Food, review

Saving the Planet One Sip of Green Tea at a Time

Eco-friendly Biodegradable Tea Bags

It’s no secret the world has a problem with plastic pollution, particularly the presence of micro-plastics in our oceans and drinking water. Did you know that some tea manufacturers incorporate small amounts of plastic into the teabags, so they hold their shape when immersed in hot liquid? That plastic ends up in our cups and ultimately in landfill.

Earl Grey Blue Flower and Japanese Lime Teabags

Other manufacturers use staples or glue to attach the string to the teabag or chlorine to bleach the bag white, for aesthetic purposes. These are all things we don’t want melting away in our morning cuppa.

If you’re anything like me, you like to support Companies that are taking the initiative to swap out plastic packaging for more environmentally friendly alternatives.

I was thrilled to find Biodegradable, 100% plant-based, plastic-free teabags in recyclable packaging from The Tea Centre. That’s good news for avid tea drinkers such as myself, who can now sip away without concern for ingesting nasty chemicals.

The Tea Centre has taken care to ensure their pyramid teabags are:

  • Biodegradable
  • GMO free
  • Made from plant-based materials, such as sugarcane
  • Heat sealed without glue
  • Sold in Eco-friendly Biodegradable packaging No Plastic

But that’s not the only way the Tea Centre is contributing to reducing waste. While the products from the Tea Centre range use inner wrapping that looks for all the world like plastic, it’s actually a cellulose product, called NatureFlex, made from 100% natural wood pulp, compostable and biodegradable.

Compostable and biodegradable tea bags

Bio-degradable Teabags and cartons that are 100% Recyclable.

Customers now have the option to purchase their teabags packaged inside a fully recyclable carton. These cartons are consciously crafted from food-grade cardboard. Moreover, the printing on the package is gold foil stamping that is also 100% recyclable.

That’s more good news, right?

JAPANESE LIME TEA

Just like Japan itself, this tea was ambrosial and aesthetic. With a subtle lime flavour, it has just the right balance to to be zesty and fragrant without overpowering the senses. Served as a cool drink, the lime flavour is delightfully refreshing and that comes from someone who doesn’t generally drink Iced tea.

Japanese Lime Tea

Ingredients:

Green tea, citrus peel, lemongrass

Biodegradable Teabags and Packaging

Tea bags Green tea Japanese lime from the Tea Centre
Brewing Guide
Photo Credit: Tea Centre

This zingy variety of Green Tea can be sipped as both a hot brew or iced tea.

Add one tablespoon tea to one litre of cold water and refrigerate for 4–7 hours.

Strain and serve.

BLENDED IN GERMANY | GLUTEN FREE | VEGAN

Why is a Green Tea Fusion Good for You?

You may already be familiar with the healing properties of green tea. The antioxidants are a boost for our hair and skin and also offer anti-inflammatory benefits. With ingredients such as lemongrass stalk to help relieve anxiety, lift one’s mood and help to ease digestive ailments, a green tea fusion is especially good to drink first thing in the morning.

Biodegradable Teabags

Plastic, GMO and chemical free. Pyramid tea bags are 100% biodegradable.

Tea bags Green tea Japanese lime from the Tea Centre

Green Tea Fusion

This fusion is a zesty combination of green tea, citrus peel, and refreshing lemongrass pieces.

BLENDED IN GERMANY | GLUTEN FREE | VEGAN

Since 1993, The Tea Centre has been offering a different tea experience and I’ve been fortunate to be gifted a sample of the teas to experience. If you love the aroma and flavour of fine tea, the tea will delight you.

Related Post:

I recently wrote about Glogg Black Tea. Some other warming winter tea flavours I plan to try include:

Linking to Natalie’s Linky
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Food

A Christmas in July

What happens when you want to eat Christmas food, you live in a tropical country, and it is 35 degrees (nearly 100 F), in the shade. What do you do?

Christmas Decorations

You organize a Christmas feast, in July, when it is actually wintertime.

I know all the citizens of the northern hemisphere might have a hard time comprehending things being so upside down here. It really is too hot to eat rich Christmas food in the summer months in Australia – which can be up to five months long!

You see come the month of December, I’m more focused on keeping cool and retreating to the ‘Pool room’ – (don’t worry Aussies will understand the reference); lying in air conditioned comfort and watching old home movies or reading a good book, or maybe writing a blog post or two.

photography

The only appetite I have during that time is for salad greens, which is acceptable for me on December 25, but not the rest of the family. Surprisingly, they expect a bit more than rabbit food at Christmas time.

A growing tradition in Australia is to have Christmas in July gatherings, with friends and family and enjoy a mock Christmas meal of Roast meat, Yorkshire pudding, Christmas mince pies and plum puddings with custard.

