There are two things that I couldn't do without: coffee and chocolate. The best way to start and finish the day and a speedy remedy for daily stresses. This will be a rather 'express' post from me today. I thought I'd share with you some of the goodies that I've got stashed on the pantry shelf. Many of these items I've sourced from Farmers' Markets around the traps. What are some of your essentials?
|Clockwise from top left: Merlo Coffee Private blend beans, Farmer Jo Spring Bircher muesli, Rylestone Cudgegong extra virgin olive oil, Henry Langdon Chai Latte, Green & Black's 85% dark chocolate, T2 Good Morning tea blend|
Coffee: I must say I've found it difficult to jump onto the Nespresso wagon that has been the 'thing' of recent years. It's just like Apple, once you've started you're bound for life. I've really enjoyed trying out different coffee blends at home. There's something almost ritualistic about grinding the beans yourself and setting up the stovetop cafeteria to bubble away for a few minutes. For many years I used a Bodum plunger out of habit but the cafeteria is streets ahead, just short of a full espresso machine get up.
Muesli: short of becoming a stockist for Farmer Jo's products, I've tried pretty much every flavour they've got going. The Spring Bircher has come up trumps - it has something to do with the whole macadamias I'm sure. The best way to prepare is to soak 1 cup of muesli with 1/2 cup cloudy apple juice and 1 cup natural greek yoghurt overnight in the fridge. Serve with fresh cut fruit (blueberries look great this season). Top tip: Pecora Ewe's milk yoghurt is just incredible
|Preparing the FJ Spring Bircher, made with love by hand. Dried fruit has never looked this good! Source: Farmer Jo FB|
Olive oil: rancid, tasteless imports be gone! This year Rylestone's Cudgegong EVOL won Gold at the New York International Olive Oil Competition. Whatever that is, it sounds impressive. This is an oil worth tasting with naught but a scrap of bread as its medium. Little General is another Australian company that I sing the praises of. Who knew that olive oil could carry such complexity of flavour? :)
|The team from Little General Olive oil at Pyrmont Growers' Market Photo credit: Australian Traveller|
Chai: this is a relatively new addition to the larder, but now indispensable. Perfect for late afternoons when you're looking for a warm drink but don't want to be bouncing off the walls after your third espresso. This chai latte blend is possibly the fairest of them all. The company have sure learnt a thing or two over the past 150 years. Cafés take note, it is divine.
Chocolate: trust me when I say I've searched high and low for the perfect dark chocolate. The G&B's 85% version comes pretty close. It has a richness without being bitter, something that has eluded me before (trying super dark chocolate). Reviewed in Good Food earlier this year, it was rated the best out of 20 different chocolate bars in Oz.
|The bearded Mast Brothers from Brooklyn have received a lot of press, not just for their craft chocolate but also their artful packaging. Rococo from London is also comparable Photo credit: Mast Brothers|
Tea: empires have been built on the stuff. Not only a national past time but big industry. T2 has been a mainstay of my gifting for many years now. Loose leaf tea is like a godsend to me. Supermarket teas look to me like ashes sitting limp in paper socks. There's nothing like a robust tea to get you started in the day. Or paired with a scone it signals a time to unwind, relax and sip daintily or some such.
Thanks for reading!