Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Snaps!

Hello :) It's been a while since I've done a weekend post like this, so I thought last weekend would be nice to document. Here's a few things I got up to...

I wasn't working at Orange Grove market on Saturday, so I went to Eveleigh to stock up. Yep, I can't seem to get away from the markets- even if I'm not working at them! It was so strange having the morning to sleep in and relax, I don't think I've had a free weekend in about 2 months. I bought this tomato, feta and zucchini tart and it was delightful for morning tea, with a coffee too!
Beautiful fresh flowers.
I bought this bunch, though not exactly sure what they're called! Sometimes when I buy tulips they only last for a week or less, but love that these always seem to last for a few weeks. 
Market purchases! Really enjoying cabbage at the moment- especially the purple kind! I chop heaps of it up into salads, it's super easy. Also splurged on smoked trout and decided to try some goats milk yoghurt. It tastes a bit like Greek yoghurt although a thinner consistency, slightly sour - and perfect with granola or fruit! Have you tried goats milk yoghurt before?
A quick salad I made with cabbage, carrots, mizuna lettuce and toasted hazelnuts. I made a yummy dressing with almond butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice :)
On Sunday at the markets, I experimented with a new product. Introducing...TCM inspired granola! So you know I love making granola, well I recently decided to start selling it at my market stall. As I'm already selling TCM teas, I came up with the idea of making a fusion granola, combining Chinese ingredients with the core ingredients of granola I use. 

There's the base of oats combined with coconut flakes, hazelnuts, apricot kernals, black sesame, goji berries, cinnamon and orange zest. It tastes really yummy, if I do say so myself! Instead of using pure maple syrup, I used rice syrup which still has the right amount of sweetness, but is a lot cheaper. One must think of these things! I reckon the black sesame and goji berries add something different, and help make it unique. 
I decided to try selling it per cup, just to start out- in these paper bags. I had sample cups as well, so people could try it :)
In the morning, I made this sign, although it's kind of difficult to read! Must work on it! I managed to sell the two batches of granola I made within a few hours, which covered the ingredient costs and a little extra- yay! I'm very excited to make even more for next week and to see where this little invention will go! I'll make sure to keep you posted.
Feeling funky in my spotty socks. 

Hannah x

Saturday, July 28, 2012

White Rabbit Gallery Teahouse

Hello :) I'm trying to start taking my camera out to more places I go to, so here's some snaps of my Thursday morning. Adrian and I went to the White Rabbit Gallery and the teahouse afterwards. I find Asian art particularly interesting, especially reading about Asian history- so I really enjoyed spending time there. Tea and dumplings were a lovely way to conclude.

A sample of the teas were brought out to help with decision making.
I chose the princess flower tea, which opens up and has a subtle jasmine flavour. The teapot was gorgeous, as were the dainty cups.
So pretty watching it bloom!
Adrian's book suited the gallery quite nicely.
Egg and chive dumplings were shared :)

We had plans to see the Japanese exhibition at the NSW art gallery, but were a little arted out! I can see having Thursdays off this semester is going to be exhausting ;)

Hannah x

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sustain Expo with Little China Teas

Hello :) I'm hoping now that I've started back at uni again (I know!), I can do more regular posts, as I'm in a routine again. Lately I've made quite a few draft posts with photos, just waiting for me to sit down and fill in the text! So let's play catch up and start with what I got up to a few days ago...

Last weekend was the Sustain Expo, a natural and organic lifestyle show. As most of you know I work for Little China Teas, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) tea company and have my own stall where I sell the products at Marrickville markets. The brand is a collaboration between Peter, a TCM practitioner (he is also a qualified acupuncturist, naturopath and nutritionist) and Justin, who several years ago went to see Peter for a caffeine alternative and they ended up with a tea tonic called Uplift, which is an energising mint tonic and is super hydrating. Now, there's 7 teas in the range.

So, I was at the stall over the weekend (and on Friday, which was a distributor/retailer day) with both Peter and Justin selling and talking to people about the teas. It was certainly exhausting being in the same space for several hours, but luckily it was rewarding too. Getting to see and meet the people behind all these awesome organic and sustainable brands, hearing inspiring talks and sipping on tea all day ain't so bad either. We call it testing the brew. 

