I was recently talking to someone about sharing rooms while travelling together. She said that there were three rules that resulted in harmonious relations:
- Not hanging up underwear in the share bathroom without asking
- Being respectful of each other's spaces
- And most importantly, never going to the bathroom to do number two's in the shared bathroom
Everyone in the conversation erupted in suggestions of additional rules. One person brought up the subject of garlic breath and other malodorous smells. I wish I could say that I try and limit the amount of garlic that I eat if I am staying in close quarters with Mr NQN but I don't. I really love the stuff and so does he. We figure if both of us have garlic breath that that sort of cancels each other out. Here's hoping at least!
Garlic is something that I always have on hand in the kitchen and our friend Louise brought over some of her family's Italian Purple garlic. Since 2012, her family farm started producing garlic in two varieties: Purple Italian and Jumbo White Russian. It is marketed under Merilba Garlic and Louise's brother runs the operation.
I wanted to do something delicious with the heads that she gave me so I decided to do a garlic confit. Confit is the slow, low temperature cooking of an item in oil. Confiting garlic brings out the sweetness of garlic and also takes away any acridness. The result is soft and creamy garlic cloves that spread easily on bread. Needless to say that if you're feeling under the weather, garlic is a great way to boost your immune system and this is the most delicious way to have it over the capsule form.
The garlic confit is best eaten within a week and needs to be stored in the fridge. You want to avoid botulism poisoning which occurs when preserving low acid food like garlic. We reduce the risk by simmering the garlic for 10 minutes at 100C/212F and eating it within a week is the safest bet of all. But I promise that you will love the creamy, sweet garlic spread on buttery toast or served alongside any sort of meat and using it all up within a week won't be any sort of hardship.
So tell me Dear Reader, what are your rules for sharing close quarters with someone? And do you try and avoid garlic breath?
- 3 heads of fresh garlic
- Olive or canola oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-4 teaspoons black and pink peppercorns
Step 1 - Break the garlic heads apart and separate the cloves. Remove the thin, papery layers and crush each clove lightly. You can choose to peel them entirely but I leave the skin on. Wash and dry the cloves on a teatowel and rub gently to remove any excess water. If the skins fall off that's fine.
Step 2 - Place the garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns in a small saucepan. I use the smallest one I have so that I don't have to use as much oil. Cover with the oil so that all of the cloves are submerged and place a thermometer in the saucepan. Heat gently until it reaches 100C/212F and simmer for 10 minutes. Bubbles should appear on the surface of the oil.
Step 3 - Knock back the temperature. I put it on 1 out of 10 on my dial where 1 is the lowest increment where the thermometer stayed at 90C/194. Heat for another 30 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a sterilised jar. Cool and then store in the fridge. Use a clean spoon every time you remove the garlic. The soft garlic should slip out of the skin easily - the oil is delicious too!