Having watched late into this morning news on the inhumane atrocities that unfolded last night in Paris, I wanted to make more connections and to reach out to people as my act of retaliation. To share moments, experiences and food with my friends and strangers alike. And I know this is very simplistic, but in those basic moments is where togetherness begins. Hence why I have posted my first ever event here hoping we could come together virtually and share few minutes with each other.
This is the essence of the gingerbread, sweet and spicy. Home made using aromatic spices and left for a week to mature. And although it is completely optional whether you make this or not, it felt comforting to be standing in the kitchen and preparing it whilst my children remained close by, safe and within my arms’ reach.
You could of course buy the ready prepared British mixed spice. Or choose the option of using single spices next week when we make the dough. I however like to mix these together ahead of the day whilst inhaling their deeply aromatic scents. It almost feels ceremonial to be smashing and grinding spices in my pestle and mortar, watching them turn from their intricate individual shapes to soft powdery form in unison.
Afterwards the spices are placed in an airtight jar and stored in a dark cupboard before they make an appearance next week. The mix will join honey, flour and butter to create the basis for piernik, Polish gingerbread cake. This is a very traditional recipe for a cake that takes time to mature and as it does, it becomes more tender and flavoursome. Here is the recipe:
- 40 grams of cinnamon bark (or ground cinnamon)
- 20 grams of dried ginger
- 20 grams of whole cloves (or ground cloves)
- 15 grams of cardamom seeds removed from the pods (or ground cardamom)
- 15 grams of whole nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
- 15 grams of allspice berries (or ground allspice)
- 10 grams of aniseed stars (or ground aniseed)
- 5 grams of black peppercorns (or ground pepper)
One by one ground the spices in the pestle and mortar until fine powder is achieved. Grate the nutmeg using spice grater.Layer the ground spices in an airtight jar. Once they are all in, give them a good mix to ensure all spices are combined together. Seal the jar tightly. Store it away from any direct light, preferably in a dark and cool cupboard. We will use it next week when hopefully few of you will join me for the British tradition of Stir-up Sunday but with a twist. See you next Sunday and in the meantime, keep you nearest and dearest that little bit closer and hug them that little bit tighter x