Sunday, 16 August 2015

SugarsThrough The Looking Glass


with Jaggery (Palm sugar) and Gula Malaka .
Talking with Ian Hemphill
There’s more than one type of brown sugar and they don’t all come from the sugar cane plant.

 Not only that there’s more than one variety of each different sugar.

Just like we see sugar being sold as white, brown and dark brown sugar, you may find once you decide to use them in your cooking that there’s a few different types that have their different applications. There's light palm sugar and dark palm sugar. Dark palm sugar is closest in flavour to dark brown sugar.
Gula Malaka is all of these.
Let’s find out  and listen to the podcast.

If you can't buy Gula Malaka, or Jaggery, you can substitute it with soft brown sugar.
Jaggery is made from boiled down sugar cane juice. It's very natural and not processed.
Used a lot in Indian cooking and has a very different aroma to palm sugar once blended with other spices.
An example of using the different palm sugars in cooking is -for Red Thai Curries use dark palm sugar, and for green Thai curries use light palm sugar.
Would you believe that palm sugar or palm jaggery is one of the healthy sugar substitutes that is available in the market today.
Unlike sugar, it is unrefined and unbleached retaining all its nutrients, but not only that, it has a smoky flavour and a rich aroma.
Palm sugar is produced by tapping the sap from the flowers of the tree and boiling it down to produce a syrup, which is then sold as is, or allowed to crystallize into various shapes and sizes.
Some of these sugars are mixed with cane sugar so that’s something to watch out for.
If you want the genuine article either buy a reputable brands or check the ingredients and hopefully, that will tell you if it’s 100% palm sugar.
If you have any questions about winter rose care or roses in general, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


BOTANICAL NAME: Bay Leaf, Sweet Bay or scientifically Laurus nobilis
A tree in the Laurel family and yes it’s a tree but we call it a herb because it’s the leaf that we use.
Bay Tree has a long history, in being used as a way of recognizing someone who had achieved something great.

For example, a great scholar, or the winner of a chariot
race, or the soldier who had excelled in battle. All of these would have been given a laurel of bay leaves.
That’s why it’s been give the latin name of Laurus nobilis, reflecting that’s it’s given to someone for performing a noble deed.
Did you know that the term ‘baccalaureate’ originates from this giving of bay leaf crowns to signify success, as does the term "poet laureate?"
Bay leaves are widely used in European cooking and are classically found in Bouquet garni, and usually found in mixed herbs.

Bouquet garni is French for bunch of herbs which can be anything but traditionally includes a sprig of Thyme, a sprig of Parsley, a sprig of Marjoram, sometimes a sprig of Oregano and a sprig of Bayleaf.
Tie them together with a piece of kitchen string.
It can be used fresh or dried.

Bay leaves have quite a strong flavour so need to be used sparingly.
Bay leaves contain the oil cineole and eucalyptol, but is fresh best when using this herb?
It seems the flavour profile of the fresh bay leaf is more bitter.

However, the flavour profile of a dried bay leaf has lost that background bitterness and all but about 10% of the moisture content.
Dried Bay leaves are best in long slow cooking.
Fresh bay leaves are used when you’re cooking something for a very short time such as with fish on a barbecue.

Bay leaves are very easy to dry.
Hang a bunch of leaves in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks, then strip off the leaves and put them into an airtight container.
They will last for 12 – 18 months. Oil of bay leaf repels cockroaches.
So spread some dried leaves in your kitchen pantry cupboards to deter those cockroaches.

What does the Bay Tree look like?

The Bay tree is evergreen growing quite large, to about 8 metres.
But it’s not in a hurry to do this being quite a slow grower.The leaves themselves are a leathery dark green about 5 – 8 cm long.
The leaves have a strong odour and a bitter taste and that’s because Bay leaves contain essential oils and a compound called Eucalyptol.
The leaf, both dried and fresh, and the fruit of the bay leaf tree are used for medicinal purposes but don’t try to eat the berry because it’s poisonous.
You might be surprised to learn that the essential oil that you get from the fruit is used in making soap.
How do they grow?
You might think that at 12 metres, the Bay tree is a bit big for most gardens these days, but not so.
Bay trees are often sold as topiary subjects and can be kept in pots for many many years.You don’t even have to upsize to the next pot.
Simply take out your bay tree if it’s become pot bound and hack of the bottom 1/3 to ½ of the root ball.
Then replenish the potting mix and put your tree back in the same pot.Give it a seaweed drink so that it re-covers from transplant shock, but they’re pretty hardy, so not much can go wrong.
Do this every couple of years.Bay trees can grow in any soil and are generally hardy to -5°C but can withstand lower temperatures in sheltered positions.
Bay is hardier when planted in the ground.