Here's our little stall. It was jazzed it up with some old TCM texts, some posters of TCM herbs and beautiful tea pots for sampling the teas.
The Uplift blend.
This is a pretty cool herb called purple perilla, which is used in quite a few of the teas as it aids metabolism and is also mood enhancing. 
Did someone mention a new tea? Yep, this one is called Shen Beauty, a hydrating blend which includes Chinese rose buds that help to tone and soften the skin, as well as the antioxidant rich goji berries: the Chinese superfood! It's beautiful to sip on too.
I listened to this talk by Carla Oates (known as the beauty chef) where she made skincare products using fresh fruits, vegetables and oils from the kitchen! Most of my Sunday Beauty posts feature recipes from her homemade skincare book, so it was awesome to see her in action and be further inspired to use fresh and active ingredients on my face! 
Staying hydrated with a coconut and stocking up on this organic almond and macadamia nut butter blend. 
Our stall was right next to Peppermint magazine, an amazing eco fashion and lifestyle read. I just recently bought their latest issue (featuring Sarah from My New Roots!) and was really impressed. It's such a great resource for learning about sustainable ethical brands as well, especially in terms of clothing and beauty products. It makes you think twice about where your products come from!

The ladies were really friendly and lovely to talk to, and we gave them some of our Bo He (peppermint) tea which seemed suitable ;)
Being part of the expo was lots of fun and I'm glad for the opportunity to work there, however when the clock struck 5pm on Sunday I think we were all glad to go home :) Until next time!

Have you been to the Sustain Expo before?

Hannah x

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Apple Tarte Tatin

Hello :)  Tuesday morning goal: to recreate the apple tarte tatin in last weeks issue of Good Living.

RECIPE: APPLE TARTE TATIN (adapted from Good Living, 10.07.12)

8 golden delicious apples
50g butter
125g castor sugar
500g puff pastry 
1 egg, beaten
Creme fraiche, cream or ice-cream for serving

1. Peel apples and cut in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller to remove core and trim off any stalks. 

My local grocer/deli didn't have any golden delicious apples (apparently they're a summer variety) so we used granny smiths, still perfect for cooking with. We also used a knife to remove the core and stalks. Who has a melon baller?!

2. Melt butter in an ovenproof 25-centimetre frypan and sprinkle with half the sugar. Pack apples in tightly, rounded side down. Cut one or two apples into quarters and squeeze in- they will shrink as they cook. 

3. Scatter with remaining sugar and cook over medium heat, letting them hiss and bubble for about 20 minutes, until there is a lightly golden caramel beneath. Watch out for browning or burning but be brave, you want real caramel. Press apples down into the pan as they soften. Heat oven to 220C.

(I didn't have a large enough oven-proof frypan, so we cooked the apples in a regular frypan then transferred it to a pie dish)

4. Roll out pastry and drape generously over apples, trimming edges so you can tuck it all around (grease sides with a little butter for easier turning out). Prick pastry lightly with a fork and brush with a beaten egg.

Also, the only pastry at the grocer/deli was this gluten, wheat and dairy free variety. Even though we knew it wouldn't be buttery or very flaky, we decided to give it a go. The specks you can see on the pastry are chia seeds, so it's a nice healthier alternative. 

5. Bake tart for five minutes, then reduce heat to 200C and bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is crisp and golden.

6. Cool for five minutes, then place a large flat serving platter over the pan, and very carefully invert. Some apples may stick to the pan- just pop them back into place.

7. Serve hot with coconut icecream :)

Mission accomplished? 

Yes! Sure it looks completely different from the photo in the recipe, as we used granny smith apples and a denser gluten free puff pastry, and forgot to add the sugar to the apple and butter mixture until the last few minutes (my mistake), but it tasted very delicious! Apples, sugar & butter = genius.

I was worried about inverting it, but I think it turned out pretty well. And we ended up gobbling a few slices each, so that's all that really counts, yeah?

Have you made a tarte tatin before?

Hannah x

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Honey Roasted Rhubarb + Coconut Icecream

Hello :) Thursday night was spent watching River Cottage. It's only (one) of the best shows ever, where Hugh grows his own veggies, cooks wonderful dishes, and forages for local produce. Well on this particular episode he mentioned that he loves to roast rhubarb with honey, instead of the old fashioned stewing with sugar. Maybe some of you roast rhubarb, but I don't really think to cook it that way (well actually, except when making a crumble) so I decided to this afternoon! I'm usually in a rush when cooking rhubarb, so it's usually stewed and on top of porridge with maple syrup. But not this time!

