honey: 7 posts

Pasta di Mandorle : Cream For Lily Soft Hands

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is sitting down in front of the TV in the evening with a cup of cafe blanc and a jar of Santa Maria Novella Pasta di Mandorle. I sip my orange blossom scented drink and slowly rub the speckled brown cream into my hands, knowing that in the morning I will wake up to lily soft hands and shiny nails.

almond-paste-cream

It’s a guilty pleasure, because at $50 for 1.6 oz, Pasta di Mandorle is the most expensive cream I own. When I look at the ingredient list–sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, egg yolk, virgin beeswax, and glycerin, I think that my grandmother’s home made version might just be  as good. For the price of a couple of jars of Pasta di Mandorle, I can pay for a trip to Ukraine from Belgium so I finally decided to make my own cream.

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Spinach with Pomegranate Molasses, Honey and Caramelized Onions

While we’re at the tail end of our cold spring days–or so I hope, I still crave warm, rich flavors. On hot summer days, I often steam spinach and then dress it lightly with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, but when I arrive home soaked with rain, I want something more comforting. That’s how spinach ends up married to pomegranate molasses and honey in my kitchen. It’s a light dish, but its flavor is bold and lush.

spinach-pomegranate3

Pomegranate molasses is a trendy ingredient right now with chefs, but it’s a traditional ingredient in Eastern countries, from Turkey to Iran. I first tried it at the table of my Azeri relatives, and I’ve been in love ever since. In Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic on the Caspian Sea, this tart condiment is commonly served as a dipping sauce and in numerous vegetable preparations. In the Ukraine of my childhood, where mayonnaise was the most exotic condiment, it seemed like something out of One Thousand and One Nights. But before long it became as ubiquitous in my pantry as mustard.
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