Lemon Leaf Tea


Will looking up homemade multipurpose cleaner I wondered if I could do the same with lemon tree leaves. I already knew they were non toxic and I assumed they had all the goodness of lemons. Plus my tree has only just started to bare fruit. The fruit is far to young to pick. That’s how I stumbled onto posts about lemon tree leaf tea or lime leaf tea. I looked it up some more and did some research before trying it out

I was very pleasantly surprised. I would like to research it some more though. It tasted like lemon flavouring without any acidity or bitterness. It was very mild and very nice with honey.

I really enjoy trying out new teas like this. Especially natural tea or tea you can make at home. I plan to buy some dwarf fruit trees this year. Mostly orange, pink lady apple and a lime tree. I’m also sick of some of the rediculous prices. Having lived somewhere that use to grow oranges I know that quite often leaving them on the tree is like self storage. It feels as though it fruits all year round and I miss having that luxury of fresh non-chemically treated fruit.

Last year I got a food dehydrator and started making orange chips. I thought about it though and decided I’d rather be doing it with home grown oranges. Fortunately Bunnings still sells miniature fruit trees from time to time. They currently have a lime tree so that’s the first thing I’m going to buy this week.

 

This Snack Is Just Right


Sorry about the lame title and sorry for no photo’s. I might be able to update this post with photo’s later though. So today I accidently made a new type of snack. I screwed up making homemade chocolate with cacao butter and not wanting to waste it, I threw in some Just Right ceral and a new snack was born. I thought I would share it since it really is quite a lovely treat.

What you will need:

  • Glass Pyrex mixing bowl or measureing jug or a ceramic mixing bowl. If you have neither of these then use a tin mixing bowl, you can’t use plastic.
  • Vegetable steaming pots or a deep pot to put your mixing bowl in to steam melt the cacao
  • A spoon to mix
  • Cupcake paper cups or silicone cupcake cups

Ingredients you will need:

  • Cacao butter
  • (Optional) Coconut oil. I added this to help make it a little softer and for the taste
  • A sweet syrup such as corn syrup, maple, agave or honey to sweeten the cacao butter.
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Carob powder or Cocoa powder. Preferably pure.
  • Just Right cereal

How to make:

I did not measure my cacao. I simply cut it 2inches buy 4inch slice. It made approximately less than 1/3 cup of liquid cacao. So make a cut approximately 1/3cup worth and place into mixing bowl. Add approximately 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. If it’s solid just make the best educated guess you can. It’s ok if you have to much. This is so it doesn’t go too hard when cooled.

Fill your base steaming pot half way with water. Place only the first tier steam pot on top. This is just to keep Cacao from over steaming. You can do this in a regular pot. If you do, don’t let the bowl touch the water. Place the mixing bowl in the top tier of the steamer. Turn on the heat and bring to a steam slowly. When it starts to melt, stir constantly and slowly. Be careful not to burn yourself! When the water has been brought to a boil and starts steaming, turn down the heat to about medium. You really want to melt the Cacao butter slowly so you don’t cook out to much of the nutrients or over cook it.

When the Cacao butter has started to melt and the coconut oil has liquified, add syrup to taste. I recommend about 2 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar. When all the ingredients have melted and combined start to add the Carob powder by lightly sprinkling it into the liquid as you stir. After mixing in the carob powder and there are no lumps and it has all combined start to slowly add Just Right cereal. Turn off the heat as we don’t need it any more.

You can remove the bowl now if you like. To do this (the liquid will stay liquid for quite sometime before becoming solid), remove the pots from the stove first and place on an inactive element away from heat. Remove the top tier and let out some of the steam. Place the tier back on the pot. This will help prevent any steam from burning your arms. Grab either oven safe gloves or a tea towel that has been folded multiple times and use to remove the bowl. Make sure to place a tea towel on the bench first! This is the most important part, otherwise your bowl can smash! Carefully lift the mixing bowl away from the steaming pots with something to protect your hands and then place the bowl on the tea towel on the bench you set up. Use a tea towel or oven safe gloves to hold onto the bowl as you mix ingredients.

As you add the cereal make sure to evenly coat it in the mix. It’s just like making chocolate rice bubble crackle. Add enough cereal so it’s mostly dry but well coated. This will make it stick well together. Use a large spoon and start scooping it into the cupcake paper cups. Just remember to restore it each time before filling a new cupcake paper cup. The reason being that the liquid quickly sinks down to the bottom and the more liquid you have on the bottom of your cupcake cup, the more solid the base will be.

Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour before eating or until firm. After the mix has cooled and solidified they are ready to enjoy!!

 

I will try to get some photo’s to go with this post. The carob powder really makes the chocolate coating taste very rich and chocolatey.

