Salted Lavender and Leatherwood Honey Caramel Macadamia Slice Recipe

Recently I made a Caramel Macadamia Slice for a dinner party and it was devoured very quickly!

I was wondering how I could change the flavour of the caramel and decided to give Tasmanian lavender a try. I also thought the caramel would be wonderfully enhanced by the addition of Tasmanian Leatherwood honey with its rich, full bodied flavour and spicy undertones.

I’s quite an easy recipe. You will need:

Base

1 egg

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/3 cup sunflower oil

2/3 cup plain flour, sifted

1/4 cup self-raising flour, sifted

Topping

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (so it weighs around 200g)

175g salted butter

2 tablespoons Tasmanian Leatherwood honey

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or according to taste)

1 teaspoon Tasmanian culinary dried lavender flowers (Lavendula angustifolia flowers – low in camphor and suitable for culinary purposes)

250g unsalted macadamias, halved

Extra lavender for sprinkling over the top

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan forced. Grease and line an 18 x 28cm slice pan.

2. Using electric mixer, beat egg and castor sugar until pale and thick. Add the oil and beat until well incorporated. Fold in the sifted combined flours. Spoon into pan and spread to cover base evenly. (It is quite thick and needs a fair bit of spreading) – it will look like this:IMG_1021

 

3. Bake for 20mins until puffed and golden.

4. Meanwhile, prepare caramel topping. Place the brown sugar, butter and honey in a heavy-based saucepan on low heat. Stir for 5 mins, until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Simmer, without stirring for 10mins,until caramelised. Add salt, lavender and nuts.

5. Pour topping over base and working quickly, spread evenly. Bake for a further 10mins, until topping is golden. Sprinkle some extra lavender flowers over the top. Cool in pan. Slice.

Makes around 12-16 pieces.

IMG_1025

 

I’m looking forward to trying some other flavour combinations such as: rosemary, rose and black pepper, and orange blossom and cardamom using the Aftelier chefs essences.

Kerry x

P.S. this recipe has been adapted from the original published in July 2007 Australian Table magazine (can’t find an online link – sorry)

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Solid perfumes

Recently I went for a lovely drive to The Honey Farm located in Chudleigh, Tasmania. Chudleigh lies in a little valley with the awesome Great Western Tiers as the backdrop. Chudleigh is also very close to Mole Creek Karst National Park – an area renowned for underground caves, underground rivers, caverns and glow worms! It is a breathtakingly beautiful, pristine part of the world.

The purpose of my trip was to pick up some beeswax for my solid perfumes. The beeswax has a beautiful rich, honey aroma. Here it is:

Tasmanian beeswax from Chudleigh

Tasmanian beeswax from Chudleigh

And here are the solid perfumes made from the beeswax with jojoba, essential oils & absolutes: Solar, Rose Tea & Forest.

SOLAR: is a radiant blend of juicy citrus, jasmine grandiflorum, bitter orange absolute and amber.

ROSE TEA: is a bohemian rose & tea, with a heart of rose centifolia and damascena delicately surrounded by tea notes of bergamot, rooibos red tea and frankincense, on a base of patchouli and oud.

FOREST: dappled rays of citrus dance amongst the fir and pine trees, before casting light on an earthy forest floor of vetiver and incense.

These have been a real delight to make. There seems to be something calming and meditative about the preparation of solid perfumes – I think it has to do with the grating and melting of the beeswax! After adjusting of ratios, these have turned out to be a lovely creamy consistency that melt right into the skin leaving an intimate veil of scent.

These will initially only be available at the Launceston niche market. I should then have them available online in the new year.

 

èrlithe will be at Niche & Co this year!

I’m very excited to announce that our application to attend this years niche market in Launceston,Tasmania was accepted! There were over 500 applicants with only 51 places available!

