Forest Edibles

Friday, June 6, 2014



These smell amazing, said Gaby. They smell like. . . nature!

She was sitting across the table from me, spreading our freshly made spruce sugar on a towel to dry. A few hours earlier, we have returned from a walk in the forest, where we gathered the baby spruce tips. She photographed it all.

Later, I will watch a Picasa slideshow with all her photos along with descriptions of what is happening in each one (Here is Adana shaking hands with the tree, etc.). Something tells me she had a good time.

I have discovered edible spruce and pine tips through a good friend, who regularly makes cough syrup by combining raw honey with chopped tips, and letting the mix infuse over several weeks. Packed with vitamin C, their culinary use is limited only by your imagination.

I planned to make spruce salt and spruce flavor olive oil, but with Gaby around, we ended up making sugar and cookies. The taste of citrus in shortbread is refreshing (with only a hint of resin aroma). A few of our spruce sugar jars are now tucked safely away in the pantry, to be used throughout the summer as dessert topping and who knows what else.

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Kako divno mirišu, rekla je Gabi. Mirišu na. . . prirodu!

Sjedila je preko puta mene i vrijedno istresala naš svježe pripremljeni smrekin šećer na kuhinjski ubrus kako bi se osušio. Nekoliko sati ranije vratile smo se iz šetnje šumom gdje smo sakupljale mlade iglice smreke. Od tada sjedi sa mnom i uči o raznoraznim osobinama smreke.

Naš dan u prirodi zabilježila je fotoaparatom. Kasnije ću gledati Picasa slideshow njenih fotografija, uz natpise kao: Na ovoj slici se Adana rukuje sa drvetom.

Za jestive iglice smreke sam saznala od prijatelja koji ih redovno koristi za pravljenje sirupa protiv kašlja (tegla meda pomiješanog sa šakom nasitnjenih iglica se čuva na tamnom i hladnom mjestu nekoliko sedmica, et voilà). Bogate su vitaminom C, a njihova upotreba u kulinarstvu ograničena je samo vašom maštom.

Planirala sam praviti aromatičnu sol i ulje, ali obzirom da mi se Gabi pridružila, pravile smo kolačiće i aromatični šećer. Okus citrusa kojim obogaćuju kolače je osvježavajuć, uz jedva osjetnu notu arome smole. Nekoliko teglica smrekinog šećera je spremljeno u ostavi i čeka svoj red da obogati neku osvježavajuću ljetnu salatu ili kolač.

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Spruce Shortbread

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh spruce tips
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour of your choice (I used 3/4 graham flour and 1/4 white flour)
1/2 cup butter, cut in small cubes
1/8 tsp salt


Method

Preheat the oven to 140 C (~300 F). Process sugar with spruce tips, making sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor. Add flour and continue processing, until the ingredients are well combined. Add butter and keep processing until the dough holds together when pinched. You don't want the dough to form a ball as that will flatten the texture. Wrap the dough in plastic foil and refrigerate for half an hour.

Roll the dough into a 3 cm (around 1,5 in.) thick rectangle. Cut out the shapes as you desire and carefully transfer them to the baking sheet. Bake for around 25 minutes, or until the cookies start to set. If the cookies brown, you've gone too far.

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Smrekini kolačići

Sastojci

1/4 mjerice svježih mladih iglica smreke
1/4 mjerice šećera
1 mjerica brašna (ja sam pomiješala 3/4 graham brašna i 1/4 bijelog brašna)
1/2 mjerice maslaca narezanog na komadiće
1/8 kašičice soli


Priprema

Zagrijte pećnicu na 140 C (~300 F). U procesoru hrane/blenderu miksajte šećer sa iglicama smreke. Dodajte brašno i miksajte uz pulsiranje, kako bi se sastojci ravnomjerno izmiješali. Na kraju postepeno dodajite komadiće maslaca, dok tijesto ne počne da se zgušnjava. Zamotajte tijesto u plastičnu foliju i stavite u frižider na pola sata.

Nakon što izvadite tijesto iz frižidera, sačekajte nekoliko minuta da omekša, pa ga razvijte na debljinu od oko 3 cm. Izrežite na komade željenog oblika i veličine. Kolačiće pecite oko 25 minuta, ili dok ne počnu postajati čvršći na dodir.

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April Moments

Friday, May 2, 2014



Dear April,

You have been unusually lovely.

I am grateful for your sunny days (they felt like blessings), hikes that lead to new discoveries, and those two vanilla ice creams, the first ones this season. I've said goodbye to tulips and welcomed fresh herbs in my home, while impatiently waiting for peonies. There are foraging trips lined up, marmalades and syrups to be made, adventures just around the corner. . . Oh, there is just not enough time in a (sunny) day.

Many great memories will stay with me.

With love. . .

*****

U aprilu sam se ponovno zaljubila. . . u Instagram. S vremena na vrijeme osvrnem se na neke ranije fotografije i nerijetko mi to izmami osmijeh ili probudi lijepu uspomenu. Instagram je mini vizuelni dnevnik odabranih trenutaka iz naših života koji bi u protivnom možda zauvijek potonuli na dno mora drugih uspomena.

Šuma oko našeg gradića ovog aprila obnovila je svoj proljetni šarm. Šetnje kroz nju i druženje sa njenim stanovnicima su mi donijele mnoge lijepe uspomene. U maj ulazimo nestrpljivo i u nadi da su nove avanture u prirodi odmah iza ugla.