Scandinavian Glogg

Since the sixteenth century, Glogg is a warm drink brewed at Christmas time in Nordic households to welcome and warm guests travelling in the cold December weather. The name can be translated to mean “glow,” and may be served fortified with alcohol, or non alcoholic. Either way Glogg incorporates a number of spices that resemble the aroma and flavour of a Christmas cake.

Traditionally, the ingredients in mulled wine include: cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, orange, and almonds all of which infuse hot fortified wine. However, other recipes have called for cherries and raisins, as well as brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup, and in place of red wine, local distilled spirits such as aquavit or vodka, whisky, bourbon, and even white wine. In the non alcoholic version, ginger provides an added warming element.

The Tea Centre

My Christmas in July celebration happily extends throughout July but not with the traditional Glogg but with a variety of Glogg Black tea from The Tea Centre.

Glogg Black Tea

The supplier offers this tea in both black and green tea blends, and it contains many of the ingredients found in mulled wine: cinnamon for a welcome immunity boost for the Aussie winter and Cardamon, which is known to be beneficial in reducing pain, headaches, nausea and inflammation.

Reminiscent of Nordic Christmas traditions and mulled wines — cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger recreate this special drink … also a touch of almond and orange peel bits.

The Tea Centre

For me, drinking this tea brought back those sumptious feelings of Scandinavian hygge. Danish Hygge is that cosy feeling you have when you are curled up in front of the fire, snuggling under a fleecy throw, candlelight dancing across the walls, with your closest loved ones. It is a feeling of being at ease, comfortable and relaxed.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Aromas of cinnamon and cloves permeated the air as the pot was brewing. If you’re thinking it is not so dissimilar to a cinnamon herbal tea, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the additional flavours of orange peel, ginger and almond.

This tea would work really well with the Danish Spice cake recipe, I posted recently.

Delicious and healthy.

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vegetables food
Food

Embracing Edamame Beans

As one on the periphery of the ‘Boomer’ generation, I am slightly hesitant to use nouveau cuisine ingredients in my meals. However, as my adult children grow and in-laws arrive at family dinners, I need to cater to vegan, coeliac and pescatarian palettes, so I’m aiming to be versatile, making some low-calorie alternatives such as Edamame-fritters. Add to that, organic and Vegan menu options are appearing in lunch venues across the country, so the heat is on to keep up!

Yesterday, I dined on a wonderful dish of Edamame and Avo Smash comprising Mixed Beets, Beetroot Hommus, roasted hazlenut dukkah and plant based marinated feta, on toasted sourdough. It was delicous and the combination of colour made me remember my kindergarten days! It looked fantastic.

Edamame beans are immature soybeans and mostly found in Asian style dishes so using an unfamiliar ingredient such as this usually has me reaching for a recipe. Today, that wasn’t necessary.

Two cans of Edamame beans were looking a little lost and unwanted in my pantry and avocados are currently in plentiful supply and contain the good fats, so I seized the opportunity to recreate my own version of the Edamame and Avo Smash for lunch – sans mixed beets and hazlenut dukkah. I could hardly wait to eat it, as indicated by the missing bite in the photograph!

Do you use embrace new and unfamiliar ingredients in your cooking?

Edamame Beans Nutritional Content

They contain protein, but they also contain carbohydrates, that all important fibre, a number of essential amino acids and of course they’re low in fat and sugar and contain no cholesterol at all. They’re also a great source of minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, phosphorus, copper and manganese, plus they pack a punch with the vitamins too, such as Vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E. Shelled, they weigh in at 110 calories for a 100 gram portion.

http://www.kobejones.com.au/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-humble-edamame-bean/

The Little Tree Bake and Brewhouse nestled in the Samford Valley, to capital city Brisbane’s west, sources and incorporates local and sustainable produce into their seasonal menus. Everything on their menu is bespoke, made from scratch in our kitchen and very own bakery.

Photo Credit: http://www.littletreebakeandbrewhouse.com.au/
Cakes, Danmark, Food

Danish Spice Cake for Christmas in July

The Concept of Danish Hygge

The Danish word Hygge cannot be translated to one word in English, but my description would be,’ a cosy and contented feeling of wellbeing one gets when spending quiet time indoors with family and friends.

Tea and cake or a nice glass of wine in the evenings, may help to promote hygge. When I think of hygge, I think of a wood fire, sitting with my family and my dogs, perhaps a cup of Royal Ritz Loose-leaf Tea from the Tea Centre or perhaps a glass of Shiraz/Port in the evening.

It might be summer in the North, but here in Australia, we welcome winter and that cosy feeling inside our homes that adds a touch of Danish ‘Hygge,’ with a Danish Spice cake reminiscent of warm drinks by a fire, and a relaxed atmosphere.

teapot with teacups and candle

A Spice cake might also be a great compliment if you are planning a Christmas in July. Including cloves, cardamon and cinnamon, this recipe is packed full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, giving the immune system a mild boost.

