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This blog started as a way for me to share my recipes + culinary adventures, tips for vibrant health + happiness, thoughts on the latest developments in nutritional medicine + the low down on the Sydney wholefoods scene and beyond...

March Newsletter soup

Becca Crawford

1. New Online Store

It only took me 5 years but I finally got this baby off the ground. Click here to see our new online store! Star Anise Organic Wholefoods products are now just a click away. At this stage we only ship refrigerated/frozen products to Sydney and Wollongong (we are working on sending our chilled products Australia-wide so if anyone has any suggestions on the logistics please email me directly!). We aim to ship all orders within 7 business days as we are a small artisan producer so do not necessarily have everything available in stock at any given point in time.


To celebrate the launch of our online store we are offering free shipping for all orders over $150 until 30 April 2016.


At this point the online store only stocks Star Anise Organic Wholefoods products- not the select range of products that we buy in from third party suppliers (like extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, raw milk cheeses, gelatin and collagen powders, fermented cod liver oils, Red Boat (sugar-free) Fish Sauce etc).

For those who have used the store I would love to hear your feedback as this is how I can improve on my products and services. What did you like about it, not like about it? Was it easy to use? I want to know!!


2. New Star Anise Organic Wholefoods Products

Water Kefir

We have recently been making and selling water kefir. Just for fun. Well actually it stated as a way to build up a good supply of water kefir culture to give these out as part of my upcoming fermentation workshops (dates TBC). And then making and nailing the recipe took on a life of its own in our commercial kitchen.  Like kombucha, water kefir is a fermented drink made with the addition of a  culture. Over the fermentation period the good bacteria (probiotics) and enzymes populate and the beverage becomes naturally fizzy. The more different strains of home-made probiotics you consume, the more diverse your gut microflora. Greater microbiome diversity equals greater gut health which translates to greater everything health as the health of the gut impacts the health of all other aspects of our bodies (mind included!).

Unlike kombucha, water kefir is a difficult beast to manage with unexpected and sometime anomalous results. But when we nail it, it is like drinking the most exquisite elixir known to mankind. Slightly sweet, fragrant and effervescent, it is fermented with lemon, figs and ginger. For those who tried one and found it too tart please let me know and I will give you a free sample of our latest batch which has an entirely different taste.  We have not at this point including the water kefir in our online store as we are still trialling its sales volumes. 


Sauerkraut Juice

Sometimes we have loads of juice leftover after making our sauerkraut and instead of throwing it out we bottle up this probiotic-rich liquid for sale. Highly beneficial consumed as a daily shot, poured over salads instead of vinegar, or applied topically to skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. 

Sometimes the cabbages we buy are so juicy yielding loads of extra juice and other times they are not (such is the highly variable nature of organic produce) so we can not guarantee that we always have kraut juice product in stock. We have not at this point included the kraut juice in our online store as its availability is highly variable.

All of our 4 probiotic-rich fermented beverages (beet kvass, kombucha, water kefir and kraut juice) can be consumed as a 80ml shot at Broth Bar & Larder, as well as in the bottles. Please ask us for a free sample anytime!


100g jars of chicken liver pate

You asked for it and I listened. Our pate is now available in a smaller size for those who found the 240g jar a tad too big to finish. These baby 100g jars are the perfect size for a 1 person serve. Like the 240g jars, these come in 2 flavours (fig, or sage & thyme). You can read more about our pate here. 

 

500ml Kombucha Bottles

We took your feedback on once again and now offer our kombucha in a larger 500ml bottles in addition to the original 250ml bottles. 

1L Glass Jars For Beef and Chicken Broth/Stock

Our 500ml glass jars have been so popular that people have been asking for 1L jars. These are more economical than 2x 500ml jars and are great for families or those needing to consume larger amounts of broth. 

We have also implemented a glass jar refill policy. Because we care and want to recycle and reuse as much as possible. 

Because we make beef and chicken stock daily as well as at least one or more of the broth-based soups daily please ask us about the availability of our FRESH (not frozen) stocks and soups. The display freezers usually only house the frozen broth and soups but our fridges in the kitchen house the fresh stock and soups. 


3. Casserole Meals


Our dine-in and takeaway slow cooked casserole meals have been more popular than in our wildest dreams. I feel there is a deep yearning for home-made nourishing completely unprocessed foods of yesteryear. It is so engrained in the fabric of our DNA that when people consume it, it touches their soul. It feels right. This is the food your grandmother would have made. This is my type of food. Meat on the bone, root veggies, greens, in a broth base with loads of herbs and spices all slow cooking for 15 or so hours. This is what I typically cook for my family. And because Broth Bar & Larder is extension of my kitchen we offer it to you.  Each morning check out my instagram, FB or twitter feed to see what  type of casserole we are offering. We frequently vary it to shake things up. From osso bucco, lamb shoulder, pork knuckle, lamb leg, chicken thighs to spicy sausage hot pot, we have got your lunch and/or dinner covered. Each 500g serve contains around 200g pastured meat with the rest being veggies and stock. These are balanced complete meals.

