Immortelle l'Amour Soap

Helicrysum italicum

It takes a bit of imagination and creative formulation adjustments and changes to translate some of the perfumes into soaps. Last month, I've whipped up the first version of Immortelle l'Amour soap, which was tricky because immortelle (Helicrysum italicum) is one of the most expensive perfume and aromatherapy materials. The bars have been curing nicely for a month now, made with decoctions and oil infusions of the fresh and dried plants from my organic garden; as well as cinnamon, chamomile, marigold and vanilla beans and powdered cinnamon bark. A little bit of maple syrup added in the as well!

The result is delicious, albeit not exactly like the perfume. It has the same sweet intensity but a little more fresh and light because I did not use the heavy, curry-like immortelle absolute (otherwise nobody would have been able to afford it).

The soaps will be ready and wrapped April 17th, but you can already order them online now!

Ingredients (In order of presence in the formula):
Saponified Virgin Coconut Oil
Saponified Olive Oil
Saponified Shea Butter
Saponified Palm Kernel Oil
Saponified Cacao Butter
Jojoba Oil
Maple Syrup
Vanilla Paste
Natural Immortelle l'Amour Perfume Blend (Benzoin, Peru Balsam, Sweet Orange, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Marigold, Chamomile)
Cinnamon Powder


New Soap: Hulnejan

Hulnejan Roots

Inspired by the region's aromatic traditions, I'm pleased to present to you yet another wonderful soap I've recently developed: Hulnejan.
Hulnejan is a spicy, exfoliating soap bar with strongly brewed galangal, gingeroot and cinnamon. Properties: warming, cleansing, exfoliating.
Hulnejan Soap

Hulnejan tea is a decoction of spicy roots and barks prepared by the Druze in Northern Israel over the winter months. It has strong warming and anti-bacterial qualities, exactly what one needs to stay healthy during the chilly months of the Galilee and the Golan. It is typically drank very sweet as well (sweetened with either sugar or honey), and with some chopped pecans on top. The best way to make it is by brewing it on the stove for hours, allowing the scent to fill the home, clear it from microbes while making it smell warm and cozy. It also helps to homidify the air, which is much needed as the fire tends to make the environment very dry.
Brewing Hulnejan Tea

This limited edition soap bar is made from olive-oil and water infusions of Hulnejan tea. It creates a beautiful peeling soap bar that promotes circulation and rejuvenation of the skin. Like all of our soaps, it is also superfatted - which means it has wonderful moisturizing qualities due to high content of unsaponified oils within the formula. It is the same rich-lathering formula we've always had for our soaps, now handcrafted in our new studio in Clil by yours truly!

We're using olive oil that was cold-pressed from olive which were organically grown in a Druze village near Mt. Meron; Oganic virgin coconut oil (both are food grade), palm oil and castor oil for that extra emollient quality. The result is a hard, long-lasting bar with rich lather that is very moisturizing - a real treat for your skin, hair; and with a wonderfully spicy fragrance that brings to mind wintry teas by the fire place.

Hulnejan Soap
Ingredients: Saponified vegetable oils (coconut, olive, palm, castor), water infused with dried galangal, ginger and cinnamon, powdered dried cinnamon bark, powdered dried ginger root, natural fragrance (essential oils and absolutes of galangal, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom)

Hulnejan Soap

Moroccan Eggplant Confiture

Moroccan Eggplant Confiture
If you didn't have a Moroccan grandmother, you probably won't be awash in a wave of nostalgia biting into the stem of one of these miniature candied eggplants. If you never tasted this Moroccan specialty, you'd be hard-pressed to figure out what it is made of. Both the size of the "fruit", its shape and the texture and flavour make it very difficult to guess it's an eggplant. Perhaps a pear would come to mind. 

mini eggplants
Photo by Think Draw on Flickr

But I assure you that they do make a very impressive addition to any big celebration, and there are many ways to serve and eat them. But the best way is to grab them by the tail (or edible lollipop handle), and consume them from their firm but soft, seedy, sugared and spiced bottoms and nibble till you reach the firm top under the calyx, threaten to snap the candied stem, but manage only to scrape off the candied parts off the woody skeleton of the stem.  

