Real World Gardener Tonka Beans in Spice it Up

March 19th, 2021

 SPICE IT UP

Tonka Bean

If you have thought that vanilla was a flavour all on its own, you would be wrong. Here is another bean that not only qualifies as a substitute for vanilla, but also for nutmeg.

Common Name: Tonka Bean, sometimes known as Brazilian teak.
Scientific NameDipteryx odorata
Family: Fabaceae
Fruit:The highly fragrant bean from a flowering tree in the pea family
Height: 25-30 metres. Grey outerbark with inner red wood.

Qualities: the presence of coumarin in the beans give the seed its odour or perfume.

Flavour: Marzipan like
Tonka_Beans.jpg

 

 
Like a lot of members of the pea family that are trees, tonka beans starts as a pod on a tree. 
The pod contains a single bean which is dried like so many other spices.
It’s used in the same dishes that you used vanilla or nutmeg for, like shortbread biscuits, custards, cream brulee' and so on.
 
To harvest the pods, they are picked when fully mature and have fallen to the ground.  Then they are broken open with a hammer to reveal a wrinkled oblong 2.5cm seed.
When this bean is cut in half lengthwise, it has a creamy white centre.
  • These beans are placed in the sun to dry, activating the enzymes within the bean.
  • But did you know this bean has been banned in America since 1954 because of the coumarin present? Coumarin is also present in cinnamon and that's not banned!

Tonka beans may be grated like nutmeg before adding to a recipe or soaked in warm water or milk to infuse the flavour.

  • Tonka is a strong spice, so only use in similar proportions to nutmeg.

I you wish to grow the tree yourself, it's a very pretty flowering tree suited to the tropics and sub-tropics. Not a tree for frost prone areas. The plant itself is not available for sale, but you can buy the seeds from overseas sellers.

 
Tonka%2Bbean%2Btree%2Bin%2Bflower.jpg

 

I am talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au
Let’s find out more

If you have any questions either for me or for Ian you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 

Real World Gardener Mulled Wine and Jelly in Spice It Up

February 25th, 2021

SPICE IT UP

Mulled Wine and Mulled Wine Jelly

Are you missing the Christmas spirit? In Australia it was mostly too hot around Christmas time to partake in mulled wine. Winter isn't that far away, and for some people, Christmas in July is a thing.

That would include mulled wine.
Right now though, you could make some mulled wine jelly to relive some of that Christmas cheer which just seems like a faded memory.

You may have heard of the spices that go to make mulled wine, a traditional drink in the northern hemisphere at that time of year.
But here in Australia, it’s too hot, so what else can we do with these spices?

Traditional mulled wine spices contain allspice berries (ground), cassia bark (Asia version of cinnamon), ginger, dried orange peel, and cloves.

Mulled%2Bwine.jpg

 

METHOD: Mulled Wine
In a saucepan 
POUR 1 bottle of red wine
ADD1 cup of brown sugar,
ADD 1 fresh lime
ADD 1 fresh quartered orange.
ADD2-3 tablespoons of mulling spices.
SIMMER gently for 30-40 minutes DO NOT BOIL
STRAIN: into a jug and serve while warm.
If you’re keen to experiment with your own recipe, then use real vanilla pods, cinnamon quills, fresh citrus and star anise at the very least.

Apart from mulled wine jelly, and mulled wine fizz, there’s also mulled wine glazed ham. So experiment away. Listen to the podcast to find out more.

I’m talking with Ian Hemphill from herb and spice expert from www.herbies.com.au
PLAY: Mulled wine jelly_9th December 2020
If you have any questions about spices in mulled wine spice mix, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Fermenting Vegetables part 2 in What’s Cooking

February 25th, 2021

FERMENTATION PART 2

Dry Fermentation Process: we're doing a cabbage.
The whole leaf on top of the shredded cabbage is the 'plug.'
Leave some headroom in the jar so the fermenting process doesn't bubble over.
The cabbage should start bubbling which is the fermentation process.

fermenting%2Bcabbage.jpg
LEAVE it out of the fridge but in a cool spot such as a tiled floor.
WAIT ten days then taste it. Before this time it doesn't taste very nice.
You can leave it longer if you like.
PROBLEMS:
White yeast growing on the surface needs to be removed otherwise it will spoil the flavour.
If you see mould, throw it out and start again.
Once you like the flavour, put it in the fridge, it will slow the fermenting process.
Let's find out more.
 

Real World Gardener Vegetable Fermentation part 1 in What’s Cooking

February 25th, 2021

 THE ART OF VEGETABLE FERMENTATION

Have you ever wanted to ferment vegetables but thought it was a bit too hard?
Perhaps you’re an avid fermenter but need to know more.
In this new segment I find out that it’s actually easy to start fermenting.

Holly describes herself as an 'old fermenter.'

Sauerkraut_Jar.jpg
Jokes aside, what's the first thing you need to know before you start fermenting any vegetable.
Do you need high end equipment?
Let’s find out more.
 