A growing trend in Australia, a Christmas in July event, capitalises on the mild winters and is the perfect excuse to indulge in hearty Christmas dishes, Puddings and Mulled Wine. Foods that are harder to digest when the mercury passes 30 degress Celsius around December.

Bundt Cake Danish spice cake recipe

Spice Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 litre or 2 American cups Plain flour
  • 3.5 deciliters or 1.5 cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon each of ground Cloves and Cardamon
  • 3 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
  • I/2 tablespoon Baking soda
  • 1 Egg
  • 350 ml or 1.5 cups of Kefir/cultured milk/yoghurt/sourcream
  • 2 dessertspoons of Lingonberry or Cranberry jam
  • 75 g or 2.5 oz Butter

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celcius [180 degrees fan forced], or 390 Fahrenheit [360 fan forced].
  2. Mix kefir and jam well in a bowl, electric whisk is always preferable.
  3. Melt the butter, let cool a tiny bit.
  4. Add melted butter and egg to the kefir and jam mix, mixing gently.
  5. Mix together the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients until combined.
  6. Pour cake mix into a greased Bundt tin or cake tin of your choice.
  7. Bake for around 30-40 minutes. [Precise baking time will depend on the size of your dish, and on your oven. You know your oven best!]

Tips for measurement conversions: 

American

1 cup = 8 fl oz = 2.4 dl = 24 cl = 240 ml

British

1 cup = 10 fl oz = 2.8 dl = 280 ml

Australian

dl – 1 deciliter = 6 (scant) tablespoons

Two more Spice cake recipes containing immuno-boosting cinnamon, cloves and cardamon can be found on this post at The Home by the Sea.

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fish graffiti
blogging, Food

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Something Fishy

Join the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge

For the next two weeks, the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge asks for you to share a story, photographs, poem or recipe on the theme: Something Fishy. You are very welcome to join in.

  • crab
  • fish face mural fgraffiti art

Think fish markets, lobsters, fishing tales, the one that got away, graffiti art, food or travel photography, even something suspect or mysterious can fit with this theme. Make it your own!

Gold Fish in a pond
Wellington Botanic Gardens, New Zealand

The Friendly Friday Blog Challenge instructions fully explain how to join in. Don’t forget to pingback this post and leave a comment below, so I can find your post.

Here is my contribution for Something Fishy.

Fishy Dishes

During my formative years, as many Aussie families could attest, Salmon dishes hadn’t extended beyond one’s elderly Aunt Betty’s, “Salmon Patty.” For the uninitiated, salmon patties are a slightly bland salmon and mashed potato concoction. For the most part, Australian cuisine hadn’t spread its wings beyond the ‘meat and three veg’, until well after the seventies.

Unless your family was into crabbing or regular fishing trips, like my former neighbour who served up this delicious smoked fish and Red Claw lunch one day, you might not be tempted by seafood at all. But I can’t really understand that! It matters not whether it is Barramundi, Salmon or Mussels, there isn’t any seafood I don’t like.

Red claw smoked fish
Red Claw and Smoked fish

Ten or so years ago, Norwegian Gravlax, entered my life. I was visiting a Danish friend who was teaching me how to string a loom for weaving, (which had nothing to do with salmon), and she kindly offered me a smoked salmon and lettuce sandwich for lunch. It was humble and it was delicious. I was hooked. I had to have more.

Salmon and Avocado on ryebread
Salmon and Avocado on ryebread

Norwegian Gravlax

Gravlax tastes like a cross between salmon sashimi (imagine it with the addition of seasoning from salt, plus fresh herb flavour), and the smoked salmon slices you buy at stores – but minus the smokey flavour, because smoked salmon, is, [of course,] made by smoking salmon.

It’s not too salty, the flesh is not overly cured i.e. still nice and moist. But it’s cured enough to be easily sliceable into thin pieces, (which is virtually impossible with raw fish). It’s salty enough that you’ll want to eat the slices plain, but not too salty that you’ll need to guzzle a glass

recipetineats.com/cured-salmon-gravlax/

Most of the salmon, that is produced in salmon farms, is thought to be highly toxic. This is due to the techniques required to produce it according to a documentary on YouTube. Some varieties of FARMED salmon they consider especially so. The farmed salmon can and may infect, wild populations as well.

Although this revelation concerns this salmon zealot, I’ve only discovered the delights of eating smoked salmon a mere decade ago, so I’m thinking I am not about to give it up, yet, especially at my stage of life.

It’s All About the Salmon

So where do you find the best Salmon?

Sweden? The very best I’ve eaten was a Salmon dish in Stockholm, with Swedish friends. A melt-in-the-mouth fillet topped with a berry-based sauce that can only be described as sublime perfection.

