Taste test: Wensley’s Cornish Pasty

wensley-cornish-pasty

Wensley’s make a fantastic Cornish pasty. They have crumbly butter puff pastry with a perfect combination of traditional fillings. The inside is made from beef, potato, onion, turnips and swede with a touch of pepper. We’ve eaten the real thing in Cornwell, so we can assure you that these pasties are authentic.

We also like their sausages and pork pies.

Wensley’s are available in Brisbane from the Britain on the Bayside, Moggil Farmers Market, Currumbin Palm Beach Market and various other stockists.

Highly recommended.

 

 

Taste test: Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies Decadent Red Velvet Cake

Melinda's Red Velvet Cake

I decided it was time to try the Decadent Red Velvet Cake from Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies for a belated father’s day.

I followed the instructions on the back of the packet to a tee, and was rewarded with a light reddy-brown coloured cake. Instead of making the suggested cream cheese icing, I made a glaze with coconut oil and icing sugar, which complemented the flavours really well. 

red velvet cake

The cake was served with strawberries and vanilla ice cream. The red velvet cake was moist and delicious. It received positive feedback from all the family members who tasted it. My sister-in-law said “She couldn’t believe it was gluten free. It tastes that good.”

Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA, Independents, and various online stores.

 Thank you Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies for allowing us to try Decadent Red Velvet Cake

In My Kitchen: October 2013

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for allowing me to participate In My Kitchen October 2013. This month, in my kitchen are …

croqs

Concetta won the first week of Recipe to Riches. They were delicious, but I’m not sure we’d buy them again because we don’t eat very much frozen prepared food.

chocorn

Last week’s Recipe to Riches was won by Chocorn – corn covered in caramel and then chocolate. They are marketed as a premium product which I think is their downfall. They were overpriced at $8 a box. The dark and milk chocolate were fantastic, but the white chocolate was sickly sweet.

We also tried Sweet Billies the previous week but found them too sweet as well.

sumac

Sumac is Herbie’s Spices spice of the month. We have been having it on our chicken fajitas. The berry goes well with avocado and tomatoes, so it’s perfect with guacamole. You can also add the tangy lemony flavour to salads as a garnish and seasoning rubs on grilled and roasted meats (sprinkle on before cooking).

marmalade

My Aunty made cumquat marmalade, which goes perfectly well my spiced fruit cider bread. I’ve been trying to perfect a bread recipe, and this one finally turned out well.

felt-vegetables

I’ve been having some fun making felt vegetables. They are supposed to be a Christmas present, but I’m afraid I like them too much to give away.

Posted for In My Kitchen October 2013 hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

How to grow tasty tomatoes

Guest post by The Diggers Club

tomato tasting

About the Taste Test

The Diggers Club conducted a tomato taste test to see whether heirloom tomatoes could beat the supermarket hybrids. The taste test was held in February 2013 at the Adelaide Botanic Garden, with South Australian garden experts, and cooks and gardeners invited.

Supermarket hybrids are usually dwarf bushy varieties which are easier to machine harvest and are bred for long-distance shipping. Being dwarf varieties they are invariably low in flavour with short harvest periods. The tasty long-harvest period heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate, with lateral branches that continue to grow and therefore need support.

The seeds from these heirloom tomatoes bred in back yards over hundreds of years hold a continuous unbroken link to our history.

The Results

The top ten Diggers Club Tomato Taste Test results were all heirlooms:

Rank Variety Colour Size
=1 Hungarian Heart Pink Oxheart
=1 Jaune Flamme Orange Apricot
2 Tommy Toe Red Apricot
3 Black Cherry Purple-Black Cherry
4 Wild Sweetie Red Pea
5 Wapsipinicon Peach Opaque Apricot
6 Lemon Drop Lemon Grape
7 Ananas Noir Yellow/Black Beefsteak
8 Black Russian Black Apricot
9 Periforme / Granny’s Throwing Red Large pear
10 Purple Smudge Orange Beefsteak

We had three Italian Chef/food experts who rated Italian red heirloom Periforme the best, in preference to highly coloured heirlooms.

tomatoes in basket

Growing tomatoes

Tomatoes are easy to grow with 6 hours of sunshine per day in friable, well drained soil.

