Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites

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When Gardein entered Australia, I was so overjoyed. Perhaps something my husband did not understand at the time but these days, after trying a few Gardein products himself, he even goes out to buy them. Gardein products are made in … Continue reading

Food Ideas for a Vegetarian Buffet-Style Party

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Welcome to Helpful Hosting Tips for a Vegetarian Buffet-Style Party Part 2: Food Ideas for a Buffet-Style Party! I love buffet-style dinners and parties. You know why? Because, it gives me freedom to choose. And it’s a crowd-pleaser, too! I … Continue reading

Helpful Hosting Tips for a Vegetarian Buffet-Style Party

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Helpful Hosting Tips for a Vegetarian Buffet-Style Party Let me clarify one thing here: buffet has nothing to do with Phoebe Buffet from TV show called Friends although the character is also a vegetarian. Having said that, a buffet is … Continue reading

A Brief History of Wine

wine

Wine, in short, can be described as the product of fermented grapes. Humans have been consuming and enjoying wine for thousands of years.

A Brief History of Wine

It’s not 100% clear where wine making exactly started but historians suggest that China, Georgia and Iran in 6000 to 5000 BC could be the first sites of wine making in the world. All three are regions that wild grapes grew in, so any nomadic farming community may have stumbled across the bitter little fruits and fermented them. There is also suggestion that wine may have come from other regions and used as a trade item. Pottery jugs with trace elements of wine have been discovered in Mediterranean areas from 5400 BC through to 3000 BC, but it wasn’t until the Greek and Roman times that wine making spread as a job through Europe, along with the vines and early notions of viticulture.

With the advent of bottles and corks during Renaissance, wine trade blossomed due to easier transport of goods. Wines also spread with the influence of the religious ceremonies including wine.

During modern era, as shipping routes opened, the religious orders specifically made wine for trade alongside their wine for ceremony. Further refining by skilled wine workers meant an increase in production and international taste soared for quality product.

Phylloxera –a louse like insect—that destroyed most of Europe’s vineyards ironically ended up being a catalyst for the defining of current wine growing regions and standards. Considering grape varieties for their suitability became standard practice, alongside strict wine making and viticulture parameters that have reinforced the European industry.

Old World, New World

Old World and New World are common terms for wine producing countries in the world, based on whether wine making is originated from or introduced to. The countries that have an introduced history of wine culture and wine cultivation are considered as New World countries. Old World countries, on the other hand, are the birthplace of wine making.

Old World Wines

European nations like France, Italy and Spain are considered Old World countries. Their wine making techniques are more traditional with low intervention during the process. The other Old World countries are: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, England, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey.

Characteristics of Old World wines: They tend to be more rustic, structure driven, savoury, lighter-bodied, lower in alcohol, higher acidity, less fruity. There are many restrictions and regulations around which varietals to grow.

New World Wines

New World countries embrace technology and science in wine production. New World is led by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The other New World countries are: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and United States.

Characteristics of New World wines: They tend to be more youthful, vibrant, fruity, higher in alcohol, varietal driven, less acidity, taste riper and sometimes even considered a little simple. There are very few restrictions exist when it comes to which varietals to grow.

Cauliflower Bake with Baby Capers

Cauliflower Bake with Baby Capers

I have been making this bake since my early days of cooking. Cauliflower Bake with Baby Capers is your ultimate winter bake with its creamy texture and heartiness. Best served with a fresh salad as it is quite filling. Try a winter salad like coleslaw. I served mine with white cabbage, green onion and parsley salad with creamy mustard dressing. The recipe below is for 2.

cauliflower bake baby capers

Cauliflower Bake with Baby Capers

Ingredients:
½ cauliflower
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
1 cup boiled water
1 teaspoon Turkish chilli flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon baby capers in brine
1 tablespoon flat-leaf continental parsley, chopped

For Béchamel Sauce:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 cup milk
Salt to taste

Grated cheese (I used Nimbin)

Method:
• Boil some water in a pot and add the cauliflower and lemon juice. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a pot. You can use the same pot as you boiled the cauliflower in –just dry it properly before you return it to heat so that the oil won’t splatter. Fry the onions until they are thoroughly cooked. Dilute the concentrated tomato paste in boiled water and add to the onions. Season with Turkish chili flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lastly add baby capers and chopped parsley. Mix in the par-boiled cauliflower and make sure that each piece is covered in tomato sauce.
• Remove from heat and divide the cauliflower dish in tomato sauce into two oven-proof dish.
• To Make the Béchamel Sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. When melted, add flour and cook stirring with a wooden spatula. Spatulas work better than wooden spoons in a situation like this in a way that the sauce does not form lumps. It is more difficult to achieve smooth texture with a spoon. Remove from heat and slowly add cold milk, whisking constantly until the sauce becomes thick and glossy. Add salt, stir well and remove from heat.
• Cover the cauliflowers with béchamel sauce and top them up with grated cheese.
• Place the bakes under the grill and brown the top. Serve hot.

Ingredient Profile: Garlic

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Garlic (Allium sativum) is a member of the Liliaceae family –the same family of onion, leek, chives and shallot. It is also known as poor man’s treacle, clown’s treacle, stinking rose, heal-all and rustic’s treacle. Being one of the oldest … Continue reading

Mum’s Sultana Hokey Pokey Biscuits

hokey pokey biscuitsI was introduced to Hokey Pokey Biscuits by Mum when I was in New Zealand. Immediately I understood why John has been raving about them. Because they are absolutely delicious! During one of our visits to Mum and Dad’s, I copied the recipe from Mum’s recipe book so that I could bake them at home. I have just spoken to Mum and asked her if it was alright to publish her Sultana Hokey Pokey Biscuits recipe here on VegFusion. She said she would be delighted! There you go, Peoples…

Mum’s Sultana Hokey Pokey Biscuits

Ingredients:
4 ounces/125 grams butter
4 ounces/125 grams sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup sultanas
1 tablespoon milk
1 ½ cup flour

Method:
• Cut the butter in small pieces and place it in a pot. Add sugar, golden syrup, baking soda, sultanas and milk and melt all ingredients. When cooled, add the flour.
• Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/ Gas Mark 4.
• Knead the whole mixture and roll into teaspoon size balls. Place them on a lightly oiled oven tray –space them out depending on the size of your oven tray as they will expand and use two trays if necessary. Flatten with a fork.
• Bake for 20 minutes. However, ovens vary and these biscuits tend to burn easily. So, it’s best to keep an eye on them while baking.
• Place Hokey Pokey Biscuits on a cookie rack and cool. When you’re ready… dig in.

hokey pokey biscuitsThese biscuits can be very funny you know. They may do some funny faces and stare at you like this alien one below 🙂

hokey pokey biscuits

Product Review: Linda McCartney Mozzarella Burgers

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Linda McCartney Mozzarella Burgers are seasoned vegetarian 1/4lb burgers made with rehydrated textured soya protein, onion and Mozzarella cheese. That’s how these mozzarella burgers are described. They come in 227gr frozen packs –only 2 burgers per pack. I must admit, … Continue reading