Saturday, 28 January 2012

Bunya bush tucker

Hubby brought back some bunya nuts given to him by a work colleague, and I was asking about it as I wanted so more.  But the tree had been chopped down!  So I was sad, as not only had I forgotten what the tree was called, but I didn't know what the tree looked like or the actual fruit.

But as we were driving past Rookwood Cemetary, I saw these huge nuts/cones on the ground, and I wondered if those were the things.  So we went into the cemetary and grabbed one to bring home.

So this is a bunya fruit/cone:
It's heavy and spiky.  And sometimes there is sap pouring out of the cone, which is really sticky.

And this is what the tree looks like.  I think of it as kind of mushroom looking.  The Bunya Pine is the last surviving species of the Section Bunya of the genus Araucaria. This section was diverse and widespread during the Mesozoic with some species having cone morphology similar to A. bidwillii, which appeared during the Jurassic. Fossils of Section Bunya are found in South America and Europe. is native to South East Queensland.  It's scientific name is Araucaria bidwillii.  Though it's called a Bunya Pine it is actually not of the pine family, but it is an evergreen corniferous.  It was once protected but there seem to be quite a few of them populating the Sydney region, and lots inside the Rookwood Necropolis - I would have to say there are easily more than 10.  Quite a few of them are against the outside fence and if you're lucky, the cones will drop outside the fence and you can pick them up.  I drove inside the cemetary and went for a short walk along the fence to pick up some lying on the ground.  So the cones drop in January/February and they are big and heavy, so don't go sleeping or park your car under a Bunya tree because those cones can do some heavy damage - I swear it weighs at least 2-3kg.

I found a lot of great information from this page here.  The writer is in Brisbane.  So as soon as the cone starts to crack, it's time to start getting the nuts out or there is fungus growing on them making it hard.  She says that the best way to get them out is to roast them on a fire, but warning they do explode!  It's hard work doing it the other way, you have to get the indivdual sheaves and then boil it for half an hour and then you use tweezers or pliers to get it out.

There are a lot of bush tucker recipes for the Bunya nut.  It's gluten free, so that's great!  Last time we boiled it like chestnuts, but this time we might roast it.  You can grind it into a flour, or you can add it to casseroles.  I read about people throwing them on fires and letting them pop (which only happens when they are fresh) - which I guess is like chestnuts.

I've just listed and linked a few ways of cooking them and recipes too.

50g basil leaves
1 cup cooked bunya nuts chopped [see note below]
Garlic x 1 clove
1 cup olive oil plus extra 2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
• Place in a blender basil and garlic with oil and blend
• Add bunya nuts and blend for 6 seconds
• Add grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste (mountain pepper)
• Note cook Bunya nuts for 20 minutes in hot water until tender refresh in
cold water and cool nuts - when cool place in food processor and
granulate texture of cous cous
  • Bunya nut soup
250g Bunya nut
2 litres vegetable or chicken broth
6 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups leek 1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf Place
Bunya nuts, potatoes, leek, onion, parsley and bay leaf in large pot, sauté, cover with chicken broth, cover with a lid. Cook until nuts are tender - 30 to 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard bay leaf. Combine some hot liquid and vegetables and blend in a blender until smooth. Bunya nuts are in season December to March. Can be frozen.

Dorrigo Pepper Crust Pastry Dough
2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon Dorrigo pepper
20g cold butter
3/4 cup light cream
Place flour and pepper in a food processor. Add butter and process until no lumps present, then add cream to make a soft dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. To finish the soup: Roll Pastry onto floured board about 2 cm thick cut round out or desired shapes. Prick with a fork. Now either cook separately on baking tray in a 220c oven for 15 minutes or place on the soup and bake.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Things that make you feel like a bad parent

So I am one of those bad parents who has closed the door on my kid's fingers in the door jam.  But what makes it bad is that it wasn't just once, but TWICE.

I was at my parent's place over Christmas/New Year and they have doors which are at 90 degrees to one another.  I was coming out of the laundry and my son was playing with the living room door and I tried to close the Laundry door but it was stuck so I pulled it harder.  Not realising of course the reason it was stuck was that his hand was in it.  I turned to look at him and he was silently screaming and then a huge wail came out followed by a massive nosebleed.  His poor fingers! I thought I had broken them, they looked so terrible, I felt like a dreadful parent and I carried him and cuddled him for the longest time while I carefully checked his hand which he kept cradling against his chest for the better part of the day.  But he was using his hand later, so I figured it wasn't broken.

