Friday, November 20, 2009

Rum Pairing Dinner at Sandy Lane Hotel


Finally back from my trip, and I'll bring you an update soon in future posts. Despite the obviously cold weather I managed to accomplish most of what I went there to do.
Back here in Barbados, I just discovered that Sandy Lane Hotel will tonight be hosting a Rum Pairing Dinner in honour of The Barbados Museum and Historical Society. I find this intriguing because I am definitely not a fan of rum at all. But I have never tasted rum paired with dishes, so I imagine it could be quite nice like this. Here is the menu:

First Course
Rum Cured Salmon Gravlax with Irish Soda Bread and Espresso Honey Mustard Sauce
Second Course
Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Allspice Braised Lamb Osso Bucco and English Peas
Main course
Black Pepper Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Rum Soaked Sultana Raisins, Shallot Confit and Grilled Asparagus.


Dessert will be Baba au Rhum with Tropical Fruits and Whipped Creme Fraiche.

A rum-infused meal certainly sounds like a unique and intriguing dining experience.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beauty Nxgongo: The art of contemporary South African basket weaving


Beauty Nxgongo is a South African basket weaver nationally known for her distinctive baskets with vibrant designs. Though strongly rooted in the weaving tradition of southern Africa, Nxgongo's work is created for art's sake and praised for its aesthetic excellence.
The work pictured above exemplifies her oeuvre, in which elegant structural forms are enhanced by complex and masterful graphic and chromatic designs. The toplike form of this basket tapers at the summit and the base, and is rounded at the sides. A woven graphic motif of undulating zigzags covers the entire surface. The various colors were all obtained from natural sources. For example, black or very dark fibers were produced by boiling the ilala palms with the indigo plant, while reddened sorghum leaves were used to produce fibers with a reddish brown color. Nxgongo's work is represented in all the major South African museums, including the South African National Gallery in Cape Town.

Traditionally, Zulu baskets were made for the storage of food and beer. The narrow opening and lid minimizes spillage as the tight weave of the basket made it virtually waterproof.
This lidded basket is an outstanding example of an important form of expression from South Africa's rural Kwazulu-Natal region. Grasses and grasslike plants are readily available natural resources in the Kwazulu-Natal region that the Zulu have incorporated into many domestic artifacts, including floor mats, spoon holders, and various kinds of baskets such as this example from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection.

Originally the exclusive domain of men, within Zulu culture the responsibility for making baskets shifted to women. In contemporary Zulu society, women weave the utilitarian baskets, while masters such as Beauty Nxgongo and Reuben Ndwandwe challenge and expand the tradition's boundaries and create art for art's sake.

(Adapted from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art - metmuseum.org)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sanyu Perfume Oil - donation to Proteqt Children's Foundation


ProtEQt Children’s Foundation is a local organization which provides educational sponsorships for vulnerable children - especially those orphaned by AIDS - in the Rakai District of south-western Uganda.
One hundred percent of the sales of my Sanyu Perfume Oil will go towards ProtEQt Children's Foundation.

Sanyu Perfume Oil is a refreshing and citrusy perfume oil with a sweet vanilla accord. The name Sanyu means 'happy' or 'joyful.' Just check out my Etsy store by clicking on the link to the right of this page for more information.

For more information about ProtEQT and the work that we do, check out our blog: http://proteqtchildrensfoundation.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Etsy Front Pager!


I was really surprised to see that my Nofret perfume made the front page of Etsy last week! With all the talented artists and craftspeople on there, it was indeed quite an honour to be chosen.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Making soap again!


After a brief hiatus I have slowly begun making soaps again. Currently available in my Etsy store is Dalila - a pure, unscented soap with olive oil and cocoa butter. Also available once more is Bajan Honey & Oatmeal, scented with ginger and nutmeg. Soaps available in the upcoming weeks will be Lemongrass Butter, Honeybush, Mint Tea and more! All of my soaps are made to a luxurious recipe with over eighty percent olive oil for a rich, creamy lather and scented with only natural essential oils.

(Photo copyright Amanda Jones, Barbados. All Rights Reserved.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ancient cosmetics discovered in Magdala



A team of Franciscan archaeologists digging in the biblical town of Magdala in what is now Israel say they have unearthed vials of perfume similar to those that may have been used by the woman said to have washed Jesus' feet.

The perfumed ointments were found intact at the bottom of a mud-filled swimming pool, alongside hair and make-up objects, the director of the dig conducted by the group Studium Biblicum Franciscanum told the Terrasanta.net religious website.

