Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Certified Coffee in Australia

How To Go Green: 3 Tips For Buying Certified Coffee In Australia

The International Trade Center notes that ‘coffee is the world’s most important agricultural crop in terms of trade volumes; it is exported by 60 countries and is one of the few major commodities grown predominantly by smallholder farmers’. Due to the rise in environmentally responsible coffee, it is possible to actually lower your carbon footprint and ‘go green’ by looking out for ‘certified’ coffee. Certification schemes aim to prevent farmers from using ‘slash and burn’ techniques that level rainforests for the purpose of clearing land and growing coffee beans. Here are three tips for buying ‘greener’ coffee in Australia.

 

 

Use A Green Business Directory


It’s easy to pick up certified coffee such as Fair Trade-branded coffee in your local supermarket or grocery store. According the Queensland government’s Office of Fair Trading, however, certified coffee is often sold at a significant mark-up. In other words, you can end up spending significantly more for store-bought coffee just because of its certification label. To avoid this, you could use a green business directory to help you find which stores sell certified coffee at a fair price. In Australia, the Greenfinder Green Business Directory has ‘the most comprehensive selection of green, eco, sustainable, Fair Trade and environmentally friendly companies, products and services’. Use this or similar eco directories to find stores that give you a good deal on certified brands of coffee.

 

 

Look For A Trusted, Certified Coffee Logo


According to an International Trade Center publication Trends in the Trade of Certified Coffees, the quantity of certified coffee sold in Australia has ‘increased rapidly at 50 percent per year in recent years’. The ITC notes that finding certified coffee is as easy as looking for logos, even on brand name coffee products. For instance, Rainforest Alliance has a memorable green frog on its logo, prominently displayed on the label of any coffee containing certified beans. The ITC points out that the commitment of multinational companies such as Nestle to ‘certify 80 percent of its coffee with the Rainforest Alliance by 2013’ has contributed to much of the growth of certified coffee brands. If you are already buying brand-name coffee such as Nestle, you may already be drinking certified coffee.

 

 

Shop Online
             According to data from the Sustainable Agriculture Network, the bestdeals on certified coffee are to be found online. Buying certified coffee ensures that your money helps ‘stave off deforestation, protect the habitats of birds, preserve the livelihood of coffee farmers and encourage social equity and economic viability for workers’ according to the SAN. The cheapest way to do all this and more is to buy coffee online. Be sure to look for coffee websites who offer certified brands of coffee such as Rainforest Alliance coffee.

 

 

Conclusion
                                      Buying certified coffee can help the world but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. These three tips should help anyone find certified coffee in Australia for the right price. Whether you are buying coffee for yourself, for a business or for your family, following these tips should help you find the greenest brands at the most reasonable prices. What do you think of our tips? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Author Bio:    Danny Richards, the author of this article, is an employee at MyCuppa.com.au, online suppliers of fine coffee beans in Australia. In his spare time, Danny loves reading and is a massive fan of Stephen King.

 

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/en/coffee-cup-coffee-beans-coffee-cup-171653/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/en/coffee-bean-coffee-aroma-caffeine-156527/

 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chocolate Covered Choices

 

Chocolate-Bacon

Chocolate-Bacon

Chocolate Covered Treats

 

It seems like most people typically use strawberries as the go-to item for dipping in chocolate.  Sure they’re tasty, but they’re far from unique.  Instead of serving up a treat that’s becoming a little too common, why not try something a bit different for your next party or gathering?  Here are five fun foods you can cover in chocolate:

 

1.     Potato chips

 

Chocolate-covered pretzels have been around for years, but there’s another way to get your sweet-and-salty fix.  Pick up your favorite brand of plain potato chips, melt some chocolate chips or almond bark and dip away!  Let the coating harden and you’ve got an insanely-addictive treat.  Use potato chips with ridges and double dip them to maximize the chocolate build-up.  Bet you can’t eat just one!

 

2.     Hot peppers

 

If you know someone who has a sweet tooth and likes things on the spicy side, this is the perfect way to satisfy both cravings.  Cayenne peppers and jalapenos dipped in chocolate are great choices to bring the heat and the sweet.  For the true “chili heads,” you could even try some chocolate-covered habaneros or ghost peppers.  Just be careful; the latter is considered by most experts to be the hottest pepper on the planet.  You may want to think about using white chocolate since the intense sweetness and higher dairy content can help calm your fiery taste buds.  No matter what type of pepper or chocolate you choose, these are sure to be a tongue-torching treat!