Fermenting is a process that happens in the absence of air.
It turns out that a clip lock jar or a glass jar with a screw top lid would suffice. Or you can use a plastic jar.
NOTE: the lid needs to have a coating on it which most would have if they were on jars that were bought with food in them. These jars are perfect for re-purposing for fermenting.
Cabbages and other root vegetables are ideal for fermenting.
METHOD:
PICK a cabbage that is heavy for it's size, preferably an organic one.
Should be dense and tightly packet.
STRIP off outer leaves.
CUT the cabbage into four and cut the heart out of it.
SHRED your cabbage finely, Holly likes it between 3-5mm in width so it has some crunchy.
If your ferment comes out mushy then air has entered into the process.
ADD 20gms of fine ground sea-salt to every kilo of cabbage.
RUB sea salt into cabbage until it releases moisture-make sure it's vigorous , releasing plenty of liquid.
There should be enough liquid to completely submerge the cabbage in the jar.
STUFF into a jar and cover with the liquid.
PLACE one of the previously discarded whole leaves on top of the shredded cabbage in the jar.
I’m talking with Holly Davis, whole food chef, and educator.
PLAY: Fermentation Part 1_25th November 2020

Real World Gardener Peppercorns of All Sorts in Spice It Up

September 27th, 2020

 SPICE IT UP

Black pepper, White Pepper: Peppers of All Sorts

Until recently, this next spice, black pepper, was one of the most traded in the world. 
We’re talking thousands of tonnes of black pepper, can you imagine? But why was that and how does this it grow?
 
On a tree, a shrub or is it an orchid?
Did you know that to get black peppercorns, the berries are harvested when they are green?
1-Piper_Nigrum_3.jpg

Let’s find out more.

I’ve being talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

The peppercorn that we know is
Piper nigrum vine native to south India.

All peppercorns are harvested by hand.

Gardeners in the tropics and possibly sub tropics can grow this vine up a trellis or a tree outside in the garden.

Pepper is a jungle plant so that the roots need to remain cool,
The vine will fill a trellis in about three years. Berries that are picked when they're fat and green can be dried to make black pepper.

In the wild, or in plantations where they are allowed to grow up palm trees, the hermaphrodite pepper flowers  are pollinated by rain running down the catkin. This occurs during the monsoon

So if you want to grow one in your home garden, watering the flowers should mimic this.

Berries allowed to mature and turn red, can be peeled and inside is a seed.
This is actually white pepper.

Real World Gardener Creating You Own Madras Curry in Spice It Up

August 19th, 2020

 SPICE IT UP

Making your own Madras Curry

During winter our favourite foods are those slow cooked casseroles, but you may not have realised that curries, are in fact a form of slow cooked casserole. 
The main difference is that they’re usually got a lot more spices in them and they aren’t necessarily spicey hot. 

chili-collection-colors-curry.jpg
Ian says " a lot of people forget that in effect, a curry is a casserole with a distinct number and type of spices."
If you think about it, that's perfectly true, because curries tend to have cheaper cuts of meat that need simmering for a couple of hours, just as you would a casserole.
But because curries hail from countries where the spice trade was high in importance, those countries cuisine, reflect  the spices that they produced.
I'm talking with herb and spice guru, Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au 
Let’s find out.. 

PLAY: Madras curries pt 1_5th August 2020 
Curries need not always be hot as in 
Ian’s tip is “You can actually start to make a curry by making a sweet spice blend.” 

  • Start with cinnamon, add, allspice, cloves, ground coriander seed.
  • Then add turmeric and cummin, paprika, some chilli (a little or a lot).
  • And this is basically a madras style curry.
  • When all these are blended together, you can't go wrong.
  • If you're wondering what proportions, first smell the individual spices. 
  • If they smell strong, such as ground cloves, then add only a small portion.
  • You can also add some dried curry leaves from your curry tree-fry some until they're crispy and save to use as a garnish after cooking.1-Curry%2BLeaf%2Btree.jpgMurraya koenigii
If they smell mild, add more, such as coriander, up to 1 tablespoon, and cummin, about 2 teaspoons.
The trick is balance of flavours. One thing is to not overdo the cloves, pepper and chilli.
  • Another tip is roasting spices is not always necessary, particularly if you’re making a vegetable curry.
  • If you'r curry blend is a little too hot for your liking, you can tone it down by stirring some greek yoghurt through it.

If you have any for Ian about spices or herbs or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write 

O 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Tips and Mistakes When Starting A vegetable Garden

June 19th, 2020

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID & TIPS TO MAKE IT BETTER part 2

I would imagine, most listeners Real World Gardener radio show would have a vegetable garden, but perhaps there’s also some new listeners new to gardening?

This next interview will take you through some of the most common mistakes that gardeners make when starting out and what to do to avoid them.

Wrong Fertiliser?

Compost is king says Toni. The  compost helps the plants take up any nutrients that are in the soil.

Synthetic fertiliser can 'dump' in one load if temperatures increase above their optimum level.

  • The right fertiliser is dependant on the plants that you're growingVegetable%2BgardenLynn%2BWood%2BTasmania

Leafy crops like high nitrogen fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure.