"If chemical analyses confirm it, these could be perfumes and creams similar to those that Mary Magdalene or the sinner cited in the Gospel used to anoint Christ's feet," Father Stefano de Luca, the lead archaeologist, told the website.

Mary Magdalene is cited in the New Testament as a steadfast disciple of Christ from whom seven demons were cast out. She is often considered the sinner who anointed Jesus' feet.

"The discovery of the ointments in Magdala at any rate is of great importance. Even if Mary Magdalene was not the woman who washed Christ's feet, we have in our hands 'cosmetic products' from Christ's time," De Luca said.

Magdala was the name of an ancient town near the shores of the Sea of Galilee in what is now northern Israel. A Palestinian Arab village stood near the site until the war at Israel's establishment in 1948, and an Israeli town called Migdal now occupies the area.

"It's very likely that the woman who anointed Christ's feet used these ointments, or products that were similar in composition and quality," De Luca said.

Studium Biblicum Franciscanum supports research in biblical studies but focuses on archaeological excavation of sites linked to the New Testament and early Christianity in the Middle East.

(Source: Reuters News)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Floral edibles





Flower power was definitely in the air thanks to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
And it seems as though some of London’s top chefs have created a whole range of floral treats – from entire menus to afternoon teas and cocktails, no doubt inspired by the horticultural atmosphere of this annual event.
Florally inspired dishes are nothing new, but usually they involve fragrant bouquets on tables or culinary staples that have been cleverly re-invented with a floral twist.
This time, London’s restaurants have taken it to much more creative heights - from gently incorporating floral essences to serving up the real thing – petals, stamens and all.

The head chef of Roussillon has created a seven-course Flower Show Menu. At seventy pounds a head, you can feast on pink royale of rose petals with caramelized beet leaves and light prawn consommé, cannelloni of tender petals with sautéed lovage (an English herb), and honey-glazed sweetbread with queen of the field tempura - a Japanese-inspired dish utilizing garlic flowers for their concentrated flavour. To round things off? Chrysanthemum soufflé crescendo.

At Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, afternoon tea for two features violet-flavoured fairy cakes decorated with edibles, and scones with rose petal and strawberry jam. If you order champagne it will arrive at your table with a wild hibiscus flower in raspberry and rhubarb syrup nestling in its base.

The floral theme continues at Le Cercle, where head chef Thierry Beyris declares that edible flowers are “utterly delicious in the right hands” and very fashionable among certain culinary circles. His creations there consist of floral tapas, wild rocket sorbet with daisy, spring salad with violet dressing and sea bass tartare with peppery nasturtium.

At The Cinnamon Club Chef Vivek Singh’s five-course Garden Menu, running for the entire month of May, starts with rose petal-infused bellini aperitif, followed by essence of tomato with morels, marigold and edible gold leaf, stir-fried asparagus spears with banana flower, and is rounded off with jasmine and bergamot pana cotta.

And to celebrate the opening of their bar-restaurant The Botanist, brothers Tom and Ed Martin concocted some fragrant new cocktails. Rose Square - a pink rose petal vodka with lychees, rosebud syrup and champagne – and the Lavender Bloom which is made of gin, fresh lavender, honey and apple juice.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

'From Plant to Bottle' - Perfume Garden wins gold at Chelsea Flower Show




"Take eight grains of musk and put in rose-water eight spoonfuls, three spoonfuls of Damask-water, and a quarter of an ounce of sugar. Boil for five hours and strain it...."
This is the original recipe for a perfume created for Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century, and the inspiration for The Perfume Garden, which won the ‘Most Creative’ award at this year's Chelsea Flower Show in London. The garden was designed by architect Laurie Chetwood and landscape designer Patrick Collins.

In keeping with the historic theme, the garden included several rose types (Mme Hardy, Tuscany Superba and Gertrude Jekyll) iris, three varieties of geranium (Spessart, Ingwersens and Bevan’s Variety), silver posies, lilies, narcissus and violets. Fragrant plants such as French lavender, sage, thyme, fennel, and sweet flag, along with clipped Western red cedar and mugo pines, were also featured. Of the collection, Collins said, “The plants within it have been carefully selected for their scent, color and association with the perfume industry … In the 16th century global exploration and new trading links led to an influx of new and exciting species. Many of these can be seen in the Perfume Garden, including Thuja occidentalis, Hyacinthium orientalis, Geranium macorrhizum and Acorus calamus".

