Thursday, January 5, 2017

winter solstice/entrance of the minor cold

Land awakens and blooms with life and activity before returning to slumber.

Based on an ancient lunar calendar Japanese year is divided in 72 microseasons, each of them offering a 'poetic journey' through the year. Today is January 5 and that means it’s the end of winter solstice and “Wheat sprouts under snow” microseason, and beginning of minor cold “The water dropwort flourishes” microseason, season that lasts approximately from January 6 – 10.

Not knowing in advance that kumquat is a seasonal fruit of  “Wheat sprouts under snow” microseason, I produced few jars of compote made with this smallest of the citrus fruits. What I love the most about kumquat is the skin, edible, golden, sweet-tasting skin. Like any other fruit it’s not possible to keep it fresh for a longer time and making compote is a way of preserving it. 

Recipe for this light sweet delight is adopted from Diana Yen, food stylist and caterer from Brooklyn and can be found on page 88 of The Kinfolk Table, book of recipes for small gatherings. 

Kumquat Compote
200g sugar
240ml water
455g kumquats, well washed, halved or quartered, and seeded
2 star anise pods
2 cardamom pods
about 1.28 cm slices of fresh ginger  

In a heavy saucepan stir together water and sugar and brig the mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add kumquats and spices (star anise, ginger and cardamom) and let simmer for about 30 minutes on medium heat or until mixture is thickened and jamlike. Place the compote to one big jar or few small jars (240ml) with fitting lids and store in cold dark place. 

My New Year was simple and days that followed were dusted with light snow. The remains of white cover balance these shorter days, few hours of sunlight. I am lucky to have few days off and fortune to spent hours in kitchen. 
With this easy to make golden jars filled with slightly acidic and bittersweet citrus flesh be ready to celebrate passed days with just simple click of the lid. Well stored is always ready for any kind of celebration.

Eat well and be happy in your lives! 
Happy New Year!