seasons

A Kimchi For All Seasons

As the wheel spins toward Halloween, I’m thinking about the Pagan festival I usually don’t celebrate – Beltane. It’s not that I don’t like Beltane, it’s just that it happens to fall on Halloween. In the topsy turvy world of the southern/northern hemispheres, Pagan holidays are reversed. As the classic festivals were celebrated in the northern hemisphere, those of us in the southern hemisphere can feel a bit out of place. Do we celebrate Yule in December or June? Halloween in October or April?

As the festivals are based on the seasons, it makes sense to simply reverse the holidays down under. I do this for seven out of the eight classic seasonal celebrations, but when it comes to Halloween, I celebrate it twice! It hasn’t bothered me before. As a vampire loving goth, I love celebrating this spooky holiday twice a year. But as I went for my usual walks down my local streets, I felt the draw of Beltane deep in my bones. While alternating between keeping my eyes up for swooping magpies and eyes down for passing snakes, I was inspired by all the animal life coming out to enjoy our Spring. So now I am in a quandary. Do I celebrate Halloween, Beltane or both next week? I’m not sure, but I am certainly getting signs that paying attention to seasons is very important! Which brings me to kimchi 🙂

Ever since I heard about Korea’s national dish I have wanted to try it. Kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish, famous for its rich red colour and its spiciness. Unfortunately, one of the key spices is chilli, which I am allergic to. It was only after talking to a friend well versed in kimchi, that I discovered white kimchi, a type of kimchi that doesn’t have chilli. Armed with a copy of The Kimchi Cookbook: 60 Traditional and Modern Ways to Make and Eat Kimchi (Lauryn Chun), I began exploring the world of white kimchi.

Apart from the different types of vegetables that could be used, the different seasonings and the different types of fermentation processes, what I also learned was that there are different kimchi for different seasons. I considered making a Spring kimchi but was more drawn to the Autumn offerings. You just can’t take the Halloween out of me 🙂 So while I still don’t know what festival I will be celebrating next week I do know one thing – I’ll be contemplating my dilemma over a bowl of refreshing Autumnal kimchi.

Apple, Pear, and Cabbage Water Kimchi with Fennel in Clear Broth

img_2969

Ingredients
450g wombok (napa) cabbage
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 medium nashi pear
1 medium fuji apple
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
4 cups cold water
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced

Instructions
Cut the cabbage in half.
Cut the core out of the cabbage then cut into 5cm pieces.
Wash the cabbage thoroughly.
Mix together the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Peel and core the pear and apple.
Cut into quarters or thick slices. I do a combination of the two.
In a food processor, puree together the onion, garlic and ginger.
Place the pureed mixture into a large bowl.
Add the sugar and water and stir well.
Add the cabbage with the brining mixture.
Add the pear, apple and fennel and mix together.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.
Use within 1 month.

This is my first attempt at kimchi. It came out rather salty and I’m not sure if that’s how it is meant to taste. I’ve taken a small batch out and added extra water. I’ll see how that goes. I’ve also read that adding radish slices can cut down on the saltiness. However, the apples and pears work well with the saltiness. Am happy for any tips or advice on my kimchi journey 🙂

Cold Nights and Warm Fortunes

I’ve experienced something the last few days that I haven’t experienced for quite some time – bone chilling cold – and I love it!

I can remember Autumns in Melbourne that were so cold that a jacket, scarf, hat and gloves would barely keep you warm. It’s not like we get snow here, but we used to get an Autumn and Winter. However, the last few years have been dominated by really warm Springs, long, hot Summers followed by a brief cooling down for Autumn and Winter. Before you know it Spring has arrived with Summer hot on its heels. While I love Summer, and really enjoy feeling the heat of the Sun warm my body, I yearn for the cold. I yearn for seasons. I want my Spring, Summer, Autumn and especially my Winter. It’s what we used to have in Melbourne and it’s what we’re having now. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts because sadly, I think global warming is having its effect and my sunburnt country is going to get hotter and hotter.

What better way to enjoy a cold Autumn night than with a hot coffee and a fortune!

traditional turkish coffee

Turkish Coffee for Two

Special Equipment

1 small, narrow-topped turkish coffee pot (called a cezve or any of a number of different names)
2 turkish coffee cups (demitasse)
2 saucers
 

Ingredients

2 demitasse cups of water
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 heaped teaspoons of Turkish coffee

 

Method

Add the water to the Turkish coffee pot, making sure you do not overfill the pot. The water should be just under the narrowest part of the rim.
Add the sugar.
Spoon Turkish coffee on top of the water. Do not stir.
Heat over medium-low heat until warm. Stir the coffee and sugar until they dissolve. Continue heating until the water comes almost to the boil and bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Remove from the heat and allow the bubbles to subside. Return to the heat and repeat two more times. There should now be a good layer of foam on the top. Carefully pour the coffee into two Turkish coffee cups, making sure there is foam on the top of both of them.
Allow to settle for a minute before drinking.
For fortune telling purposes drink from only one side of the cup.
When the coffee is finished, place the saucer on top of the cup.
Hold the cup at chest level and turn in a clockwise circle three times.
Quickly turn the cup upside down on the saucer and leave to stand for a few minutes.
Remove the cup from the saucer and turn upright.
Read the coffee symbols.
When the reading is finished and the cup returned to you, you can then make a wish whilst using your index finger to make a fingerprint in the cup.
The coffee cup can be read again to see if the wish will come true or not.
Finally, the coffee patterns on the saucer can be read.

There are many different views on how to make Turkish coffee, the right strength and the amount of sweetness. The above recipe is my preferred way. Sometimes, for a truly indulgent – but non-traditional coffee – I float a layer of cream on top. Do you have an unconventional Turkish coffee recipe/addition?

Similarly there are different rituals for coffee cup reading. I’d love to hear what your traditions are.

non-traditional turkish coffee – with a dash of cream