The concept for the garden first began in Grasse, south east France, where Elizabeth’s perfume was recreated with the help of Jean Patou, one of France’s oldest and best-known perfume houses.
Clipped conifers form the backbone of the garden, which sweep up and around a stainless steel shroud. This is the perfumery, where visitors can see the perfume distillation process and try samples of the Elizabeth I perfume, produced especially for the Chelsea Flower Show.
Every plant in the garden has a function in the creation of scent. Some are familiar, like Lavandula stoechas, but there are unexpected ingredients too, like the male fern, Dryopteris felix-mas, whose rhizomes yield an oil used in earthy, masculine fougère scents.
In addition, a modern interpretation of Queen Elizabeth’s original rosewater-infused perfume is to be created by Procter & Gamble’s Prestige Products.

The photos above show 1. A model in neo-Elizabethan Costume in the Perfume Garden at the 2009 Chelsea Flower Show in London (Photo courtesy Stuart Freedman).
2. The stainless steel perfumery at night and 3. The conifers surrounding the stainless steel perfumery of the Perfume Garden.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Caribbean blooms at Chelsea Flower Show


(Photo of tropical garden at this year's Chelsea Flower Show by Phillip Banks).
The Chelsea Flower Show, or the Great Spring Show as it is also known, is held annually in May on the Royal Hospital Grounds in Chelsea, England. It is one of the biggest and maybe the most prestigious horticultural events in the world.
This year, the Barbados contingent won two Silvergilt awards - one in the Great Pavillion category and the other in the Flower Arranging category, with a combination of tropical flowers and foliage.
Grenada won a gold medal in the same Flower Arranging category with tropical floral of Grenada, while the Cayman islands contingent won a gold medal in the President's Most Creative Awards. Jamaica won a Silvergilt and Trinidad and Tobago was also awarded a Silvergilt Grenfell.
The origins of the Chelsea Flower Show go back to 1862 when the first Royal Horticultural Society Great Spring Show was held in Kensington. The event has been through a variety of homes and incarnations, eventually settling in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea in 1913.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nofret


At long last the final ingredients for the scents I have been working on have arrived. Besides the rose perfume which I talked about before, I will also be introducing Nofret - a green, earthy fragrance made with nearly all natural ingredients. I used some lavender absolute which has a deep, rich scent, so hopefully this will not be a typical lavender-smelling perfume. It also has notes of linden blossom and Haitian vetiver. Nofret is an ancient Kemetic name meaning "Beautiful Woman". I hope to have it listed in my Etsy shop in a few days. Thanks so much to all of you who have expressed an interest in my perfumes and have been waiting so patiently.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Moroccan Red Clay


This is some beautiful red clay from Morocco that I was lucky enough to acquire from a supplier - 4thAveSoapSupplies - on Etsy. I am not quite sure what I will make with it yet, most likely it will go into one of my soaps, it should give it an excellent colour. I think it would be lovely in a soap scented maybe with ginger or something spicy. I have a few ideas that I am playing around with so we shall see........
Moroccan red clay comes from deep below the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. It is a strong cleansing clay that will draw excess oils from the skin, stimulate circulation to the skin and act as a powerful astringent for oily skin and hair. It is also used in many spas around the world.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Haiti, The Pearl of the Antilles Media Project


The Haiti Media Project starts this Friday and will continue through to the weekend. Featuring actual footage captured in Haiti, the project will be aired at the Pelican Craft Centre in Brigetown, Barbados and will also showcase a photo essay exhibition and performing arts. Tickets are $10 Bds, and the proceeds will go towards helping the children in Haiti.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Egyptian Queen's Perfume To Be Resurrected




If ancient treasures and discoveries fascinate you like they do me, you will find this very interesting:
The favorite scent of powerful Egyptian "she king" Hatshepsut may be resurrected from the dried remains and residue found in a 3,500-year-old perfume bottle (pictured at top).
X-ray photographs of the 4.7-inch-tall (12-centimeter-tall) bottle, from the permanent collection of Bonn University's Egyptian Museum, reveals remnants of the ancient oil. Scientists plan to identify the substance and, possibly within a year, re-create the perfume.
The bottle, which was found in the queen's possessions after her death in 1457 B.C., is engraved with a hieroglyph of her name.
The thin neck "allows a very economical dosing of the valuable content," according to Michael Höveler-Müller, curator of Bonn University's Egyptian Museum. A small clay stopper would have kept the oil from spilling.

"In every case our research will touch new grounds and will maybe enable us to put our noses back into a time more than 3,500 years [ago]," Höveler-Müller said.