Surprisingly enough, the next best salmon dish, I’ve eaten, was a pan-fried Tasmanian Salmon fillet I selected from a local restaurant’s menu. Again, it was – perfection.

Salmon varieties in Finland

Many Scandinavians love eating Salmon, so I can easily blame my Nordic genes, for my present addiction. Finns have a hundred different varieties of this fishy beast to try, as I discovered in Helsinki, one day.

Salmon Quiche, found in a Norwegian friend’s Women’s Weekly magazine, was more popular with visiting guests, than it was with my children, as was a Salmon pie recipe shared by a fellow Australian School-Mum.

Needless to say, I loved them both.

salmon pie
Salmon Pie

Some folks enjoy Salmon soup, which I found to be quite similar to a creamy seafood chowder I was served in Wellington harbour one year, but the Finns adds a flavour to die for. It must be the fresh dill or the cold waters of the Baltic region? Here’s the one I tasted in Finland.

salmon soup in helsinki
in helsinki

By now, you have probably figured salmon, smoked or otherwise, had me in its grasp. Each time I ate it, I liked it more and more. So much so that I experimented with making my own Gravlax.

How to Make Your Own Gravlax

A rose gold lump, formerly knows as a marine creature, sat curing in the refrigerator, under a cleaned bluestone rock, for 3 days. It had been doused with black pepper and enough salt to clog several arteries. The rock was to compress it, (apparently). Here is the recipe I followed:

Smoked Salmon Gravadlax
Smoked salmon fillet prior to adding the seasonings and rock

Gravlax Recipe

  • Mix equal parts salt + sugar (combined) to 50% of the weight of the salmon. 
  • Coat a fresh fillet of salmon liberally with the salt and sugar mix
  • Top with loads of chopped fresh Dill, or herbs of your choice.
  • Place a cleaned, heavy weight, such as a rock, a paperweight or marble board, on top.
  • Leave, loosely covered, in the fridge for 24 hours to cure; 36 hours for medium; 48 hours for hard cure. [I chose the medium time frame.]
  • Slice with a very sharp knife into wafer-thin slices and serve.

Next Friendly Friday Blog Challenge

Sandy, from The Sandy Chronicles, will announce the next theme for the Friendly Friday Challenge over at her blog, in two weeks time.

Blog challenge Friday
forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/instructions-for-the-friendly-friday-photo-challenge/

Until then,

Fishy Cheers from Amanda

pavlova recipe
Australia, blogging, Cakes, Food, History & Traditions

The Challenge of Making the Perfect Pavlova

Christmas has been and gone and with it the traditionally festive dessert of choice in Australia, (with its warm weather), the humble ‘Pavlova.’ This ubiquitous dessert really needs no introduction and not wishing to trigger my New Zealand counterparts, I won’t mention its origins, but will note the recipe has Australian variations!

Photo by Sandra Filipe on Pexels.com

Discussions around this dessert led to a four way cooking challenge which I will explain further in the post.

Modern Take on Traditional Pavlova

My take on the Traditional Pavlova Recipe, is mainly decorative but it works well to add to the festive appearance for a special occasion or to spoil a family member.

Still piled high with a delicious marshmallow centre and surrounded by the crunchy meringue shell that we all know and love, this pavlova is topped high with seasonal fruits, whipped cream, or custard as well as cream, (depending on your cholesterol level).

As Pavlova is generally Gluten-free, (omit the cornflour), you can serve this to sensitive tummies as well! Just check the chocolate you use is gluten-free too, if you have Coeliac guests.

What’s Different about this Pavlova?

It is perfect for a birthday dinner, a party, or just a treat to spoil yourself in lockdown and has a Chocolate Dome that you can smash with a rolling pin or large serving spoon, when slicing up.

What fun! Especially for kids!

Pavlova

Smashed Pavlova Chocolate Dome Recipe

Ingredients

  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • 800g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 600g thickened cream
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 pre-prepared pavlovaRecipe here
  • Topping of seasonal fruits: eg. cherries, mangoes, raspberries or kiwifruit

N.B. Undecorated pavlova can be made several days ahead; store in an airtight container, prior to decoration.

Method – Making a Chocolate Dome

  1. Spray a 12″ or 28cm plastic or pyrex bowl lightly with oil and place in the freezer. Melt chocolate on low heat on the stove in a double boiler or in the microwave if you prefer.
  2. Remove the bowl from the freezer and pour in half of the melted chocolate. Rotate the bowl to cover as much of the inside surface as possible, using a pastry brush to push the chocolate out to the rim. Place back in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. To finish the chocolate dome, use a pastry brush to brush remaining melted chocolate over existing layer, ensuring any thin areas are touched up. Place back in the freezer for 15 minutes or until set.
  4. Remove the bowl from the freezer. Trim the chocolate on the lip of the bowl to create an even base line and then gently rotate and tap the sides of the bowl to release the dome with a rolling pin. Run a knife along the sides of the bowl to release the dome slightly. Once chocolate comes away from the edge on all sides of the bowl the dome is ready.