Tomatoes and other fruiting crops, especially beans and peas, won't do so well with producing fruit if you only add nitrogenous fertilisers.

Keep up the liquid feeding of your vegetable garden.

  • Planting in the Wrong Season?

Bear in mind there are different climatic zones in Australia so you need to look at the right climate for where you're living.

Why is your Basil dying at the end of Autumn? That's what it's meant to do.

Cool season planting: peas, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks lettuce,

Warm season planting: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, okra, pumpkin, beans, lettuce, chillies, basil

  • Crop Rotation

Failing to observe crop rotation will mean a build up pests and disease that attack that crop.

I am talking with Toni Salter Toni Salter who is The Veggie Lady. She has a passion to see organic principles adopted by everyone, encouraging people everywhere to grow organic produce in their own backyard. As a qualified horticulturist, Toni has been teaching community education classes both privately, at her home, as well as through various community colleges and local councils around Sydney since 2003. Catch her on www.theveggielady.com

Real World Gardener Huacatay in Spice It Up

May 5th, 2020

SPICE IT UP

Huacatay: Stinking Roger

Unless you’re a herb and spice expert, there’s bound to be a few spices that you’ve never heard of. 
Perhaps Mace isn’t so well known, or asafetida, ajowan, nigella and salem or cubeb peppers. 
But then a herb comes along that even stumps the guru that comes on the program, and it even turns out to be a weed.

huacatay.jpg
Huacatay

So what can it be? 
Let’s find out . 
I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au 

Huacatay leaves are a little bit like cilantro or coriander.

The flavour profile is supposed to have notes of basil, spearmint, citrus with notes of tarragon, 
Also used a lot in South American food going with pork and duck very well. A traditional dish made with potato and goat, called "Ocapa."
Good companion plant for other plants as its reputed to control nematodes.
Huacatay is not available for sale as a herb, but is one you would need to find as 'wild harvest.'
  • If you have stinking roger growing in your garden, then perhaps the dried leaf could be used in cooking, but I wouldn’t recommend harvesting anything along the roadside because it may have been sprayed with an insecticide.
  • Not only that, all the fallout from hundreds of cars passing the weed, shall we say, won’t be a good thing to want to eat no matter how many times you washed it. 

Ian says that he imagines that from 1 kilogram of fresh leaf you would get about 100grams of dried leaf.
If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Insect Deterrent Planting in Design Elements

April 8th, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Planting to Deter Mosquitos
The warmer months of the year can become the bane of a gardeners life, or in fact anyone who likes the outdoors, if hordes of insects invade your personal space. 
I’m talking mainly mosquitos,  because they bite, but flies can just be just as annoying if your relaxing in your garden, or having friends and family over for a bbq. 
So what can we do to deter them?

800px-Pelargonium_graveolens_2.jpg
Pelargonium graveolens: scented geranium

I'm talking with Glenice Buck, consulting arborist and landscape designer www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au 

There are plenty of foliage plants that have a particular fragrance which deter insects, but you have to plant a lot of them, not just one or two.

Brushing the foliage releases the scents, so plant them close to where you entertain.
Most successful plants are what you think of as herbs: mint, basil, lemon scented verbena, sage.
Catnip, lavenders, scented geraniums, bee balm (Monarda spp.)
The biggest tip is not to expect the lone rosemary shrub or Tea tree Mozzie Blocker (Leptospermum liversidgei) , to do that heavy lifting in terms of fragrance. 

759px-Leptospermum_liversidgei.jpg
Mozzie Blocker tea tree.
Plant them right around the area where you sit and enjoy your garden so they act as a buffer zone between you and the insects.
  • You need an armarment of plants between you and the invading hordes.

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about plants to deter mosquitos, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Allspice vs Cloves on Spice It Up

December 22nd, 2019

SPICE IT UP

Allspice vs Cloves

How well do you know your spices?

Would you think for instance, that allspice and mixed spice are the same?

Syzygium%2Baromaticum_cloves.jpg

Pimenta doica_allspice tree with berries.

Would cloves be a good substitute to save you running to the store, if you ran out?

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

Even the Spaniards were confused with the allspice berry when they invaded Jamaica, thinking it was a type of pepper.  Probably why the allspice tree is Pimento doica.

 

  • The allspice berries  are picked when they're green and put out to dry in the sun.

 

 

allspice%2Band%2Bcloves.jpg

Allspice and cloves

The heat of the sun activates the enzyme which turns the berries dark brown.

At night, the berries are heaped into a pile and covered with a tarpaulin.

The next day they are spread out in the sun again. 

This process is repeated over three to four days, by the end of which time, a volatile oil develops called eugenol.

It turns out that allspice and basil, also have a lot in common, because both contain the essential oil eugenol. 

That means both are perfect partners in tomato dishes.

  • But it also turns out you can use allspice instead of mixedspice but at 1/3 of the quantity because it’s much stronger. 
  • The clove tree is Syzygium aromaticum. The unopened flower bud is the clove.

If you have any questions, please write in to

Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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