Queen Hatshepsut took the Egyptian throne in 1479 B.C. to keep her stepson, Thutmose III, from becoming pharaoh.

Though her mummy was found more than a century ago, archaeologists didn't identify it as the queen until 2007, by matching a tooth thought to be hers with an empty socket in the mummy's jaw.
Throughout her 20-year reign, the pharaoh wore both male and female clothing, but was always fond of perfume—a symbol of power in ancient Egypt.

Perfume was also considered valuable and was used on special occasions by members of the upper class and high society, Höveler-Müller said.
The exact type of perfume is still unknown, but Michael Höveler-Müller speculates it could be from flowers, fruits, aromatic woody plants, or incense.
The influential queen enjoyed perfume, even traveling to the ancient trading post of Punt, in modern-day Eritrea, to buy incense plants and other dazzling goods.

Upon her return, Hatshepsut cultivated the fragrant plants near her funerary temple.

These photos were taken from the National Geographic website.
The key to Hatshepsut's identity was discovered in the wooden box seen on the bottom left, originally unearthed in a separate tomb in 1881.
The box is inscribed with Hatshepsut's name and contains the mummified organs of the pharaoh queen.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Spicy Peanut Stew


This is a recipe I came across for a standard stew with peanuts. It originates from West Africa, unfortunately I cannot say which country exactly but I am going to research this. Served with millet or rice, it has the traditional hot spices, beloved ground provisions and flavours that many of us of African and Caribbean descent know and appreciate so well.
You can tone down or increase the hotness by reducing or increasing the amount of cayenne as you see fit. If you cannot obtain all the vegetables fresh, use canned ones where possible. You can also use yams or eggplant (aubergine) instead of the sweet potatoes if you like. Enjoy!
2 large onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1 cup (4 oz, 110 g) shelled peanuts
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into small chunks
1 small cabbage, shredded
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. grated root ginger
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro (coriander)
½ cup (4 fl oz, 120 ml) tomato juice
½ cup (4 fl oz, 120 ml) apple juice
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
8 oz. (225 g) okra, chopped
4 tbsp. peanut butter
1 tsp. salt

Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the peanuts, sweet potato and cabbage. Cover the pot and stew gently for about five minutes.
Add the cayenne, ginger, cilantro, juices and tomatoes, and simmer until the cabbage is cooked.
Add the okra. Stir in the peanut butter and salt. Cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more juice (or water) if the stew becomes too thick.
Makes six portions.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Etsy Finds: LouAnn Designs


Photo copyright of LouAnns Designs.
I am now the proud owner of this beautiful fabric and wood ball necklace by LouAnn Designs. The fabric and ball necklace comprises of soft polyester fabric in yellows, browns, teals and rust that are wrapped around and knotted between wooden balls. Very unique.
LouAnn, whose work can be found on Etsy, also specializes in decorative gourds, wall art and ACEOs. See more of her designs at www.louannsdesigns.etsy.com

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Brief History of Vanilla


Vanilla is a tropical climbing orchid, with a long green fleshy stem that sprouts roots that cling to trees parasitically. Its yellow or orange orchidaceous flowers grow in bunches, which bloom one flower each day, opening one by one during the two month season. Vanilla cannot grow naturally in temperate climates. In nature they are only pollinated by Mexican bees and hummingbirds that are capable of penetrating a tough membrane that separates the plant’s pistol and stamen. European entrepreneurs had transplanted vanilla to grow in other tropical locations but could not get them to produce the pods. In 1841, Edmond Albius (above left), a former slave on the French Island of Réunion, perfected a method to artificially fertilize the short-lived vanilla flower using a thin bamboo skewer to lift the membrane and use his thumb to smear the pollen. This gave great impetus to vanilla bean husbandry, and the method is still used today.

Albius’s manual pollination method is still used today, as nearly all vanilla is pollinated by hand. After Albius’s discovery, Réunion became for a time the world's largest supplier of vanilla. French colonists used Albius's technique in the East African nation of Madagascar to cultivate vanilla, and today Madagascar (mostly the fertile region of Sava) accounts for half of the global production of vanilla.

Unfortunately, Albius did not draw any benefit from an invention which made the fortune of the growers, and he died in poverty in 1880.

Next to saffron and cardamom, vanilla is the world’s most expensive spice.

Monday, February 16, 2009

And the winner is......

