Cooking With Scent


In preparation for our scent dinner we've been testing out some recipes using ingredients from the perfumers' organ. These little scent additions are a lovely way to add a layer of complexity to simple dishes.

Incense Smoked Potatoes
The base ingredient of traditional Japanese incense is Makko powder, which translates to 'incense powder' and refers to the powered bark of the Japanese bay tree. Considered a sacred ingredient it comes in four grades with the highest being the lightest scent with a smooth slow burn. You can buy packets of Makko powder online and through perfume suppliers.

Makko powder
olive oil
salt & pepper
deep baking dish & rack

Heat over to 350F/180C
Cover the base of your baking dish with Makko powder & place a rack over the top
Wash & chop potatoes into a size that won't fall through your rack
Lightly coat your potatoes with olive oil, salt & pepper and place on rack
Tightly cover the whole dish with tinfoil and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins, depending on the size of your potatoes.

Rose Geranium Leaf Pound Cake
The fresh green leafy notes of rose geranium is one of my favorite scents. In food the leaves add a prettiness that goes really well with berries, citrus & vanilla. Try adding some leaves when you're making jam, or make a geranium leaf syrup for margaritas. This recipe for geranium leaf cake comes from my all time fave Chez Panisse. Geranium is a common bush around Northern California & you can also can get them from plant shops.

18 rose geranium leaves (rinsed & dried)
2.5 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp
1.5 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs cognac
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp mace
1 tbs baking powder
6 eggs

Set your oven to 325F / 165C
Butter a 9in cake tin
Mix the butter & sugar till light & fluffy
Add vanilla & cognac
Then eggs one at a time
Sift dry ingredients and mix in 1/4 at a time
Layer geranium leaves across the base of your pan underside facing up
Pour the batter in gently & bake for at least an hour (test with a toothpick)
Let cool on a rack & turn out.

Pound cakes get better with age so if you can, try and wait to eat it for at least a day.

Emily L'Ami