Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Friday, December 02, 2011

All about your tea, your coffee, Fair Trade and how to grow your own

Dear Tucker Lovers,

While this post has come from the newsletter of a company, I am not promoting nor am I benefitting from this company. I do, however, like to share good stuff and that can come from anywhere.  I hope you find this as enjoyable and informative to read as I have.


Coffee Botanical drawingThe tale of how coffee was discovered is an intriguing one, apparently about 1,000 years ago in the hills of Ethiopia a goat herder found that his goats would keep him awake at night after they had been feasting on the red coffee berries.  The story goes that the goat herder shared his discovery with a local monastery and it was the monks who first brewed the beans into a hot drink. The beans were traded into Yemen where coffee culture flourished and the Arabian Peninsula became a hotbed for cafes, known as kaveh kanes.  Coffee was introduced into Europe in the 1600's and cafes quickly became popular social meeting places just as they are today. Coffee beans on tree
Coffee is vital to as many as 25 million small farmers who grow and sell the beans for a living, however as many as 500 million people are employed by the coffee industry worldwide. Coffee is the world's second most valuable commodity - oil being the first, so coffee has become more popular than ever before, coffee shops, internet cafes and the expansion of fashionable eateries that specialize in coffee see us consume 400 billion cups of coffeeevery year, there is however one drink that is more popular than coffee and that is tea.

Tea After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It is drunk as a hot drink that is enjoyed for its cooling and slightly bitter flavour. Camellia sinensis is a tree that will grow to 16m if left undisturbed; however it is usually pruned to waist height to make harvesting easy, the name sinensis means "native to China".  There are six different types of tea that are processed from the tea plant, white tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong, black tea, pu-erh, the difference between them is way the leaves are processed.  The most unusual type of tea is possibly Monkey Picked Tea; the story goes that Monks trained Monkeymonkeys to gather the tips from the top of wild trees, today Monkey Picked Tea refers to the best quality Oolong tea available, it is not however picked by monkeys.  It is only the fresh new tip of the tea plant that are picked, the leaves are then wilted and bruised to promote oxidation, they then go through fermentation, fixation, sweltering, rolling, shaping, drying, aging and curing before they are packaged for the pot.  Tea bags were invented in 1907 by a merchant who wanted to distribute samples of his product; they did not take off until 1953, when Tetley launched the tea bag. Black tea is the most popular of the different types of tea and there is a culture that surrounds the brewing and serving of this well-known favourite beverage.  Black tea is usually brewed at around 99°C, since the temperature of boiling water drops with increasing altitude it is very difficult to brew black tea in high mountainous regions.  Experienced drinkers of tea insist that the tea should not be stirred while it is brewing, this does not strengthen the brew but only releases tannins in the same way that the tea bag should not be squeezed, if a stronger brew is desired use more leaf in the pot. 


Fair Trade & Growing Your Own

As consumers become more aware of where our money goes we face economic and Fair trade teasocial decisions every time we spend our hard earned money.  Both tea and coffee are industries that are controlled by big business that exploit local communities and their farming land, we do however have a choice to support fair trade companies such as Trade Winds , by choosing a fair trade product  you will ensure that your money is going back to support a farming community and that the farmers are being paid a fair price for their product and labour.
Coffee beans
The other option is to grow your own tea and coffee.
Here is a link to our blog describing how to produce tea at home
A quick and easy technique for making coffee from your home grown beans can be found in the 2009 Rare Fruit Review.
Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery
Phone: (02) 66 321 441 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We've been going bananas! Now we're normal

!Bananas are back!

Banana prices are now returning to normal
I can now afford to buy multiple bananas
instead of one or two occasionally!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vintage Baking Skills, Vintage Cookbooks and Barbara Russell at Kallista Community House

The season is creeping up on us again.  Advent Sunday is almost here.  This is when the excitement starts. At church, the Advent wreath comes out and with it the first candle...and each Sunday a candle is lit for four Sundays and then....