Eating as it is will always warrant a sense of importance and feeling like this is a moment to cherish. First of all, because tiny eggplants are not something one often runs into. And secondly, a person who's patient enough to shape the calyx of each individual eggplant, pierce it with a fork and then go through the lengthy cooking process is not easy to come by either. They usually come with the title "grandmother", who would only make it for special occasions such as wedding, bar mitzvah or brith; or in my case - you just needs to be an obsessed person with reviving nostalgia. 

But you can also reserve the syrup for dripping over pancakes and French toast, slice the mini eggplants on top of fancy dessert arrangements or a fancy sweet and savoury sandwich, or simply over cheese and crackers. I admit that the best is just eat as it is with a cup of tea on the side to wash down all the sugar. 

The Making of Moroccan Eggplant Confiture

So if you stumble upon miniature eggplants, be sure to buy a kilo of the smallest and finest ones, no blemishes or parts that show any sign of rotting in the near future. Wash them and cut around the base of to stem, to remove any excess parts of the calyx (the green leafy looking part). Pierce with a fork. Once all are ready place in a pot of filtered water and cook until water boils. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Allow the eggplants to cool before draining completely in a colander. 

Meanwhile while the eggplants are cooling, squeeze enough lemons to make half a cup of lemon juice. Bring to a boil one kilogram of sugar (I use raw cane sugar - not any sugar containing molasses) together with the lemon juice, and add all the spices: cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Once the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has completely melted - add the eggplants. Cook until the eggplants have absorbed about half o the syrup (takes between 1-2 hours). 

Ingredients list:
1 kg miniature eggplants
1 kg sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 sticks cinnamon, Ceylon
1 tsp clove buds
2 tsp cinnamon, ground
2tsp cloves, ground 
2 tsp dried ginger root, ground 

Cinnamon Buttons

One of the delights of having such a small operation such as Ayala Moriel Parfums is that I get to meet kind, sweet and inspiring people. One of them is Jean, who is a tea aficionado first and foremost, and would come to Portobello every month to stock up on my fragrant teas and truffles, and to find a new favourite perfume to sample from my collection.
She is also an avid knitter, and sources out the most unusual yarn to knit whimsical sweaters, hats, scarves and shrugs. When she told me that her favourite past time was to sit and knit while wearing one of my perfumes, sipping a good cup of tea, and savouring a truffle in between rows of knitting an elaborate pattern.

Jean introduced me to these curious cinnamon buttons: she worn one of those pins to keep closed a shawl she made and showed me how to rub them to release a sweet cinnamon aroma. The spiraling designs are non other than sliced cinnamon sticks!
(It took me a while to get it - these are really made from a stack of cinnamon sticks that were sliced up...). Spices can never cease to fascinate me. And cinnamon goes way beyond the cliches of mulled wine, hot apple cider or holiday potpourri for me. Cinnamon is ground up comfort, and brings sweetness and intrigue to any dish, perfume or -- an outfit!

They can be found at Button Button - 318 Homer Street in Vancouver (just across the street and a few stairs up from their original location). (604) 687-0067

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Mermaid's Heart

137.365 - And Only for Love, originally uploaded by nikilynn.

“The little mermaid drew back the crimson curtain of the tent, and beheld the fair bride with her head resting on the prince’s breast. She bent down and kissed his fair brow, then looked at the sky on which the rosy dawn grew brighter and brighter; then she glanced at the sharp knife, and again fixed her eyes on the prince, who whispered the name of his bride in his dreams. She was in his thoughts, and the knife trembled in the hand of the little mermaid: then she flung it far away from her into the waves; the water turned red where it fell, and the drops that spurted up looked like blood. She cast one more lingering, half-fainting glance at the prince, and then threw herself from the ship into the sea, and thought her body was dissolving into foam. The sun rose above the waves, and his warm rays fell on the cold foam of the little mermaid (...)”
(The Little Mermaid, Hans Christian Anderson)

Mermaid of Stanley Park, originally uploaded by janusz l.

Shaped like a mermaid’s heart and adorned with corals, starfish and other treasures from the sea, L smells nothing like the ocean. Yet just like the waves licking warm sands, it soothes a wounded human heart with its vapours of cinnamon buns immersed in vanilla milk and musk. Immortelle gives it the barest hint of saltiness, mostly in the extrait version. The array of notes is simple, perhaps so much as to be considered bold. If the potent as the (similar) Musc Ravageur (also by Maurice Roucel) is a lustful hug, L is a soft caress on the face.

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