Thursday, 15 October 2009

Hugh, Chickens and Mint Jelly

I've become a bit of a fan lately of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the River Cottage. The ABC has been showing the River Cottage Spring series and starting next week will show River Cottage Autumn. Top viewing, if you have the time on a Wednesday evening ...

Today I ordered the cookbook, which apparently has been around for some time; I'm just a bit slow catching on to some of these things ...

Last night, they had a session on the difference between organic, free range chickens and massed produced chickens. A British professor has been conducting research into their nutrient value.

Here's some chicken factoids:

  • Compared to the chicken available to consumers 50 years ago, today's mass produced chicken has more fat and is no longer the lean option many people think it is - 12.9% fat comes to mind, but I didn't write it down, so I could have it wrong.

  • Chicken used to be considered a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids - essential for good brain function, lowering high-density cholesterol, reducing inflammation, etc, etc. Modern mass-produced chicken has very little Omega 3. In addition to the added fat, it seems modern mass-produced chicken is not at all good for our arteries.

  • Corn-fed chicken did not fair much better than the mass-produced stuff, but it did have slightly more Omega 3, although this was accompanied by extra fat.

  • The supermarket purchased organic, free range chicken tested had more than 10 times the Omega 3 fats, was leaner, older and had more flavour.

So, if you weren't eating organic, free range chicken before reading this, you might like to reconsider. Yes, it's more expensive, but what price the health of your family?

So, to the mint jelly .....

We had a minor culinary crisis in our house the other day when we realised that we were out of mint jelly. I mean totally out, not even a bottle in the cupboard, a most unusual event in our household. So, my darling man went to the shop and bought some.

I have not eaten shop-bought mint jelly since I don't remember when. I have obviously been very spoilt. The shop bought stuff was not only coloured green, it tasted disgusting - something akin to a bad tube of toothpaste. Ugh!!!! Can't wait for the mint to be big enough to pick. Mint jelly making is definitely on my culinary horizon in the near future.

love and light

Monday, 12 October 2009

Passionfruit Butter Recipe

This one's for Sage...

Passionfruit Butter
Juice of 8 oranges
Juice of 3 lemons
Passionfruit pulp - 340g
6 cups sugar (about 1.5kg)
12 eggs
350g butter

Put it all in a small boiler with a heavy base. Heat while stirring until it simmers and thickens. If it's not thick enough, you can add 1 tablespoon of cornflour that has been dissolved in a little water.

Pour into sterilised jars and seal. Keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. Makes about 6 x 500g jars.

love and light

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Natural Woman Network and Rad Pads

A friend of mine has recently become the Canberra facilitator for the Natural Woman Network ( One of the roles of the Natural Woman Network is to provide a vehicle for the spread of information about women’s and family health and sustainable living.

One of the products the Natural Woman Network promotes is Rad Pads, which are reusable cloth menstrual pads. Here is a link to the website

For those of you in Canberra, Cathy will be at the next Tuggeranong Homestead Markets on Sunday 11 October (9am – 2pm) with a stock of Rad Pads for sale, along with other information about the Natural Woman Network. She will also have samples of the Rasasara ayurvedic skin foods.

You can also arrange to have a gathering at your place where Cathy can bring samples of Rad Pads and show you the Rasasara skin foods and Chi cleaning cloths. If you are interested, contact Cathy on

love and light

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Buying Local and Loving It

One of the benefits of buying local produce is that you're never quite sure beforehand about what might happen in your kitchen that week. It keeps things from being routine and boring and surely that's a good thing!

Yesterday morning, my darling man and I went to the local Farmer's Markets, which set off a chain of culinary events ....

Finding some beautiful strawberries at good prices not only meant fresh strawbs to eat (yum!), but four pots of strawberry jam, which should last us several months.

Purchasing fresh, sweet, juicy oranges gave rise to me juicing the old ones and cooking up six pots of passionfruit butter, something nearly-teen-boy loves on hot oat cakes. The recipe also used a dozen fresh local hens' eggs.

Duck eggs reminded me of the moist coconut cake that a neighbour used to make from my brother's spare duck eggs when we were teenagers, so of course, that had to be made as well.

Fresh fennel, artichokes and sweet potatoes were roasted and added to fresh fish to produce a lovely meal.

And another meal of a thick vegetable soup was graced by the addition of locally produced chorizo sausages sliced on top (which, incidentally, gave off no fat while cooking and tasted amazing) and slices of toasted gluten free Crunch bread (a seedy concoction held together with a bit of gluten free flour).

OK, some of the supplemental ingredients were not local, but the majority of ingredients were. My point is that by shopping this way, you eat with the seasons, stock the cupboard with the seasons, and generally eat much tastier and healthier food (well, except maybe for the added sugar.... ;)).

I hadn't planned on making jam or a cake this weekend, but it sure was fun. And the fresh produce - simply delicious!

love and light

Thursday, 1 October 2009

First Asparagus of the Season

Last night we had the first of our asparagus for the season - three fat purple stalks. Yummy!

This is a photo from last year, but hopefully we'll be getting this much again soon.

Just love asparagus!

And did you know that asparagus is a source of the trace mineral chromium? Chromium helps to balance our blood glucose levels, as well as helping to reduce our cravings for evil sugar.

Just love asparagus!

love and light