star anise & licorice love

Hi folks!

I made some soap the other evening, and set aside some perfectly perfect star anise seed pods to take pictures of the next day. Aren't they gorgeous? (That's actually a little bit of soap smudged on the one in the bottom picture, oops.) If you're not familiar with star anise, it has a strong licorice flavour, and its extract is used as the flavouring in many black candy licorices such as the Panda brand ones. Chewing the seeds is good for digestion and fresh breath, and it tastes wonderful, if you like licorice. The seeds have a nice crunch that would be kind of awesome sprinkled on vanilla ice cream, now that I'm thinking about it.

Licorice root is an entirely different beast from a different plant. You can buy the root dried and in little pieces at most health food stores. I make a tea similar to the Aveda tea with it and a few other herbs. I blogged about it back in 2009. Just mix licorice root, mint, basil, and sweet fennel (leaves if you can find them). Steep for 5-7 minutes. The licorice root is lovely in a tisane - it makes it sweet but not overly licorice-y, which you might not expect. Seeing as how it's licorice and all. Yum.

Are you a licorice fan? I am, 100%. Can you tell? I went to Fox Hill Cheese House today for work, (well, I was in the area for work, and made a stop on my way home) and they had licorice gelato that made its way home with me. Yum! (Alas, they didn't have my favourite, coconut. Maybe next time!)

One other little bit of miscellany that's stuck in my head: I already wanted to go to Iceland. This video seals the deal (and I can't stop playing that song! I love it.)

Happy Wednesday!


  1. Darla Clairmont1/18/2012

    I would like to visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland someday. I often check this live feed of the lagoon

  2. Those Anise photos just thrill me. Love them!

  3. I've been here before, but never commented from this account. I just have to tell you that I think we should be friends. Every time I read your blog I think that we must be kindred spirits. I love licorice. I haven't listened to that song in ages, but I love it. Thanks for reminding me about it. I love your photography and someday I'd love to go to Iceland. There. I said it. I hope that doesn't make me sound like some kind of creepy stalker or something. I just think you remind me of me. Love the blog!

  4. Oooh, Darla! That's kind of awesome. I just had a peek, and it's night time (but still cool). I'll have to check during the daytime! Thanks for the link!

    Thanks so much, Tierra! :)

    Kate, I don't think you're creepy at all, and I totally understand the sentiment. And now I'm off to stalk your blog. :) Thanks so much for commenting!

  5. Beautiful photos! I've just finished reading this book: http://www.amazon.com/Where-Shadows-Lie-Michael-Ridpath/dp/0312675038/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327235943&sr=8-1
    And now I'm dying to take a trip to Iceland too! Not this year (too many plans already) but 2013 is a possibility :)

  6. I love your photos, partly because I love close-ups, but mostly because we love star anise and use a lot of it. My husband, Mike, has been cooking a lot of Indian food lately. So so good.

  7. Kristina, I think I have a new book on my list to read - thanks!

    Thank you, Nicola! I agree - it's so delicious. :)


Thanks so much for your comments - I read and appreciate each one! Sorry about the word verification - the spammers found me and it became necessary. Thanks for taking the time to comment!