Tag: food waste

SUPERFOOD SERIES: Almonds

Posted by on 4th December 2017

They’re a waistline-friendly snack known to boost heart health, but before you get carried away with a heaping handful, consider a few of the lesser-known facts about this beneficial bite.

Rather than a nut, the almond is actually the seed of a fruit that grows on an almond tree. The fruit of the almond is called a drupe. The fuzzy hull around the almond seed feels like a peach and that’s because peaches and apricots are family members of the almond. The outer hull is not consumed by humans and instead, used as a cattle feed all over the world.

Did you also know that the almond is a member of the rose family and is often called “the queen of the rose family”?

Almonds are reliant on bees for crop pollination. No bees, no almonds. There are around 30 varieties of almonds, but only 10 undergo production for consumption purposes.

The immature green almond can be preserved and pickled — some consider it a delicacy.

Recent sudies show almonds eaten mid-morning can help moderate your blood sugar throughout the day. Almonds are extremely high in magnesium, a mineral that most people don’t get enough of. High magnesium intake may have major benefits for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Low magnesium levels are strongly linked to high blood pressure, indicating that almonds can be beneficial for blood pressure control. Eating 1-2 handfuls of almonds per day can lead to mild reductions in LDL cholesterol levels.

Almonds are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, are a rich source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, dietary fibres, and vitamin B and are the biggest barrier against cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Almonds are high in antioxidants that can protect your cells from oxidative damage, a major contributor to ageing and disease.

Nuts are low in carbs, but high in protein and fibre. Studies show that eating almonds (and other nuts) can increase satiety and help you eat fewer calories.

Did you know that chocolate manufacturers use around 40 percent of world’s total almonds in making delicious and mouth-watering chocolates?

Raw almonds are among the lowest-calorie nut and guess what? It’s easy to make your own almond milk. The same milk that we are using in this week’s $5 ‘Peaches & Cream’ Juiced @ The Wicket special. The process essentially involves soaking almonds in water overnight or for up to two days — the longer you soak the almonds, the creamier the milk will be. Drain and rinse the nuts from their soaking water and grind them with fresh water. The resulting liquid, drained from the almond meal, is almond milk.

Real, fresh, very tasty almond milk is a game-changer!

DSC 1881  SUPERFOOD SERIES: Almonds

Biological control using ladybugs

Posted by on 30th November 2017

Brasserie garden 11  Biological control using ladybugs

Did you know that the little ladybug could be one of the best friends you ever have in your garden?

Known for their love of aphids, a single ladybug is capable of consuming up to 50 to 60 aphids per day but will also eat a variety of other insects and larvae including scales, mealy bugs, leaf hoppers, mites, and various types of soft-bodied insects.

“I propagate ladybugs to control aphids and stop them eating the plants here in Cricket Square.”

The Brasserie’s head gardener who is also a qualified biologist, Aide Lopez, speaks animatedly about her recent visit to Mexico City to attend the National Congress of Biological Control.

Biological control is an environmentally sound and effective means of reducing or mitigating pests and pest effects through the use of natural enemies. It’s a sustainable and environmentally compatible pest management system, that avoids using pesticides.

“An example is the use of bamboo sticks to join one plant to the next like mini bridges, allowing ants to move from one leafy green to the next, foraging on nuisance insects.”

Some vegetables, herbs and flowers benefit each other by improving soil, while others deter pests from one another. Companion planting, another technique that Aide has implemented in the organic vegetable gardens, provides a fascinating blueprint for a higher garden yield.

“Eggplants and tomatoes are from the same family and therefore they will attract the same pests, creating an even bigger problem than if they were planted on their own. Some plants repel insect pests with their scent. Aroma can also be used to mask the scent of your main crop, effectively hiding them from predators.

“Corn and beans work well together. The beans break down the nitrogen, helping the corn to soak up this element in the soil.”

Beauveria bassiana is a fungus that grows naturally in soils throughout the world and also acts as a parasite on various arthropod species; therefore used as a biological insecticide to control a number of pests such as termites, thrips and whiteflies.

Next time you walk through Cricket Square or find yourself in The Brasserie’s greenhouse, look around, and see nature at work doing what it does best!

 

 

The Art of Coffee

Posted by on 2nd November 2017

“You have to invest and be committed to quality.”

In January 2009, the Brasserie Market opened its doors and became the second espresso outlet on Grand Cayman, and the only location on island, to host an extensive barista training program led by freelance coffee consultant, Erin Hulbert.

