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

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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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Real World Gardener Cubeb Pepper in Spice It Up

April 7th, 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

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Cubeb Pepper (Piper cubeba)

 

Once upon a time, real pepper was adulterated with this spice because it was thought of as perhaps not inferior, but certainly it was cheaper than pepper.

In fact, this pepper was banned by the Venetian Spice Traders!

Why was that?

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Cubeb pepper (Piper cubeba) photo M Cannon

Now the tables are turned and there aren’t too many places where this spice grows and even less places where you can buy it.

Let’s find out what it’s all about.

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

PLAY: Cubeb Pepper_29th March 2017

 

Cubeb pepper grows as a vine with heart shaped leaves, mostly in the Indonesian Archipelago.

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Interestingly, it's similar looking to pepper ixcept for that spiked tail.

 

Did you know that the spice blend Ras el Hanout has 20-30 different spices in it and Cubeb Pepper is one of them?

As Ian mentioned, don’t put cubeb pepper in the peppermill and use ¼ teaspoon of this pepper with 1 teaspoon of normal ground black pepper.

Great for those pepper steaks, slow cooked meals and with rich meats such as pork,duck game.

If you have any questions about where to get Cubeb pepper, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 
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Real World Gardener Fish Tamarind in cooking in Spice It Up

November 9th, 2016

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
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Fish Tamarind: Kokum Spice: Garcinia indica

garcinia%2Bindica%2Bplums.jpg
Garcinia indica plums

The seed of the fruit of the plant Garcinia indica, contains enough oil (23–26% oil, so that it remains solid at room temperature.

The name Fish Tamarind refers not to the taste but to the fact that it's traditionally used in fish curries.

It’s used in the preparation of confectionery, medicines and cosmetics.

Let’s find out what else it can be used for.

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill, owner of Herbies Spices and author of the Herb and spice Bible.www.herbies.com.au

The tree is ornamental, growing 5-6 metres, with a dense canopy of green leaves and red-tinged, tender, young leaves.

1024px-Garcinia_indica_-_fruits%252C_seeThe fruits look just like a plum.

The spice is mainly from the skin of the fruit, although sometimes it's the whole fruit.

When the whole fruit is sliced and dried it may be referred to as Kokum flowers.

Garcinia%2Bindica%2Btree.jpgSalt is used to assist in drying the skins and what you are left with is a leathery round fruit.

Quite tasty on its own but when added to cooking it adds acidity with a fruity background.

You can put 3 or 4 bits of Kokum in a curry.

The oily extract called kokum tel is used in foot massage, and to treat burns. You can catch up that segment by listening to the podcast www.realworldgardener.com

If you have any questions about Kokum or have some information to share, 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 Grains of Paradise in cooking in Spice It Up

October 13th, 2016

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
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The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on
http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

SPICE IT UP

grains-of-paradise.jpgQuite a few hundred years ago pepper wasn’t so available so it was really expensive.

So what did spice merchants do to get the most out of this rare commodity?

They adulterated it with this Grains of Paradise, a particular spice that was considered inferior to pepper.

Now the tables have turned and this spice is the rare commodity and  it definitely isn’t used to bulk up your pepper corns.

Let’s find how to use it.

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill, owner of www.herbies.com.au and author of the Herb and Spice bible.

The Grains of Paradise plant looks just like a Cardamom plant with those mid green strappy leaves. The main difference is that the flower stems are  hidden down inside the leaves.

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Grains of Paradise plant

Grains of Paradise is still wild harvested and no commercial way of growing the plant has been formulated.

Although Ian recommends using Grains of Paradise in slow cooking, there are recipes on the web which suggest you can rub the ground grains onto your steaks, kebabs and fish before throwing them on the Barbie.

There’s even recipes which include the grains in marinades for vegetables, fish and chicken or in a lemon vinaigrette.

If you have any questions about Grains of Paradise or have some recipes to share, 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 Juniper Berry in cooking in Spice It Up

September 9th, 2016

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

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

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Juniper Juniperus communis

 

This small tree is native to desert regions so it’s hardy and drought-resistant.

But not only does this tree give your garden an interesting focal point with its fibrous and furrowed bark and attractive needles, the dried berries can be used to give your homemade gin its distinctive flavour.



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Juniper berries have a bloom.



 Conifers in general have pine cones however the Juniper bush has what appears to be fleshy berries with a large seed inside.

The berry  of the culinary Juniper, Juniperus communis, is somewhat smaller than a blueberry and and about the same size as an Allspice berry.

