28 novembre 2012

At a fair recently

At a fair recently I was given some saffron crocuses. Mauve flowers, growing in a pot. They're lovely, but even better, each crocus contains three strands of saffron. You pick the crocus in the morning and pinch out the red saffron strands (which are not the same as the pollen-covered pistils) in a haze of gorgeous scent, and then let them dry for two or three days. I harvested about 12 strands and while they were drying, the kitchen was full of wafts of the smell — sweet and pungent at the same time. Now my saffron is in a tiny jar and the pot of crocus bulbs is set outside to overwinter. Next summer I'll unearth and re-pot the bulbs — they may even have multiplied, like other bulbs do — and in the autumn I should have new flowers and new saffron.

At three strands per person in a dish, right now I have about enough to make a saffron risotto (risotto alla milanese). Watch this space.