Erin is from the coffee homeland of Seattle.

“I am a purest. I love the transparency – from the bean, through processing, to the cup – coffee is a ritual for me. It’s a time to gather with friends and family. It’s part of our culture.”

She wrote the coffee menu, trained staff, talked to press, hosted a “public cupping” (just like a wine tasting but with coffee) and introduced Barrington Roasting Coffee to The Brasserie and the Cayman Islands.

This was the start of The Brasserie Barista Program.

After six hours a day of steaming milk, mastering espresso fundamentals, diligently learning cleaning routines, coffee origins, and preparation methods, my team of baristas were well on their way of becoming the only residents on Cayman to fully understand and execute perfect espresso as an art. As the doors officially opened on January 11, I watched these new coffee enthusiasts’ eyes light up with each sip of perfectly mastered microfoam, reminding me how much I love my job. – An extract from ‘Bringing Coffee to Grand Cayman by Training Four Baristas in Two Weeks’ by Erin Hulbert, Serious Eats.

Since then, Erin says she has trained over 30 through the Program. She visits the island twice every year and trains four people every trip over a 10-day period. “What I cover with them in 10 days, would normally take six months.”

“I am continually challenging The Brasserie baristas to learn new skills on every visit, from taste, milk texture and temperature to the final quest, latte art,” says Erin.

“When teaching the techniques of milk texturising, the end product swirling in the pitcher should resemble a fresh can of white paint; thick, glossy and bubble-free. That’s my perfect cappuccino memory.

“I’m teaching baristas not just what to do but why they do what they do. We need to understand the complexities of making coffee so should we need to fix something, we are familiar. Just like learning a language – you don’t just start learning the vocabulary, but also what you need to create sentences, like grammar.

“You don’t want to stand in the way of the espresso. You should be able to taste the coffee, not the barista. The barista is just there to facilitate the coffee process.”

A stand out for The Brasserie is its emphasis on cleanliness.

“The coffee machines are cleaned every hour on the hour. Oils from the beans adhere to the surfaces and those oils will go rancid if left, making the coffee taste old and earthy no matter the quality of beans. Cleanliness is the most efficient and effective method for maintaining equipment.”

New participants to The Brasserie Barista Program train with Erin for 30 hours – this is the preliminary training period. After “passing the Bar Exam”, which is a written and practical exam at the end of the 10-day training, the trainees each continue to be mentored for one week every month over a three-month period before they pass the Program and are certified to make coffee for The Brasserie customers.

“I expect a lot from my trainees. Not everyone passes The Brasserie Barista Program. I’m here to move the company forward, set it up for success and maintain a high standard of quality,” says Erin.

“When I return six months later, everyone who takes part in the last Program must pass the written and practical exam again.

“In the practical exam, trainees make every drink on the coffee menu and the written exam is based on the manual that I wrote for The Brasserie. For example: What is the ideal temperature for extracting espresso? Why do we serve ristretto?

“At the end of this course all of those employees that pass can confidently go anywhere and understand how espresso works. This can be a blessing and a curse. It opens your eyes up to things that you may not have understood or seen before.”

Erin’s top tip for barista excellence is to stay present.

“Every time you pour a drink, it’s a training moment.”

What about her favourite type of coffee?

“I always opt for an Americano. You can get a real indication of what the coffee is like. I call this American artisan – we have taken ideas from Italy, modelled their flavor profile and then made it our own.

“There are things about different coffee varieties that I love. American coffees share the familiar traits of your morning cup. They are known for their balance and even temperament. The African bean sparkles and adds adventure and excitement to our daily lives. Some Ethiopian beans smell and taste like fresh blueberry pie, while some Kenyan beans can taste so juicy that they make me feel like I’m drinking a Capri sun. Asian coffees are known for having the most curves. They are full bodied with a syrupy mouth feel. These coffees are richer, thicker and exotic with dark chocolate, bold nuttiness and subtle earthy tones.”

And then there’s always the hot topic, for baristas and coffee drinkers alike, of how to steam milk properly.

“I can sit across the room from a barista and tell exactly what texture will appear just by the sound of the aerating milk. Make sure you have cold milk and an even colder pitcher. This low starting temperature allows a longer steaming window, which provides optimal texture.”

Let’s not share all Erin’s secrets though. You’ll need to come to the Market and Restaurant and taste our coffee for yourself!