3. Meanwhile, top the pavlova with cream and decorate with mango slices, cherries and raspberries. Carefully cover finished pavlova with the chocolate dome. Serve immediately.

Tip: use a wooden rolling pin or similar utensil to “smash” the chocolate casing when serving and prior to slicing.

Food Blogger Bake Off Challenge

pavlova recipe

When Sandy at The Sandy Chronicles mentioned a delicious dessert of her own a Blogging Bake-off idea was conceived. Thus, I’ve invited other blogging cooks such as Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful and Moon from Bits and Pieces to take up the Pavlova Bake off Challenge with me!

Have you previously posted about Pavlova? Would you like to try making a pavlova or another meringue like dessert?

Join in on the Pavlova Bake- off challenge by adding a pingback to this address in your post and it will update with your link.

Amanda – Something delicious to Ponder About

baking yema cake
Cakes

Gulkake Yellow Cake Recipe

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time, will know that Norwegian and Scandinavian things are very close to my heart, so it will come as no surprise to read that I am sharing a Norwegian recipe with you.

Nowegian cake recipe

This is a traditional Norwegian cake with an intense yellow colour. Not too sweet but a perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea.

NB. This is not Julekake – or Julekake which sounds similar, is equally delicious and is served at Christmas time. No, this is Gulkake as in ‘Gul’ – the norwegian word for yellow.

In Norwegian:

Gul Blomst = Yellow Flower; Gul Trøye = Yellow Jersey therefore:

Gul Kake = Yellow Cake – well, you get the idea.

The intense yellow colour comes from the SIX egg yolks this recipe contains and that’s also the reason it’s a great time of year to make it, if you live in the southern hemisphere?

Why this time of year?

Because those of us around the southern Ocean, that is Australians and New Zealanders, are busily creating loads of Pavlovas to eat with friends. Pavlovas are often the first choice of dessert, for summer time barbeques, as well as Christmas menus, as it’s too darn hot for warm desserts like plum puddings.

Pavlovas may contain as much as 7 egg whites and you can rapidly get really sick of making omelettes with the leftover yolks. Therefore, making ‘Gulkake,’ is a great alternative to combine when making a ‘Pav,’ (as we like to call them).

You do know Australians shorten names for everything don’t you?

Gulkake – Norwegian Yellow Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 150 grams Butter
  • 150 g Sugar
  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • 2 deciliters Whipping Cream
  • 225 grams Plain Flour
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Baking powder
  • Sugar to decorate

Convert grams to cups here

Nowegian cake recipe

Method

  1. Whip cream til almost stiff.
  2. Cream butter and half the sugar in a large mixing bowl til white and fluffy.
  3. Mix the remaining half of the sugar with the egg yolks and whip lightly.
  4. To the creamed butter and sugar mix: add the flour and the baking powder a little at a time, alternating with adding the egg yolk mix. Mix well after each addition.
  5. Carefully fold through the whipped cream.
  6. Pour into a 20 cm greased and lined bar loaf tin or several small bar loaf tins.
  7. Top with pearl or fine sugar to decorate if desired. A sprinkle of cinnamon perhaps?
  8. Bake 175 degrees for *45 minutes for the larger tins, *25 – 30 minutes for smaller tins (NB: these * are fan forced oven temperatures).
  9. Stand 10 minutes before turning out.
https://www.thebakingchocolatess.com/conversion-charts-kitchen-tips-2/

Happy Baking from Down Under

#onecakeaweek

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Australia, Food

As Aussie as Meat Pie

It is 1996 and I’m a young mum with two small sons. They’re two demanding boys, with big ideas and fertile minds. They want to play, but it’s time to prepare dinner for the family.

The oldest boy turns back to set up electrical circuits with batteries and LED light bulbs, whilst the smaller son, Master Three, gathers soft toys, from his prodigious collection, that would be the envy of any Sesame Street cast member and sets up a puppet show singing tunes of Thomas the Tank Engine. I turn back to the stove.

Besides the two boys and the Moth, there is a third child in the house.

Typical Danish country Church

I have a daughter I am about to lose. She is not mine, but one I am caring for and have grown so fond of. In less than a week from this night, she will return home to Denmark and we will miss her dreadfully.

Over the eleven months she lived in our family as a Danish Exchange student, we learnt things about Danish life and travelled to a gazillion Aussie places to show her as much of Australia as one can do, with two small boys in tow.

For her last meal on Australian soil, she asks if I can serve her an Aussie Meat Pie. Nothing fancy, just a Meat pie.