As we are selling out most days, it is best to pre-order by texting 0407871884 and letting us know how many serves want put aside and if they are take away or dine-in.

On the rare occasions that there are leftovers, these are packaged up and frozen for you to keep an emergency stash in your freezer at home. Look out for them in our display freezer. 


4. New third party products

I just can’t help myself and the range of third party products keeps growing and growing….Broth Bar & Larder primarily sells all of the Star Anise Organic Wholefoods products which are all hand-made on the premises, but we also sell a very small and select range of products that we don’t make but which I personally use and love.

We are now also stocking the following new products:

A) Raw honey with honeycomb. This honey is from a mates farm in the Hunter Valley. It is not certified (but I don’t necessarily get too caught up in that as I have written about before). It is totally natural, unsprayed, and the bees forage on whatever is blossoming on the Watagan ranges. You can check them out on Facebook as Quorrogami Mountain Produce.  I love using honey drizzled on chia seed porridges, in Greek rice pudding and in Mexican hot chocolate with orange zest and chilli. 

B) Maple syrup by Jakeman. This has been around for over a hundred years. Maple syrup is my sweetener of choice because it is mineral rich, has a smooth texture, doesn’t have an overpowering flavour, and has an equal glucose to fructose ratio which is important because glucose helps with fructose absorption so the fructose will be well absorbed and will not linger in the gut causing digestive issues. When there is more fructose than glucose in a sweetener (eg agave) the fructose can cause digestive and metabolic issues. 

C) GelPro collagen and gelatin powders. These are made by adding a naturally occurring enzyme to extract collagen from the skin/hide of pastured cows. These are an alternative to the Great Lake Products that I have been using and selling for years that are made in the USA. GelPro is an Australian company so I am experimenting with this brand in tandem with Great Lakes. (As an aside, Sarah Wilson’s gelatin powder is made by GelPro – it’s exactly the same product - but she sticks her label on it).

After much research and discussions with the manufacturers and/or distributors of both companies I can say that while the cows used by both companies are pastured neither company can guarantee that they are not grain finished as they may be circumstances where the cows are fed grains at some point at the end of their lives e.g. at the abattoir, during a drought etc. 

I can’t see any appreciable difference in quality or taste of either product so all other things being equal, I try to opt for the product with less food miles.

I would love to hear from my dear readers as to which brand YOU prefer and why. Please let me know! 

What do we use the gelatin and collagen powders for?

For those new to these products, here’s a bit of info about them.

Collagen is useful if you are suffering from any osteo-skeletal issues (broken bones, arthritis, osteoporosis etc) or hair, skin and nail issues and need extra support. This is because collagen is a primary structural element of our joints, ligaments, bones, tendons , skin, hair and nails. So the more collagen-rich foods we eat the more these parts of our body can repair, build and function properly. While home-made quality bone broth is full of collagen, powdered collagen is a convenient way to consume additional collagen for those needing the extra support. It dissolves in hot or cold liquids so most people find it convenient to add to smoothies. It is totally tasteless. It does not congeal liquids when cooled. It will not congeal because it has been hydrolyzed for faster assimilation into the body i.e. processed in such a way that the component parts of it a broken down to be more readily absorbed by the body.  This product does NOT contain gelatin - it is simply pure collagen. Consequently all of the gut-healing and digestive benefits of gelatin (discussed below) will not be available.

Gelatin powder is derived from boiling down the collagen referred to above. Cooking breaks down collagen into gelatin. How long it is cooked for and at what temperature is proprietary information that is not divulged by the manufacturer. While collagen is all about osteo skeletal maintenance and repair, gelatin is all about gut healing. Gelatin enhances gastric acid secretion which aids in digestion. It also restores a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach. Low stomach acid and an impaired gut barrier (leaky gut) are 2 very common digestive problems in modern society. Gelatin has been found successful in treating digestive disorders such as IBS, colitis, and even Crohn’s disease. While home-made quality bone broth is full of gelatin, powdered gelatin is a convenient way to consume additional gelatin for those with gut issues needing the extra support. It can also be added to home-made stock to enrich it if the stock doesn’t not contain enough gelatin. Gelatin powder must be dissolved into hot liquids (eg hot broth).  If you add it to a cold liquid (eg smoothie) it is akin to drinking sand (learnt that one the hard way!). Gelatin congeals/gels liquids when chilled so I personally only use this product to make pannacottas, gummies and gellies.  It has a similar nutritional benefit as the Collagen Hydrosolate (same amino acid profile). For those who are interested, 1 tablespoon of gelatin is 6 grams of protein.