  • Sow seed into Jiffy or Peat Pots 6 weeks before transplanting to minimise transplant root disturbance. All but dwarf varieties need support.
  • Being frost sensitive they need minimum 15 degrees C soil temperature for up to 21 growing weeks. Plant out at 1 metre spacing.
  • Heirlooms will fruit from January for 3-4 months in cool climates and all year around in hot climates, hence the ubiquitous supermarket ‘winter’ tomato!

Summary

The first eighteen varieties preferred were all heirlooms from Hungry, France, Italy, Russia and America, and seven of the bottom eight were red commercial varieties from the South Australian market. Since the 1993 taste test which was won by Tommy Toe, fourteen varieties were regarded as better than the garden standard Grosse Lisse.

Would you pay four hundred times the price of heirlooms to an overseas corporation when you can save your seeds and replant for nothing?

Guest post by The Diggers Club

In My Kitchen – September 2013

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for allowing me to participate In My Kitchen September 2013. This month, in my kitchen are …

eggplant

We discovered the Samford Markets which are held on the second Saturday of the month. They have two stalls selling seedlings. We found some mandarins at 10 for $2, and a bag of Listada de Gandia eggplants for $2.50.

mandarins

We have been eating lots of mandarins from the markets and the supermarket. The strawberries have come into season at a great price. We were gifted some bush lemons – which were rather ugly but perfect for the juice and I made Lemon barley water with them.

sept-herbies

I’ve been experimenting with Herbie’s Spices. This month I have Vanilla Bean Sugar, Ockkah – an Australian version of Dukkah (with hazelnuts, sesame seeds, coriander seed, pistachio, akudjura, wattleseed, salt and native pepperberry) and lastly a Bread Maker’s Seed Mix (with sesame, black sesame, toasted sesame, nigella, blue and white poppy seeds and ajowan).

sept-lindt

As Lindt chocolate was on a great special I decided to do a taste test of their Creation range. The only one I was missing was Creme Brulee. The divine hazelnut was creamy with little crunchies of nuts. The velvety vanilla almond was a rich caramel with the texture of slivered almonds. The sumptuous orange was the perfect combination and my firm favourite of the three.

Last night we watched the finale of Masterchef and I was surprised Emma won. I was backing nice guy Lynton. I also caught the repeats of The Great Australian Bake Off and again backed the wrong person thinking that Maria would win. But in retrospect I can see Nancy was pushing her skill level and that was the reason she won.

We’ll see if Recipe to Riches keeps me entertained to the end. Matt thinks it’s a very clever advertising scheme. I wonder if the brands will have staying power.

Posted for In My Kitchen September 2013 hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

Taste test: Very Chocolate gelato by Sugo Mi Gelateria

Very Chocolate gelato

I had to try Very chocolate gelato from Sugo Mi Gelateria after I found out that it won 5 out of 6 of the major prizes in the 2013 Royal QLD Food & Wine Show.

The gelato was soft and smooth, with a rich but not overpowering chocolaty taste. Served with a waffle cone and you have all you need for a great gelato. Go across the road to the park and eat away to your hearts content.

Highly recommended.

Sugo Mi
3/190 Oxford St,
Bulimba, Brisbane

Sugo Mi Gelateria on Urbanspoon

Taste test: Three teas by The Loose Leaf Tea House

loose-leaf-tea

I’ve been lucky enough to try some of the range of certified organic tea from The Loose Leaf Tea House. About 70% of their tea is currently Organic, and Monique is constantly trying to source more organic teas to add to their range. Their best sellers are the Organic Earl Grey, Organic China Sencha, Japanese blossom and the Organic peppermint. I tried the following three teas:

organic-english-breakfast

Organic English Breakfast
The Organic English Breakfast is my favourite of the three teas and I’d happily recommend it to my friends. It has a beautiful smooth flavour, which reminds me of soft caramels. It is a traditional strong breakfast tea, made with certified organic and bio dynamic Assam and Ceylon teas. It produces a full-bodied aromatic blend. I could easily drink this tea every day.

