Weekend Cooking and Reading

Cold evenings make me crave ambery perfumes and rich flavors. Tonight I made Shirin Plov, a Persian style sweet and savory pilaf with apricots, rosewater and saffron, which goes perfectly with grilled meat or chicken. Today, I felt that it needed no accompaniment, other than salad and soup.

While browsing online, I found a few articles that I would like to share with you.

Frankincense Fit for a King (One, Anyway): how to grow frankincense at home, something that I would like to do.

The New Spanish Scent That’s Good Enough to Eat: about Núvol di Llimona (“Lemon Cloud”) perfume that was created by Jordi Roca, pastry chef at Cellar de Can Roca, one of Spain’s most acclaimed restaurants. “Jordi has already made a name for himself creating desserts that taste like many well-known fragrances smell. Now he’s taken that talent out of the kitchen and given it a twist, by inventing a perfume that smells like one of his desserts taste.”

Cilantro Haters, It is Not Your Fault: Harold McGee, a food science expert, explains why some people dislike the flavor of cilantro (hint: it has to do with aldehydes!)

Related is Harold McGee’s ‘Keys To Good Cooking’ For Chefs, a thorough review of McGee’s latest book release, which has a whole chapter on scents and flavors.

DIY Edible Holiday Gifts from Saveur: holiday appropriate post from Saveur, my favorite food publication.

Photography  ©  Bois de Jasmin



  • Ann C.: Very interesting article about cilantro. I fall into the “like it” category; to me, it adds a fresh and green note to food. I know a lot of people, including my husband, who don’t like it at all. Over time, my husband has grown to like it better, but I’ve always wondered why so many people seem to dislike it. December 11, 2011 at 6:58am Reply

  • Suzanna: I have a bit of a weakness for lemon notes in gourmand fragrances, so I am trying hard not to hit the “Comprar aqui” button on the Cellar de Can Roca Web site.

    I love fresh cilantro, especially in homemade salsa. December 11, 2011 at 7:01am Reply

  • silverdust: Thank you for posting the frankincense article. It was outstanding and about far more than a mysterious plant! December 11, 2011 at 10:18am Reply

  • Nick: I so hate raw coriander (cilantro to my other global friends) almost as much as I hate the taste and smell of cucumber. Good to know I am not alone.

    But the pilaf sounds good. December 11, 2011 at 5:49am Reply

  • Sujaan: I would love a perfume that smells like Shirin Plov!
    OJ’s Osmanthus smells like rice. Maybe I could layer it with an apricot scent like SL Daim Blond. Do you have any other ideas? December 11, 2011 at 1:18pm Reply

  • Sujaan: Oh, yes, I just realized my mistake, I meant Champaca. I have now just done my own experiment and when I walked into the living room, my husband said, wow, you smell great!
    I guess I’m going to have to get a bottle of Champaca because I am down to the last bit of my sample from my OJ Discovery Set!
    SL’s Arabie sadly reminds me too much of my Father’s pipe, it just doesn’t make me feel sexy. December 11, 2011 at 2:01pm Reply

  • Sujaan: I’m so excited. I just did a big order of samples from The Perfumed Court and Mahjoun is one I ordered. I may have my Shirin Plov after all. December 11, 2011 at 2:23pm Reply

  • Lindaloo: I like cilantro — used in the appropriate cuisines. The time a man I was seeing decided on Christmas morning to fry up our leftover pyrohy (pierogies) with cilantro was when I knew the relationship was on its way to over — he never did listen.

    Thanks for the link to the frankinscense article. December 11, 2011 at 5:41pm Reply

  • Victoria: I used to dislike cilantro, but over time it grew on me. Now, I cannot imagine not having a bunch of cilantro in the fridge. That, mint, dill and parsley are the staple herbs in my cooking. December 11, 2011 at 1:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: I also find that the note it adds is very fresh and bright. Cilantro and lemon make for a perfect pairing. December 11, 2011 at 1:19pm Reply

  • Victoria: It sounds so good, doesn’t it? And I am not even a huge gourmand fan. December 11, 2011 at 1:19pm Reply

  • Victoria: I loved that article, so interesting! Now, I want to grow my own frankincense tree as well. December 11, 2011 at 1:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: Wouldn’t that be great!
    How about Lutens’s Arabie? Ormonde Jayne Champaca smells even more like rice to me. December 11, 2011 at 1:21pm Reply

  • Victoria: What about DSH Mahjoun? I have not smelled it myself, but I read many reviews that describe it as a luscious sweetmeat kind of fragrance–almond, rose notes, figs, dates, honey, spices. Somehow, it seems like it could work.

    Arabie is not that easy to wear, I admit. I find it beautiful, but heavy and
    sweet. December 11, 2011 at 2:08pm Reply

  • sunsetsong: I love love love fresh coriander in diverse cuisines – curry sauces, green salads and it adds an extra dimension to guacamole, and salsa. Ideal partner to garlic, mint and chilli.

    Don’t ever want to spray it on though! December 11, 2011 at 7:12pm Reply

  • Victoria: Wow, great coincidence! Let me know how you like it. I might also order a sample. December 11, 2011 at 2:26pm Reply

  • Victoria: Not listening–a deal breaker, for sure! Pierogi and cilantro don't work for me either, unless it is a pure meat filling. In that case, a sprinkling of cilantro is a nice touch. December 11, 2011 at 8:47pm Reply

  • Victoria: Me too. I also love cilantro chutneys (cilantro, mint, green onion or garlic pureed with lime juice and ginger.)
    There are a few fragrances that have a pronounced cilantro like note, mostly masculines. Strongly aldehydic notes are challenging, but they can work well in right combinations. December 11, 2011 at 8:51pm Reply

  • Sujaan: I will let you know. I am still waiting patiently (not) for my samples to arrive. Mahjoun will be my first try. December 16, 2011 at 5:01pm Reply

  • Sujaan: Just tried Mahjoun…I like it better than Cimabue, which is too sweet for me, but Mahjoun has this tobacco note to me (which is not listed – it might be the bitter almond). My husband said he liked the way it smelled from across the room but not up close, which gives you insight into it’s throw. It’s like a softer, easier to wear Arabie. I have a feeling you might like it!  December 20, 2011 at 6:14pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you so much for letting me know. Yes, a definite must try for me! 🙂 December 21, 2011 at 8:43am Reply

  • thelmaj: Nice post!!!I cannot imagine not having a bunch of cilantro in the fridge. That, mint, dill and parsley are the staple herbs in my cooking. December 23, 2011 at 2:44pm Reply

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