She tells me that there are no Meat pies served in Denmark and laments that she will miss those piping hot, oh-so-tender meaty chunks, steeped in rich gravy and covered with a rather messy, get-it-all-over-your-lap, flaky style pastry. Later that week, she eats that pie topped with blood-red squirts of tomato sauce. Yes, that means ‘ketchup,’ but it’s never called that here.

Meat Pie Etiquette

There are unwritten rules about how one should eat a meat pie, especially at the footy.

  1. Take off the pie top and eat.
  2. Squirt tomato sauce on top of meat.
  3. Eat tomato-sauce topped meat from inside the pie
  4. Eat the meatless pie crust last

When our dear “exchange daughter,” returns to visit us in a few years, her first request is:

“Can we have Meat pie for dinner?”

Origins of the Australian Meat Pie

An Australian meat pie was produced in 1947 by L. T. McClure in a small bakery in Bendigo and became the famous Four’ n Twenty pie. … Other manufacturers predate this, and the pie manufacturer Sargent can trace their pie-making back to 1891.

Wiki

Whatever its origin, Meat pie is as Aussie as a “snag” on the Barbie, as Kangaroos, AFL, (Australian Football), and Holden ‘utes.’ Which reminds me of a song, one that Bushboy might recognize?

Making a Meat Pie

I’ve not made a meat pie myself, so I have no special recipe to share. (Sorry to disappoint you, Sandy). For many years, I was vegetarian and I completely lost the taste for eating any kind of meat. But then the Geebung bakers came along and ruined my meat-free diet.

Trying to emulate the lofty cooking skills of The Bun ‘n Oven bakery, (in the very iconically named suburb of Geebung, in Queensland), or the highly acclaimed piemakers of The Yatala Pie Company, would be doomed to failure. These bakers are Kings in creating a flaky, melt-in-your-mouth pie pastry with top quality ingredients. [And no, this is not a paid advertisement.]

Meat pies are found on offer at most Bakeries in Australia, along with the Lamington, another iconic Aussie food. Although you may find dubious imitations of meat pies, in the frozen section of any supermarket, you might need a cast-iron stomach to tolerate those of lesser quality.

Meat Pie Accompaniments

Some Australians prefer their Meat pies served with Mushy Peas atop, something that is more English than Australian, or a cottage pie, with potato and a sprinkle of cheese.

Classic.

Boringly, a Meat pie in our family NEEDS to be served with lashings of mashed potatoes and green peas. It’s essential, (according to the Moth), and he refuses to eat one without these mundane accompaniments.

In a modern world, where kale and chia seeds might reign supreme, this humble dish, with its high cholesterol reputation and high-fat content, is fast becoming less popular with Australians.

Readers brave enough to take on the Geebung Bakers could try this Meat pie recipe.

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teapot with teacups and candle
blogging, Cakes, Food

Dark Chocolate Brownie

I have been making a Dark Chocolate Brownie over at the Home by the Sea.

It is a quick and easy recipe that has some health benefits owing to the use of dark chocolate. These are more cake recipes posted previously for #Onecakeaweek

Are you tempted by any?

I will be making one cake each week and would love you to link up any cake recipes you have posted on your blog, so I have more recipes to try out.

From Enticing Desserts – Strawberry Mint Sorbet

From The New Vintage Kitchen – Lavender and Lemon Shortbread Cookies

From Pictures Imperfect – German Cheesecake with Quark

vegetable salad s
Cakes, Food

Sticking with the Pudding – Sticky Date

Have you a particular dish that you know you don’t like, but have never really ever tried it?

Or perhaps you were once bitten, twice shy in regards to a particular food?

For me, that was Sticky Date Pudding.


I would swerve away from these dried out chewy concoctions at buffets and head straight for the chocolate mousse, pavlovas or berry desserts on offer. I am not really a fan of dates, anyway, unless they are in a Mocha Date loaf, one that I have made at home, myself.

Would you call that being a kind of food snob? Hand up – that’s me!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com


The thought that I was a food snob struck me in an idle moment yesterday, as I was adding the last of the brown sugar from its packet, atop my morning porridge.

As is my habit, I double-checked the information on the side of the empty brown sugar packet, prior to disposing of the packet, in case there was an interesting recipe that I might consider making.

“Oh.” I sighed with resignation, disappointed to see the suggested recipe was merely sticky date pudding. I tossed the packet aside to go in the rubbish.

Not interested in that, I thought.

Nevertheless, with the topic of pudding on my mind, I struck up a conversation with the M.o.t.h. (aka Man of the House).

“Do you like Sticky Date Pudding?”

“No, I don’t.” was his curt reply. “Never have,” he said, shutting down the topic fast.

