Small Pleasures: Spices

Much like Amelie, the main character in one of my favourite movies - I've learned to cultivate a love of small tactile or mentally stimulating pleasures (if you haven't seen the sequence I'm talking about, click the picture of her hands below, its lovely)  I amuse myself by pouring and skimming and holding spices and dried goods until my fingertips turn colours and saturate with the scents of markets and exotic foods.

Today, after a trip to DinhDinh I was taken by the intricite details of some Star Anise (Illicium verum) and just had to make note of it - the details in nature amaze me sometimes!

A key ingredient in Chinese 5-spice, Pho Soup and Masala Chai (three other things I picked up), the spice itself has a strong anise/liquorice flavour and many medicinal properties: antimicrobial, antioxidant, analgesic, convulsive, sedative, insecticidal.  But really, its also just aesthetically pleasing, would make an interesting addition to a twist on potpourri :)

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