 

3.     Bacon

 

Almost everyone loves bacon.  Almost everyone loves chocolate.  Put the two together and you’ve got a sweet-and-savory dessert that will be the hit of any party.  Just fry up some crispy strips, let them cool and dunk them in melted chocolate.  Allow the chocolate to set and you’ve got some yummy “pig candy” to share with all the foodies in your life.  It may sound like a strange pairing, but the unique union of bacon and chocolate somehow works beautifully.  One bite and you’ll definitely be in favor of the marriage of this slightly odd couple!

 

4.     Peanut butter and crackers

 

Peanut butter and crackers have always complemented each other.  Likewise, peanut butter with chocolate is a tasty combination that has stood the test of time.  It makes sense that merging all three elements would make for a tasty team.  You can use your preferred brand of store-bought sandwich crackers or make your own.  Saltines, club crackers and buttery rounds all work well.  Spread your favorite kind with your choice of smooth or crunchy peanut butter and place another one on top.  Then, dip the sandwiches in chocolate and let the coating harden.  Whether you use sweet milk chocolate or bitter dark, your family and friends will love biting into a peanut buttery surprise!

 

5.     Various types of fruit

 

Why should strawberries get all the chocolate love?  There are plenty of other fruits out there that look gorgeous and taste amazing when covered in chocolate.  Cherries, raspberries and oranges are some other classic options.  However, you can also think a little outside the box by dipping kiwi, mango, pineapple and more.  Kids and adults alike will love chocolate-covered apples.  You just can’t go wrong with a tart Granny Smith or a sweet Gala that’s been dipped in scrumptious chocolate coating.  You could also dip bananas in chocolate and place them in the freezer for flavorful frozen confections.  When it comes to chocolate-dipped fruit, the possibilities are limitless.  Just visit the produce section of your local supermarket and let inspiration strike!

 

You’ll find chocolate-covered strawberries at almost any chocolate boutique.  As a result, they’re becoming a bit overdone.  Forget about that boring trend and start a food fad of your own.  Any of the items on this list will be a delicious and unique dessert option for your next party or gathering.  Give all of these suggestions a try to create tasty treats that are sure to impress your guests.  Who knows?  You just may start the next chocolate-covered craze!

 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Coconut Recipes

Coconut Recipes

 

There is a virtually endless array of uses of coconut, which has been called the “Tree of Life.” Coconut oil, for one, is used not only as a skin and hair care aid, but also as a wonderful cooking oil. This healthful oil, though, was long vilified and challenged by vegetable oil manufacturers before making a huge comeback to prove its beneficial properties.

Recipes infused with coconut – whether coconut oil, milk, meat, or powder form – are not ones to be missed. Serve them to the whole family, and you’ve got a whole feast going! Here are some of them.

 

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut – Curry Sauce

Contributed by GaylaJ on Food.com

Prep time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 3 cups hot cooked basmati rice
  • 1 lime (cut in 4 wedges)

Procedure:

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Heat ½ teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add ginger and garlic. Cook 1 minute.
  4. Add peppers and onions. Cook 1 minute.
  5. Stir in curry powder, curry paste, and cumin. Cook 1 minute.
  6. Add soy sauce, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, but do not boil.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
  8. Brush fish with remaining ½ teaspoon oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  9. Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  10. Serve fish with sauce and lime wedges.

 

 

Baked Coconut Shrimp

Contributed by chia on Food.com

Prep time: 27 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups panko or 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¾ cup flaked coconut
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Pepper
  • 24 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  3. Beat egg whites in bowl.
  4. In a small plastic bag, mix panko, cumin, coconut, garlic, and pepper.
  5. Dip shrimp in egg whites, and then shake in plastic bag to coat.
  6. Lay shrimp on baking sheet and bake about 6 minutes per side until golden brown.

 

 

Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk

Contributed by quixoposto on Food.com

Prep time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • Unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup diced canned tomato
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup sliced carrots

Procedure:

  1. Steam carrots until tender.
  2. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Pour oil into large skillet. Turn heat to medium high.
  4. Add onions, pinch of salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are very soft and almost falling apart (15 minutes or more).
  5. Raise heat again and brown them a bit, stirring in curry and cooking for another minute or so.
  6. Reduce heat to medium, and then add coconut milk and cook. Stir occasionally until it thickens, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add chicken and stir. Cook until done, for at least 3 to 6 minutes.
  8. Add tomato, peas, and carrots. Cook until vegetables are heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning.

*You may substitute chicken with shrimp or scallops.

 

 

 

Miranda Furlong is a food and drink blogger who has a strong preference for coconut oil as her all-around cooking and beauty aid.

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