I can only blame some kind of homemaker’s intuition that made me re-consider that recipe for sticky date pudding, or it could have been the brainwashing of those Zero waste bloggers.

I noted that cream was one of the listed ingredients in the sauce and making it would mean I could use up the leftover cream sitting in the fridge and not feel guilt at being wasteful.

Add to this, I do like to try new recipes and I had never made this before. I am making #onecakeaweek over at the Home by the Sea and a pudding would be a lovely addition to the theme.

What is the Health Benefits of Eating Dates?

Often maligned, dates are surprisingly good for your health. They may aid with digestion, improve bone health, lower cholesterol and are a tasty source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and fibre. Amazing, really.

The umpteen health benefits of dates has made the delicious fruit one of the most sought after foods in the world of health and nutrition.

food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/10-dates-benefits-from-improving-bone-health-to-promoting-beautiful-skin-1258714

Critique of CSR Sticky Date Pudding Recipe

So, last night at the Home by the Sea, I made that CSR version of Sticky Date Pudding. Can you believe it turned out to be highly successful with the Moth and a completely delightful surprise for me. (Otherwise, it probably would not rate a whole blog post).

It was soft and delicate and there was not one sign of a chewy date, just a subtle fruity flavour with a freshly baked cake-like texture. The butterscotch sauce, which I was so wary of, initially, could be described as a creamy and buttery, ‘nectar of the Gods,’ with a molasses-like sugary flavour that oozed over the pudding, like velvet.

Why was I so tentative about Sticky Dates? This was not the same dried out chewy version of pudding, I always thought of, at all.

As you have surely guessed, I am now a convert, and the M.o.t.h. could not stop raving about it. In fact, so enamoured was he with this version of Pudding he was going back to the kitchen for a third helping, when I intervened suggesting he might like to keep some for the following night. (I was considering his waistline, of course!)


You can find the full recipe right now on my secondary blog- Home by the Sea.

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Do you have a food you disliked, or refused to eat, only to discover that, years later, it tasted way better than you thought?

Community, Food

Broccoli and Spinach soup

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I blogged earlier about the benefits of magnesium rich foods, and broccoli and spinach are great sources of magnesium. Broccoli soup is an easy and delicious way to eat much more broccoli than one can eat as a humble steamed vegetable.

Broccoli Soup

  • 500 g broccoli (diced stalks and sprigs)
  • Several large spinach leaves, chopped roughly (or silverbeet or rainbow chard)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Several celery stalks,sliced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup cream, (if you want cream of broccoli soup)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • Lemon slices  as garnish
  1. Saute the onion and celery in a pan til the onion turns transparent.
  2. Wash broccoli and cut into sprigs and add broccoli, chopped Spinach, chicken stock and onion/ celery mix to a large saucepan.
  3. Bring  to boil and simmer for 10- 15 minutes til broccoli is soft.

Then either A or B below:

A.  If wanting to make cream of broccoli soup, process using hand blender or vitamizer-blender till smooth. Add cream and return to saucepan heating through whilst adding seasoning and lemon juice. Garnish and serve

B. Gently blend or stir til broccoli breaks up into small sprigs. Add seasonings and lemon juice. Garnish and serve.

A nice accompaniment to Broccoli and Spinach soup would be almond or walnut bread.

Delicious to ponder about, even better to taste.

Cakes, Food

Carrot and Cardamon Cake

I have been baking over at the Home by the Sea.

My imminent retirement and perhaps the pandemic needs to shoulder the blame for my cooking one cake every week. Sometimes I will cook a second – depending on who is visiting.

This week the recipe is for Carrot and Cardamon Cake.

The M.o.t.h. (Man of the house if you haven’t been introduced) loved it. He thinks it is a great option because it contains vegetables! Just disregard the amount of calories in 310 g of sugar.

If you can get past that figure, it is delicous with a cup of coffee or tea. Highly recommended.

Cardamon on the other hand is amazing. Apparently Google claims it may have:

  • Antioxidant and Diuretic Properties May Lower Blood Pressure
  • May Contain Cancer-Fighting Compounds
  • May Protect from Chronic Diseases Thanks to Anti-Inflammatory Effects
  • May Help with Digestive Problems, Including Ulcers
  • May Treat Bad Breath and Prevent Cavities
  • May Have Antibacterial Effects and Treat Infections

That is something to ponder about

cake on platter
Food, History & Traditions

Friendly Friday Challenge Guest Post – Nostalgia

The Guest post for this week’s Friendly Friday theme of Nostalgia, comes from Lorelle, an Australian Mum of two, passionate traveller and foodie enthusiast, who blogs at A Mindful Traveller.

I had the immense pleasure of meeting the lovely Lorelle a couple of years ago and she has been so kind to write a beautiful narrative about a very different kind of cake, one that is not only full of tradition but also has a special meaning for her and her family.

