“Perfume is like cocktails without the hangover, like chocolate without the calories, like an affair without tears, like a vacation from which you never have to come back.”
– Marian Bendeth
I received these bay leaves from my friends tree in Valencia during that paella making session we had back at the beginning of November. Yeah, you’ve caught me here as to my mild case of blogging procrastination, as indeed these leaves were photographed back in November.
Before going on with the bay leaves, I have a hairy story. I have a new colleague at work. She takes really good care of her hair – unlike me here typing away. Anyway the other day we were discussing how I have a food blog and that I love to cook. She declared that she doesn’t like cooking because she doesn’t like the smell of the cooking absorbing into her hair. If she must cook, then she will cook, wash her hair, and then eat.
At first I thought that was a bit drastic, because the truth is that I don’t give a rats tale as to if my hair is absorbing the smell of my stew, pasta or curry. Or sardines. Ok, come to think of it, maybe I should worry if it smells of sardines. Still, I don’t worry. On the other hand I do love perfumes, but I guess that’s another story…
Then I recalled that my mum doesn’t like the smell of cooking absorbing into her hair either. Right, mum? I mean, she cooks a lot, and fantastically, and likes it too, but just doesn’t particularly like that fragrant side effect.
Back to my case, apparently sometimes my hair smells of spices. Which ones? I’m not quite sure, just a mix of spices. I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m not naturally spicy as such, maybe it’s my hair absorbing the smell of spices in my cooking.
So perhaps the world is divided into people that don’t like the smell of their cooking absorbing in their hair, and people that don’t mind it at all. Which side are you on?
Laurel leaves / Bay leaves
I had always called them laurel leaves but noticed that what I assumed to be the same leaf is sometimes also call bay leaf. Just in case I was wrong I googled it of course and found that indeed it’s the same plant: Laurus nobilis. In summary it seems that if you’re from one part of the world or another you might tend to say bay or laurel.
The smell of these leaves are a strong aromatic perfume that smells of, well, laurel leaves. I had to keep them for my cooking, so again I googled the method of drying laurel leaves and found that there was not one single method but so many that you can practically invent your particular laurel leaf drying method yourself. Thus I adapted my laurel leaf drying method to suit the limitations of my climate, equipment and living space.
How to Dry Laurel Leaves
Step 1: Pick out the biggest leaves in the best condition, as they will be the ones that give the best fragrance and flavour. Choose them one by one, and remove each of them from the main stem.
Step 2: Place them on a clean dry tray. Let them dehydrate in a dry place, away from direct sunlight. After 10 – 15 days, turn each leaf over so it’s other side faces up. Let them dehydrate for another 10-15 days.
Step 3: Store them in a clean dry jar.