My Ronson Rice Cooker


So some of you may know from my twitter but some few weeks have passed now since I bought a Ronson Rice cooker. Before this we had a gifted one. A Kmart Homemaker cheap one. The cheap one was good at first but it had a lot of problems that made it dangerous to use. It would constantly over boil no matter how you did it and often the rice was undercooked. It over boiled over the power cord where it plugged in and I hated it. In fact since it was our first rice cooker we thought well maybe they are all like this so I hit up youtube and saw a Ronson Rice Cooker in action. I had to have one. In the meantime I had to wait. I started washing my rice before I cooked it to remove the starch. This helped a great deal with the over boil in my cheap rice cooker but it would still over boil and spit. I’d have crusty rice water all over my kitchen bench and curtains. It was frustrating.

Then my Fiance gave me $50 for a blender. Of course by that time the blender I wanted was gone and a better one appeared for $70. So I looked up a few stores online for a rice cooker and found a Ronson rice cooker for $40. I think it was either $40 or $45. Either way it was possible to buy it. So I did. I’m extremely happy with it. My old one was hard to clean, this one promised easy clean and it was true. I use a wet sponge. Wipe it out and it’s done. And the feature I adore the most about it is it’s steam water residue catcher. You open the lid, the water trickles down into a detachable compartment. No water on the outside any more. No more danger of water near a power cord. I can have my rice prewashed or unwashed and it never over boils. I love it’s pressure cooker style lid and little steam chimney! The lid is definitely one of my most favourite features. I burned myself many times on the cheap one. Even while using oven gloves and a tea towel, the pot, though in warm mode would still spit because of the liquid on the rim. The Ronson rice cooker has won my heart. It’s safe, it works and it does everything promised. And it keeps my rice warm instead of turning it into a crusty uneatable brick like my old cheap one.

Below are a few photo’s of my Ronson rice cooker. One photo is off the first wash of rice and all the starch that came off it. I read somewhere many people saying wash first but they didn’t know why they were just raised that it was important and then finally I read why from someone and it makes perfect sense. My mother always washed her rice after cooking to remove starch but I personally don’t believe cooking that starch into it and washing off residue last. I’d rather do what I can in the beginning.

This rice cooker is worth buying. I love it and use it nearly every night.

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Interesting Stew: Pepper Clover Beef Stew


I have to write this here so I don’t forget what I made. Last night I really felt like stew with a particular taste. Cloves and pepper. I wanted something very clovey with a slow pepper burn and I managed to achieve it.

Ingredients:

  1. Beef stock
  2. Garlic
  3. Whole Cloves
  4. Bay leaves
  5. Mixed herbs
  6. 1 Onion
  7. 4 Carrots
  8. 1 and a half cup of celery, chopped
  9. 2 Large potatoes
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Beef or Veal
  12. Salt
  13. Pepper
  14. Gravy, Steak and Pepper gravy. Gravox

This dish you need to taste test often. Depending on how much meat and veg you have, will depend on how much stock you need. I started out with 1 liter and by the time everything was added I ended up using 3 litres of stock and got quite a few serves out of it. First I brought 1 litre of Aldi beef stock to boil then turned it down to a very light bubbling simmer. Next I diced the onion and put it in first. Then I put two small pinches of cloves in. I love cloves so if  you’re new to cloves or don’t like them only put in 4-6 whole cloves. Next I put in 6 nicely sized dried bay leaves. This really compliments the cloves and takes some of the edge away from the harshness cloves can cause.

Next I added the diced veggies, carrots, celery and potato. When the veggies were half to almost cooked I added a decent pinch of mixed herbs too add a touch of flavour. At this point I also added a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. I didn’t add a lot because the pepper from the meat and gravy would be added. Just before I added the meat I added a table spoon of garlic. You don’t have to use that much, only use enough to taste. Because I had 3 litres of stock the garlic was not very strongly tasted through my stew but it added to the flavour and nice flavouring to the meat.

I left it on a low simmer to slowly cook while I cut meat. I used veal chops since that’s what I had in the freezer. First cut off any and all fat. As much as you can. I used scissors since it was easier. Then dice the meat. Prepare a pan or electric fry pan and use a little bit of olive oil to grease the pan. The aim is to only seal in the meat with a little flavour. Put salt and pepper on the diced meat and lightly fry. The meat should still be pink inside and then added it to your slow cooking stew. Slow cook until done. Make sure to keep your pot lid on so you don’t loose your stew to evaporation. I checked how ready my stew was by cutting the meat to see if it was properly cooked through and how soft it was.

I have an awful oven too so I had to keep turning my stove top up and down depending on whether or not it would be simmering properly. Towards the end, add some gravy powder. You may have to bring the heat up to make it thicken properly. Add and cook in the gravy to the thickness desired. This would generally work a lot better in a proper slow cooker.

