Sunday, January 10, 2010

Think Spice -Think Vanilla

"Think Spice". This is the name of the monthly event started by Sunita Bhuyan. Each month a different blog chooses a spice, and hosts the event. This month, I get to host it. And the spice I chose is Vanilla - the orchid plant producing the aromatic vanilla bean - the second most expensive spice in the world (after saffron).
When I had chosen this spice a couple of weeks ago while suggesting my blog for the event, I had been doing a lot of reading about it since I was kind of mesmerised with it's fragrance. I had used up a vanilla pod in a recipe and tossed the used up pod in my sugar canister. The soft, warming, vanilla fragrance that would wake me when I would open it to add sugar to my coffee kind of had me delirious for a few days!

A lot of us living in Switzerland are found groping for a couple of ingredients during our first few weeks of cooking here, which are almost staple in the rest of the world. Things like packed light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, cake flour, chocolate chips and of course vanilla extract! We get vanilla pods, and also vanilla sugar. But the extract has to be procured while on visits abroad!

While buying the extract or the pod, here are a few things I keep in mind
- Try picking up one with Madagascar-Bourbon bean
- Look for "pure" vanilla extract. Never one which says "vanilla essence". This would be cheap synthetically produced scent
- If buying a pod, see that it pliable and shiny
And of course, never ever throw away a used up pod. You can add it to your sugar to make vanilla sugar, or even a homemade vanilla extract!

So this is the theme for this month's "Think Spice". Onto the "rules".
1) Send me the recipes from your blog using vanilla in any form before 1-Feb-2010.

2) Mail me at snacksgiving[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject "Think Spice" with the following details
Your Name:
Blog Name:
Recipe Name and URL:

3) If you do not have a blog, just send in a picture

4) Link back to this post. If using an old blogpost, please update it with a link to this post as well.

5)Use the below logo if you like.

I will post a roundup in the beginning of the February.
Have fun! Share

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Herez wishing all of you a very Happy New Year.
Hope you had fun during the holidays, and ate a lot in the Christmas, New Year spirit.
I surely had my share of stollens, cream laden muffins and a few mince pies. Needless to say, I am reaching for all my loose T-s these days. But hey, it's ok. We are allowed to binge every once in a while right?
Anyways, good luck with your resolutions if you have made any. For me, birthdays seem more a time for thinking through, making and breaking some promises to self. But yes, since everyone around seems to be following some regimens for a few days past the new year, it is probably easier to keep oneself motivated around this least until we all forget about them after a few days :))
Have fun, and hope the world sees a nice and peaceful 2010 Share