Health Benefits of the Kiwi fruit

Kiwi – is a native to north China. This fruit was first cultivated in New Zealand at the very start of the 20th century. At that time it was called “Chinese Gooseberry”

Later on, in an attempt to avoid the high export duties that were charged on berries during that time, this fruit was renamed “Kiwi”. Another reason for the fruit getting this name is the fact that this fruit shares similar characteristics with New Zealand national bird – Kiwi. The fruit is small, brown and covered with light brown fur, which is similar to how the bird looks.

People are very often attracted to the kiwi fruit due to its brilliant green colour and a unique sour taste with a tinge of sweetness. No other fruit comes close to having this taste. However, not many people know that the kiwi fruit is abundant in vitamins and has multiple health benefits.

kiwi

Enlisted below are some of the health benefits of the kiwi fruit.

  • Aids in digestion of food

Due to the fact that raw kiwi is abundant in an enzyme called actinides, it aids in digestion of a meal. Actinidia is a protein dissolving enzyme.

  • Aids in management of blood pressure

Kiwi is high in potassium content. This helps in counteracting the effects of sodium in our body and thus aids in controlling blood pressure.

  • Boosts Immunity

Kiwi also has a high content of Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants. These help in boosting up the immune system.

  • Helps in flushing out toxins from your body

Kiwi is covered by a fuzzy fiber. This helps in flushing out toxins from your intestinal tract.

  • Protects your body from damage of DNA

Studies have shown that the unique combination of anti-oxidants, that are present in the kiwi fruit can aid in protecting the cell DNA from oxidative damage. This can help in preventing growth of cancerous cells.

There are many more benefits to eating kiwi, but aren’t the ones i listed enough to get serious about sinking your teeth into a kiwi everyday?

The Organic Food – Going Back to Nature

I have been reading a lot about environment these days, and honestly, I have become an environmentalist and am switching to organic for good.

The greed of modern men led a very thoughtful person to write the following:

“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Will the men realize that money cannot be eaten.”

How true indeed! Men, in greed to make money, exploited the nature in every possible way. Priceless gifts of nature, like water and air, were polluted with severely disastrous consequences. Food that we eat was not spared either; it was and is being poisoned in the name of insecticides, chemical fertilizers, and now GMOs.

gmos

Years of unkind, thoughtless and selfish exploitation of nature, driven by man’s greed, has resulted in the effects staring right in his very face now. We have learnt our lesson the hard way, and the truth, that in a bid to become rich and materially advance, the man has put his own survival to stake, has finally hit him hard.

With more and more researches and studies being carried out in order to understand how humans are affecting the environment, a considerable percentage of the population has started awakening to the fact that our survival and the well-being of our environment are two things intricately woven into each other.

So wake up guys, let us do something before it gets too late. Let us switch to organic and natural…..

Beverages not Wine….

Wine is the beverage from New Zealand that has been famous. Our port wines are world-famous and savored all across the globe. Some beverages which are not wine are also creating buzz around the world.

Craft Beer

Craft Beer

Craft beer is a new entrant in the New Zealand beverage industry. The industry is now picking up this new crafty addition to the array of beverages available. Craft beer has different flavors and that is what is unique about it. The new kid on the block is making splashes on the scene, resulting in a five hundred percent growth in the past couple of years. Just fizz is the motto for the industry.

Spirits

Spirits

New Zealand well experienced in making spirits. Of course we have not been able to brand in the past with Scotland, Jamaica and Russia getting ahead in Whiskey, Rum and Vodka. However the recent surge in demand for New Zealand made spirits has had a positive impact. The industry is growing and foraging into international premium spirits. Stolen Rum a New Zealand brand was awarded at San Francisco, and 42 Below  Vodka has become popular among spirit Czars. It is a good time for the spirits in New Zealand.

Mineral Water

Spring Water

With abundance of natural springs with mineral rich water, this is the new entrant into the scene. The uniquely packaged antipodes packaged water has become a rage. Packaged only in recycled glass, the environmental badge that the brand gets has taken it forward.

These new entrants on the scene has really added to the diversification of the industry, and the future looks really bright.

Ahhhh Cupcakes…..

A cupcake treat for tea with various icing and tippings
Delicious

Who doesn’t love a cupcake? Well to be honest my hubby doesn’t and I am sure there are a few out there that don’t but what do they know? How can anyone not like a small tasty cake topped with a delicous dreamy topping is beyond me. I bake a lot of cupcakes for personal consumption and for friends and family, mainly for birthdays and anniversaries. I occasionally make for bring and buy sales and cups are my usual contrabution to any ‘charity do’ donates.

I love making them and experimenting with recipes, always trolling the internet for new ideas and boy are there a lot out there – some folk have faboulous imaginations and skill. Pinterest is a good place to look the visual gving you a clear idea of what can be achieved, although not all of mine are exact replications as my decorating skills need improvement. I have looked around for classes and found some but none that really appeals. I don’t want to do sugarcraft or fondant, really I just want icing techinques for cupcakes, if you know of any let me know please. I have the basics and I do use a variety of topping from buttercream to merinque- my lemon merinque cuppies are very popular but i would like to develop better skills. When I am making for a party I tend to use a base recipe that I can flavour and colour in whatever way I want. For this recipe I use:

  • 250 gr plain flour
  • 250 gr sugar (brown or white depending on flavour I am after)
  • 250 gr butter or margarine.
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 teaspfl baking powder.
  • 5 – 10 ml liquid.

