Saturday, October 29, 2011

Osmanthus in the Wind

 Osmanthus in the Wind

Meeting up with Aunty Terri in KK has been great. She was very hospitable and kind to bring us to various food places. But most importantly, when seeing her passion in the food, she has inspired me to write and blog about food, recipes and eating again. Having baby Kay is a joy but she is a little tornado that completely changed our priorities and lives. As most of you know, her arrival has been full of drama and the first 4 months has been torturous for first time parents like Greg and I. I would rather hit the bed or watch tv drama if I have the time what more to say cook, bake and take photos and blog.

So meeting up with Aunty Terri and the trip has reminded me of the things we had loved doing ~ baking, eating, cooking, travelling and now with Baby Kay in tow, it is still fun even though in a different way. So here I am back on my feet, i think. I had a sudden urge to clean up my house, get some new furniture, patch up anything that is not working, rearrange the photos, and most of all to cook and bake (other than for Nee's), come out with new recipes and blog about them. Anyway, Christmas is hitting straight in my face and Mommy needs to think also about Baby Kay's first Christmas ~ decoration, presents and menu.

Well, to come back to this blog, I wanted to do jellies (as inspired by Terri at I really enjoyed talking about jellies and recipes with Terri during the trip. You can check out all Terri's creative and beautiful recipes here. Check out the Sakura Jelly, Summer Jelly, Kinabalu Jelly, Mt Purple especially as they are my favourites!).

Terri and along with 9 other bloggers are competing in the Royal Selangor Jelliriffic! Challenge, which is to to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Welfare Association of Malaysia. This association is a non-profit organisation set up by medical specialists to help women with breast cancer. The bloggers were given the jelly moulds designed by Nick Munro for RSP and were to come out with recipes using the moulds for 30 days in the month of October. Others like me (Yes! I bought these shiny gorgeous babies and they have just arrived on Thursday) and you can purchase these lovely and highly versatile moulds from RSP and proceeds will go to the Association. I bought the moulds thinking of those pretty gorgeous items I can do for my Baby's future parties. And to give our absolute support to Terri (I hope you win this and you should) and the Royal Selangor Jelliriffic! Challenge.

The first jelly I did was Osmanthus in the Wind. Osmanthus flower (Gui Hua) comes in tiny pieces, light, gold to yellow in colour and has a beautiful scent, not overly flowery with a fruity apricot like scent. Commonly used in China and Hong Kong as tea and desserts. Commonly seen the Guilin China.

This flower reminded me of Women. I thought of Women in the older days, especially Asian Women, who do not have status, rights or identity even. There is a famous Chinese saying that goes "Women follow their fathers at home, when they are married, they follow their husbands, and when they grow old, they follow their sons" See the word FOLLOW here. These women were like Osmanthus in the Wind. They were not allowed to have opinions, dreams and ambitions, they were not even allowed to go out from their home, and in some culture deemed as worthless. Basically they had no control over their lives! Just like the Osmanthus, blown and dropped onto wherever the wind shall bring them.

But little Osmanthus is beautiful, and they are resilient. They survived! Just like those beautiful, strong, resilient fore-mothers of ours. They had supported their husbands, raised their children and with little acknowledgement, they had held up half of the sky. Osmanthus in the Wind is a tribute to these women who had walked the journey of pain, abuse and put downs quietly to allow us(the women) to enjoy many rights and privileges today. I hope those women suffering from Breast Cancer can also draw their strengths from these women.

Osmanthus in the Wind Jelly is a combination of 
Osmanthus flower and dried and canned longan.

For one 200 ml mould:

Osmanthus Layer:
1/2 tsp of Konnyaku powder
200ml of water and Osmanthus liquid ( infusing  1/2 tsp of Osmanthus flower with 1/2 cup of warm water)
20gm of castor sugar 
1 tsp of Osmanthus Flower

1) Osmanthus tea is yellowish, depending on how yellow you want your jelly to be, use some of the Osmanthus tea with the addition of water.
2) Mix Konnyaku powder with castor sugar in a pot, stir to mix them. Add Osmanthus liquid.
3) Bring to a boil, stirring all the time. Turn to low fire and keep the mixture warm, that is why i used 200ml as evaporation will reduce the liquid.
4) Rinse the mould and sit it in a glass. Drop a few pieces of the Osmanthus flower into the mould. Add a tiny teaspoon of the mixture. Osmanthus flower is very light and will sit on the jelly mixture. For the swirling effects, I drop a tiny pinch of the flower on top of the jelly siding to one side of the mould (say 3pm position). Scoop some more jelly mixture onto the other side(9pm position) of the mould first and finally covering the flowers  to as much as possible push in down. Do this to 1/4 of the mould. Let it cool a little.
5) Continue the above by the dropping the flower at the 6 pm position up to 1/2 of the mould. Please try to push the flower down with the jelly mixture.
6) The final layer will cover the 3rd quarter of the mould, dropping the flowers more on the 6 to 9 pm position. When you reach the 3rd quarter top, sprinkle the flower over the entire base lightly. Wait til semi set to place the pieces of canned longans. 

Longan Jelly

10-12 pcs of dried longans
3-4 pcs of canned longans
some warm water to soaked the  dried longans
1/4 tsp of Konnyaku Powder
10 gm of castor sugar
Some more water

1) Soften the dried longans with warm water. Blend it in a blender.
2) Add some more water to make it to 120gm
3) In a pot, mix konnyaku powder with sugar. Stir. Add the longan blend. Bring it to a boil and stirring all the time.
4)  Pour over the canned longan and Osmanthus Jelly.
5) Chill for 2 hour to set.

Have fun! The difficult bit is dropping the flowers and pushing them down to the jelly. See what I say about resilient.

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