You can also keep it as a topiary subject in the ground as well to limit it’s size.
All that will happen is that the trunk will get thicker.
You may have seen Bay trees topiaried as balls on sticks, or the stems of two trees intertwined.
When to plant your Bay Leaf?
You can plant your bay leaf any time really because they’re pretty hard, but in cold climates if it’s only a small sapling, wait until the hard frosts have past.
Prune your Bay leaf in late spring also and remove any leaf tips damaged by winter weather.
Mature bay trees can tolerate even hard pruning but are slow to recover and re-grow.
Stagger this hard pruning over 2 -3 season is a better idea so your tree doesn’t look terrible for most of the warmer months.
For trees in pots the roots can be susceptible to freezing through the pot in a cold winter.
Prevent this happening by using bubble wrap around the pot.
TIP: Don’t over water your bay tree in the pot because over-watering can cause root damage
.Bay trees can get attacked by scale insects so keep a watch out for those because they discolour the leaves and are not any good for using in cooking
.Spray your leaves with a botanical oil at the first signs of scale at the beginning of Spring.
Why are the good for you?
Fresh leaves are very rich source of vitamin-C, and A and folic acid.
Apparently components in the essential oil can also be used in many traditional medicines in the treatment of arthritis, muscle pain, bronchitis and flu symptoms.
I can’t vouch for it, but some people drink Bay leaf tea to help with common digestive disorders like constipation and acid reflux.



Why Don't Plants Last with Louise McDaid, Landscape Designer.
Have you ever bought a plant thinking or knowing that it’s not suited to your climate?
You’ve said to yourself that you’ll create a micro-climate, or you’ll give it a go in a pot next to a north facing wall so it gets reflected heat.
Or you’ll protect it from freezing winters by remember to cover it with a blanket of some sort.

Perhaps it’s a plant that you grew up with in a colder climate and now that you’ve moved to somewhere more temperate or tropical, you want to try and grow it.
Perhaps this plant of yours evokes all sorts of memories, or the flowers have that special colour, so you give it a go anyway.
Let’s find out plants like this, and why some plants don't last.
Did you know that lavender isn’t frost tolerant? I would never have thought because I’m sure my father grew Lavender in his Mt Gambier home.
But perhaps it had a microclimate?


with Karen Smith, editor and Jeremy Critchley
Coprosma repens " Pacific Series"
What plants grew by the seaside when you were quite young and went to the beach with your parents?
They are pretty tough plants with shiny leaves that withstand extremely dry conditions and salt spray.
Often called Mirror Bush or Looking Glass Plant because the leaves are that shiny.
The flowers are insignificant, but people living near the coast used to plant these shrubs because they could withstand the salt spray and grew where nothing much else would.
Especially in neglected gardens or gardens of holiday houses.
Perhaps it’s one of these plants that we’re about to talk about?
 What is this plant? Let’s find out …
Make sure you buy the newer types of Coprosma as in the Pacific series that are self sterile and not the weedy species Coprosma repens.
Coprosma 'Pacific Sunset' is a brilliantly coloured low growing evergreen shrub.
The leaves are coral red in the centre with broad dark red-brown leaf edges, very shiny and with an unusual wavy habit.
The growth is dense and compact, to around a metre and a half high and wide. It is great for low hedges and screens, and does beautifully in containers.
Grow in a sunny position to light shade in a moist soil. Feed with a handful of slow release fertiliser in spring.
Another new cultivar is Coprosma Pacific Sunrise.
 This is a striking evergreen plant growing to 1.5m high, with a glossy wave shaped leaf consisting of hot pink foliage and chocolate brown highlights.


That species Coprosma is a weed of coastal environs (i.e. sand dunes and headlands), heathlands, open woodlands, closed forests, temperate rainforests, wetlands, roadsides, disturbed sites, old gardens and waste areas in temperate regions.



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