Real World Gardener File Powder and Gumbo in Spice It Up

March 1st, 2018

SPICE IT UP

File' Powder

(Pronounced feelay)

Ever heard of a spice from the leaf of a tree?

The tree is Sassafras albidum and it originates in America.

File' powder is used a lot in Southern American cooking.

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Sassafras albidum: Native to America

 

Ever heard of gumbo? 

It’s not something you chew but a dish from America’s south and in fact this spice s main attribute is to thicken the dish. I'ts a type of fish soup, very delicious I'm told.

Think New Orleans, Louisiana and Cajun cooking.

Let’s find out about it.

 

 

File powder is made from leaves of the sassafras tree. 

When ground, file powder smells like eucalyptus or juicy fruit gum.

File powder is a necessary ingredient for Cajun cuisine, especially Gumbo.

File' powder adds a sort of gummy consistency to the dish but it doesn't thicken in the way that cornflour thickens a dish.

File' powder has a similar effect to Okra, which in itself has no substitute.

Not only does it add an unusual flavor, the powder also acts as a thickener when added to liquid. 

You can use any ingredient you have to hand, not just fish. Chicken would be a good substitute.

 

dish-food-produce-vegetable-meat-cuisine

Did you know that long before the use of file powder for Creole and Cajun cooking, Choctaw Indians pounded sassafras leaves into powder and added them to soups and stews.

 

If you have any questions about File' powder, either for me or for Ian, or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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Real World Gardener NEW Basil in Spice It Up

December 27th, 2017

SPICE IT UP

Herb: Basil

At one stage the Greeks and Romans believed the most potent basil could only be grown if you sowed the seed while ranting and swearing. basil-lots.jpg

This custom is mirrored in the French language where semer le baslic (sowing basil) means to rant.

 

Try crushing a Basil leaf and think of cloves.

It should surprise you that they have similar aromatic notes because they both contain the volatile oil, Eugenol.

This means that they complement each other.

Ian suggests sprinkling a pinch of cloves into your pasta dish along with the herb Basil for a different take.

Basil can be used fresh or dried in cooking.

Basil%2Bin%2Bpots.jpgDried Basil is sold as "rubbed leaves,' and has a slightly different flavour profile to fresh Basil.

The top notes are missing but that doesn't mean you shouldn't use it in coooking.

Dried Basil is used at the beginning of cooking so that the flavour can infuse, generally only taking around 10 minutes.

Growing Basil

If you live in arid or sub-tropical regions you can sow Basil in late august in a mini greenhouse or indoors, but otherwise you can sow right through to December which is the best time to sow Basil seeds. 

The seeds are best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C

If your Basil starts to flower, pick the flowers off to prolong the life of your Basil plant.

For something different when not try sowing cinnamon Basil or Lemon Basil or even Holy Basil, that is the true sacred basil that is grown in houses, home gardens and near temples all over India.…

 

 

If you have any questions about Basil either for me or Ian, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 
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Real World Gardener Lavender to Cook With in Spice it Up

November 9th, 2017

SPICE IT UP

Lavender in Cooking

Lavendula angustifolia

Lavender was first used in Herbs du Provence which is dried herbs used in slow cooked dishes. 

But the correct lavender to use in any cooking is important if you want the flavour to be pleasant and not reminiscent of camphor.

Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula spica or the ones to use.

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English Lavender

Commonly called English Lavender.

But did you know that so much of this plant is grown in France that they called it French Lavender rather than English Lavender.

The true French lavender is Lavandula dentata, which has serrated leaf margins and much larger almost woollier flowers. French lavender seems to flower for most of the year.

This one has a high camphor content which is unpleasant to taste. 

Lavandula angustifolia or English lavender has smooth sided leaves and a very slender flower and a long stalk.

Confusing if you want to use the correct plant’s flowers in cooking.

Let’s find out  more about Lavender in cooking.

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

PLAY : Lavender_1st November_2017

For the lemon and Lavender cakes recipe go to this link Lavender and Lemon Cakes

Lavender_cupcakes.jpg

Remember:The  Lavender we should use in cooking is English lavender or Lavandula angustifolia, has a smooth leaf and the flower head is on a skinny long stem.

Ian mentioned how Lavender bottles, a lost art. Just search the web on making instructions...there are plenty.

If you have any questions about which Lavender to use in cooking then why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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Real World Gardener How to Grow Turmeric in The Good Earth 2017

October 12th, 2017

THE GOOD EARTH

Growing Turmeric

Cucuma longa

Gardeners like to grow unusual herbs that are also useful.

But you won’t be planting out seeds to start this next plant because you need rhizomes.

Not only that, for this herb you won’t be using the leaves in cooking but the roots or rhizomes instead.

Turmeric_plants.jpg

Turmeric plants

What am I talking about?