These are all combined and mixed together. The liquid amount depends on what else is added and the flour used, I find some flour requires more than others, the result should be a dropping consistency not runny. I bake at 180degrees for about 25-30  mins.

For flavouring I might reduce the flour and add some ground almonds with vanilla and milk as the liquid, or cocoa powder and chocolate milk. I might add some pre cooked apple puree with cinnamon. I have also used orange, lemon and lime juice. Used pomegranate juice once gave a fabulous colour but not a lot of flavour, I need to experiment more with this one.

When the cakes are cooked and cooled I take my favourite kitchen implemen, a cupcake corer and take out the middles which once again I fill with a variety of fillings; fruit purees, chocolate, caramel you get the idea, basically anything goes.

Cupcake corer essential utensil for anyone who bakes cupcakes
Cupcake corer in action

I suppose in a round about way I am saying don’t be bound by convention, experiment to your tastes, be adventurous and try new things, beetroot and chocolate cupcakes  are really rather good, recipe next time.

 

Coffee and Biscotti.

Apricot and Pistachia Biscotti delicious New Zealand recipe
Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

I had some mates round last week for morning coffee. We get together about twice a month in different homes and this time they were coming to me. I was dying to show off my new coffee machine and decided I needed some biscuits to put on the table while we chatted.  I decided to be a little International and bake biscotti biscuits. These are twice baked biscuits also known as cantuccini or coffee bread. They originated in Prato, Italy. The first documented recipe is in a centuries old manuscript that is preserved in Prato; in it the biscuits were called Genoa. Modern day recipes are in the main based on Chef Antonio Mattei recipe after the rediscovery of the original recipe in the nineteenth century.

Coffee dunking hazelnut biscotti

Biscotti were designed to be dunked in a drink be it wine or coffee.  The biscuits are normally oblong shaped and cooked once in slab form and then re-cooked after cutting. I searched for some New Zealand variations and found this one for apricot and pistachio, which is great as I love both those ingredients. These biscotti I made gluten free for a couple of my guests and they were much appreciated. Not wanting to be boring and only offer one type I also made Biscotti with hazelnuts. These were delicious and flavoured with orange zest but the one voted the favourite was the chocolate biscotti and I will certainly make them again. The coffee machine was duly admired and at least one of my mates is going to buy the same one – yea excellent coffee when we go to her house.

Delcious tasty chocolate Biscotti from an Italian recipe
Chocolate Biscotti

Ahhh Coffee…

 

New Zealands finest flat white coffee

Coffee, the smell the taste the sheer enjoyment of that first sip. Oh yes I am coffee addict and I love it. I like latte, cappuchino, macchiato, there is a time and place for all of them. Now there is an interesting debate about New Zealand coffee did we or did we not pioneer the ‘flat white’?  Now the debate centres on the ratio of coffee to milk, milk that is textured rather than frothy. Served in a smaller drinking glass but with the same amount of coffee ( approx 30ml) as say a latte, it is less milky and the milk band is thinner and not as creamy. The difference between New Zealand and Aussie flat white appears to be the vessel it is served in! If you want to update your coffee terminology this list will be useful.

I recently lost my expresso machine to age, so sad to see it go but decided to give myself a early Christmas treat, after a bit of research I decided on the DeLonghi ESAM6700 PrimaDonna, now a bit pricey but as a family we do appreciate our coffee. Talked with hubby and decided to take out a Christmas loan to cover this and some other expenses. When you are needing cash simple to use, no fuss websites are necessary and I am now the proud owner of a luxury expresso machine sitting on my granite bench and I am off now to make myself a wonderful cafe latte to eat with my piece of Christmas cake – I made 2 so we are eating one already, love Christmas cake in my house. If you haven’t already make yours here are some recipes that you can choose from. I like the easy Christmas cake recipe with a little extra brandy!

Christmas cake to enjoy with coffee

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Ice cream and Cheese

Ice cream and cheese where would we be without them? High amongst our favourite foods we are world famous for our cheeses, blue cheese, and creamy soft cheese, makes my mouth water just thinking of them. I was lucky enough to visit the Kaimai cheese and milk factory a while ago. It has a great history going back to 1886, originally a butter factory which the Queen Mother visited in 1927. The cheeses from then were defined as “first quality’ and commanded high prices in the Auckland markets as they do today . I stocked up while I was there and continue to buy their brand for my table, enjoying it with my coffee on crackers or made into filo parcels – a recipe I got from their website and make frequently for when the girls and I get together, I sometimes substitute parsley instead of walnuts. I make my own cranberry and orange relish to eat with them. While I was there I ate in their café the most delicious steak sandwich, well worth every cent.

feta cheese and walnut filo parcels served with a cranberry and orange relsih
Feta cheese filo pastry with relish

Now ice cream is a firm favourite in our house and sometimes I can’t keep up with the demand and buy in commercially made but if I do it has to be from the Kapiti brand. The taste and choices are fantastic can thoroughly recommend them – not the cheapest but you are worth a great treat now and then aren’t you?

Hokey Pokey ice cream a firm favourite in New Zealand New Zealan favourite ice cream hokey pokey ice cream