March Newsletter

Read the headlines below and read the whole newsletter here.
Market stall site change
The whole Cygnet market will be outside for March! The Town Hall will be totally surrounded with stalls, front, back and both sides. I need such a big space that I am going to be out the back, next to the Lovett Gallery entrance. This means I can park right at my stall, which will be more wonderful than you can imagine!

Please come and see me and please tell your friends!

Hugh returns to the Cygnet Market
Some of you will know about the endless difficulties Hugh has had working in the very unprofessional environment of the bakery kitchen. The result is that he is no longer working there. Consequently he is able to return to the Cygnet Market this Sunday and bring you all of his masterpieces again. I am not sure where his stall will be but seek and ye shall find!

New Olive Oil
The olive crop at Patlins (and much of SA) last year did not produce as much oil as usual and they have run out BUT I have bought a beautiful oil from Mt. Zero Olives in Victoria, to tide us over to the next season. Frantoio is one of the best and much sought after. 

Pip Magazine Returns for 2017
Almost everyone here who lives in a house, grows some food, has a few chooks, or maybe has an acre or two to be put to good use. Learning how best to design your space for maximum ease of use, for maximum efficiency, maximum beauty, least harm to your environment and least stress is not always easy.

Pip is the magazine of Australian Permaculture and each issue covers a range of topics and ideas from near and far, to help people understand and incorporate practical systems into their everyday lives.

It is the only magazine I sell because I think it is the best one for us here in Tasmania. Issue 7 has just arrived. Check it out at the market on Sunday.

March Sourdough & Cultured Butter Workshop $55
I will be having my first sourdough and cultured butter workshop for 2017 later in March. Check the dates and make bookings by adding your EMAIL (not your name) here. If you don’t put your email you have not booked, even if I know you!!

You will find more information about these workshops on my website here.

Thanks for the Wine Bottles but please stop!
I rely on my wonderful customers to provide me with wine bottles, which I sterilise and fill with the olive oils and apple cider vinegar I sell. You have been most generous and I now have quite a few. I will let you know when I need more but for now I have enough, thanks.

Square eftpos
The Garden Shed and Pantry now has credit card, debit card, chip and contactless payment facilities! Square is a simple and cheap system suited to every form of transaction. It may be cheap but it is not free, so I would still prefer cash but no longer will there be any inconvenience if you do not have enough cash with you! 

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This is just the headlines. Read the whole newsletter here.

Gin and Tonic…. revolution!

Many people, including me, love a gin and tonic now and again, especially with Tasmanian made gin, but there’s a revolution happening that is turning this drink on its head!

Gin is a spirit which derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries (Juniperus communis). And I love adding a squeeze of lime to it, with tonic water.

From its earliest origins in the Middle Ages, gin has evolved from a herbal medicine to an object of commerce in the spirits industry. Gin was developed on the basis of the older word for juniper, ‘jenever’, and became popular in Great Britain when William of Orange, leader of the Dutch Republic, occupied the English, Scottish and Irish thrones with his wife Mary. Gin is one of the broadest categories of spirits, represented by products of various origins, styles, and flavour profiles that all revolve around juniper as a common ingredient

So, in order to revolutionise gin and tonic, we can now add a few drops of juniper essential oil and lime essential oil to good tonic water and we have a non-alcoholic health drink with the natural flavour of g & t!

Juniper was and is frequently used to support healthy kidney and urinary function, problematic skin and the digestive system, as well as helping to relieve tension and stress. It can also be used to support cleansing and detoxifying. Juniper berry essential oil is a steam-distilled oil from the berries and needles of the juniper plant. The best oils are sourced from Bulgaria, their indigenous region, and take a full THREE years to ripen to maturity.

Pure lime oil (Citrus aurantifolia) is a compound created by cold-pressing the peel of a lime and collecting the oil, much like the process of pressing olives for oil. It is most commonly used as a powerful antioxidant that supports healthy immune function, an internal cleanser and for its ability to positively affect mood with its stimulating and refreshing properties.

 

Juniper, lime and tonic

New products arrive after the storm…

Unprecedented rain swept away lives, cars, cows and land last week in northern Tasmania. No freight went in or out by the ferries. Luckily none of my stuff was lost but many people lost goods coming in which were afloat in one depot and much produce going out could not leave. Finally my orders are arriving, with only one left outstanding and I have found out it is safe, at least.

