Green Peppercorns…. a story

From The Pantry side of my business I want to stock your pantry with the purest products available; free from chemicals, low in food miles and direct from farmers and makers, wherever possible. This is how I choose to eat and I cannot sell anything that compromises this philosophy.  Since most spices, even today, are grown in their native country of origin, without any fertilisers or other chemicals, I research them carefully and only sell the best quality, freshest spices I can source.

One day at the Cygnet Market a young Frenchman came up to me and asked if, amongst all the beautiful, fresh spices I had displayed on the stall, were there any green peppercorns.
I replied that I did not have them as I only had dried spices, (not the little tins of pickled, fresh, green peppercorns I was familiar with).

He assured me that in France people make a beautiful sauce with ground, dried green peppercorns….. of course I asked him for the recipe and told him I would have the dried green peppercorns he requested, at the next market, if I could find them.

Well, find them I did and make the sauce I did. Typically simple yet unique and delicious, as French foods often are, I have written out the young Frenchman’s recipe below and hope you will try it. He recommended we have it with a grilled piece of meat so I used local chops (killed and hung for 2 weeks at the Cradoc Abattoir).

The Green Peppercorn is the seventh in the GaSP range (the others being Tas Pepperberry, Indonesian Long Pepper, Sichuan Pepper and Black, White and Red Peppercorns).

green peppercorns on the vine

green peppercorns on the vine

Peppercorns, and the ground pepper derived from them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe fruit) and white pepper (dried ripe seeds).  Black pepper is native to south India, and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions.

Green Peppercorns: Green Peppercorns are the unripe berries of a tropical vine, Piper Nigrum. The same berries are processed to make black pepper. Green peppercorns have a milder but more complex and fresh flavor than most other peppercorns, and are commonly found preserved in brine or pickled. Pickled green peppercorns can be sliced or chopped, or eaten whole (pickled). You might not try that with black pepper, but the green peppercorns have a much suppressed pepper flavor. In their various formats green peppercorns are popular in French, Thai, and Western European cuisines. Because they are perishable, green peppercorns are usually freeze dried, or preserved in brine or pickled. I only sell them dried.

green pepperberries

green pepperberries

Green peppercorns, in addition to being a culinary treat, have numerous health benefits. They are good for the digestive tract, reducing gas while increasing hydrochloric acid in the stomach which aid with digestion and helps reduce several types of stomach distress. They also help fight bacterial growth in the intestines. In addition, green peppercorns are high in iron, vitamin K, and antioxidants. The skin of the peppercorn is helpful in breaking down fat cells, so eating green peppercorns can even help you lose weight. A chemical found in pepper, piperine, may have some use in helping other chemicals work in the body, and it may have anti-cancer properties as well. In all, green peppercorns are a healthy and tasty condiment, and well deserving of their place on every table.

Green Peppercorn Facts:
Green Peppercorns are the unripe berries of a tropical vine
Green Peppercorns have a mild, fresh flavor
Green Peppercorns are not as spicy as black
Available freeze dried, pickled, or in brine

(Some info above sourced from http://www.green-peppercorns.com/ and from wikipedia)

French Green Peppercorn Sauce

(recipe from Romain, a local French customer)

Serves 6 (if the cook can resist sampling too much!)

125g butter

125g Four Leaf 85% flour

Make a roux : Dissolve the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the flour.
Stir until the mixture forms a smooth paste which leaves the sides and base of pan cleanly.
Cook for a minimum of 2 minutes, stirring, to cook out the taste of the flour.

Gradually add 5ooml good stock (I used the bones from the meat from the abattoir to make a stock) until the sauce is thick and smooth.

Reduce the heat and stir in :

1 heaped tsp freshly and finely ground green peppercorns

1/2 tsp salt (to taste and depending on the salt in your stock)

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar (a dash more, to taste, if you like)

Serve as a sauce with meat / or drizzle over roasted, steamed or mashed potatoes

Bon appetit!

green peppercorn sauce

green peppercorn sauce

Get these and other fabulous fresh spices from the Cygnet Market or home shop of the Garden Shed and Pantry 

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Spiced Orange Blossom Honey Muffins

Makes 18 patty pan size

Heat the oven to 180C.

Line muffin tins with patty pans.

Ingredients:

2½ cups Four Leaf 85% light flour

6 tsp. baking powder

90g butter

1/4 cup sugar

2 good Tbl. Do Bee orange blossom honey

2 finely chopped or grated cooking apples

1/3 cup Tasmanian walnut pieces

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 1/3 cups made up of the juice of 1-2 oranges plus milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

Mix flour and baking powder together in a large bowl.