Let’s find out what it is. I'm talking with Ian Hemphill, owner of Herbies Spices and author of the Spice Bible

Juniper%2Bbush.jpgIan says Juniper berries are a demon to harvest because they don't all ripen at once, and the needles on the Juniper tree are very prickly, so you need protective gloves.

Make Your Own Gin

The berries can be used to flavour your own gin.

Start with some vodka to which you can add whole Juniper berries, some Coriander seed, and Grains of Paradise. You can crush the berries in a mortar and pestle if you wish.

Cooking with Juniper Berries

The piney flavour of the berries help to balance foods that are rich or cloying, such as Duck or Pork.

Juniper berries go great in a meat pie either used whole or crushed.

Juniper Trees

Unlike other conifers that have either needles or scales, juniper trees have both, sometimes on the same branch.

The needles have sharp edges and a pungent, distinctive scent, sort of like Rosemary with Citrus undertones.

The berries look like smaller blueberries, juniper berries also appear in red or copper, and are in fact soft cones.

Like typical hard and prickly conifer cones, juniper berries also contain the tree's seeds.

You can catch that up by listening to the podcast www.realworldgardener.com

If you have any questions about growing Juniper Berries or have some information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 and I’ll send you a packet of seeds.

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Real World Gardener Paprika in cooking in Spice It Up

August 12th, 2016

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

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PAPRIKA Capsicum fruitescens.

Paprika is the most popular of spices and is found in many spice blends, especially for meat.



The Paprika fruit looks like a long and narrow chilli, but the Spanish variety is like a slightly squashed capsicum.

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Paprika Red Banana



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Alma Paprika



 

The top quality grades of Paprika are called "Noble Sweet" and these have the best flavour.

 

Without this spice Hungarian goulash, Spanish chorizos and Indian tandoori chicken just wouldn’t be the same.

COOKING TIP:

Be warned, only use Paprika that's labelled Hungarian Sweet Paprika in your Goulash, otherwise the taste will be quite strong and unpleasant.

It's so famous in Hungary that there’s even a Paprika Museum in the town of Kaloscsa.

Let’s find out.. I'm talking with Ian Hemphill, owner of www.herbies.com.au

 

That town in Hungary that Ian mentioned holds an annual Paprika festival every October.

Magyar-Hungarian-paprika-dried-peppers-a

Not only that, in the villages of Szeged and Kalosca, peppers are threaded onto long pieces of string and hung up to dry outside the houses and from garden fences.

Fun Fact:For those in the know, they can tell when the Paprika is the correct amount of dryness from the sound the dried Paprika makes when the wind rattles the peppers!

Cooking isn’t the only way Paprika is used.

Did you know some zoos use it mixed in with the feed to keep the bright pink hue of flamingoes!

If you have any questions about Paprika or have some information to share, 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 Rosemary in cooking in Spice It Up

June 24th, 2016

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
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SPICE IT UP

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Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis

The culinary Rosemary plant is often used for remembrance but did you know that the tradition of laying sprigs of this herb(rosemary) across the coffin or upon a tombstone dates back to ancient Egypt?

Rosemary is a lovely evergreen perennial herb with culinary, aromatic, and medicinal uses, and one of the favorites in herb gardening around the world.

So let’s not linger any longer and find out all about it. I'm talking with Ian Hemphill owner of Herbies Spices. www.herbies.com.au

You might be surprised to learn that Rosemary is in the mint family, but unlike mint, likes much drier conditions.

Rosemary balances very will with carbohydrates and is good with pork and duck dishes.

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Rosemary bush

Ian gave us a great tip about how to strip the leaves off the rosemary stem without getting that heel of bark by tearing in an upward motion.

when using dried rosemary either chop it very finely or grind the leaves to a powder.

Normally grinding herbs is not recommended, but unless you're doing a long slow cook, the hard leaves are best treated this way. 

After all, Rosemary has a very strong flavour and can withstand being used this way.

 

Ian's mother's scone recipe.

  • 2 cups of self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter (cold)
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Rosemary. 
  • Rub the butter into the flower then gradually add the milk to get a stiff dough. Don't overmix. 
  • Rest for 10 minutes.
  • Pat down or roll out the mixture  so it's 2 cm high then using a scone cutter,(one with a deep edge. a small baked bean tin is a good alternative.)
  • Place them onto a tray close together.
  • Brush with milk and place in the oven at one level above the centre.
  • Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius.

Growing and propagating Rosemary plants is pretty easy and every garden should have at least one plant, even if it’s in a pot.

The leaves and flowers can also be used to make a tea, said to be good for headaches, colic, colds as well as depression.

If you have any questions about growing and using rosemary in your cooking or have some information to share, 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 Mint in Cooking in Spice It Up

May 19th, 2016

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.comREALWORLD 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 edition

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MINTS

Originally taken as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains, nowadays it’s mostly called upon for soothing indigestion to heartburn and the common cold to bad breath.

