Thursday, 19 July 2012

Mushrooms

Mushies! On toast, stuffed, roasted, saut├ęd, with garlic, in risotto, in a good stroganoff anyway u choose to have them they are a really nutritious meal.

Mushrooms are the fleshy body of a fungus, commonly found above ground on soil.

Many species of mushrooms tend to just shoot up overnight.
There is even a common English saying "to pop up like a mushroom" based purely on how quickly they grow.

Mushrooms are low in calories, fat and carbohydrates and provide a great source of B, essential minerals and potassium.

Most mushrooms you buy from supermarkets have been grown in mushroom farms and they grow different varieties from shiitakes to oyster, enoki to portabella there is always a selection.

However not all mushrooms are good for you there is a variety that are toxic and can even be fatal if consumed.
There is also the mind altering mushrooms that make you hallucinate commonly known as "magic mushrooms" or "shrooms" these mushrooms are illegal if sold or grown purely because the effects are unknown and could cause harm.

So for me I play it safe and stick to the every day Mushies that you buy from the grocer.
But I have some weird facts about these little stubby toadstools :

Did you know that More than 85% of Australian households purchase fresh mushrooms regularly and that In the mid 1970’s most of the mushrooms eaten in Australia were sold in cans.

So to ensure you get yourself some top quality mushrooms and keep them tasting great look for the ones that are firm to the touch, have no bruises and have a slightly shiny surface then store in a brown paper bag on the bottom shelf of the fridge this allows the mushrooms to breath and draws the moisture into the bag and not the Mushies and using these tips they should last at least a week.
So they will be right there ready to spice up a dish, use to garnish and wow your family at dinner!



Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Liquorice

Yes liquorice! It's a love hate relationship for most when it comes to this.

I think it's sensational ... I grew up with lots of liquorice it was what we would get for my dad every fathers day because he loved it.
we used have to take the Irish moss syrup when we were sick which was a liquorice flavoured cough mixture and my pop used to say would cure anything, which is why I still use it today.

Even the liquorice flavoured sarsaparilla which I was told as a little girl was "pigs blood" so that I wouldn't drink my parents stash, even now my hubby Sam is obsessed with the boiled liquorice blocks and bullets so for most of my life liquorice has made a mark In my existence.

To make liquorice there are a base of ingredients they are liquorice extract, sugar, and a binder.
The binder is typically starch/flour, gum arabic, or gelatin, or a combination of the 3. Then ammonium chloride, and molasses are added to give the end product the familiar black colour.
Some liquorice is flavoured with anise oil instead of or in combination with liquorice root extract.

The process of making is quite straightforward the ingredients are dissolved in water and heated to 135 °C the liquid is poured into molds, to get the desired shape or size. The licorice liquid is then set and when they are they are sprayed with beeswax in order to give them a shiny appearance.

Even Alexander the Great supplied his troops with rations of liquorice root whilst marching, due to its thirst
quenching qualities.

It has been around for centuries
and I hope it stays that way, because it has been a great thing for my family when I can't think of any present ideas.
Try it ! It may surprise you!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Quinoa

Quinoa pronounced Kin-wah is one of the latest foodie trends.
High in protein, iron and even fibre it has great health benefits especially of you are a vegetarian.

So after hearing all the hoop-lah about it I thought I had better give it a go.
So I headed on down to Thomas Dux grocer a little gourmet grocer in Black Rock, Melbourne. They had all types...red, white, royal mix, flour even cereal and as it turns out at this stage I had no idea what was the difference. As it turns out you can just get different colours and it in different forms.

Just as I was about to pick it up I realised they sold quinoa bread and salad already made so I got a coconut, roasted almond and coriander quinoa to go.
Now It is a grain grown primarily in a crop for its little seeds, it is generally cooked and is lite and fluffy and has a distinct nutty flavour about it.
To my surprise it was delish! It was crunchy yet light and simple yet flavoursome it would make a great substitute to rice or Couscous.

The bread was gorgeous as well quinoa and soya bean loaf crunchy outside and light in the middle and guess the brand ... Brasserie bread.
For those who follow I did a blog on brasserie not long ago.

After some research quinoa is very versatile it is a gluten and wheat free grain that is basically treated as a rice boiled or cooked in a rice cooker for the same time you would usually cook rice for, then you can then add Vegetables and seasonings to vamp it up.
Chicken stock can be substituted for water during cooking, it can even be transformed into a classic pilaf with a funky new twist.
I actually think that I have been converted I never, well I try to never follow trends however in this case I think I will defiantly be investing time into creating dishes with quinoa.

My only challenge I have ahead of me is to convince "Hubby" that good things DO taste good.