese Maples by checking out this Pinterest page of Japanese Maples. Better Homes and Gardens also has a good slideshow of Japanese Maple varieties here.
Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings, photo and recipe by Extraordinary Barbecue.
Most cooks at one time or another cook with alcoholic beverages. Whether it is wine, beer or spirits, cooking with alcoholic beverages adds a depth and sophistication to so many dishes, both sweet and savoury.
Rum is most famously employed in rum babas and the traditional truffle-like rum balls that roll our way every Christmas, we even throw in a few raisins and add rum to ice cream. Scotch whisky is the eponymous main ingredient in Scotch Whisky Cakes, sherry is a must have ingredient for the best trifles and brandy has been glugged generously on fruitcakes and puddings for eons. We brine our poultry, mussels and even bathe our beef tongue in beer, we marinate cuts of beef in red wine and use it to enrich our sauces, and in short, many of us have decided that if we are going to cook, we often look to the liquor cabinet for inspiration. Continue »