There are three common mints:

  1. Mentha viridis or common min has a rounded leaf and not as bright as
  2. Mentha spicata or spearmint which has a more elongated leaf. 
  3. Then there's Peppermint, Mentha x piperita, which is a cross between spearmint and watermint.



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Mentha spicata



Not all mints are equal and if you want to add the best culinary type mint to your cooking then you need to pay attention to this next segment. Let’s find out what it is now. I'm talking with Not all mints are equal and if you want to add the best culinary type mint to your cooking then you need to pay attention to this next segment.

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

Not all mints are equal and if you want to add the best culinary type mint to your cooking then you need to pay attention to this next segment.

Herbies Spices sells dried mint which is imported from Turkey.

Peppermint wasn't known in the UK until the 1700's.

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Peppermint

Peppermint is mostly used medicinally and in sweets or confectionary, but not in savoury cooking.

Apple mint is a less common mint but can be used in cooking. Apple mint flavour goes well with peas and in mint ice.

On the other hand Eau de Cologne mint is not suitable in any recipe.

Although mint is easy to grow, its roots, which are called "runners," are also incredibly invasive: they quickly grow, sprouting new leaves and new plants as they go.

Mint will overtake a flower bed or garden in no time if you're not careful

If you have any questions about Wollemi Pines or have some information to share, 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 Lemongrass in cooking in Spice It Up

April 26th, 2016

.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
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Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

lemongrass%2Bstalks.jpgIs in the Poaceae family (grasses,) and was not only used  by the ancient Greeks and Romans but crops up in so many cuisines throughout the world.

Lemongrass has also been used in folk medicine and in Asian cooking.

Lemongrass is a herb, or grass really,that  has more attributes as an all round herb than you might’ve thought of.

In this segment, you’ll learn about not only the best ways to use it in the kitchen but some great tips and looking after it in the garden.

Let’s find out more about this herb. I'm talking with Ian Hemphill, from www.herbies.com.au

Lemongrass flavour is fairly gentle so you can’t go wrong in how much you use.



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Lemongrass



Use only the bottom 15-20 cm and give it a bump with the back of a knife to easily peel off the outer layer.

 

Cut it very finely or either shave it finely or grate your lemongrass so you don’t get those hairs or fibres from the leaves so much when you’re eating the dish.

 

BIG TIP: Don't throw away the green leafy tops but tie them into knots to break up the citral structure and throw this bunch into cooking to infuse with a real lemony flavour.

Think of it as a substitute for lemon zest if you like for use in cooking.

 

When growing your own lemongrass, it's best if divided every few years because the centre of the clump doesn't seem to get enough water and nutrients and dies off.

 

If you have any questions about lemongrass or any other herb or have some information to share, 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 Dill in cooking in Spice It Up

February 1st, 2016

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.comREALWORLD 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 edition.

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Did you know that the earliest known record of dill as a medicinal herb was found in Egypt 5,000 years ago?

What’s even more interesting is that Gladiators were fed meals covered with dill because it was hoped that the herb would give them valour and courage.

There are traditional uses for dill the herb, what about the seed?

Dill seeds were called “meetinghouse seeds” because they were chewed during long church services to keep members awake or kids quiet. The seeds were also chewed in order to freshen the breath and quiet noisy stomachs.

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Dill seed. photo www.herbies.com.au

Dill%2Bflower%2Bhead.jpgDill seed is referred to as a spice and goes very well with coriander. Dill seed is used in Moroccan cooking as well as Vietnamese. Of course those that pickle their cucumber will be using some form of Dill.

Fresh green Dill is the herb and has a slightly anise flavour that goes with smoked salmon, potato salad and much more.

Let's find out more. I'm talking with herb expert Ian Hemphill www.herbies.com.au

dill-8104_640.jpg

Dill likes to be planted in cool weather.

In warm winter areas that don't experience a hard frost, you can plant dill in autumn or winter.

In cooler areas, plant dill a week or two before your last hard frost.

After the first sowing, plant again every 10 days or so if you need lots of dill for a continuous crop.

For balcony gardeners or gardeners with potted herb garden, when growing in pots, use a deep one so the long tap root has somewhere to go.

Remember that you will eventually have a plant that is about a metre tall so you might want to stake your plant.

The seeds are used in pickling and can also improve the taste of roasts, stews and vegetables.

Try grinding the seeds to use as a salt substitute. Both the flowering heads and seeds are used in flavoured vinegars and oils.

If you have a herb garden, send in a photo or drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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