Honey Baked Rhubarb (link)

I just used a few stalks of rhubarb, and adjusted the recipe. About two tablespoons of honey was drizzled on and a good squeeze of orange juice. Rhubarb definitely needs sweetness, and not always from sugar either. I served my roast rhubarb with vanilla coconut icecream :)

The roasted rhubarb turned out really well. It was nice to still have the shape, and for it not to go all mushy. Honey is a perfect sweetner and kind of caramelises too, and the orange juice also works to counteract the tartness. This brand of coconut icecream is delicious, sweetened with agave and with the added vanilla it's extra yum.

How do you like to serve rhubarb? 

Hannah x

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bread & Circus

Hello :) This Tuesday morning I had brunch at Bread & Circus, a wholefood canteen I have been meaning to check out for some time now! I went with Adrian, which seemed suitable, considering it was his birthday. Happy Birthday A! It's in Alexandria, which I thought might prove difficult without a car, but a simple 15 minute walk from Newtown and there you are.

To drink, I had genmaicha, a roasted brown rice and green tea. It had a lovely unique flavour, and the teapot and cup were just gorgeous.
I also had the foxy winter porridge which used pre-soaked organic oats with vanilla, cinnamon cardamon hazelnuts, organic coconut milk, pear and agave. This was a really nourishing bowl, the creamy oats with shredded coconut throughout and sprinkle of granola on top. The pear was a lovely addition, as was the fresh mint. Extra points for being dairy free too.
Adrian chose the pancakes made from pre-soaked buckwheat, black quinoa, coconut and rapadura with a maple-orange gloss and biodynamic yoghurt. Impressive. I might have sneaked a bite of the pancakes- and they were really yummy. He also had a hot chocolate, but thought it was quite rich- like drinking pure milk chocolate.
The set out of the place was great, you feel so comfortable surrounded by long tables, fresh flowers, plates of cutlery- it has a really nice atmosphere. We leisurely read the paper (the 9 letter today was overtaken, for anyone wondering), and it was just a relaxed and easy way to spend a morning :)

The only downside of the place was they don't serve coffee, but it's very conveniently located in the same vicinity as Don Campos, which makes an excellent cup. So no complaints there.

Have you been to Bread & Circus, or any other great places around the area? What should be next on my list?! I'm thinking The Grounds, which is close by.

Hannah x

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kale Pesto + Spelt Pasta

Hello :) Everyone is in love with kale at the moment, yeah? Cool. So you've been adding it to your omelettes, baking it into chips and adding it to your soups. All good so far? Well, what about adding some lovely steamed kale to your pesto for vibrancy and a super nutritious boost. I think yes!

Recipe: Kale Pesto (slightly adapted from I Quit Sugar Cookbook, Sarah Wilson)
1 medium bunch kale, stalks removed and steamed
2 medium shallots, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup parmesan
juice 1 lemon
handful toasted pine nuts (optional)
large handful of basil (optional)
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and process until creamy and very well blended. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. Or cover with a layer of oil and freeze.

Oh la la, look at that colour! I really enjoyed the taste, mixed with the parmesan, zesty lemon and olive oil, it's certainly not overwhelming. You wouldn't even know you were eating kale! Such an easy way to incorporate some more greens into your life, and you can't go wrong with pesto pasta!

As the title suggests, I served the pesto with some spelt pasta. First time I've tried it, and I'm impressed. Tastes pretty similar to regular wholemeal pasta, and you don't feel as full or blah after eating it, as I sometimes do after eating white pasta. I also added some pesto and also parmesan-stuffed olives, which oomphed up the flavour and are really quite delicious. They're from Molives, where I work on Saturday mornings at Orange Grove markets (5am wakeup fun times). 

Also! Bonus recipe! Don't have any kale or basil, but want to whizz up a quick creamy kind of pesto? Try blending half an avocado with toasted pine nuts or walnuts, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. I found the recipe recently, and love it. Avocados are high in protein, so it's filling as well. That was tonight's dinner with spelt pasta and semi dried tomatoes. Yum :) 

Do you like making interesting kinds of pestos? 

Hannah x