20 January 2006

I declare...

I briefly mentioned each year I decide to teach myself a little more about a certain food. 2005 was The Year of The Tart and I improved my pie-making skills quite nicely. Okay...my pie crusts still aren't the greatest thing I do, but they are much, much more edible. Previous years had me baking breads, immersed in soups, rediscovering Indian food, recreating meals from my Italian adventure and chilling out with ice cream.

Deciding what I was going to do this year wasn't as difficult as I originally expected (yes, I start thinking of these things in the summer).

I was extremely stressed this autumn (to which The Fussy Eater Can attest). I didn't want to resort to pharmaceuticals (the occasional pint or gin, yes...or pint of gin, BIG YES). Yoga was good, but it needed a bit more. Then I remembered about the calming effects of vanilla.

I used to have some vanilla products from The Body Shop and I associated the smell with warmth, peace and relaxation. I bought some vanilla-scented perfume oil and after I started wearing it, I began to feel better...and smell like fairycakes....mmm....fairycakes. That last part threw some of my colleagues for a loop "You smell like candy" was one of the comments (I would have replied, "But you always knew I was sweet" but I'm sure that would have landed me in soup or something).

Anyway, I felt a lot better. And happier. M
ind you, who amongst us wouldn't feel happier if they are constantly reminded of nummy things like fairycakes and ice cream and panna cotta and creamy, cooked custard? Plus, it's linked with chocolate...mmm chocolate.

It was easy figuring out what magic ingredient I'd be playing with in 2006. But I want to do more than just bake. I want to use it in ways I've not used it before, and learn how to do "the same olds" better.

So here goes:

I officially declare 2006 "Not-so Vanilla."

Hmm...I expected a trumpeted fanfare or something..Oh yeah, I gave them the night off...

This week I'll post a two-part primer and throughout the year I'll write about my trials and tribulations...along with victories and discoveries while working with this ubiquitous yet special spice.



Anonymous said...

Oooh sounds like a very interesting year ... can't wait to learn some new uses for vanilla! BTW, I received in my stocking (this is a true-blue foodie household after all) some vanilla-salt from France. Any suggestions?

jasmine said...

Hi Rorie

Vanilla salt! Wow--you must have been a very good girl this year :)

I've lately gotten into the entire sweet and salty thing, so my first thought was a sundae with either vanilla or sweat cream ice cream, butterscotch sauce and then sprinkle it with a little of the v. salt.

I'd also try it in a Thai-style coconut cream shrimp dish sr on sweet potato fries--instead of the usual sea salt (or what ever).

Personally, I love salt on grapefruit, so you might want to try it on that or on wedges of raw tomatoes (I don't eat them, so I really couldn't say...).

How's that for a start?


Anonymous said...


Thank you for that announcement ... I for one look forward to reading about your adventures.

And this announcement will undoubtedly help to lift my spirits as we face E-Day tomorrow!!!


Anonymous said...

Jasmine! :o)

Hey, woman!

Sounds like you're gonna be on a roll in the '06. I look forward to reading of the new (and some improved) uses you find for that good old standby, vanilla.

Hope all is well in your camp. Be back soon.