Monday, March 29, 2010

One a penny, two a penny HOT CROSS BUNS

4 cups ORGANIC plain flour

2 x 7g sachets dried yeast

1/4 cup ORGANIC raw sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice

pinch of sea salt

1 1/2 cups organic currants/ sultanas

40g butter

300ml organic milk/ cow/soy

2 free range organic eggs, lightly beaten

Flour paste

1/2 cup ORGANIC plain flour

4 to 5 tablespoons water


1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons ORGANIC raw sugar

  1. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spice, salt and currants/sultanas in a large bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add milk. Heat for 1 minute, or until lukewarm. Add warm milk mixture and eggs to currant mixture. Use a flat-bladed knife to mix until dough almost comes together. Use clean hands to finish mixing to form a soft dough.

  2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in size.

  3. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Punch dough down to its original size. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place balls onto lined tray, about 1cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, place for 30 minutes, or until buns double in size. Preheat oven to 190°C.

  4. Make flour paste: Mix flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a small snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner of bag. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until buns are cooked through.

  5. Make glaze: Place water and sugar into a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Brush warm glaze over warm hot cross buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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Monday, March 22, 2010

Making your own olives

There are as many ways to prepare olives for consumption as there are olives (well not quite, but you get the idea). The way that i will focus on today is a traditional Greek/Italian style of olive preparation. Try it out it beats commercial pickling processes that involve the use of caustic soda and food acids for preparation.

This recipe comes from Jim Masotto, a WA realtor who runs courses in olive pickling in WA

Toss immediately into a bucket of clean water in which ½ cup of coarse or cooking salt has been dissolved into every 10 (ten) cups of water. A clean plate can be placed on top of the olives to keep them submerged. All olives must be under the liquid. Pour the liquid away each day and replace with fresh salt water. (this may possibly be stretched to every second day). Repeat this washing process for about 20 days for green olives and about 14 days for black olives. The best test is to bite the olive. When bitterness has nearly gone the olives are ready for final salting.

Pour off and measure the last lot of water so that you will know the volume of salt brine that will be required. Measure the quantity of fresh warm water into a pan and dissolve the salt, this time the rate of 1 (one) cup of salt to 10 (ten) cups of water. Bring the salt water preserving the mixture to the boil and allow to cool. Place olives in bottles and then pour the salt-water brine over them until the fruit is completely submerged. Top up bottles with 1 centimetre of olive oil to stop air getting to the fruit and seal the lids. No further preparation is required and the bottled olives with store for up to at least 12 (twelve) months in a cool cupboard.

The olives are ready to eat straight from the brine mixture. For extra flavour, take out the olives as required and put them in a clean jar. Add any of the following: garlic, basil, oregano, thyme or chilli and pour over the olive oil. More garlic? Garlic is good. Top as needed with olives from the brine mixture. This oil keeps well for up to a year.

Sit back and enjoy the unique flavour or your own pickled olives. You will probably never want to buy chemically enhanced commercial olives again.

Key tips for great olive pickling results
General principles:
· the best way to harvest the olives is by hand to avoid damaging the olive
· do not gather olives from the ground as bruised olives have an off flavour
· undertake all operations under clean and hygienic conditions
· do not process olives of different varieties and different ripeness levels in the same container/tank
· use potable water for all steps. If rainwater is used it should be sanitised
· use food grade ingredients – salt, herbs and spices
· keep the airspace above the olives and brine to a minimum to prevent growth of oxygen requiring surface moulds

Note: Green olives exposed to air turn brown

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Is your little pumpkin starting to look like one?

Helping Mario and Luigi tackle creatures from the sewers does not equate to physical exercise unless of course Yoshi is in on your couch, but try telling that to my eight year old son. You know I get his sense of urgency to get to the next level and liken it to my own deadlines, but when did it all just become about visual stimulation. Never before in history have humans, especially children been so inactive, never before has there been such an issue with obesity in children. Hence the decline in childhood fitness, that is not just for those who are obese.

With an explosion of childhood obesity and lack of physical fitness, it is becoming increasingly obvious that our kids need to do something-they need to move.

Kids have a natural inclination to move and play, and these activities form a vital role in their development. This penchant is inbuilt in them, and it is this tendency that teaches them about the world around them, builds strength, co-ordination, sense of accomplishment, flexibility, growth and development of their bones and socialising skills and apart from all this serious stuff it's fun. Physical fitness also plays an integral role in the overall health of the child by improving immune response; they sleep better and are better equipped to handle physical and emotional challenges. Studies have proven time and time again, like adult's children are happier, more confident in their own skin and their abilities when they are physically fit.

All these essential reasons aside, fitness for kids, can and should be fun. The thing with exercise is that it doesn't have to be structured to be beneficial. Physical exercise can disguise itself in many different muses, building sandcastles at the beach, having a race up the driveway, walking to school, dancing, kicking the soccer ball, playing chasey, whatever it is that makes the kids move.

Researchers agree that children need to engage in a minimum 60 minutes of physical exercise daily. There are 3 elements that constitute physical activity, they are

  1. Endurance- this is developed through aerobic exercise, during which the heart beats faster and the child breaths harder. This aerobic activity regularly performed strengths the heart and improves the body's ability to deliver oxygen to its cells more efficiently. Aerobic exercise is what burns fat.

  2. Strength- this is what is classified as anaerobic exercise. This is using the muscles in short bursts, followed by periods of rest. Anaerobic exercise builds stronger muscles, and in turn complements aerobic exercise.

