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有趣的水果:榲桲及貼梗海棠 Quince and Japanese quince

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有趣的水果:榲桲及貼梗海棠 Quince and Japanese quince

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這些蘋果不像蘋果, 梨子不像梨子的水果們, 大的叫榲桲, 小的叫貼梗海棠. 今年倫敦的氣候對於水果生長特有利, 這兩種金黃色的果子, 我們收了整整一大盤, 擺在客廳, 滿室生香, 讓人忍不住想咬一口~ 美中不足的是, 這哥倆們又硬又酸, 得加工過後才能發揮潛質.
今天一早上我就忙著把小顆的做成果醬, 煮的時候整屋子蜂蜜的味道, 做成的果醬散發着橘紅色的光澤, 很是可口的樣子. 下午茶時間把果醬搭着山羊乳酪和餅乾一起吃, 絕配!至於大顆的呢, 通常我們喜歡把它加在中東風味的燉羊肉以降低油膩感, 或者, 酌量加在蔬菜咖哩也很不錯喔!


This year, we have got reasonably good harvest of quinces(big) and Japanese quinces(small). When they are ripening, they fill the room with such sweet cent that you can’t resist wanting to have a bite on the fruit. But wait a moment!! Do you have very strong teeth and stomach??
These golden apple (or pear) alike fruit are definitely edible, however, best being enjoyed when they are cooked; normally hard and sour when eaten raw….
I like cooking Persian style lamb stew with quinces and making jelly from Japanese quinces. After a morning’s hard work, yes, quince jelly with goat’s cheese and biscuits is my reward of the day!

這兩種水果雖然同屬薔薇科植物(和玫瑰、蘋果、梨子同家族)且味道相近, 但是外觀卻差很多. 榲桲是個子高大的喬木、樹葉形狀接近長橢圓形、花朵為淺粉紅色、花瓣尖長, 雖然如今不是那麼流行,在中古世紀果園裡卻佔有一席之地. 17世紀英國的食譜裡, 榲桲的食譜比其它水果都多, 人們通常將它做成鹹派、甜派或果餅, 講究一些的會在果餅上用木製圖章印上美麗的圖案. 貼梗海棠是有刺的灌木, 在英國的庭園裡常栽植作為籬笆, 以阻止閒雜人等接近, 在中文世界裡, 我們通常稱它為木瓜花, 是受歡迎的盆栽植物, 葉子比較圓且有著鮮艷的桔紅色花朵, 我的舅舅曾經有一盆木瓜花盆栽, 我到現在還記得他拜倒木瓜花裙下那著迷且興奮的神情! 貼梗海棠開花的時間接近農曆新年, 在英倫寒冷的冬天, 這個時間庭園裡並沒有很多的植物開花, 我們剪了幾條花枝, 把刺去掉後插在花瓶裡很喜氣!

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Although quince and Japanese quinces are both in the family Rosaceae (same as rose, apple and pear) and taste similar, they have very different appearances- quince being tall, big tree and Japanese quince being thorny shrubs. Quince has been grown as an orchard plant since the 13th century. It may not be so common nowadays, but in the medieval time, people used to make quince paste stamped with beautiful patterns and many sweet and savory quince pie recipes were recorded in the cook books then! Here in England, Japanese quinces is often grown as hedges to stop intruders. However, in the oriental world, Japanese quince or Chinese quince are popular bonsei plants! My uncle used to have one of these and I have always remembered how much he was fascinated by its orange-red flowers! Japanese quince flowers in late winter, early spring. There are not many garden plants in bloom this time of the year. A few flowering branches of Japanese quince will certainly brighten up the living room and create festive atmosphere to your home!

番紅花蕊 (新鮮現採的喔~)Freshly picked saffron stamens~

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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!

這個週末做道紅花米飯來宴請貴客吧~

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!

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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. 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~

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