It is best brewed for 3 to 5 minutes at a water temperature of 100°Celsius.

organic-china-sencha

Organic China Sencha

The Organic China Sencha is a delightful green tea. This certified organic tea is made from large leaf green tea, which produces a distinctive crisp and mild flavours. The tea has a high level of vitamin C because it is made from the first picking of the leaves in spring and steamed dried. This tea looks different to other green teas I have tried, as you can see the large vibrant green leaves. The tea has a yellow light green colour and gives a good rounded taste. It reminds Matt of the green tea served in Chinese restaurants.

It is best brewed for 2 to 3 minutes at a water temperature of 80°Celsius, so allow the kettle to rest awhile before pouring. It took about 5 minutes for the water to cool to the recommended temperature, but this will depend on your kettle.

immune-boost

Organic Immune Boost
The Organic Immune Boost is a certified organic herbal tea which aims to build up the immune system and help keep away colds and flus. The tea consists of a blend of powerhouse herbs such as echinacea, Siberian Ginseng, spearmint, ginger and lemongrass. The packet is full of chunky herbs but the tea provides a well balanced taste. I prefer my herbal teas to be organic – you can really taste the difference, particularly with peppermint tea. I would recommend drinking this herbal tea through winter or as a warming drink to have before bed.

It is best brewed for 5 to 8 minutes at a water temperature of 100°Celsius.

teaspoons

The teas are available for purchase online and at various locations around Australia.

Thank you The Loose Leaf Tea House for allowing us to try Organic English Breakfast, Orangic China Senha and Organic Immune Boost. 

Taste test: Melinda’s Gluten-free goodies Heavenly Chocolate Fudge Brownie

chocolate brownie

We were lucky to receive a packet of Heavenly Chocolate Fudge Brownie from Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies to trial. I was wanting to make something sweet for afternoon tea and these were the answer.

The lactose-free chocolate was morish and I had to stop myself from eating the chips! I must admit I made a bit of a mess melting the chocolate and butter in the microwave, so next time I would do this on the stove top. Alternatively I’d suggest checking the mixture every minute and the recipe on the back of the packed does suggest this.

It was then easy sailing as I mixed 2 eggs with the brownie premix, which I then combined with the chocolate and butter mixture.

I didn’t line my cake tin as suggested, but I did use a non-stick tin sprayed with oil. I popped it in the preheated oven and 25 minutes later it was done. You can leave the cake in less time for a more fudgy result, but I left them in for the full amount.

The result was gooey, moist chocolate brownies, with no funny after-taste that you sometimes get with gluten free products. They have kept well for a few days, although best eaten on the day of cooking.

It’s not hard to see how these become bestsellers.

Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA, Independents, and various online stores.

 Thank you Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies for allowing us to try Heavenly Chocolate Fudge Brownie

Taste test: AntiOx chocolate

AntiOx Chocolate

I recently had the good fortune of taste testing AntiOx Chocolate. I really enjoyed the Acai blend which claims to be very high in antioxidants. Any true chocoholic will sing the virtues of their vice, including myself. The chocolate bar was 70% cocoa and sweetened with Stevia. I am usually not a big fan of stevia products because sometimes they are overpowering, but they have got the balance right this time. I happily scoffed the whole bar in a couple of days.

The blocks come in Goji berries and Acai flavours, which are both powerful superfoods. AntiOx Chocolate have a RRP $4.65 for an 80g block. They also come in 40g snack bars based on wholegrains and superfoods. All products are available in the health section of Woolworths, Coles, IGA stores and health food stores.

Taste test: Beet It! organic beetroot juice

beet-it

I was intrigued to try Beet It – an organic beetroot juice. It comes in a 1 litre bottle or three types of shots – Organic, Sport and Ginger.

I tried the Beet It organic shot and boy did it pack a punch, but I liked it. I’m keen to try the organic beetroot juice straight up next.

Beetroots are packed with antioxidants and contain potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and folic acid.

Research has shown that beetroot can help reduce blood pressure as well as its associated risks such as heart attacks and strokes. This is because the high content of nitrates in beetroot produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. A daily dose of 250ml of beetroot juice or 1 to 2 cooked beetroot (approx. 100g) can help dramatically reduce blood pressure and its associated risks.
Love Beetroot

The regular juice would be ideal to add to homemade fresh fruit juices such as Dr Emerson’s daily juice. 

Beet It is available from independent grocers and health food stores.