  3. Flexibility- this is the ability to move the joints in a range of motions.

This does not necessarily need to be continuous,

So how do you get your kids more active?

First and foremost, whatever activity is undertaken, it needs to be fun. In order for children to partake in anything voluntarily they need to enjoy it. So activities for the kids need to be appropriate for their age, there is no sense in forcing a 3 year old to participate in a competitive team sport of soccer and expect them to have the same drive as what an older child would. So make sure that they are age appropriate activities for kids

Age 2-3: children within this age group are developing their motor skills such as throwing and running, so unstructured activities are best. Throwing a soft ball to each other, walking to the park, climbing on the equipment, chasey these are all great ways to encourage your child to be fit.

Age 4-5: At this age, the foundations of their motor skills have been developed, so it is about improving their skill set. Activities such as throwing and catching the ball, swimming, riding a bike. Competitive sports are not encouraged at this stage, but if they do the focus needs to remain on the basics of the game.

Age 6-12: Children can participate in organised sports teams, their motor skills are more refined and make it possible for them to participate in structured activities. Apart from the basics of soccer, football, netball, dancing, children can participate in yoga, rock-climbing, athletics, tennis, and many other specialised activities.

Age 13-18: it is imperative the children/adolescents continue physical activity. Their developed motor skills mean that they can apply themselves to any physical activity, this is the time that most children/adolescence shy away from physical activity, but it is essential that some form is maintained. In addition to weight management, physical activity serves to build a positive self image thus improving self confidence.

Try exercising together; Physical fitness doesn't need to be structured activities, it can be spontaneous and guided by the children and supported by the parent. It's important to get involved with your kids, encourage and applaud them, run with them, set the example through which healthy habits are instilled in your child.

One of the best things that you can do for your child's health is to reduce the amount of time they spend sedentary, that means limiting time in front of the television, limiting time playing electronic games such as the DS and playstation.

So as I hide the DS console under the bed, and guide the children into the backyard, I know that every step they run, every tree they climb, I am making a difference in their health.

ORGANIC EMPIRE, organic home delivery melbourne, local organic foods




5 hours of Yoga, de-stress breathing and meditation.

@ yarra valley yoga school

Established 2000

"Experience the

Absolute 'BLISS '

of Perpetual

Positive Thinking….."

Learn scientifically proven meditation & breathing

techniques to help you

de-stess & be truely happy.





Cost $ 60.00please bring a light lunch

*sunday 28th march 11am-4pm

*sunday 30th may 11am-4pm

*Sunday 27th june 11am -4pm

@15 Auburn rd, Healesville…off don rd

See web site for map. . . .

call or email Libby

03 5962 2073 * 0437 688 586

ORGANIC EMPIRE, organic home delivery melbourne, local organic foods

Monday, March 8, 2010

Roasted pumpkin and garlic soup

4 medium cloves organic garlic, unpeeled
1kg peeled, deseeded organic jap pumpkin
Extra Virgin Cold pressed olive oil
1 organic large onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock

Preheat the oven . Chop pumpkin into cubes and place with unpeeled garlic on a baking tray, toss with olive oil and bake for around 20 minutes.

Then in a pan add the chopped onions, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for around one minute.

Add pumpkin and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until onion is soft and stock has reduced, about 20 minutes.

Peel roasted garlic and add to saucepan, puree (be careful when using a blender). Serve with

Store soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Serve with a delicious salad and some crusty garlic pita. (Recipe to come next week)

ORGANIC EMPIRE, organic home delivery melbourne, local organic foods

Eating the seasons

Eating the seasons is about eating local, eating fresh and eating organic, and that's what we are all about. It doesn't need to be complicated or restrictive, rather delicious and adventurous. So let's look at 10 reasons why eating seasonally is better for you, the environment and everyone...

  1. Seasonal food is tastier.
  2. Seasonal food is fresher.
  3. Seasons are a source of natural diversity; they provide us with foods that warm us in winter and foods that cool us off in summer (watermelon).
  4. The more diverse our diet from natural foods the increased nutrient intake, eating seasonally does this, it offers us a spectrum of foods
  5. Avoid paying a premium for produce that has travelled hundreds of miles
  6. Reducing energy consumption and CO2 that is needed to grow and transport.
  7. Food is grown and ripened in a more natural and ecologically sound way, using the sun for heat, and rain for water rather than using artificial and alternative ways to mimic these natural processes.
  8. Best price, because it is seasonal, you are guaranteed to find it at a great price when it is in abundance.
  9. Supports the local economy
  10. The ability to reconnect with nature's cycles and rhythms.

    So check out our seasonal lists and get a seasonal box of organic produce delivered to your door.

ORGANIC EMPIRE, organic home delivery melbourne, local organic foods

Monday, March 1, 2010



12 zucchini flowers
Olive oil

240 gms ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
1 egg (beaten)
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic

Clean the zucchini flowers carefully, gently wash and pat dry the outside, remove the stamen of the flower and make sure there are no insects inside.

Prepare the filling by mixing together all the ingredients. Fill the centre of the flowers with spoonfuls of this mixture.

Place stuffed zucchini flowers on a lightly oiled oven-proof dish. Bake them for about 15 minutes.


6-8 large tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Handful fresh basil

Salt and pepper

Chop tomatoes finely, stir in garlic and basil, add in a sprinkle of salt and dress with olive oil. Sit for around 1-2 hours, toss through pasta, or onto of vegetables. mmmmm

ORGANIC EMPIRE, organic home delivery melbourne, local organic foods

Whats in Season



Persimmons, figs







Asian greens