But before then the cooks and the crafty ones are about their business. Barbara Russell will be at Kallista Community House in the Dandenong Ranges just east of Melbourne on 27 November to impart wonderful Vintage Baking Skills.

For those who aren't familiar with Barbara, you may recall that I posted recently about the wonderful Vintage Cookbooks.  Barbara is the person responsible for those shelves of cookbooks of yesteryear, so who better to impart the traditions of Christmases past to those who want to enhance their Christmas celebrations. Enrol now and starting putting on your apron!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More Mellah Mum

Over at Miscellaneous Mum, Karen is indulging herself with Chocolate Mousse.  For me, chocolate mousse always brings back memories from my long ago childhood in the 1950s of what may be one of Australia's first 'instant' desserts, Mellah.  You can pop down to the comments of Karen's post to see my comment.  Mellah used to be advertised on the radio with a child saying More Mellah Mum.

I went searching the net for Mellah and there is barely a mention - but I did find this...
Click to enlarge

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Vintage Cookbooks and Miss Schauer

I have recently discovered the wonderful Vintage Cookbooks at Kallista in the Dandenong Ranges just east of Melbourne.  Now, Vintage Cookbooks are open only three days a week - so you can't always take advantage of those bookshelves jam-packed with cookery treasures.  However, you can shop at their site on line any time you like.  Books have pictures and extensive descriptions.  However, remember that you are entering the world of collectibles and items are priced accordingly.

The standard of the treasure impressed me because - guess what? - they have an old, old, copy of Miss Schauer's Cookery Book looking nothing like the photograph on this blog. 

Click to enlarge

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Non-stunning slaughter - Animals are counting on you to be their voice

As you know, a big decision will be made this week when primary industries ministers from around the country meet in Melbourne to decide whether to close the loophole on non-stunned slaughter in Australia.
I'm writing to invite you to an important rallyorganised by Animals Australia on Thursday evening at the MCG, where the ministers are due to discuss their decision on this issue. Already 14,000 Animals Australia supporters have written to these ministers imploring them to show mercy and remove the exemptions that are allowing some abattoirs in Victoria and South Australia to cut the throats of fully conscious sheep. We need your help to send one last and all-important reminder as the ministers arrive for their dinner meeting, that caring Australians are depending on them to make the right decision.
  • Where: Gate 2, Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • When: 5:45pm, Thursday, 27th October (finishing 7pm)
  • What to bring: Just yourself, we will have plenty of posters for people to hold
  • More information: Call the Animals Australia office on 1800 888 584
Miss, of all the cruelty I have seen inside abattoirs, non-stunned slaughter of animals represents the single greatest cause of distress, pain and suffering I have born witness to.
Fortunately we understand that several ministers are already of the opinion that non-stunned slaughter is unacceptable, which means there is real hope to end this brutal practice in Australia. This rally may be the tipping point that gets the others over the line.
Please join our experienced campaigners for a peaceful gathering on Thursday evening and help us ensure that all animals in this country are extended this most basic legal protection.
LynI hope you can join us,
Lyn White
Campaign Director
P.S. You may be aware that the official meeting of the primary industries ministers will be held on Friday morningWe are rallying at their Thursday evening dinner meeting as it is expected that their position will be determined at this time. I hope you can attend, but even if you can't, you can have your say on our website right now.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Local Harvest


Local Harvest is a new national initiative aiming to help people find local sources of food and grow their own.
A directory of sustainable food in Australia

A national directory for finding food co-ops, swap meets, community gardens, farmers markets, box systems, organic retailers and more by simply entering your postcode.

Helping you to produce your own

DIY alternatives for food production and meeting essential needs, including resources for growing and making your own.
Local Harvest Challenge

Take up the Local Harvest Challenge, where for one week you attempt to reduce the 'degrees of separation' from your food. Based on the Household Action Challenge run in previous years.
There is a fantastic similar resource existing for the USA found at on which this project has been based.