Let’s find out all about Turmeric in the podcast. I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from www.mosshouse.com.au

PLAY : Growing Turmeric_4th October_2017

 

How To Grow

Turmeric_Flower.jpg

Turmeric Flowers

There are a couple of different types of Turmeric available in Australia.

One has bright orange flesh and the other is more yetlllow.

Sourcing it all depends on if you have " Crop Swap" or Farmers' Markets in your district.

Once you have a fresh rhizome or root, all you need to do is plant it. 

A large root will have several branches or fingers to it.

You can cut these apart and start more than one plant if you like.

The easiest way to get it to sprout is to just bury the root under 5cms of potting mix. If there are any knobs or buds on the root, turn it so they are facing upwards. 

Turmeric grows downwards and spreads sideways, so don't plant it in a narrow pot.

You can harvest the whole clump when the leaves have died , usually at the beginning of Winter of late Autumn depending on your district's climate.

 

If you have any questions about growing your own turmeric, then why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener Poppy Seed in Spice it Up

October 6th, 2017

What's On The Show Today?

Illegal in some countries but we can safely use it in Spice it Up, beat that sugar addiction with this plant in Vegetable Heroes; a showstopper of a flowering tree in plant of the week, and flowers that bring your money in Talking Flowers segment.

SPICE IT UP

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Poppy Seed. Papaver somniferum

This next spice may have some people wondering as to how safe it is.

 

The reason is that the name suggests links with the underworld and drugs, but nothing could be further from the truth.

After all it’s there for all to see in the spice aisle of your supermarket, and is often seen as an ingredient in ready mix cakes.

did you know that poppy seeds have been used for thousands of years because of the wonderful, some say nutty flavour?

What am I talking about?

Let’s find out all about it

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

 

PLAY : Poppy Seed_27th September_2017

 

Poppy seed is a beautifully culinary spice used in dishes of many countries.

Drugs are made from the latex of the poppy, however the seeds contain negligible amounts of any narcotic content.

The ones that Ian is talking about are the blue poppy seeds for your cakes, breads and sprinkling over pasta.

poppy-seed-cake.jpg

Ian recommends sprinkling some poppy seeds over cooked pasta because it compliments carbohydrates so well.

There's also white poppy seeds which is used a lot in Indian cooking. 

The white poppy seeds are soaked in water and then macerated, before using in Indian dishes as a thickeners.

 

Be warned though, some countries in Asia, like China, Thailand, and the Arab Emirates, have banned poppy seeds of any kind, culinary or otherwise.

If you have any questions about poppy seeds, then why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 
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Real World Gardener Orris Root Iris is Spice it Up

September 7th, 2017

 

SPICE IT UP

Orris Root: Iris germanica var Florentina

 

A little while ago on this show, in fact in the spice it up segment, featured the juniper berry as a major flavouring ingredient for Gin.

That is if you’re making your own Gin.

Today’s spice is something you would never think of being a spice let alone it being another one of the three major ingredients in Gin.

So what is it and what else can you use it for?

So let’s find out….I'm talking with Ian Hemphill owner of www.herbies.com.au

 

PLAY :Orris Root_30th August_2017

 

So, how about the fact Juniper, Orris root and Coriander are the major ingredients in gin? Then you add all the other flavours, but Orris root is the one thing that brings all those flavours together because it's a fixative.

 

Orris%2Broot%2Biris.jpg

The rhizome is technically what's used in making Orris Root powder. 

The Iris rhizome is lifted, dried, sliced and then powdered.

 

If you were to inhale the smell of dried orris root you would be rewarded with a lovely scent of violets.

 

Unfortunately if you can't remember where you planted your orris root iris, than lifting and drying is the only way to identify it from all the other white irises you have in the garden.

Then there’s those pomander balls and real pot pourri.

 

Wouldn’t you like the real deal rather than coloured bits of bark?

 

Turns out though you might just have to make the pomander and real pot pourri yourself.

 

If you have any questions about Orris root powder why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 

 
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Real World Gardener Amazing Sage in Spice it Up

August 17th, 2017

 

SPICE IT UP

Sage

1-ADE_3354.JPGSalvia officinalis

What would you say to a herb that can remove grease from plates?

Not only that, drinking tea made from the leaves of this herb helps treat sore throats and coughs; often by gargling.

All these attributes are for the herb sage.

To get grease off your dinner plates without using harsh chemicals all you need to do is macerate some fresh sage leaves and rub them on the plates, and voila', clean plates.

But did you know that the world's best sage comes from the Dalmation coast growing amongst rocks on the island of Kornati?

Find out more by listening to the podcast.

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I'm talking with Ian Hemphill www.herbies.com.au

PLAY: Sage_9th August 2017

 

Scientifically known as Salvia officinalis, sage is closely related to rosemary, and they’re often considered “sister herbs.

