Photograph courtesy of http://www.miniperfumebottle.com/
My goodness what a week it’s been! Tuesday’s transit of Venus makes this a period of time in which to celebrate the feminine in all of her aspects. Indeed around here we’re all feeling just a touch more romantic than usual, possibly because on Tuesday the 12th my darling husband and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. Today is also an lovely day for me because after a bit of a hiatus Perfume Illuminated has returned! Roxana Villa and I are delighted to be back and todays subject is one that delights us both!
Whatever the reason today is for all of the extra love in the air, it' also Friday, also known in these parts as Venus Day! Today is a perfect day for a delightful love spell or to manifest abundance in all aspects of your life. Flowing, silky fabrics in bright hues of ruby , pink and gold feel like just the right thing to wear on a day devoted to love and what prettier posy could we play with today than the ethereally beautiful Jasmine flower?
When I first began my journey into the world of aromatherapy, I became obsessed with finding a bit of true Jasmine absolute. I was convinced that it possessed some sort of alchemy, something that would make me a bit more beautiful, just a touch more magical. I was never able to find it, the early 80’s still being awash in synthetic perfumes masquerading as the real thing, but thankfully because of Scott Cunninghams “Magical Herbalism” I was convinced to take a stab at growing a beautiful jasmine plant in a lovely pot on my patio.
I remember walking outside when it was awash in bloom to bury my nose in it, thinking to myself that I’d never smelled anything quite so luscious. It had a totally narcotic effect on me, which I quickly learned was part of her charm and I experimented with the lovely blossoms that I harvested from it, making simple tisanes and syrups while strewing them along with fresh rose petals throughout my bedclothes in an attempt to recreate the effect of Medieval flowery bower. The lovely jasmine is a superb hormone balancer and I love to steep the beautiful flowers in some almond oil to use for wonderful massage . After a warm bath, you’ll sink peacefully into your bed knowing that the sweetest of dreams are on their way and if you’re menopausal like I am you’ll find that a bit if this wonderful oil helps to banish the insomnia that occurs so frequently during the night!
Photograph courtesy of http://www.oceanthoughtsyoga.com/
One of my earliest memories of my mother was of the Jasmine tea that she would always order whenever we’d find ourselves in a tearoom together, a ritual she loved that connected to her mother and grandmother before her. I love it too, but I find that most Jasmine teas leave a longing in me for something fresher, a bit more fragrant. A couple of handfuls steeped in a pot of tea temperature water and then sweetened with a touch of honey does the trick for me as does a bit of Jasmine hydrosol just lightly spritzed into a glass of branch water. Indeed when I first met Roxana Villa, she offered Jim and me each a glass of spring water that had been perfumed with a lovely Jasmine Hydrosol. I’ll never forget it….I couldn’t believe what I was tasting. It was the purest essence of Jasmine and it was the most delightful thing that I’d ever tasted in a glass of water. It didn’t need anything else, but this is a drink that goes beautifully with Moroccan or Persian food. It’s utterly refreshing and completely compliments the exotic flavors of a flaky Chicken Bastilla (Morrocan chicken pie) that’s been dusted with fresh cinnamon and confectioners sugar.
Bastilla Photograph courtesy of http://moroccanfood.about.com/
One of my favorite things to do with fresh jasmine blossoms is also the easiest and that is to create a beautiful syrup to use in many different recipes. Homemade Jasmine syrup drizzled over perfectly ripened melon, pineapple mint and creamy oozing burrata cheese is as decadent a dessert as it gets or I love to make a simple rice pudding by cooking Arborio rice risotto style with coconut or almond milk, pieces of pistachio nougat, chopped almonds, dried cherries, a touch of cinnamon and some raw honey. When the rice is thickened perfectly, I add a touch of ghee to taste, scoop some into a pretty bowl and drizzle it with this same syrup. To call this comfort food is an understatement. Take the same pudding, thin it out with a bit more almond milk and throw it into an ice cream maker to create a wonderful frozen dessert that you can serve with the jasmine syrup and sliced white Queen Anne cherries! Ummmm….
Nougat photo courtesy of http://annmariekostyk.com/
You can also make an incredible martini with this syrup by shaking together an ounce or two of ginger flavored vodka (Skyy makes an exceptional one!) , a teaspoon of lemon juice, a dash or two of white peach bitters, a tablespoon of agave nectar, cracked ice and at least a tablespoon of this luscious syrup. If you want to, for fun you can omit the lemon juice and instead of agave add a bit of amaretto and a raw egg white (organic please!). Shake hard, strain into a martini glass and you’ll have a delicious “Fizz”.
Garnish either of these delightful cocktails with several of the fresh blossoms for a beautiful, summery cocktail!
To make approximately 1 cup of Jasmine syrup you will need to bring 1 cup of water , 1 cup of sugar and a couple of strips of lemon peel to a gentle simmer. Let the sugar dissolve, stir it for a couple of minutes, no more because you don’t want it to boil or begin to caramelize. Then put a couple of handfuls of just picked ,pesticide free, non – washed organic Jasmine blossoms into a mason jar and pour the syrup over them and let the whole thing steep for a couple of hours after which it will be completely ready to use!
In a pinch you can use the Monin Jasmine syrup...not nearly as good nor as magical but a suitable substitute:)
Now while the syrup is steeping, why don't you float over to Roxana Villas Illuminated Perfume to bury your nose in her blooming Jasmine musings! have a wonderful weekend, filled with love, abundance and beautifully fragrant thoughts....