Rub in butter to coarse crumbs.

Add sugar, apples, cinnamon and walnuts.

In a small bowl combine beaten eggs, liquid and warmed honey.

Gently stir the honey mixture into the dry ingredients only until roughly combined and there is no dry four left.

Using 2 dessert spoons, fill all the patty pans with all the mixture.

Place into heated oven and bake 20 minutes. Check after 15 minutes and cover with foil if necessary.

When done, remove each muffin from the tins and cool on a wire rack.

Serve warm with yoghurt and a little extra, warmed Do Bee orange blossom honey drizzled over.

Great cold, in lunch boxes!

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

July Fermenting, Sprouting and more Workshop

Whether you want to stay healthy, regain vitality or are unwell, fermenting and sprouting will help you. These simple, ancient methods of preparing vegetables, nuts, pulses, seeds and dairy are still an integral part of the diet of most people in Asia, Europe and South America. Come and learn how to take charge of your gut, your health and your brain, by making simple, delicious foods for daily life.

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Various lacto-fermented vegetables and kefir cheese dip

Visit my kitchen and learn how to fill your life with healthy, delicious, naturally preserved vegetables all year round. Also includes kefir, yoghurt and kombucha. Workshop includes fresh kefir grains to take home.
$45 / person.
Then I will demonstrate how to sprout everything from mung beans and lentils to quinoa and whole spices. There will be plenty of tastings to whet your appetite!

Fermented foods and sprouts allow the human body to absorb all their nutrients and fill you with vitality.

For dates and bookings click hereTo add your name to the booking sheet, please read the instructions carefully as it is your email address, not your name, that is required.

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Lentil sprouts and herbs on baked beans with sourdough bread

Getting the best flavour from your spices

The Garden Shed and Pantry

Getting the best flavour from your spices requires just a little planning.  Here are some easy tips to get the best from your spices.

Masala Dabba and Spice Jars Masala Dabba and Spice Jars

  • Keep your spices in a cupboard or pantry, away from direct sunlight and preferably in airtight containers (metal tins or glass jars are best).  We sell Indian Spice Tins (Masala Dabba) – as seen on SBS’s Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation. This will reduce the damage to the essential oils contained within the spices.  While they might look good, NEVER display your spices on a shelf above the stove – the heat from the stove will reduce their life.  Also, keep spices away from the humidity of the dishwasher.  Keep spices at or below 18 C.
  • Try to remember to label your spice container when you first open it.  Use a permanent marker to write the date on the container, so you…

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February at The Cygnet Market

My market stall on the stage at The Cygnet Market is where I showcase almost my full range of Garden Shed and Pantry products. 

See you at the market this Sunday, February 2nd

I guarantee that my products are fresh and I have a following of avid spice lovers who know to come to me for all their requirements as my spices are kept sealed and in the dark between markets. I also have yoghurt cultures and soon, milk kefir, when mine starts to multiply. English watering cans and best quality garden tools are my passion and I stock local seeds for growing the best vegetables in the Tasmanian climate. As well, I offer an eclectic range of garden and food books and Tasmania’s Clean Conscience eco-cleaning products.

If you would like a 5kg bag of anything from my lists below, please send me an email and I will hold one aside for you as I only take a limited number of them and they sell quickly. Gluten free is a special interest of mine.

The market is now one of the best in Tasmania not just for tourists but for those wanting to buy fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, breads, cheeses, wholefoods, dried fruits, olives, olive oils, eggs and coffee. Artisan cakes and pastries as well as Sally’s superb Chinese dumplings, fresh stir fries and savoury pancakes nestle into the hall with Ed’s perfect English pork pies and Cathy’s moist Dundee cake.

Annie is a milliner and her hats are world class; all designed and made by her in Cygnet. You will also find an extensive and infectious collection of rocks, fossils  and more from around the world, at Mike’s stall. Add to that the craftsmanship of local artists, sewers, photographers and card makers and you can soon see that Cygnet is the place to be on the 1st and 3rd Sundays, 10am – 2pm, all year round!

You can find all my prices on these links:

 Grains, flours, pulses and seeds price list

 

L’Abruzzese Organic, Australian Pastas

The Rest of the Pantry: Oils, Nuts, Dried Fruits, Honeys etc

The Garden Shed: Tools, Seeds etc