SUPERFOOD SERIES: Cacao

Posted by on 16th October 2017

cacao  SUPERFOOD SERIES: Cacao

Are you a chocoholic? Do you get anxious when there’s no chocolate in the house? Do you need to cleanse your pallet with chocolate after eating something salty? Does your favourite pizza have a chocolate base?

Good news! There is a healthier option.

Like chocolate, raw and unprocessed cacao (pronounced “cu-COW”) contains flavonoids, which are known to help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. With fewer than 15 calories per tablespoon and containing almost no fat, cacao provides a strong chocolate flavour without the guilt. “For someone who has a chocolate tooth and is looking for heart or circulation benefits, it’s a good call,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian.

There’s a reason that the Greek name for cocoa—Theobroma—literally means, “food of the gods.”

This Amazonian superfood has over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. Antioxidants absorb free radicals (that come from pollution and toxins in our environment), which cause cell and tissue damage and can lead to diseases such as cancer.

On a plant-based/vegan diet and looking for iron? The search is over! Cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron known to man, at a whopping 7.3mg per 100g. This compares to beef and lamb at 2.5mg, and spinach at 3.6mg. Note the iron in cacao is non-heme (as is all plant-based iron), so to get the maximum benefits you’ll want to combine it with some vitamin C.

Raw cacao is also one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium, the most deficient mineral in the Western world. Magnesium is important for a healthy heart, and helps turn glucose into energy enabling your brain to work with laser-sharp clarity and focus. The reason why you might turn to a bar of chocolate during an all-nighter at your desk!

More calcium than cow’s milk, cocoa contains 160mg of calcium per 100g vs only 125mg per 100ml of milk.

A natural mood elevator and anti-depressant, cacao is a great source of four scientifically proven bliss chemicals – serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters are associated with cosy feelings of wellbeing, happiness, and can even alleviate depression.

Serving cocoa in our smoothies and as a topping on our bowls at Juiced @ The Wicket all day every weekday, you have no excuse to enjoy the many health benefits that stem from this ancient South American food.

SUPERFOOD SERIES: Chickpeas

Posted by on 3rd October 2017

Chickpeas are one of the oldest consumed varieties of legumes on the planet. Did you know that ground chickpeas have been used as a coffee substitute since the 18th Century and are still commonly used as a caffeine-free alternative today?

This superfood contains a huge number of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including folate, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. They are also high in protein so are a fantastic alternative to meat for vegetarians.

If you’re experiencing hair loss and are tired of taking different supplements, try incorporating chickpeas into your diet. Chickpeas contain plenty of A, B and E vitamins, along with omega fatty acids. All of them can effectively promote hair growth. These nutrients can keep your scalp healthy and enhance blood circulation to your scalp.

The rich manganese content found in chickpeas helps strengthen bones by providing your spine with an increasing amount of minerals for optimal growth and development. Manganese also enhances skin health and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. As a matter of fact, manganese is used to manufacture a majority of beauty products.

Eating chickpeas on a daily basis can improve your eyesight. There’s no question that we all spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer screen, which can cause adverse effects on your eyes. Chickpeas are full of vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin for your mucous membrane, your skin, and your eyes.

Chickpeas are known by many different names all over the world. Other names include garbanzo beans, bengal grams, egyptian peas, ceci beans and kabuki chana. Approximately 90 million tonnes of chickpeas are produced each year. India is the world’s number one leader in chickpea production, with Australia coming in second place.

Chickpeas are a great source of both soluble and dietary fibre, important for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Soluble fibre may assist with reducing the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream and helps maintain blood sugar levels, which may help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and also aid in managing diabetes. The dietary fibre in chickpeas and their low glycemic index (GI) may also assist with weight loss by making you feel fuller for longer and helping you to resist the urge to grab your favourite bag of chips or chocolate chip cookies after dinner.

These clever little plants actually restore depleted soils and are powerful nitrogen fixing legumes. Their deep root system plays an important role in stabilising soils and preventing erosion, they may use little or no fertiliser while enhancing the fertility of the soil, and, they are a dry land agricultural crop, using no agricultural water. To add to their incredible talents, the chickpea plant even has a natural insecticide in its leaves, which keeps the bugs away. Incredible stuff!

‘CHATEAU CHOOK’ EGG AND CHICKPEA SALAD

Ingredients

garden beetroot, roasted in chunks
2 free range eggs, boiled
feta cheese
chickpeas
red capsicum
lettuce leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Combine all ingredients together except for the egg quarters and chickpeas, to be used as garnish on top of the salad.