Nasty Hobbit's New Home

Nemo, quamvis sit prudens, est, quin cottidie multa addiscere possit.


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Chocolate cookies

This one’s really easy. The hardest part is the shaping. But the other steps are fairly simple and there’s no need for a mixer, just a large wooden spatula will do.

 

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Equipment

  • oven (doesn’t matter if it’s electric, gas or even wood-fired)
  • baking sheets that fit inside the oven
  • parchment paper (Glad Bake and Cooking Paper is a good and fairly commonly available brand)
  • large wooden spatula (make sure it’s sturdy and not the one that breaks easily)
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • strainer or sieve
  • 2 large stainless steel bowls
  • well-sealed container for the cookies (hermetic glass jar is a good choice)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar (muscovado sugar also works)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Procedure

  1. In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Mix well.
  2. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well-blended. Add vanilla and salt, mix until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Blend well.
  4. Shape cookies using any of the following methods:
    • Use a pastry bag fitted with a large tip to shape the cookies.
    • Or roll the dough to 3 mm thickness between two parchment sheets and use a cookie cutter to cut the cookies in the desired shape.
    • Or divide the dough into little balls and flatten with a spatula or spoon.
  5. Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake in oven preheated to 180°C until firm to the touch.
  7. Cool on wire rack before putting inside a well-sealed cookie jar.

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Orange Jessamine

One learns something new every day, indeed. I made a discovery during a summer’s evening stroll in the town plaza. There was a whiff of something fragrant among the foliage as my mother and I passed by. It wasn’t the usual suspects – sampaguita, dama de noche, ilang-ilang, jasmin, fortune plant or even dita – because none of those were growing in the town plaza and the fragrance was different from all of them. Walking closer towards the scent, the source was the white blossoms of a relatively small, unfamiliar tree. After some research, it turned out that it was kamuning. I had never seen one before, and the only familiarity I had with the name was that I knew a road was named after it.

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The kamuning was first described by Georg Eberhard Rumpf in Herbarium Amboinense. Rumpf was born in Wölfersheim, Germany but worked for the Dutch East Indian Company as a midshipman, and was later promoted to “engineer and ensign”. In 1657 he requested a transfer to the civilian branch of the company and became “junior merchant” on Hitu Island, north of Ambon, now part of modern-day Indonesia. During his stay in Ambon, he studied the flora and fauna of the islands, which he wrote into a six-volume publication titled Herbarium Amboinense. He completed the book in 1695, but the book was only published in 1741, 39 years after his death. The book was written in Latin and Dutch, and his name was rendered in Latin – Georgius Everhardus Rumphius. No binary names (Genus species) of plants and animals appear in the book, as binomial nomenclature had yet to be invented at the time. Binomial nomenclature was first used by Carl Linnaeus in his book Species Plantarum, which was published in 1753.

In Herbarium Amboinense, Rumpf wrote three pages worth of descriptions and an illlustration for the kamuning (or Camunium as he called it in Latin):

    Camunium nobis in India repraesentare videtur Buxum, quoad nempe ejus lignum, neutiquam vero quoad formam, magnam enim habec similitudinem cum praecedenti Caju Lacca, sed non ita proserpit, at magis sese erigit, inque binas dividitur species, primo in vulgarem seu Amboinensem, secundo in Javanensem, quae tamen haud multum differunt.

     Primo vulgare seu Amboinense Camunium ad Caju Laccam quam proxime adcedit, quum quodammodo prorepat, primo sese instar arbusculae erigens, dein vero sese inflectit, atque instar funis prorepit, aliis modo incumbens arboribus; ejus truncus vulgo pedis crassitiem habet, ad fummum, si cruris crassitiem adtingat, raro ad illam hominis adcedit, nunquam rotundus & solidus, sed per longitudinem profundis sulcis & foveis excavatus est, unde cariosi admodum ac raro solidi sunt, formamque praebent, acsi varii concreti essent stipites, multoque profundiores sunt ejus sulci quam in Caju Laccae truncis, estque porro obductus tenui, gilvo, & fisso cortice.

     Reliqui rami rotundi sunt, tenui ac lento cortice vestiti, qui facile decorticari potest, utiin Salicibus, ex hisce rachides plurimae excrescunt rectae & plerumque elevatae, in plurimos laterales ramulos divisae, quorum bini plerumque uno ex ortu progerminant. Hisce folia insident eodem modo locata uti in Caju Lacca, alternata nempe, quinque, septem, & octo uno in ramulo; suntque illis Caju Laccae quam simillima, seu instar illorum Varingae Microphylli, firmiora & glabriora illis Caju Laccae, in longum apicem desinentia. Supremum, quod semper solitarium & maximum, prope ortum geniculatum est, quatuor transversales digitos longum, ac binos latum.

     Inferiora vero vix articulum longa sunt, ac digitum lata, superne quam maxime viridia & glabra, inferne paulo magis flava, & ad tactum mollia instar Serici densioris, praefertim in vetustis follis: Nervus medius inferne acutum format dorsum, atque costae rarae sunt, inferne autem magis protuberantes quam in illis Caju Laccae, saporis acris & ingrati, qui linguam parum vellicat uti Limonum folia. Vetusta ac decidua albicant.

