番紅花蕊 （新鮮現採的喔～）Freshly picked saffron stamens~
你可能對這些細緻的紅絲覺得陌生, 但喜歡吃西班牙海鮮飯的朋友, 對這道菜那獨特的香氣及金黃的顏色一定不陌生. 提到這道菜, 就想到我的西班牙美女朋友Antonia, 她雖然住在倫敦, 是一位在大公司上班、忙碌且現代化的上班族, 煮起這海鮮飯, 不論是選材或烹煮, 卻都依循着媽媽的食譜跟做法, 一點也不馬虎. 感覺上, 因為人們對於食物美味的堅持, 生活文化也就如此傳承下來了～
番紅花蕊, 以重量換算, 曾經比黃金更加珍貴, 就是那香氣及顏色的來源. 紫色的小花在秋天盛開, 花蕊又細又小, 每一根都要在花謝之前採收, 大大地考驗眼力與耐心呀！貴, 不是沒道理的. 正因它的珍貴, 不論是食用藥用或作為染劑, 它都獲得宮廷或寺廟的青睞呢！
I love freshly picked saffron stamens! The vibrant colour and unique fragrance brought one into an exotic and mysterious world. So light, as if they are the essence of an invisible golden age, the supreme offering human beings are able to find on earth!
Saffron reminds me of buddhist temples. Water coloured golden by saffron stamens is poured into hundreds of small glasses or big bowls, placed on the tables as an offering which said to bring happiness and wealth provided the person is sincere. It also reminds me of my lovely Spanish friend, Antonia. Although Antonia is a modern and busy office lady living in London, when it comes to cooking saffron flavoured paella, she is as serious as you can imagine- from choosing the materials to the order and tips of cooking, she follows the family recipe passed down by her mum. Her genuine will of preserving the home taste of paella seems to have preserved part of the Spanish culture!
我們種植番紅花的因緣來自一位愛好種植的朋友Marianne, 因為她種的球根繁殖迅速, 她很慷慨地送了我們50顆. 這小紫花其實也不難種, 只要是排水良好、陽光充足的地方, 它都長得好！每年夏末秋初把它們種下, 給予充足的水分, 陽光普照的日子裡, 就可以看到花兒們迎風搖曳. 我們把它們種在陽台以方便採收, 花謝後葉子持續長長並垂下, 像是綠色長髮似的！這長髮一挂就挂到來年4~5月才變黃髮. 此時把球根挖出來放在乾燥的地方, 可以重覆使用～
We bumped into our allotment enthusiast friend, Marianne, on a Sunday morning. Her saffron plants have multiplied so much that she has got no extra space to plant them! She invited us to grow the surplus and very generously gave us 50 bulbs. We have planted them in the window box for easy picking. They thrive at a sunny position with well drained soil. You just need to water them well until they flower. The leaves keep growing long as if the princess dropping her long hair down the tower! These green hair turns yellow in April to May suggesting you to dig the bulbs out and store them for next season~