D) The Canadian Way salmon, tuna and salmon roe. I have been buying, eating and banging on about salmon from The Canadian Way for a long time because it is the ONLY truly wild salmon available in Australia other than tinned wild salmon you buy at supermarkets.  You can read more about wild versus farmed in a previous post here. This salmon and tuna has an unparalleled omega 3 to 6 ratio making it extremely anti-inflammatory. Omega 3 is powerful brain building stuff so I make sure my kids consume it at least once a week.

We are selling frozen smoked salmon (delicious with lemon, capers and cream cheese), frozen fillets of salmon tails (because they are much cheaper than the individual fillets), frozen tuna, and refrigerated salmon roe (touted in many traditional cultures as potent prenatal food due to its nutrient-density profile).

Here’s a super quick recipe for Wild Smoked Salmon Salad you can throw together in a matter of minutes using the smoked salmon. 


5. New wholefood stores in Sydney


The wholefoods movement has gained so much traction here in Sydney. It is abuzz with activity and I love being part of this community so much.

  • About Life will open yet another store – in Lane Cove on the weekend of 2-3 April. My staff member Tegan will be there handing out free samples of our activated nuts and answering any questions you may have.
     
  • Kingsley Meats has renamed itself Kingsmore Meats and is opening up a new store in Rosebury in April. We can’t wait to see the new digs and I will write more when this is off the ground!
     
  • The Farm Wholefoods has opened up its second store at Shop 4 Grosvenor St, Neutral Bay. They stock our pre-packaged chicken and beef broth. 

6. New paleo sausages from The Meat Store


The Meat Store in 262 Oxford Street Bondi Junction (opposite About Life) is my local butcher. All of their red meat is grass fed and finished and ridiculously affordably priced. I also recommend their Inglewood certified organic chickens and Borrowdale pastured pork. I wasn’t overly happy with their sausages, gave them that feedback, spurred them into action and so they very obligingly went to the drawing boards and formulated a completely grain-free preservative-free sausage made with 100% grass fed beef, mashed sweet potato, herbs and spices. The kids and I love them! I have been frying them up in beef tallow for a super quick dinner meal, using any leftovers in kids lunchboxes and my team at Broth Bar & Larder made a spicy paleo sausage stew which was a hit. So check out the Meat Store and their paleo sausages next time you’re in the Junction and tell them I referred you. 

Other great butchers are aforementioned Kingsmore Meats, GRUB, Feather & Bone, Hudson Meats, 1888 Certified (who I have blogged about here), Shiralee Meats, Fairlight Quality Meats and also check out your local farmers markers! As things change so frequently it’s best to ask the butcher on a regular basis if the meat from ruminant animals (lamb and beef) is grass fed AND finished and if the pork and chicken is pastured (chickens and pigs will not be fed solely grass). Scrutinize the ingredients in all the cured meat products (bacon, ham etc) and sausages and demand to see ingredient lists for products the butcher does not make on the premises. I learnt this the hard way a couple weeks ago where the producer had not disclosed the full list of ingredients to the butcher who then passed on only half of the relevant information to consumers (myself included with the consequence that some of the omitted ingredients turned out to be extremely nasty!). So Ask! Ask! Ask! 


7. New stockists

We welcome the following new stockists to the Star Anise Organic Wholefoods family:

1. Cassell Coker & Co Organic Wholefoods, 8 Austell St, Stanhope Gardens, NSW.

2. Wellness by Kate, 41A Spofforth Street, Cremorne NSW

3. Hills Organics Pty Ltd, Shop 12, 286-288 New Line Rd Dural NSW 

A longstanding stockists of ours, The Health Emporium on Bondi Road, is now also selling our kombucha and fermented veggies.

The full list of stockists can be found here. Note that not all stockists sell our entire product range (we have 45 different product lines all in various sizes!!) so best to call them first if you are after something in particular to avoid disappointment.

To enquire about becoming a stockist of our products please email me at info@staraniseorganic.com


8. Easter chocolates and Easter Opening Hours

Last chance this week to purchase our kid-friendly crap-free Easter chocolates. We have 2 offerings this Easter: mini sokolata delights and a solid yummy bunny. We modified our signature raw dark chocolate recipe to make it less bitter for younger palates. Read more about them here.

We will be closed over the 4 day Easter holiday. A few of my amazing helper elves (staff) will be busy stockpiling shelves, fridges and freezers while the kids and I will be taking a little break with some much needed relaxation, nature bathing and fun in the sun outside of Sydney.


9. Upcoming cooking classes

My aim is to run 1 cooking class per week but only managed to squeeze in a Raw Meats workshop and a School Lunches workshop this year so far(both incredibly well received). Apologies that more workshops have not happened this year … I got busy with, well, ironing out all of the kinks in the newly opened Broth Bar & Larder and getting into a groove with that, plus attending to all of the above matters and one other matter which I will write about in another post (as well as being a single mama of 2 kids and trying to run a household!). I fully intend to roll out a HEAP of workshops very soon after Easter on a weekly basis and CAN NOT WAIT to share these with you so watch this space.

Until next time, kali orexi (that’s Greek for good appetite!)