     Flores tarde ac raro progerminant, unus alterve uno ex ortu, ex quinque sexve petalis constantes forma illorum Jasmini, sed rariores ac firmiores, tubo brevi & amplo instar campanae donati, in cujus centro decem adparent stamina cum intermedio crassiore, quod pistillum est, & in fummo capitulum gerit flavum: Ipsorum odor gratus est, sed debilis, ad Jasminum adcedens, potissimum vespertino tempore claro & placido coelo: Florum petala facile decidunt, nec multum tractari possunt, quum medium remanet pistillum, quod in fructum excrescit; qui oblonga est bacca, omnino similis illi Capsici minoris, tam forma quam colore, digiti unguem longa, interne bina locantur oblonga ossicula, sibi adunata, & quodammodo lanuginosa, carne obducta rubente ac molli, quae rubente tegitur pellicula, qualem habent fructus Cynosbati, odoris gravis, ossicula ista sunt semina, quae facile progerminant, quum terrae conmittantur. Novembri & Decembri floret, fructusque mense Martio maturescunt.

     Ejus lignum albastro destitutum est, atque sub tenui cortice substantia locatur homogenca, solidissima, subtilis, dura, & gravis, coloris pallidioris Buxino ligno, cum quo caeterum substantia & gravitate penitus convenit, praefertim vetustorum truncorum circa radicem, ubi & magis flavescit, circa cor autem colorem habet melleum & nigricantem, quorum colorum quaedam flammae seu maculae hine inde in ligno adparent, quodque plurimas tales habet venas, optimum censetur. Quidam trunci nullum omnino tale gerunt lignum variegatum, sed homogeneum & aequaliter flavescens, instar eboris, si nempe elaboretur, alii raras quasdam gerunt circa cor maculas ac prope radicem.

     Elegans est oculis lignum, sed non magna opera ex illo formari possunt, quum adeo concavum sit, & in quadratas partes dissectum, tam paucam solidi ligni exhibeat quantitatem, atque praeterea tam facile findatur, si modo paululum Soli exponatur, recens autem elaboratum fortem ac gravem spirat odorem instar Cofassini vel Buxini ligni.

     Secundo Camunium Javanicum elegans est arbuscula, altitudinem Granati habens, non alte supra terram sese erigens trunco simplici, mox enim sese dividit in varios crassos & sinuosos ramos, qui plurimas gerunt breves rachides, quae densam formant comam.

     Folia ejusdem sunt formae, codemque locantur modo in ramulis, quinque, sex, & septem uno in ramulo, sunt autem breviora, firmiora, & glabriora illis praecedentis speciei, subtus non lanuginosa, supremum minimum digitum longum est, reliqua inferiora breviora, atque inter ilia quaedam articulo breviora, saporis acrioris quam in prioribus, ad ilium foliorum Limonum magis adcedentis.

     Flores fructusque sunt uti in antecedente, flores autem hujus speciei frequentiores sunt, magisque gratum spirant odorem, ita ut calidis vesperis totam repleant, in qua locati sunt, aream; per rotum fere aestatis tractum proveniunt successive nunc flores nunc fructus, a gallinis autem arcere illos oportet, quum iliae flores fructusque quam avidissime devorent, continuo ad basce advolantes arbusculas.

     Lignum ejusdem est coloris & substantiae cum priore, fuscae vero istae maculae in hoc non conspiciuntur, unde & haec species potissimum ob arboris formam & elegantiam expetitur, uti praecedens ob lignum, si vero quis istas maculas non curet vel desideret, hoc Javanense lignum solidius & copiosius est, quum ejus trunci non adeo sint inregulares ac sulcati quam Amboinensis speciei, quae magis prorepit, illiusque segmenta conquiri possunt solida, cruris crassitiem habentia.

     Licet per totum anni tractum siccum flores quidam in hac conspiciantur arbuscula, observavi tamen, medio circiter Decembris per tres continuos dies floribus copiosissimis onustam esse, qui progerminant nunc decimo sexto Decembris, nunc siccissimo praegresso tempore nono ejusdem mensis die, post quos dies flores decidunt, ac copiosi subcrescunt fructus, sic quoque observavi, cuncta granula & semina sub hac arbuscula projecta, immo in sicca arenosaque area, multo melius progerminare quam aliis in locis, cujus rei caussam puto esse frigidiusculam umbram, quam per densam suam caussat comam.

     Nomen. Latine Camunium. Malaice, Javanice, & Macassarice Camuneng, ac quibusdam Caju Moni & Caymoni. Sinice Tsjauw Tsjeen.

     Locus. Repens seu flagellosum Camunium in hisce orientalibus Amboinae plagis non crescit, sed in Buorone, ad orientalem Cajeli sinum, in Bonoa, boreali Huamohelae parte, in Moluccis, in Mackia, Mothira, & Morothia, uti & in boreali Gelolae parte, atque in quibusdam parvis ante Macassaram insulis, & in sinu Boegico ante Boelo Boulo , ubique in saxosis locis, quoque sicciores, magisque saccosi sint loci, eo melius censetur Camunium: atque hinc puto Bouronense tam facile fissuras pati, quod in saxoso quidem, sed plano simul & humido crescat solo. Altera seu arborea species in Java, Baleya, & Borneo obcurrit, uti & in Zephyrea Sinae parte.

