Sugar & Spice…

Things I might have in the fridge or larder… above, an experimental kaffir or makrut lime sugar that turned out BRILLIANTLY. Take some beautiful makrut limes (in this case, a neighbor’s gift) and zest them into some white sugar. I stored this in the fridge thinking it might keep it fresher. It is SO FRAGRANT and just that beautiful hint of flavor in whatever you put it in… sugar cookies, pie crusts, etc.

We ALWAYS have a jar of vanilla sugar in the kitchen. Used vanilla pods are simply buried in white sugar, and we keep adding pods and topping off sugar. It’s amazing how fragrant and flavorful the sugar becomes.

Even better, cinnamon and vanilla sugar. I used to have a jar of just cinnamon sugar but our cook mistakenly added vanilla pods to it. So we just kept it going for years and years… A simple piece of bread, with butter and cinnamon/vanilla sugar toasted in a small oven is love.

Finally, we dry out own chilies whenever we run low on our stocks… here dried labuyo and habanero peppers. We always make too much, but it’s always good to have it in stock. We never keep them more than 6 months so they are fresh and vibrant. So many homes have given up the tradition of making and storing some of their ingredients, condiments and preserves and pickles. I can understand that convenience and groceries have probably killed off that tradition. But on any given day, in our cupboards or fridge/freezer, you will find several bottles of things we have made over the last few months, and sugar and spice is always nice… :)


6 Responses

  1. An excellent technique for putting to use discarded vanilla pods which normally end up in the compost, specially now that an international vanilla shortage is upon us. Am I ever thankful I sprang for that litre of Nielsen-Massey Tahitian vanilla extract a couple of years back.

    Along the same lines, I discovered unwittingly that blending orange, almond and cinnamon flavourings in whatever I was baking gave off the effect of that elusive and expensive fiori di Sicilia flavouring. Towards the end of last year, a few weeks before the holidays when I was rounding up ingredients for my first attempt at home-baked panettone, I threw some cinnamon sticks, cloves and smashed nutmeg in a jar, added rind scrapings of an orange and filled it with rum, left it a few days. It yielded an intensely amazing essence of panettone.

  2. Flavoured salt is also amazing. Lime rind ground in a mortar with salt + green tea powder, and you question why you ever needed wasabe + soy sauce for sashimi.

    Other salt combos:
    – lemon rind + black pepper (on baked fish/sweet potatoes)
    – heated salt + Chinese 5-spice (on cold pork/ham/SPAM/duck breast)
    – dried chilli + garlic powder (on cold chicken)
    – rosemary + garlic powder (on roasted potatoes/cold lamb)

  3. Khew, thanks! Some of those sound amazing and I would have never thought of them… I like the salt and five-spice… have to try that!

    Footloose, Sister once scoured New York for fiore di Sicilia I understand…

  4. Salt and five spice powder is what they serve beside crispy fried chicken when you order them in Chinese restaurants. Salt shakers hardly ever show up as mainstays in the majority of Filipino dining tables, we have instead patis in the Tagalog region and sometime soy sauce. Although soy sauce is zealously avoided on dressy tables due to its staining drawback.

    Khew, no additional salt is ever needed on Spam, it’s already too salty. I can’t recall what tempted me to pick up a package of three tins at Cosco once and opened one but only tasted a slice. It was so salty I was afraid I was going to die from osmotic shock. I gave the unopened two to a friend who volunteers at the food bank and nobody there wanted it either. I thought perhaps the clients of the food bank want to live a long life of poverty.

  5. Btw, I am completely sold on those Weck canning jars. I like all the shapes they come in, their clarity and structural strength and the secure clips of their sealing mechanism. I scoop up without hesitation pickles, jams and compotes contained in them as soon as they are relegated to the clearance bin. I take a few empty ones with me in my forays in South America as stylish receptacle for whatever seasonal exotic fruit I preserve in syrup to hand-carry back home. I am particularly fond of Brazilian acerola which on top of its unique flavour and eye-catching colour is also purported to contain a hundred times more vitamin C than an orange.



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