Thursday, 11 August 2011

What is going on with Twinings Teabags?

I love my cup of tea, from the first one in the morning until the last one before I go to bed at night.  On the weekend I make a pot with "real" tea leaves, mostly Twinings Earl Grey and when I can get it Lady Grey. I love to sit over long Sunday breakfasts with a big steaming pot.  So you can imagine how disappointed I am with Twinings teabags lately.  What has happened, instead of being beautiful and aromatic they taste of nothing! Just dust. I have given them the benefit of the doubt and have bought several more packets to see if it was just a bad batch, but no - nothing has improved. Even Nigella can't convince me. So I have decided to boycott and now on the look out for bags filled with real tea.  Madame Flavour caught my eye in the supermarket the other day (she has a great little website too - check it out My daughter who was with me bought Madame Flavour's Chai Tea and made me some as soon as we got home.  I find Chai Tea (made with milk) a lovely substitute for coffee but it's not like having a nice cup of tea.  On a recent trip to England we found a lovely tea shop in "The Lanes " in Brighton.  They served lovely teabags called Teapigs,  a touch expensive to have shipped out here though. Will continue my quest for the perfect cuppa closer to home and keep you posted.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Winter Comfort Food

I have relished the return of the Slow Cooking trend over the last few years especially in the winter.  Although the cheap cuts of meat that put this style of cooking on the map (probably through post war necessity) are no longer cheap, as anyone who has tried to buy lamb shanks recently would know.  But the other day I bought some cheap large beef ribs and I looked through my favourite winter cook book "Slow Cooking" by Joanne Glynn for something to tempt the taste buds.  At the same time I purchased the latest Donna Hay Magazine - Winter issue. The photography in this issue are so dark and wintery that they entice you to make something rich and comforting. So tonight adapting a recipe I started to prepare my ribs.  By the time this was half cooked my toasty warm house smelt delicious. It's rich (with 2 cups of red wine) but not too rich. Here is the recipe (thanks to Donna),  the inclusion of  carrots 40 mins from the end of cooking time added some colour and I also baked jacket potatoes instead of Donna's suggestion of polenta. Give it a go its delish!

4 large ribs
salt and black pepper
plain four for dusting
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion - chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 bunch thyme
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
70g tomato paste (1/4 cup)
2 cups beef stock
2 cups red wine

Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
Sprinkle beef with salt, pepper and flour. In a heavy based ovenproof saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add ribs and cook to brown on each side (2-3 mins each side)Set aside. Add remaining oil to the pan and cook onion and garlic for 5 mins until onion is softened.  Add thyme, sugar, vinegar, tomato paste, stock and wine and stir to combine.  Return ribs to the pan. Cover with a tight fitting lid and roast for 1.30 - 2.00 hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened.   Enjoy!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

A weed by another name.

 On Sunday afternoon the man of the house decided that the Pittosporum Undulatum growing tremendously at my front gate, needed pruning.  I always like to supervise these activities as he tends to cut back more than I would like, plus men up ladders can be dangerous! One of my sons declares this tree a weed - being a horticulturist he may have a point.  I on the other hand quite like this tree at the front gate especially at the moment when it has the most lovely little perfumed white flowers. I managed to salvage some of the limbs and have popped them in a vase on my front verandah, the perfume now drifts into the house when the door is open - lovely.........

If you are looking for this plant it is known by several names eg Sweet Pittosporum, Native Daphne, Australian Cheesewood, Victoria Box, Mock Orange.

Not a weed in my book.