Then this week, I was trying to get the kids in the car, and I was strapping my daughter in the back seat and my son was playing with the front door and so I closed the car door, and his fingers were in the gap between the doors and go trapped in the tiny 3-4mm gap that was left once the door was closed.  OMG, I thought I had amputated his fingers!  I quickly opened the door and it was the same hand, same fingers, poor baby.  Hubby admonished me severely and I snapped at him because I already felt bad, it had never happened like that before and telling me to be more vigilant isn't very useful now that the event is over!

My poor son, he will never be a concert pianist, and it will be all my fault.  His poor little fingers.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Dry Cleaning is toxic to Teddies

Erika came back from Taiwan with hubby and her favourite Flat Out teddy got dirty and it was dry cleaned.  However, it came back with a DREADFUL chemical smell, and it was VERY strong.

So I rinsed it, but that didn't alter the smell.  Then I washed it with my normal clothes - the smell was still strong.  So I did a rinse and a soak with eucalyptus wash but that didn't budge the smell.  So now I am soaking it in my Rockin' Green nappy powder and see if that makes a difference, but I lifted it out of the bucket after 1 hour and the smell is still there.

So what is that smell?

I didn't know this but Dry Cleaning is done with a petroleum solvent.  In the old days it was done with Kerosene or Gasoline.  These days they use perchloroethylene.  It's dry in the sense that you don't use water.

So they wash the clothes in this solvent and then the solvent is recovered in an extractor so it can be reused.

I got this from Ravefabricare:

One reason your clothes will smell of dry cleaning solvent is if your cleaner shortens the dry and deodorize cycle on his dry cleaning machine.

This often happens at ordinary cleaners where the pressure to "get the garments out" (i.e., into a machine, onto a press and into a bag) is constant and hectic.

But more likely than not, you're not smelling dry cleaning solvent or fluid. You're smelling contaminants in the dry cleaning solvent or fluid.

Let me explain.

Garments and household textiles should always be cleaned in dry cleaning fluid that's both continuously purified and continuously filtered. Every single drop. This way your garments and household textiles are cleaned in dry cleaning solvent or fluid that's absolutely crystal clear. As clear as bottled mountain spring water.  Continuous purification is much like boiling your tap water at home to obtain pure water; continuous filtration is much like filtering your tap water to remove any additional impurities.

Fact is, crystal clear, freshly purified and filtered dry cleaning solvent or fluid is your only guarantee against greyish and dingy whites, creams and pastels; dull and faded colors; and that all-to-familiar "dry cleaning solvent smell."

It's the difference between a black and white TV with mono sound and a high definition screen with surround sound.  Unfortunately, very few ordinary cleaners both continuously purify every single drop of their dry cleaning solvent or fluid before and after each load, and continuously filter every single drop of their dry cleaning solvent or fluid during each load.

So soluble impurities, such as bacteria, residual dyes, body oils, oily-type creams and lotions, and food fats accumulate in the dry cleaning solvent or fluid. And insoluble impurities, such as sand, skin flakes and hair, float around in the dry cleaning solvent or fluid.  These soluble impurities are then absorbed by the fibers of your garments and household textiles during the dry cleaning "wash" cycle. In particular, natural fibers, such as silk, wool, linen and cotton, absorb these impurities like a sponge absorbs liquid. 

Instead of your cleaner continuously purifying and continuously filtering his dry cleaning solvent or fluid, your garments and household textiles are functioning as your cleaner's "cleaning filter."  In effect, your garments and household textiles are being cleaned in "dirty dry cleaning solvent or fluid." It's just like washing your clothes at home and reusing the same dirty water over and over again.

So, what you're smelling is probably not dry cleaning solvent or fluid. It's the accumulated contaminants in your garments and household textiles that you're smelling -- contaminants absorbed from your cleaner's "dirty dry cleaning solvent or fluid."
OK GROSS.  So my daughter's teddy is now absorbed all the crap and filth from all this dry cleaning.  I am in a good mind to throw the teddy out.  The thought of the chemicals and dirt that's now stuck in it makes my stomach lurch.

From now on, if I can help it, NOTHING is going to get dry cleaned.  I think it would be much better done at home with water.  Ugh.

In the meantime, I will see how Teddy goes.  If I can salvage Teddy I will be pleased.