This stew is very tasty and very fully of flavour. It was a big hit in my house. Because it was slow cooked there was a lot of flavours mingling beautifully together with the spices and I was able to judge how it was going by it’s smell and taste. This isn’t the type of stew that would suit everyone though. If you’re not a fan of strong tastes then I wouldn’t recommend making this but like I said, I had to write it down for myself so I could remember how to make it again.

Homemade Toasted Rice Rice Milk


I’ve tried every way to make rice milk and I didn’t like any of them but I was determined to get it to work until I had an idea. I like the consistency of raw rice rice milk but I didn’t like how it tasted. It was to raw. I was going crazy trying to think of how to get it with a cooked flavour and then it hit me. Toasted.

I make my own rice flour for a variety of reasons, one of which being, to make short bread. After or before I make my rice flour, I toast it to preserve it and to stop it from going moldy to make sure it has no more moisture left after soaking it. So I did this to my rice milk batch.

I used one cup of brown rice and soaked it for several hours. After draining it thoroughly I toasted it lightly in my frying pan. Enough to make it dry but also until it smelled delicious. After I was done I put it in a heat safe bowl to cool. Then I added 3 cups of way and blended it. Because it’s raw it takes a long time. To speed it up, I blended it, then used my sieve to filter it and gathered the pulp in my strainer, placed that back in the blender with rice milk at half the amount and blended. I repeated this until my rice pulp was as fine as rice flour. This was my end result also I am sorry for the mess in my photo:

Rice milk, home made

Rice milk, home made

 

When I placed my hands in the milk (something I do to check the consistency) I noticed it was exactly like cows milk. Very white, watery like cows milk and it tasted a lot better. However to use it, it functions like any other type of rice milk except my batch is much stronger than store bought. I was very surprised by the resulted and delighted. After all the recipes I tried and read, this method works better. I tried it all and I am glad I had thought to toast my soaked grains.

I hope this post might help others out there making their own home made rice milk.

Food Fussy Smoothie Cure


English: A glass of soy-rice milk ("Soja-...

English: A glass of soy-rice milk (“Soja-Reis Drink Natur” made in Germany by “Alnatura”). Brightened version of the old photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I’m in a bit of a food fussy mood. Having loads of headaches again because it goes hand in hand with heyfever and it’s left me food fussy. I want chocolate and sugary sweets one day then nothing next. Everything is out to since it’s spring here in Australia. The mango’s aren’t exactly cheap right now but soon they will be ripe and a good price so in the meantime it’s been apples and strawberries. On the weekend my fiance bought exactly that along with some really nice low fat greek yoghurt.

If you know me, you know that I LOVE greek yoghurt. Beside all natural I love it’s tangy taste and sometimes I get the stronger more sour one to use instead of sour cream. Lately however I’ve been using it in a variety of smoothies for flavour and to thicken my shakes instead of using ice-cream but too it’s been hot so I’ve used a little ice-cream a few times. But here’s what I have made so far and sorry for no photo’s. I need new batteries for my camera. I have like a bullet blender so it’s already a cup, or large cup so I put my ingredients from the order I write all the way to the top then blend so you’ll have to add your own milk accordingly since I sadly didn’t measure it.

Nutmeg, oats and greek yoghurt smothie:

  1. 1/3 cup of rolled oats
  2. 1banana diced (optional)
  3. 1teaspoon of honey
  4. freshly grated nutmeg, about a pinch or to your liking
  5. 2-3 large spoon full of greek yoghurt or to your taste
  6. Milk or Soy milk or Rice milk or Almond milk. So far the winning combination for me is soy or almond milk.
  7. Blend and enjoy

Apple Greek Yoghurt Smoothie:

  1. 1 whole apple
  2. 1/3 cup or 1/4 cup of ice cream
  3. 3 large spoonful of greek yoghurt
  4. Milk or Rice milk or Soy milk or Almond milk. Particularly nice with low fat or skim milk and very nice with soy milk.
  5. Blend
  6. If you need sweetening I recommend honey or 1-2 teaspoons of raw natural sugar.

Strawberry, Greek Yoghurt Smoothie:

  1. About 1 cup or half a cup of strawberries.
  2. 1/3 cup of light or low fat ice-cream
  3. 2-3 big spoonfulls of greek yoghurt
  4. Milk or Rice milk or Soy milk or Almond milk
  5. Blend

Green Tea Banana Smoothie

  1. Matcha Green Tea- cooking grade if possible and about 1-2 teaspoons depending on how much you plan to make
  2. 1 whole banana
  3. A little bit of ice-cream is optional
  4. Soy milk. Other milks optional but I like it best with soy.
  5. If you need sweetening, honey.

A few other things I have added to these mixes has been cardamon pods, cinnamon and vanilla bean or vanilla essence if I didn’t have the bean. Also a nice muslie mix with dried fruits and various oats on the top for topping. But I’m out of it now and need to get more. My favourites so far have been the apple mix and the green tea smoothie. Next I’m going to see what I can do with mountain tea and camomile.