Sage grows best in sandy, alkaline soil.

It grows up to 75 cm in height and has woody, branching stems.

Its pebble-like patterned, aromatic leaves are grey-green, with a soft surface and fine hair-like filaments growing on either side.

During summer, the violet-blue flowers attract bees.

If you have any questions about sage the herb, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 
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Real World Gardener Make Your Own Gin in Spice it Up

July 13th, 2017

 

Juniper Berries.

You probably missed it but 14th June was World Gin Day.

Why I mention this is because Australia is producing some of the best gin in the world.

You heard right, there’s a micro distillery industry that’s sprung up in Australia for making boutique gin.

Gin_and_tonic.jpg

 

But here’s the thing, it’s been said before on this show, you can make your own gin.

So let’s find out more.

I'm talking with  Ian Hemphill Owner of www.herbies.com.au and author of The Herb and Spice bible.

 

PLAY: Juniper Berry 2_5th July 2017

Why everybody is falling in love with juniper today is because it's a thing to make your own gin.

Relatively a cinch but you need a good recipe.

You'll find one on Ian's site, just search for GINSPIRATION.

Australia's leading gin distilleries combine spices such as a cardamom, cinnamon and star anise with Australian oranges, Tasmanian Pepperberry leaf and lemon myrtle, a native Australian plant.

The juniper is still there but it is layered with a blend of modern Australian flavours, Southern European citrus and South East Asian spice, all of which makes it an entirely too drinkable gin.

Cooking with Juniper

Juniper berries go great in slow cooked casseroles and stews.

Juniper berries are also tasty when cooked with Salmon. Just place a few berries in with other herbs such as garlic, dill and add some lemon slices when baking or roasting whole salmon.

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Juniper berries

If you have any questions about making your own gin, check out “ginspiration” or Ian’s webpage, or email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener Selim Pepper in Spice it Up

June 30th, 2017

 

SPICE IT UP

Xylopiaaethiopica-selim%2Bpepper.jpgSelim Pepper,  Xylopica ethiopica

Are you a bit of a kitchen whizz with a kitchen garden full of exotic herbs?

Or do you just rely on the same old staples of spices like, rosemary, oregano, parsley, sage, maybe some chilli pepper or paprika occasionally.

To be confident about using other spices you need to know a bit about them and sometimes, a bit of advice on how to use an unusual spice will give you the kick a long that you need to try something in that casserole or stew that you always make.

So let’s find out more about one such spice. 

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill, spice guru and owner of www.herbies.com.au who has also written the Herb and Spice bible.

 

PLAY: Selim Pepper_14th June 2017

 

Selim pepper is also known as African pepper, Ethiopian pepper, Grains of Selim, Uda Pods, Guinea pepper, kimba pepper and Senegal pepper.

 

Not only is this spice hand picked but it’s possibly one of the rarest spices that Ian’s company has sourced for some time, so that in itself is something to want to try at least.

To use this spice crush the pods in a mortar and pestle then separate the fibrous bits out and use the remaining powder.

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Xylopica ethiopica

You can just throw in the whole pods then remove them when cooking has finished.

Ian says the flavour won't be as strong if you do that.

Selim pepper is not as hot as Grains of Paradise and is good in long slow cooking as with the African Buka stew made with beef.

The plant is not grow in Australia and it's unlikely that your supermarket will have the spice, so you’ll have to order it online from Herbies Spices

If you have any questions about Selim Pepper, or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener Lemon Verbena in Spice it Up

April 17th, 2017

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s

SPICE IT UP

Lemon Verbena Alloysia citriodora (syn. Lippia citriodora)

This is a herb with a multitude of uses;

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Lemon Verbena photo M Cannon

 

There are a few plants whose leaves are great in cooking, making herbal teas and when the leaves are dried, they’re good for a number of things including pot pourri.

So many uses for just one plant, let's find out more?

 

Ian's mum and dad had a grove of 12 Lemon Verbena trees that grew to 2 metres in height.

The leaves were harvested to make sleep pillows and pot pourri.

Lemon verbena pillows sound devine.

They ‘re made of dried leaves of Lavender (Lavandula vera is the best) to help you sleep, Rose petals for sweet dreams and Lemon Verbena, to help you wake refreshed.

Chopped finely, it makes a neat substitute for lemon zest.

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Lemon Verbena Tea photo M Cannon

Try Lemon Verbena tea; it's very refreshing or make Panna Cotta infused with Lemon Verbena.

To prune your Lemon Verbena tree, just take of the top one-third of the tree.

When it re-shoots in Spring tip prune the branches regularly to keep it bushy.

If you have any questions about growing or using Lemon Verbena, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 
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