Congrats to Tiggy at FuturePrim for winning the first-ever blog giveway at BajanScent!
I would also like to thank Carolyn G, Joan and Scentual so much for taking the time to participate as well.
I hope to have another giveway in the near future, I am thinking perhaps for Easter or maybe sooner.
Tiggy, your Lime Tea perfume oil will be shipped out to you right away!
Take care everyone!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lime Tea Perfume Oil Giveaway

Thanks so much to you all for taking part in the recent giveaway! I will announce the winner on Monday, February 16th. The names will be drawn from a bag so everyone has a fair chance.
Thanks again and have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Enter to Win: Lime Tea Perfume Oil


Welcome to my first-ever blog giveaway! Up for grabs is one 5ml bottle of Lime Tea Perfume Oil - a light, energetic blend of of lime, citrus, green tea and jasmine, all captured in a skin-soothing base of jojoba oil. Lime Tea contains both essential oils and fragrance oils.

Instructions:
Just visit my Etsy shop AmandaJones.etsy.com and then return to my blog and let me know in the comments section what your favorite item in my store was. Remember to leave an e-mail address with your comment so that I can contact you if you are the lucky winner.
If you make a purchase from my Etsy shop before the contest is over, comment here once again and I will add four additional entries under your name for the giveaway.

The giveaway begins as soon as this is posted on February 5,2009 and will end at 9am Eastern Standard Time on Friday, February 13, 2009.

Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Etsy Finds: Adega Creations




One of my absolute favourite stores on Etsy is Adega Creations. They specialize in authentic African artwork, crafts, clothing, batiks, home accessories and jewellery. The store was created by Margaret Ogembo, a nurse, and one of seven sisters from the Lua tribe of Kenya. All items are handmade in Kenya, and profits from the business go towards supporting Margaret's health clinic in western Kenya.
Right now I'm coveting one of their handwoven sisal and suede leather purses, as well as a set of individually hand carved soap stone coasters (pictured above).
They also have these beautiful hand carved ebony wood bookends (top left). The ones pictured are rhinos, but they also have them in elephants, giraffes, panthers and lions.
Pictured at the top right is one of their banana leaf paintings. Banana leaf artwork has been constant in African art for centuries. It's a very time-consuming process and is very hard to accomplish without flaws. The banana leaves are sometimes dyed to create a more dimensional or realistic effect. When the artwork is finished it becomes a gorgeous focal point that has become extremely popular in the last few years.
You can find more of their handmade treasures at www.adegacreations.etsy.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Rose Perfume


Red Rose of Kush is a new perfume I am finishing up, and hope to have available in late March. It was inspired by the ancient kingdom of Kush, which was located towards the south of Egypt and the south and centre of Sudan. There is so much beauty, mystery and forgotten knowledge to be found in this ancient civilization. Red Rose of Kush will contain notes of citrus, lime blossom, rose and white musk.(Photo copyright Amanda Jones, Barbados.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Green Remedies


I’ve been trying to track down a copy of Dina Veeris’ Green Remedies and Golden Customs of our Ancestors for a little while now. Veeris, a botanical healer from Curacao, is an expert on the ancient medicinal plant treatments that were first introduced into the Caribbean and practiced by African slaves. She regards these herbal remedies as telling “…the story of our culture." Her mission is to elevate the knowledge of herbal remedies: "I want people to know and understand that the knowledge of our slave elders was not stupid — they knew a lot."
“African slaves had few doctors, but they brought with them the memory of herbal traditions, and in some cases seeds, with which to carry out their healing work. They recognized some of the trees and plants and also began to learn about the plants here.”

Like much valuable information, the book is proving difficult to track down – but I’m determined. I would love to have this rare book in my collection.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bajan Honey & Oatmeal Soap


This is one of my latest soap creations. Made with rare Barbados honey and certified organic oatmeal with a touch of nutmeg and ginger to spice it up a little.
Like all my soaps it is scented and coloured with natural essential oils and botanicals and contains no artificial ingredients.

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=18782622

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Perfume - Sanyu



Sanyu is the name of my latest perfume oil. Pronounced sa-niyu, the name originates from the Baganda of Uganda and translates to 'joy or happiness'.

Sanyu is a clean, delicate scent. I also tried to make it lively and uplifting to the spirit in keeping with its name. It has a light floral heart with a slight touch of jasmine and is enhanced by sparkling organic grapefruit, may chang and citrus top notes.

Like all my perfumes, Sanyu contains no alcohol and comes in a base of fractionated coconut oil.
To celebrate the new year, I am offering free shipping in my Etsy store for Sanyu Perfume Oil.

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=18666672