Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cloves: Ground by a Mortar and Pestle

My mother taught me how to use cloves whole. We used to insert whole cloves into apples or quinces to add flavour while baking them to make desserts or stewing them, but only after I turned 30 I started to grind cloves into powder, using a mortar and pestle.

Elizabeth Blackwell, “The Clove, Carophyllus aromaticus.” Plate 338 from volume 2 of Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal, Containing Five Hundred Cuts, of the Most Useful Plants, Which Are Now Used in the Practice of Physic: . . . To Which Is Added a Short Description of Ye Plants; and Their Common Uses in Physic (London, 1739). [Rare Books Division]

Cloves have such a strong sweet but spicy and peppery flavour that so I've already learned to use them in moderation to avoid over seasoning. It's best to grind them just before you use them so that you will ensure flavour and freshness are at their peak. 

Well, here is Clove Gum which is flavored with clove spice and has a very distinctive taste. It has a unique flavor, they say. It has  been on the market since 1914.  Today,  Clove gum is only manufactured every three years or so and is produced in large batches.  Since it is only produced ever so often, it can be very difficult to find. Clove Gum can be purchased on Retro Planet.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Blueberry muffins with ground walnuts and cinnamon

"They looked and smelled so charming that I thought there was something magical inside, something more than flour and sugar." he told her.

 “For the special thrilling quality of their friendship was in their complete surrender. Like two open cities in the midst of some vast plain their two minds lay open to each other. And it wasn't as if he rode into hers like a conqueror, armed to the eyebrows and seeing nothing but a gay silken flutter--nor did she enter his like a queen walking on soft petals. No, they were eager, serious travellers, absorbed in understanding what was to be seen and discovering what was hidden--making the most of this extraordinary absolute chance which made it possible for him to be utterly truthful to her and for her to be utterly sincere with him." she replied.

  • Ingredients
  •  1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ground walnut
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Directions
    1. 1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C and lightly grease or line with paper baking cups 23/4-inch muffin cups. 
    2. 2. In a large bowl, blend together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
    3. 3. In a medium bowl, beat the egg, milk, butter and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla extract. 
    4. Combine the two mixtures, blending until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the blueberries, ground walnut and cinnamon. Use a wooden spoon and don't stir much. 
    5. Fill the muffin cups about three-quarters full. Sprinkle with ground walnut and cinnamon. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
    6. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Monday, January 2, 2012


An old companion, Trio
''You wake up but not really. In the bedroom you grew up in. It's the only place on this entire planet that is yours. The only place on the planet that understands you. It understands the way your nerves flare every time you think about talking to anyone, scared into shyness at the thought of opening your mouth but the way you are the best hypocrite around when you're in front of a microphone.  It knows what turns that switch on and off and on again. It understands the way when you don't have a smile on your face everyone only spits: "what's wrong"s and "you look tired"s. So the way you keep it on your face just wide enough to avoid questions. It understands how neurotic you have become, the way you treat your flaws like old friends. The way you look in the mirror and think of yourself as... ''