     Usus. Amboinensis repens species potissimum adhibetur ad tortilia, minoraque opera ex ipsa formanda, uti sunt cancelIi, sedilia, globuli acicularum operi inservientes, cultrorum manubria, similiaque: Durissimis & quam maxime suscis segmentis utuntur Javani, & Macassarenses ad telorum manubria ex iis formanda, quae artificiose elaborantur, vel si elegantes maculae in iis detegantur, poliuntur, sunt enim adeo cupidi & amantes venas & maculas hujus ligni, ut pro frustulo ex ipsorum voto multum pecuniae numerent ac solvant. Ex crassioribus ligni frustis pharethras formant, sed oportet, ut illa eleganter quoque sint undulata, in Amboinae autem insulis hoc lignum non adeo crassescit. Ad cuncta opera adhiberi posset, ad quae Buxinum requiritur lignum, si tam crassum foret.

     Javani jubent, ut, si trunci caedantur, superne & interne simul amputentur, credentes flammas seu maculas alioquin terrefactas avolaturas esse, atque hinc ex Bourone & Bonoa illud requifiverunt, quum Javanicum illis maculis & undis sit destitutum: licet plantetur tam in Java & Baleya, quam in quibusdam Sinae Provinciis Quantung, & Maccauensibus insulis circa aedes & in areis tam ob elegantem ejus formam, densamque comam, quam ob odoratos flores.

     Quum hoc lignum exscindere vel elaborare, ac praesertim perterebrare velimus, in aqua prius maccrandum est, atque externe obvolvendum, nec in sole deponendum, quum facillime findatur. Ad manubria a Maccassarensibus inprimis laudantur radices, vel partes ipsis proximae, quum hae quam maxime sint venosae, uti radices Buxi in Gallo-provincia & Delphinatu, quod vulgo vocatur lignum Galio provincicum. Optimum Macassarenses petunt ex Mandara & Tibaroua, quae loca sunt ad borealem Macassarae plagam sita.

     Medicatas quoque possidet virtutes, ejus enim fo lia ac cortex in aqua contrita, & cum pauxillo Lampujang mixta, propinantur contra Asthma. Folia acrimoniam & fervorem habent, qualis in Limonum foliis percipitur, praefertim Javanicae speciei, atque haec inlinita contractos calefaciunt artus, qui ex frigore Paralytici facti sunt.

     Quum domesticum Camunium per ramos transplantare velimus, sequenti id peragitur modo, cortex parum contunditur, qui obvolvitur pingui & optima terra, quae linteis sustinetur, ac sissa arundine per fesqui mensem ita relinquitur , dein feca nunc ramum brevi post ligamen istud, ac terrae committe novae.

     In Macassara & Mandara hujus species obcurrit Camuneng Batu dicta, nodosa penitus, minoraque gerens folia vulgari. Ex hac regum folae pharethrae formantur, quum lignum hoc eleganter sit variegatum ex venis flavis, laete rubentibus, & albis. Quasdam porro exoticas Camunii species vide in Auctuario.

kamuning2

Then Carl Linnaeus, ennobled in 1761 as Carl von Linné, gave the kamuning its first binary name – Chalcas paniculata – in his book Mantissa Plantarum published in 1767.  The species name was derived from the kamuning’s floral structure – the flowers are arranged in a loose cluster called a panicle, hence, paniculata. In this work, he classified plants according to the number of anthers and stigma in the flowers. The kamuning was placed in Class Decandria (bearing 10 anthers), Order Monogynia (bearing one stigma). He described the kamuning systematically while also referring to Rumpf’s earlier work:

CHALCAS.

Cal. Perianthium quinquepartitum, minimum: foliolissubulatis, erectis, persistentibus.
Cor. pentapetala, campanulata. Petala oblongiuscula, majuscula, unguibus insidentia.
Stam. Filamenta decem, subulata, erecta, corolla breviora. Antherae subrotundae.
Pist. Germen subrotundum. Stylus filiformis, longitudinestaminum. Stigma capitato – verrucosum.
Per. Bacca oblonga. Rumph.
Sem. duo, tomentosa.
Obs. an Affinis Trichogamilae Brown?

– paniculata        I. CHALCAS.

 Camunium. Rumph. amb. 5. p. 26 t. 17

Habitat in India, ubi colitur in hortis ob flores   fragrantissimos.
Frutex laevis. Folia alterna, petiolata, subopaca, obsolete crennata,. Flores subpaniculati, terminales.

 

It was not until 1820 that the kamuning was given its currently accepted scientific name Murraya paniculata by the botanist Willian Jack.  The genus name was given in honor of the Swedish botanist and doctor Johan Andreas Murray, who was a student and contemporary of Linnaeus.