I have found a solution to a taste problem I have had.

Living in Norway one of the things that I miss now is the essences we had back home. I always thought there should be more essences back home but here in Norway the norm is to have only Rum, Almond and Vanilla essence. If I am very lucky I can also find lemon essence.

In making desserts of different flavourings it is useful to have more tastes to choose from than that. On dukan I cannot use my old standard of making jelly from the actual fruit juice for great flavoured jellies, or adding fruit to cakes and custards to spice them up.

I got really hooked on lemon flavoured things and of course chocolate. But as I was making my chocolate custard to add to one of my pudding inventions I wished I could add peppermint essence. I had a little private mourning for the absence of it here in Norway. Then I considered buying some from overseas, but the would require researching and waiting and I wanted a chocolate and peppermint dessert, Right Now!

Then I remembered that a few months back I had bought a bunch of high quality essential oils. In fact, I remembered they said they were food grade oils. In other words, I thought slowly to myself, in other words … I can eat them. Not straight from the bottle of course. They are so concentrated this would A) taste bad and B) not be good for me at all.

So I went and rummaged in my essential oils draw and found the peppermint oil. I added three drops to the chocolate custard then added that to my meringue and jelly mix, then let them cool.

Food grade essential oils can please your palate and add a range of flavours to your foods

Once it was all set I tasted one and it was just what I was after. Devine luxury.

I few days latter I was at the ethnic grocery store and thought of turkish delight flavoured with rose water. So went and found a bottle of that. I wondered what it would taste like in a custard. Beside it there was mint water and orange blossom water. So I grabbed all three and went home with glee.

The first time I cooked with the floral waters I was disappointed. The result was bitter, and I was bitterly disappointed. So I did some research on floral waters and noticed that people were not using 1/4 cup like I did. They were using various numbers of drops. I suddenly realised that my bottle of water should be used more like an essence than a fruit juice and that my bottles were going to be great value for money, if I liked the result.

I tried a few drops of orange blossom water with a some lemon juice as a flavouring and liked the result. Success! I am still not that keen on the rose water. Though I have had (pre-diet) turkish delight made with rose water and loved it. So there is obviously ways to use it I would like, I have just not yet discovered them.

I have always liked using spices and herbs in my cooking but I find now I am using them more and more. Some quark or yoghurt, salted or with soy sauce and with some herbs makes a great sauce for meat and seafood. I am using more horse radish, minced ginger, minced garlic and wasabi this way too. Having flavour rich food makes me feel more satisfied after a meal.

So I now have an extended range of tastes and I am enjoying my food more and am happy to stick to the diet for the next 6 mths or so I need to get sown to goal weight.

I am always on the look out for new tastes and new ways to use familiar cooking ingredients to enrich my experience. So let me know what you do to enliven your meals and snacks.

Happy Dukaning.

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