Archive for June, 2012

Book Review – Homemade Health – Home Remedies Your Grandmother Knew

I had the privilege of meeting with Anke Bialas from Herbology fame on more than a couple of occasions. I even had the privilege of sharing the stage with her as I spoke about herbal infusions at the Friday Tea Club. Anke was there by my side reinforcing the answers I gave to the questions asked and we had a wonderful evening, but I digress; this post is about her new book, Homemade Health – Home Remedies Your Grandmother Knew.

I remember writing last year about how I was being snobby about herbal infusions but I have since had a new found respect for our caffeine-free friends as I have delved into them and studied them a lot more deeply.

I love the front cover of this book. It is simple and uncomplicated, which kinda sets a precedent for the rest of the book as each section is clearly marked and leaves the reader with no illusion as to what to expect.

Homemade Health – Home Remedies Your Grandmother Knew

I also love the sub-title. “Home Remedies your Grandmother Knew”. It made me smile; one of these smiles that is immediately followed by a confirmation nod and as I opened to the Contents page, I was greeted with a beautiful photograph of a bunch of herbs – and another smile ensued.

There were lots of light bulb moments for me as I read fascinating insights into herbs such as rosemary, sage and garlic. And I’m sure that most readers of this book will have their own stories and remedies that they share with others. In fact, it was only the other day that I was asked for any remedies I had for a cold and I shared with a friend of mine a Mexican recipe for garlic soup. It is a soup that my husband always craves for when he has a cold. Funnily enough whenever we’ve had the soup we’ve never experienced bad breath and one of those a-ha moments I previously talked about was when I read about parsley (one of the ingredients in the soup) which is said to chase away garlic breath.

When I have acquired a new book, I like to flick through the pages and I have to admit, the section “From Acne to Warts” excited me. Ailments are clearly listed in alphabetical order with the accompanying herbal to suit that ailment underneath it. As a simple girl, I like simple things and so the alphabetised ailments were easy for me to flick through to get to the conditions that I was interested in. I’ve talked about smiles and light bulb moments and now I’d like to share with you a funny thought as I read through the section on colds.

The first recommendation for a cold the book suggests, is a decoction of ginger root which took me back to my childhood and reminded me of my mother’s age old recipe for treating a cold. The recipe also involves a few slices of ginger being thrown into a pot, but deviates slightly with a smattering of chopped spring onions with….wait for it….a famous branded cola! The mixture would then be heated on the stove and once boiled, it was ready to drink. Now I don’t know if it cured my colds when I was a child but you can imagine that the sweetness of the cola and the warmth of the ginger, which was enhanced through heating the beverage, certainly made me feel a lot better. In fact, I was later to find out that the famous branded cola was once sold as a tonic. I remember telling this story in a Tea Appreciation class I held last month, pens were at the ready for my mum’s age old recipe and you could see the bemused faces when I revealed the secret ingredient. 😀

Homemade Health is packed full of extremely useful information, beautiful photographs and illustrations and it is a book that you will keep returning to as and when you need it. It is an easy book to digest and is far from intimidating which I have sometimes found with other books that talks about remedies found in the garden.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will know that I am a huge fan of technology and I love the fact that there is a QR code at the back of the book so that you can have instant access to the “Herbology on the Go” app: an app that is not only available on iPhone but also on Android and Microsoft’s Windows phone too.

So, if you would like an easy reference guide to “simple and effective treatments from the pantry” then I would look no further than “Homemade Health” and if herbal “teas” are your cup of tea (guffaw), then I suggest you connect with Anke on Twitter or on Facebook where she has herbal infusion blends with endearing names such as Sereni-Tea and Simplic-Tea available for purchase.


Qld Food & Wine Show’s Branded Beef Awards 2012

I was extremely privileged to have been invited to last week’s Royal Queensland Food & Wine Show. (And this opportuni-tea came through the power of Twitter. How marvellous!) Although there wasn’t a cup of tea in sight many of us were able to get our daily dosage of antioxidants by other means. 😀

According to their website, the aim of The Royal Queensland Food & Wine Show is to showcase the nation’s finest food and wine offerings. I remember watching their tweets earlier in the year and salivating as they announced the winners of the Cheese and Dairy Show and the Icecream, Gelato and Sorbet show.

On June 5th they crowned the Tajima Fullblood Wagyu as Australia’s best steak. It is a NSW Wagyu that was said to have beaten a high class field of record entries. Here is my attempt at capturing the moment when samples of this tea-licious beef was offered around the room. There were a lot of salivating onlookers trying to grab a bite as you can see.

Tajima Fullblood Wagyu crowned Australia’s best steak


The Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show is the most prestigious beef competition in Australia, RQFWS Chief Judge, Russell Smith announces. He also gave credit to the people that cooked the beef whom he deemed them more important than the judges themselves. He was very humbling.

I was extremely privileged to have exchanged a few words with Russell where I openly admitted I was unaware the Queensland Food and Wine Show were showcasing products not just from Queensland but Australia-wide (well, I have only been in the country for less than two years). He did mention that previous competitions such as the chocolate show (I wish I knew about that one!) showcased chocolates that are imported as Australia isn’t renowned for its production of cocoa beans of course. So there might be a chance for a tea competition at least given that there are great tea plantations here in Queensland and Australia-wide, I remarked; rather cheekily.

My star struck moment was bumping into several food bloggers including Kerry Heaney from @eatdrinkbekerry fame and the tea-lightful Michelle Levings from @FoxedGlove fame whom invited me along to the event (thanks m’dear). It was ever so lovely to meet a fellow tweeter Gemma and of course, the equally lovely Miss Foodie.

Kerry Heaney (aka @eatdrinkbekerry)

Other competitions to be featured later on in the year at the Royal Queensland Food & Wine Show include the Sausage King competition on 8th July and the Beer competition in October. I’m looking forward to those.

I also look forward to the day that the Royal Queensland Food & Wine Show presents a tea competition in the near future. I’m hoping that my appearance at Regional Flavours in July is a small step towards that momentous day. (More details to follow very soon).

Here’s to all the 2012 RQFWS Branded Beef Winners and the 2012 RQFWS Branded Lamb Winners. Raising a cup of tea as a toast to you all!

Website Review: The Tea and Jazz House

As a tea consultant, one of the best parts of my business is offering advice to tea business startups and seeing them flourish.  It’s rather like a mother or father waving their child off to school.  Mary Cali from The Tea and Jazz House is one such ‘cool cat’.  After offering business guidance, I was like that proud mother waiving her child off to school.  These are a few points on what The Tea and Jazz House as an online tea business has done extremely well:

Branding: Mary has created an extremely strong brand identity in The Tea and Jazz House.  The logo, the look and feel of the website clearly shows how tea and jazz are intertwined.  The website’s philosophy, vision and passion are outlined on the home page which demonstrates how the two complement each other.

Read the rest of the article here…