Beeswax wraps

 

BeeKeepa Organic Wraps

Organic cotton fabrics with beeswax and jojoba oil….. does away with cling film for wrapping sandwiches, covering bowls and jars etc. I love the chook and vegetable garden fabrics too.

Various sizes or in a pack.

 

 

Egyptian Gold Flour 

Four Leaf organic, ancient grain grown on their farm in South Australia. From the Four Leaf website:

“Egyptian Gold Flour is derived from the ancient khorasan wheat thought to have been found in an Egyptian tomb. Gavin was given 6 grains over 30 years ago, which he promptly planted in the vegie garden. These grew well, so they were planted in subsequent years. It has been such an interesting process and we have learned so much from the exercise. The wheat grows about 30 to 60cm taller than normal varieties and has a beautiful black beard. It is very striking in appearance. The grain is nearly twice the size of normal wheat and we believe that the modern Durum Wheat is developed from this wheat. It produces a high protein flour and has a sweet, nutty flavour, and is excellent for pasta and bread.
Egyptian Gold Flour has similar properties to Spelt Flour and can be tolerated by many people with wheat sensitivities.”

This is one of the original grains used from ancient times to make sourdough bread. Research indicates it probably originates in northern Iran.  In parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, it has been grown in subsistence farming systems for centuries.  The flour is slightly more fibrous than wheat flour, with a sandy golden colour and a lovely earthy flavour – almost a taste of the fields.  You can use Khorason on its own, but it contains a less strong form of gluten than wheat , which can make for a denser crumb than we are used to with modern wheat.  You get much lighter results when you blend it with strong wheat flour.

Many people with wheat intolerances can handle khorasan and spelt. Luckily for us, khorasan from Four Leaf is not much more than wheat flour in cost and a lot less than Tasmanian spelt.

I would recommend using a very active starter, extra water and a long first fermentation if you are planning a straight khorasan bread.  It makes a very cakey bread – don’t expect big holes but it is not heavy! I prefer the straight khorasan, simply because it is so different in both texture and flavour.  But mixing it with wheat flour certainly makes it easier to work.

khorasan from sourdough forum

Khorasan sourdough……Beautiful colour and flavour with a tighter crumb but not heavy.

Who Gives a Crap….

Australian, recycled toilet paper and bamboo paper towels, both with aid to sanitation in developing countries. Check it out here.

crap

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

These are Michael Pollan’s words and it really is (almost) that simple to stay healthy. I would change it to: eat WHOLE foods, not too much, mostly plants. What I mean is eat foods that have not been processed, like a whole apple, not a peeled one or an apple muesli bar or dried apple rings that have had preservative added. I rarely eat packaged food; I get ingredients and make them into a meal. Simple. That’s what everyone did for all of human history until recently!

Winter is coming
Don’t you love autumn; when the nights begin to chill, the orchard trees begin to lose their leaves and, hopefully, we get glorious rain to soothe the garden. Mice are starting to look for winter hide outs and birds have finished rearing their chicks. Chooks are starting to moult and it is time to plant out garlic again.

Do you ever think of your own body and what it is telling you about all this? Eating seasonal, local ingredients will naturally guide you to eat what you need to stay strong and healthy all year round whereas supermarket shopping will lure you in with bright colours but leave your body confused and irritable.

Now and into April is the time to sow all those beautiful Asian vegetables like bok choy, mizuna, mibuna etc as well as European winter greens kale, spinach, rainbow chard etc. Open any health book and it will tell you to eat LOTS of green, leafy vegetables as the days shorten, so right now is your chance to make eating them as easy as picking them from your own garden.

I love chicories as, during winter, they each put on a beauty pageant like no other winter vegetable! It is not always easy to find the seeds but once you have them, you will see them popping up in your garden from early autumn onwards, forever, if you leave a few to go to seed. In winter they are less bitter but that bitterness is to be treasured, as do European cultures, because they instinctively know that foraging the hillsides for chicories and other winter herbs brings the strength of the land where they live, into the body.

