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 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 


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

Apple and Jostaberry Sponge Pudding

Tasmania is flooded with berries all summer and apples throughout the cooler months. I always freeze some berries and jostaberries freeze really well. They are a cross between a gooseberry and a black currant so they are fat, black and very flavoursome. Combined with apples they are at their best and I add star anise, cloves and a little cinnamon too.

When the mercury dips down and the nights draw in there’s nothing I enjoy more than cooking and eating a hot pudding. The recipe is in ounces because it was originally my mother’s apple sponge recipe and I like to keep her measurements to remind me of that.

All the spices and the organic flour are available at The Garden Shed and Pantry.

1-DSC_0001Apple and Jostaberry Sponge Pudding

Slice and cook in a pan: about 8 medium sized apples with 1 tablespoon of honey, 4 cloves, 1 star anise and a dash of cinnamon, adding jostaberries towards the end. Put into an oven-proof dish.

While the fruit is stewing prepare the sponge.

Heat oven to 200C

Cream: 3 ozs sugar with 3 ozs butter

Add: a dash of vanilla essence, 1 beaten egg, 6 ozs self raising flour (I use organic 85% wholemeal flour) and 3/4 cup milk

Beat quickly until a smooth batter and spoon over the hot cooked fruit.

Bake 30 – 45 minutes until nicely browned and firm to the touch.

Serve hot with ice cream or yoghurt.


Australian Spices

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. This is how I choose to eat and I cannot sell anything that compromises this philosophy.

I have been able to source various Australian spices from small businesses specialising in growing and / or distributing these bushfoods and I can stock your pantry with fresh spices at affordable prices.

lm leaves 2

Lemon Myrtle

Lemon myrtle is one of the well known bushfood flavours and is sometimes referred to as the “Queen of the lemon herbs”. The leaf is often used as dried flakes, or in the form of an encapsulated flavour essence for enhanced shelf-life. It has a range of uses, such as lemon myrtle flakes in shortbread; flavouring in pasta; whole leaf with baked fish; infused in macadamia or vegetable oils; and made into tea, including tea blends. It can also be used as a lemon flavour replacement in milk-based foods, such as cheesecake, lemon flavoured ice-cream and sorbet without the curdling problem associated with lemon fruit acidity.

lm in a bowl

The leaves of the Lemon Myrtle when crushed or infused exhibit an exquisite flavour and aroma not unlike lemon, limes and lemon grass. Creative chefs are using it in stunning ways across their repertoires from entrees to deserts. Lemon Myrtle has a natural affinity with seafood, chicken dishes, pork, Thai curries. Also superb in cakes, ice cream, pasta and soups. Makes a freshing calming tea. The lemon myrtle is a winner.

Tasmanian Pepper Berry

Tasmanian Mountain Pepper Berries can be used as a direct substitute for traditional Pepper in savouries,

Tas Pepperberry

Tas Pepperberry

pastas, bread, soups, curries, cheeses (particularly goat – marinated Fetta), egg dishes AND sprinkled over sweets like chocolate and fudge, in cream and ice-cream and on top of frothy hot chocolate or cappuccino for a unique spicy peppermint flavour.

The flavors emerge in all types of infusions; aioli, sauces, honey, cocktails, and vinegarettes; along with a bit of a pink/purple hue. It can be used in place of black pepper in all the usual ways, but with a very light hand. You can also try them in soups and stews or sprinkled on your favorite cut of meat.

Salt Bush

saltbush leaves

saltbush leaves

The Salt Bush leaves are picked fresh, and then dehydrated to capture the salty herb flavour then ground, ready for you to use. The salty flavour, with delicate herb tones, enhances quiches and other egg dishes, breads, scones, dampers and pastries as well as soups.  Salt Bush is high in Protein (28%). This makes it an ideal ingredient for Vegetarians and Vegans.

Get these and other fabulous fresh spices from the Cygnet Market or at the Garden Shed and Pantry.

The early bird…

Well, it’s now officially December.  And it’s just a few weeks to Christmas.  Avid market fans know that they need to be arriving early to get the best pickings…pretty similar to a garage sale really…. but this time, simply by buying something from our stall, early birds can have some free raspberry canes, dug from my garden a few days ago. They have been kept in a bucket of Seasol, in the shade and are bursting to get growing in your garden.

Directing Traffic

Julie Directing Traffic

What do we have this week?  Organic Sprouting Mix, Dried Figs, Almonds and lots of other snack packs, marinated olives and olive oil (of course), and organic grains including Quinoa.  For Christmas presents, we have gardening tools and beautiful watering cans (but not many left now).  For the person who loves to cook, we have brass spice grinders from Turkey.  It’s not too late to grab some MRO organic dried fruit for the Christmas Cake.  Maybe we will still have a Panforte or two but they are disappearing fast!

Welcome to..

Welcome to GaSP stall at Cygnet Market.

Anyway, by the time you read this, we’ll be on our way to the Cygnet Town Hall to set up and have another great market.  Don’t forget it’s another DOUBLE Market.  See you there folks!

Early birds at the Cygnet Market (9am)

Early birds at the Cygnet Market (9am)

Star Anise

Without doubt the most attractive of all the spices, star anise has an unforgettable liquorice aroma and a complexity of flavour that lends itself to a wide array of sweet and savoury dishes.  This is a must have for all serious cooks.  This native of Vietnam and China, is grown in India, Japan and the Philippines and is well known in Asian cuisines, although in recent years it has been “discovered” by chefs and cooks all around the globe.

star anise

star anise

Whole, perfect Star Anise are really quite a beautiful wonder of nature, with eight points and a seed in each point. Costly because they are picked out by hand, they make an attractive dinner garnish or add a lovely flavor and appearance floating in a cup of tea.

Star anise combines well with pork, duck, soups and stir-fries and also works with spiced fruit jams or compotes of fruit.  Star anise is one of the five ingredients in Chinese Five Spice.

harvesting star anise

harvesting star anise

Star Anise is one of the key ingredients of our Chai Tea Spice Kits, which have become quite popular since I have been making it for special events.

Get these and other fabulous fresh spices from the Cygnet Market or at the Garden Shed and Pantry.

Check out the newly renovated pantry and the special Spice offer.