Basil, bees and sunflowers.🐝

What is GREAT at the market? 

The aroma of BASIL is so strong that I can almost smell it just thinking about it. This warm weather, fragrant herb that belongs to the mint family, tastes great in many dishes including my all-time favourite – basil pesto.  

 Sweet basil is essential in Italian cooking and is also used in many other cuisines including Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese – all cuisines that love fragrant herbs. Simply ripping a few leaves up and mixing them into a tossed green salad or Greek salad adds so much flavour. Adding sweet basil to tomato-based pasta sauces and on pizzas increases the flavour of these significantly.

One of the easiest lunches to prepare quickly and an absolute favourite is sliced sourdough bread, toasted with a hint of garlic, fresh tomatoes and torn basil. I have included a recipe for this simple snack in this week’s newsletter.  Naturally, what makes a great classic tomato and basil bruschetta is fresh tomatoes, especially very ripe, sweet cherry or baby Roma tomatoes and we have lots of these at Summit Organics, Bio Organic Farm, Sylva Lining Organics and Jumping Red Ant. Most of these farm stalls also have beautiful bunches of basil.

Add stracchino or mozzarella from Cheese Loves You, to your bruschetta for an extra tasty and filling meal. Stracchino is a fresh Italian style cheese perfect for Caprese salad with fabulous tomatoes and basil.
Rob at Spice Palace has an abundance of basil growing so he and Duska have been very busy this past week making basil pesto. It is so easy to pick up a jar of freshly made pesto, some fresh pasta from Jodie at Woodland Valley Farm stall and you have a nourishing and easy dinner.

Another type of basil is Tulsi, or holy basil (Ocimum santum) and Mad Mountain Family Farm stall has this in pots for your garden. It makes a wonderful herbal tea and attracts the bees.

rI use a combination of this and perennial basil for my home made pesto when sweet basil is not available at the market and Rob has run out of his jars of basil pesto. 

Sunflowers are simply glorious at the moment. Pick up a bunch from Jumping Red Ant and enjoy their cheery faces in your home. 

Jodie has heaps of duck eggs right now too. Perfect for custards and baking and so very nourishing. 

Jodie has heaps of duck eggs right now too. Perfect for custards and baking and so very nourishing. 

This week we are shining the spotlight on Caldera Honey …

Brought to the market each week by Barry McLean or his trusty offsider Tommy, Barry’s Caldera Honey is the most delicious honey produced by busy bees at his hives located from the coastal heathlands to Mt Nullum in the Tweed. 

Pure raw honey 🍯 is truly a thing of beauty, from the magnificence of the bees making it, to its tasty and healthy qualities. The full story about how bees make honey is fascinating in itself, but that is for another day. 

Raw honey tastes like blossoms, it changes with the season depending on what’s in flower and what blooms the bees are visiting. The colour changes as well as the taste. In addition to raw honey Barry discovered that some of his hives were producing Jelly Bush Honey. Jelly bush honey has similar medicinal healing characteristics to Manuka Honey. Barry has had it tested to identify the extent of his honey’s medicinal qualities and it is very good.  
Australian Leptospermum honey (aka manuka, or jelly bush) has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and digestive properties as well as being great applied topically.

For the 10 most amazing honey recipes you can’t go past The Guardian. While rhubarb is still available at the market (Summit Organics) why not try their Ricotta, honeycomb and hazelnut with rhubarb compote substituting the hazelnuts with pecans and macadamia nuts.

Note: Honeycomb used is the REAL deal honeycomb not the confectionary! I love the Honey cake with citrus passion fruit syrup and who could go past the Honey and star anise panna cotta.

We highly recommend that you never, never buy honey from the big shops as often it is diluted and has added sugar.  It is highly likely to not be Australian honey.