Seema’s food: Warm and Woody Flavours

When autumn wants to stay & winter wants to come in early …

A tussle is seen. 

Pleasant to the eyes …

A sight to behold! 

This was exactly the scene of the last week of October, when the autumn colours were at their best and the weather a slight chillier but balmy, comfortable, and after the rains, nice and sunny. But then, there comes the snow and that too a lot of it. As it snows and then later the forecast for the rains and cold, what we look forward to is a nice hot mug of spiced tea or a glass of warm apple cider and finally of course comes glögi – the slightly spiced warm drink with a nice hue of red and bright colours – immediately a shift in the paradigm. We are lost in the world of reminiscing, retrospection and just togetherness.  Agreeing with Bonaro W. Overstreet, the American author, “October is a symphony of permanence and change.” So very true, don’t you agree?

The glass of glögi totally reminded me of a friend, mentor, who has a tradition in their family to have the first glass of glögg on the onset of the first snow. Thinking of her and the glögi, I knew it was time to try a nice warm glass of it and of course spiced it up with the known spices of my kitchen. Time for some cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to my rescue along with star anise. As I was on lookout for recipes, I came across all-spice mix, which on further “googling,” revealed that it’s made with dried, unripen berry of myrtle pepper tree or pimento and a substitute for this mix is exactly the mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Interesting, isn’t it?

So, there the star anise, which we call chakra phool, so beautiful to look at. And with the addition of just one in a pot or a glass adds a visual delight along with a stark, sweet, licoricey flavour. Unknown-1

Like its addition along with cloves and other spices in our “goda masala” (Read more in “The Goda Masala – the Kitchen king. The heart of our veggies/ lentils or dal! http://www.megamedia.fi/fi/seemas-food-the-kitchen-king-goda-masala-curry-powder/)

And finally, cloves have been a part of grandma´s recipes as they helped with dental pain. A clove in the mouth also helps against motion-travel sickness. Since experiments or innovations have always been my way of exploring our culinary travels, I was looking for some interesting dessert recipe using cloves. Well, there is one: “lavang latika” (lavang is clove) – a flaky sugar glazed pocket stuffed with milk solids, grated coconut, dry fruits, the filling is to one´s liking. What is important is that the packet is sealed with a clove and then deep fried. Later it is soaked in sugar syrup and then taken out and served. So, in my element, as Diwali the festival of lights is soon around the corner, this was absolutely going to be a good, sweet start. 


It’s time to light the lamps or hang those light strings and enjoy the warm sweet and savory treats as winter sets in and endorsing the Indian chef, Ranveer Brar´s quote, “I think we shouldn’t buckle up our creativity. You’ve got to experiment!”

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