Sunday, October 31, 2010

Everything Licorice

What could possibly be more spooky and appropriate for Halloween than licorice?

Both the candy, aroma and Black Licorice perfume, which incorporates sweet notes of rockrose, honey and rose with licorice-drenched star anise, coconutty tarragon absolute and a hint of patchouli.

However, Licorice flavour is not limited to the candy and root alone. The aroma actually exists in aniseed, licorice root, star anise, fennel seeds, leaves and bulb, and herbs such as tarragon and some varieties of basil.

Indigo has violet and anise, an unusual combination that has become somewhat of a classic since the legendary l'Heure Bleue, and is even paired in violet-anise pastilles, but also caraway seeds, which have an air of mystery about them and are used in breads and harvest seed cakes (I even used them in my Madeleine seed cakes), and also tarragon, which has a greener anise note to it.

Vetiver Racinettes also has tarragon, which gives the earthy, dry roots of vetiver a rootbeer-like sweetness.

These aromas of herbs and seeds can all be incorporated into delicious foods during the fall for a warming, savoury-sweet effect. Like I said - licorice is not all about candy!

My ever so popular Tarragon-Fennel tea sandwiches have become somewhat of a classic in my fall tea parties. To make them you will need:

1 Loaf of sliced, dense white or whole wheat bread (such as: brioche or the square breads found in Asian markets - i.e.: T & T and K-Mart)

200gr cream cheese (I prefer the organic cream cheeses, as they are easier to spread and don't have all the extra stabilizers)

2 Tbs. fresh organic tarragon leaves, chopped quite thinly

Grated zest from one (preferably organically-grown) orange

1/4 or 1/2 bulb fennel (depending on size), quartered and sliced thinly

Mixed together the cream cheese, grated orange zest and chopped tarragon leaves.

Spread on both slices.

Sprinkle with one even and thin layer of fennel slices.

Close two slices together and trim away the crusts.

Cut into smaller pieces (i.e.: lengthwise into 3 "finger sandwiches", diagonally into 4 small triangles)


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