Archive for the ‘Paddock to Plate’ Category
This weekend my Sunday Mail Ask a Farmer interview is with a husband and wife farming team who grow custard apples on the Sunshine Coast.
This odd-looking fruit is sweet and creamy on the inside and green and heart-shaped on the outside.
The early varieties were all hand pollinated. That meant the farmer had to collect the pollen by hand in the afternoon and walk back through the crop and paint it back on in the morning.
What a nightmare. Thankfully self-pollinating trees have been developed.
Custard apples are hugely popular in Asia and are very versatile. Use them in milkshakes, cheese cakes, or just by themselves as a lovely, creamy sweet dessert.
They’re in season until early June.
According to Masterchef 2 winner, Adam Liaw, Aussies are now embracing the quintessential dessert fruit as they broaden their palates and experiment with more exotic foods when it comes to home cooking.
Eggs. We all eat them but how are they commercially farmed and why do some taste different to others. Why are some big and some small and what’s the difference between caged eggs and free-range?
This weekend in my Sunday Mail Ask a Farmer column I interview a QLD egg producer. Each year he and his family supply 5.5million dozen eggs to supermarkets and the food service industry.
Eggs are said to be a nutritional ‘wonder pill’ and contain all the vitamins and minerals you need and are only one of the naturally-occurring sources of Vitamin D.
In their lifetime a chook lays about 260 eggs. Find out some other interesting egg facts this weekend in the Sunday Mail.
We all have vices and for many people it’s chocolate.
Mine? Coffee and hot chips (not together). Chocolate – I’m not that fussed.
That was until I tried Seatonfire’s Wild Chilli Chocolate with rosemary and sea salt.
Sounds like a very weird combination. Tastes amazing.
Seatonfire is a brand created by Lynne Seaton-Anderson and her son Jason O’Connor.
They’re based at Murphy’s Creek in the Lockyer Valley and Lynne had been growing chilli for many years when her Melbourne-based son suggested they go into business together.
Jason was working in marketing for Tiffanys (the jeweller) at the time but realised his mum could expand her operation with the power of online.
Together they created a high-end chocolate brand and embarked on a ‘research’ trip around Spain, Morocco, France and Belgium.
They import the chocolate from Belgium and then Lynne works her magic. There’s no added sugar and the way Jason tells it, their chocolate is packed so full of good stuff that it’s actually healthy!
Sound good to me. You can buy it here.
This is how they produce their chocolate.
At Bean HQ we have a few addictions – John Deere, vegetables and coffee.
Our love affair with caffeine hit a high soon after our sons arrived. During those years of sleep deprivation coffee was often the only thing that kept us awake and sane.
We decided if we were going to be drinking a lot of coffee it may as well be the good stuff.
So we bought our first coffee machine … a Sunbeam Cafe Series. Much research went into the purchase and finally we settled on the Sunbeam because it was easy to use and had been designed by a barista. Oh and it was a lot cheaper than the fancy automated and Italian machines.
Our research of course unearthed an underworld of fellow addicts and in online forums I discovered that you want FULL CONTROL of the coffee making process, which is another reason the automated machines are a no-no … aside from the horror price tag.
The Sunbeam and the Gormans formed a close and deep relationship. She was there for us every morning as we struggled to open our eyes and meet a new day of nappies, vomit, tantrums and work.
In striving to brew the perfect shot I discovered this wonderful website, Coffee Snobs, where fellow addicts meet and share information about all things coffee.
Over those years we also experimented with different beans and grinds.
What struck me was how hard it was (impossible?) to source Australian beans. I could choose a Nigerian blend, a gorgeous Venezuelan mix … but nothing from Australia.
About a year ago we upgraded our machine to a larger, more powerful but stroppier Italian machine, the La Nuova Era.
It’s a piece of art on our bench tops but in true Italian fashion she’s fiesty and a little unreliable. But when she’s good she’s great.
Mr Bean still bemoans the loss of the Sunbeam. He does prefer the simple things in life.
My search for Australian beans continued and recently I discovered father and daughter coffee producers Bruno and Maria Malorberti.
They’re located on the Atherton Tableland in far north QLD and market their coffee under the NQ Gold Brand.
They grow Arabica beans and roast them on farm, using a 100-year-old Italian roasting machine.
Bruno is 86 and first came to Australia in 1953. He left his wife and young daughter behind in Italy while he tried to establish a future for them in Australia. Five years later they joined him in Queensland, where he was farming tobacco.
Through hardwork and perserverance Bruno was able to buy his own farm and that’s where he and Maria produce their coffee today.
Maria hopes to find a buyer for the business soon so her father can take a well-deserved break. You can buy the Maolberti’s coffee online
Read on for Maria’s explanation of the paddock to plunger process of growing great coffee.
The health world moves in fads. Some fade, some are enduring.
Baby wheat looks like it’s here to stay. You probably know it as wheatgrass. It’s generally sold by the shot (it’s not the best tasting thing) and is said to do excellent things for your immune system.
That’s because the new shoot of wheat is filled with goodies such as chlorophyll, amino acids, minerals, vitamins and enzymes. But chlorophyll makes up about 70 per cent of the grass – hence the green colour.
The western consumption of wheatgrass started in the 1930s as a result of experiments conducted by American nutritionist Charles Schnabel. He used fresh cut grass to nurse dying hens back to health. The hens recovered and produced eggs at a higher rate than the healthy hens.
I recently interviewed Jan Struthers of Wheatgrass Noosa for my Ask a Farmer Feature in the Sunday Mail. She started juicing wheat when she became sick with streptococcus and lupus. At the time wheatgrass was hard to source so she used her training in horticulture and landscape design to grow it and now supplies wheatgrass for both medicinal purposes and also to brides looking for a sleek, modern table centrepiece.
Little do they realise it’s also a Persian tradition to have a vase of wheatgrass on the wedding table as it’s an ancient symbol for fertility.
The best way to consume wheatgrass and reap the benefits is to juice it using a juicer which ‘presses’ the ingredients. Jan sells trays of wheatgrass for $13 each.
This is how she grows it.