Potpourri

Potpourri

For the recipes go to https://tinyurl.com/mxjjm7jn

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Never, but never do research. Chances are you will come across a word or a phrase that will open your eyes and put a smile on your face. Potpourri is just that word. See the definition below.

Tilly: that’s daft talk, Olive. If you hadn’t researched this, we wouldn’t know that it means something quite different from what one might expect!

N.

… pot-pourri, 1610s, “mixed meats served in a stew,” from French pot pourri “stew,” literally “rotten pot” (loan-translation of Spanish olla podrida), from pourri, past participle of pourrir “to rot,” from Vulgar Latin *putrire, from Latin putrescere “grow rotten” (see putrescent ). Notion of “medley” led to meaning “mixture of dried flowers and spices,” first recorded in English 1749. Figurative sense (originally in music) of “miscellaneous collection” is recorded from 1855.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Tilly: Well, blow me down with a rose petal. Mind you, it is entirely possible that many of the meats for the original stews were borderline ‘off’. I have read that curry possibly came about as a way to disguise festering meat when meat was scarce and probably too expensive for most people!

“Rotten Pot”, brought a smile to my eyes. It reminded me of a bowl of stew that somehow got lost in the back of someone’s refrigerator. To be discovered months after a soft and silky green moss had grown over the top. It certainly did not remind me of a glass or porcelain jug filled with dried fruits and flowers designed to make ones room smell like an outdoor garden.

Tilly: ‘Rotten pot’ brings to mind certain perfumes which knock me backwards …

It has been said that Ancient Egyptians had massive quantities of fresh roses placed in crocks and buried for later use. Some say they were the first in trying to preserve the scent of summer flowers. Ha, it was not the scent of summer they were trying to preserve. They were hiding the stench in that pyramid. Reminds you of rotten meat. The French may have been onto something here.

Tilly: I wonder if this brought about the practice of putting wreaths on coffins. Must be connected to pomanders carried during the plague and when bathrooms/bathing were not commonplace. Whatever, it is an excellent idea.

Now, that your sense of smell mixed with the memories of rotten meat have settled in. I want to remind you what Alice Morse Earle said about potpourri.

“There is something very pleasant in opening an old China jar to find it filled with potpourri, even if the scent has wholly faded.”

Tilly: No arguing with this, Olive. Nothing like the fragrance of a good (modern) potpourri. Or the aroma of a good, slow-cooked, well-herbed stew …

Enjoy the recipes below

Olive and Tilly

Old Rose and Lavender Potpourri

1/2 cup rose petals

1/2 cup lavender blossoms

1/2 cup sweet woodruff

1/2 cup pot marjoram leaves and blossoms

1/4 cup mint

2 teaspoons orange peel

2 teaspoons whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon crushed cinnamon stick

2 drops each of lavender and rose oils

1/2 teaspoon powdered orrisroot

Combine the first eight ingredients. Sprinkle the oils and the orrisroot over the dry ingredients and mix well. Place in a covered jar, and stir gently every few days for a month, until the scents have blended and mellowed. Remove the jar’s cover to freshen a room, but be sure to replace the cover between times of use. All potpourris need time to recoup their scents. The above recipe will also work well in sachets.

Traditional Rose Potpourri

Ingredients:

4 pints rose petals

2 pints lavender Flowers

1-pint rosemary

1-cup cloves

1-pint lemon verbena leaves or lemongrass

1-cup whole allspice

1/3 cup juniper berries

1/2 cup anise seed

1/3 cup Benzoin gum powder or Orris root preservative

1-cup pickling salt

15 drops Oil of Rose

7 drops Oil of Rose Geranium

Directions:

Layer Flowers on the bottom of plastic pail. Add herbs, berries, and spices. Top with preservatives and salt, then put drops of oil onto the salt. Mix and cover pail. Continue to mix the ingredients every day, for six weeks. Store in plastic bags until ready for use.

Citrus Delight

Ingredients:

1 cup peppermint leaves

1/3 cup lemon verbena leaves

1/3 cup lemon balm

1/4 cup tarragon

1/2 cup rosemary

1/2 cup juniper berries

4 cups dried orange peels

4 pints dried Flower petals (roses, or any dried Flowers you have collected)

1/3 cup Benzoin gum powder or Orris root preservative

1/2 cup pickling salt

15 drops lemon oil and lime oil

Directions:

The ingredients are layered starting with dried Flowers, herbs and spices (whole cloves or allspice may also be added). Top with preservatives, salt, and oils. The purpose of layering in this sequence is that it helps evenly distribute the preservatives, salt, and oils onto the petals. You are, in fact, pickling and preserving a mixture that you would like to use for many years.

Tilly: If you haven’t the patience to wait for a month or more, you can quickly create essential oil potpourris and bring the fragrance of flowers and fruits into your home.

Floral Air Freshener

Put 4fl.ozs/120ml purified water in a spray bottle

Add the following essential oils:

10-12 drops jasmine

10-12 drops cinnamon

30 drops geranium

25 drops rose

15 drops bois de rose

10 drops clove

Tighten cap, shake contents, and spray into the air. Fragrance intensifies as it ages.

Minty Air Freshener

4fl.ozs/120ml purified water in a spray bottle

Add the following essential oils:

30-40 drops spearmint

15 drops peppermint

10 drops patchouli

10 drops petitgrain

Tighten cap, shake, and spray into the air. Intensifies as it ages.

Citrus Air Freshener

4fl.ozs/120mls purified water in a spray bottle

Add the following essential oils:

30 drops orange

30 drops lemon

20 drops patchouli

20 drops grapefruit

Tighten cap, shake and spray into the air. Intensifies as it ages.

Tilly: Before you create these, you can knock up a potpourri stew … beef with red wine, orange and black olives would be good.

 

Saute some thinly sliced onions – depends on how many you want to feed.

Add some cubed shin of beef (love the gelatinous end result this cut gives). I don’t bother sealing the meat – it is deliciously tender after a long, slow period in the oven or stove top.

Season with freshly ground black pepper, not too much sea salt, a couple of cloves, a cinnamon stick, one or two bouquet garni, the peel from an orange – and fresh garlic. No need to peel the clove(s) – they will be sweet and delicious when the time comes to eat them.

I often add some anchovies – they melt into the sauce adding a certain je ne sais quoi to the flavour, with no sense of fish present in the dish.

Cover with half red wine, half beef, chicken or vegetable stock (homemade, natch).

Put in a cool-medium oven or on a low light/heat on the hob. Or in a slow cooker if you have one.

Cook for a minimum of three hours, checking occasionally. Add more wine – and a generous slug of port? – to the mix as needed.

Near the end of cooking, check the seasoning – you may like more sea salt than I do – add lots of fresh herbs (chop the stalks too – they have much of the flavour). Cook till you are ready to eat.

Garnish with plenty of shiny, fat and juicy black olives, a generous handful of fresh herbs and the shredded rind of an orange.

Have a bottle of red wine ready to share. If it hasn’t breathed enough – give it mouth-to- mouth …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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