Two bloggers meet in Melbourne

Lorelle writes:

Nostalgia

“Interestingly, there are two forms of nostalgia, restorative and reflective.

For me, Nostalgia is purely reflective. Stepping down memory lane with no need to recreate the past, is gratifying. The memories and more importantly, the feelings associated with those memories, are forever embedded with us.

Food is a remarkable trigger for Nostalgia, as it is a powerful sensory recollection. We all associate certain foods with memories and feelings.

Sri Lankan Connection

Coming from a Sri Lankan family, food is an important cultural way of life. And when I reflect on the vast variety of delicious and tasty Sri Lankan foods, there is one particular dish that is not only my favourite but one that holds special memories as it is only prepared and eaten at that all-important sacred feast of Christmas.

These customs and traditions allow us to preserve our important ancestral history. Unique, individual stories, wisdom and in this case recipes, passed from generation to generation. As Sri Lankan migrants, my parents continue to pass on their significant heritage to their children, and at important celebrations of the year where family gather, recipes like Sri Lankan Love Cake remind us of where it all began.

Sri Lankan Love Cake

History of Sri Lankan Love Cake

This traditional Sri Lankan cake was inspired by the Portuguese from the 1500’s. As the name suggests, Love Cake was originally made to win the heart of an admirer. It is made from cashew nuts, semolina and candied winter melon/squash called puhul dosi (pumpkin preserve).  Exotic spices and floral essences create a fragrant, sweet, spiced cake with a soft chewy inside and a crunchy crust.

There are many different variations to Love Cake, with each “Aunty” insisting her recipe is better than the other! Practice is also another requirement. Don’t be alarmed if you do not succeed the first time. Adjusting ingredients or oven temperatures may be necessary.

Sri Lankan Love Cake Recipe

In the recipe below, I have used a bain-marie of water to create that soft chewy centre. By placing a tray of water at the bottom of the oven, the moisture stays within the cake and doesn’t dry it out.

So, it is here that Christmas and its celebratory traditional cakes, bring great Nostalgia of our original family home, my grandparents and the sense of togetherness and family love.

Sri Lankan Love Cake

Makes: 2 rectangular baking trays

Prep Time: 30 mins (Eggs need to be at room temperature)

Cooking Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 450g butter, softened
  • 450g semolina
  • 650g cashew nuts (pulsed in a food processor until finely chopped, keeping some larger pieces. Do not blend to a powder consistency)
  • 12 egg yolks (at room temperature)
  • 7 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 700g caster sugar
  • 500 g preserved pumpkin (puhul dosi), finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
  • 50ml rosewater
  • 2 tbsp almond essence
  • 50ml honey
  • juice of 1 orange
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 2 tsp cardamon, ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp clove, ground

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced)
  2. Grease two rectangular cake tins and line with foil and then baking paper.
  3. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.
  4. Combine the softened butter and semolina together in a separate bowl using your fingers. Add this to the egg and sugar mixture in thirds, beating to combine.
  5. Transfer mixture into a very large mixing bowl and using a wooden spoon incorporate the nuts, pumpkin preserve. Then add rosewater, almond essence, honey, juice and rind, stirring well. Add remaining dry spices and mix.
  6. Whip the egg whites into soft peaks and gently fold through the egg whites into the cake batter in two batches, do not over beat mixture. The egg whites will loosen up the mixture.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cake tins.
  8. Place a large tray of water on bottom oven shelf.
  9. Bake the cakes at 160°C for 20 mins on middle oven shelf.
  10. Reduce heat to 150°C and bake for a further 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  11. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover with foil.
  12. Once cooked and brown on top, remove cakes and allow to cool in trays before transferring. Cut into rectangles or squares when cool.

If you are wondering about preserved pumpkin, Lorelle writes to tell me that:

Preserved pumpkin or Puhul dosi, can be purchased from the Indian/Sri Lankan grocers or you could try to make your own. You can alternatively use preserved or candied squash/winter melon or pineapple. A health food store might stock these items.

About Lorelle and A Mindful Traveller:

Three years ago, I decided to document and share my personal travel and favourite recipes from the many wonderful places I visited locally and globally.

My passion for travel grew immensely and was educated as I discovered new and exciting corners of the globe that I had not been to before.

Living in Australia and being quite distant from the rest of the world has its advantages and disadvantages.

Now, as we fight our way through a worldwide pandemic, the ambivalent questions of when we will be able to travel overseas again are daunting.

This presents another opportunity to further explore my own country and improve my knowledge for the country I was born in. The open outback, rugged coasts and stretched roads are calling….

Photo by David Jia on Pexels.com

Many thanks to Lorelle for sharing this delicious recipe and giving us an insight into the background and traditions around this a small piece of ‘nostalgia.’