January 2016 newsletter

Happy New Year to all my customers and all who read this website. May you find peace and happiness in your life this year…. and lots of fun! Read below for my news in brief. Click here for the full newsletter.

Open as usual
My home shop will be open as usual this week and beyond. I will be at every Cygnet Market too.

I am as passionate as ever about bringing you the very best in organic, Australian wholefoods and ingredients along with the know-how to help you have a healthy life and to bring your garden to your table.

 2016 Workshops
I will be having plenty of sourdough workshops and gardening workshops + the odd fermenting and sprouting workshop through 2016. Hugh will be doing more workshops late January and through February too. You will read about all our workshops here in the newsletters so please take a moment to read them so you don’t miss out!!

Fresh Pasta
I am making fresh pasta on Thursday mornings, for sale at my home shop on Thursday afternoons only.

Those people who said they would like to receive a bundle for free and let me know if they’d be interested in buying it if I did offer it, please don’t forget to collect it!! Collection of free pasta will only be on Thursday Dec. 31st after 2pm during my home shop open hours. And I will have bundles for sale too.

You truly won’t believe the difference!

Thanks for the Wine Bottles!
I rely on my wonderful customers to provide me with wine bottles, which I sterilise and fill with the olive oils and apple cider vinegar I sell. You have been most generous and I now have quite a few. However, I need about a dozen a week, so do keep me in mind in the months ahead.

Please leave clean, label-free, screw cap, wine bottles of any colour or shape, on my verandah any time. Please don’t bring them to the market.  

Buckwheat; delicious, gluten free and good for everyone

The only ingredients in the entire history of the earth since the big bang that contain gluten are these cereals; wheat, barley, rye, some oats and a few less well-known grains such as khorasan, spelt etc. The history of the human includes a diet almost exclusively gluten free until the beginning of agriculture about 8,000 years ago, when, in The Middle East, people started saving and sowing the seeds of some grasses. We ALL benefit from ensuring our diet contains the broadest range possible of grains, just as our ancestors did. We ALL benefit from removing processed grains of every sort from our diet and replacing them with whole grains, as our ancestors did. In doing that, we need to learn how to cook them, just as our ancestors had to.

Buckwheat is a bush, not a grass and therefore has no gluten. The seeds are small, pretty and pyramid like. It grows well in cool climates with an acid soil and dislikes too much nitrogen. It is native to China and is a good crop for Tasmania. I sell buckwheat grown in northern Tasmania.

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Buckwheat can be used as a whole grain or ground into flour. It has become popular all over the world as peasant food because it is so easy to use. In south west France buckwheat pancakes with Roquefort cheese are a speciality not to be missed! Here is my recipe for quinoa and buckwheat pancakes with hot, buttered walnuts.

Phytic acid in grains, nuts, seeds and beans represents a serious problem in our diets. This problem exists because we have lost touch with our ancestral heritage of food preparation. Some people eat a lot of high-phytate foods like commercial whole wheat bread and all-bran breakfast cereals. But raw or instant are definitely not Nature’s way for grains, nuts, seeds and beans. . . nor are quick cooking or rapid heat processes like extrusion.

Buckwheat and rye are very high in phytase which is the enzyme that neutralizes phytic acid and liberates the phosphorus. This enzyme co-exists in plant foods that contain phytic acid, in varying amounts from very low to very high.

In general, humans do not produce enough phytase to safely consume large quantities of high-phytate foods on a regular basis. However, probiotic lactobacilli, and other species of the endogenous digestive microflora can produce phytase. Thus, humans who have good intestinal flora will have an easier time with foods containing phytic acid. Sprouting also activates phytase, thus reducing phytic acid. The use of sprouted grains will reduce the quantity of phytic acids in animal feed, with no significant reduction of nutritional value.

Soaking grains and flour in an acid medium at very warm temperatures, as in the sourdough process, also activates phytase and reduces or even eliminates phytic acid. Combining a high phytase grain, such as rye or buckwheat, when soaking other grains, nuts legumes can help increase the phytase and thereby decrease the phytates present after soaking.

Here is a wonderful article on phytates, phytase and how to eat grains, nuts and legumes.

Buckwheat pancakes with walnuts

Buckwheat pancakes with walnuts