The extra great thing is that 20% of sales will be donated to St. Giles to support children with disability in Tasmania. Here’s the date to mark in your calendar for those in or visiting Launceston:

53292_stgiles_niche posters 2

 

I’m also hoping to have a few new items available for sale on the day which will eventually make their way to the website. These new items are solid perfumes and fragranced bath salts.

The solid perfume fragrances that I have settled upon are: jasmine, rose & red tea, fir and neroli. Jasmine is my “smell” of the month and the solid perfume has turned out to be insanely gorgeous. I just wish there was such a thing as ‘smell -o-net’ so you could smell what I mean!

Trialling solid perfumes

Trialling solid perfumes

MoMa: Mona markets, Hobart Tasmania

Yesterday was a fabulous day!

So far I have relied on the internet to take my natural perfumes to the world. Yesterday was the first time that I went out in public to showcase my natural perfumes in person. The reason I have not ventured out to showcase my perfumes is simply because I felt that the average market did not have the right vibe. It’s not necessarily about selling my perfumes (although that is always awesome!), it’s about sharing my love of natural ingredients and botanicals and helping to educate and show people an alternative to the common synthetic perfumes.

When I was offered a spot at the MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) markets (MoMa) for 2014, I was both excited and nervous. Nervous because I had not done this before and excited because I saw it as the perfect venue in which to share my love of botanical based natural perfumes. This years theme for the markets is the “River Derwent Heavy Metals Project: an ongoing art-science collaboration bent on tackling the problem of pollution in the River Derwent”. For me and my perfumes, the connection to their theme is this: if we choose products/perfumes that are full of synthetics and chemicals such as parabens, phthalates etc, not only are these chemicals absorbed into our bodies they are also excreted into the environment. How? Directly: via the sink as we wash them off our bodies and also via the sewer as we excrete some of the toxins out of our bodies into the toilet bowl.

The MONA markets only operate each Saturday 12-5pm from January 18 – April 19. I am not there every week and so did a reconnaissance mission to the markets prior to having to set up a stall. All nerves and fears were instantly put at ease. The vibe is unreal. There is a very palpable generous and welcoming atmosphere. You get the sense that you have been invited to the museum owners backyard to just chill out, enjoy some fabulous food and beverages, and relax on pink bean bags whilst listening to music. So, wherever you are in the world, this place is an absolute must to visit!

These are a few photos taken on the reconnaissance mission:

monahobart5

monahobart6So yesterday was my debut at the markets. The staff were amazing: welcoming, friendly, super organised and helpful.

It was interesting to discover that the vast majority of folk who checked out my stall did not know what natural perfume was. So, it turned out to be a perfect opportunity to educate people regarding natural perfumes. I was also really delighted to get amazing positive feedback. It was great to see people’s immediate reactions and it was such a relief that I got no “yucks”! It was also interesting to see that all the perfumes were enjoyed, but one just shone a little ahead of the rest yesterday: 010 geranium bourbon, vanilla and botanical musk.

So thank you to all the people who dropped by and tried my perfumes yesterday, thank you for my new likes on Facebook and thank you to the staff of Mona Hobart.

Here are some snaps at the markets:

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Tasmanian Boronia

Tasmania ‘the natural state’ is renowned throughout the world as one of the cleanest places on earth, boasting one of the last pristine temperate wilderness areas. Around 45% of Tasmania consists of reserves, national parks and world heritage sites. It is the destination for anyone wanting to experience the magnificence of nature and unique flora and fauna.

Tasmania is the place of dreams – a place people wish they could live, but due to low employment opportunities, most only get to experience the magic of Tasmania on holidays. I therefore consider myself incredibly lucky that I have the opportunity to live here and be inspired by Tasmania’s beauty in the creation of my natural perfumes. I could rave on forever about how amazing Tasmania is but I will now get to the main discussion point of this blog entry – a natural botanical perfumery ingredient that once again puts Tasmania on the world map, Boronia Absolute.

Boronia Absolute is produced from the flowers of a native shrub – Boronia megastigma (brown boronia). It is an evergreen shrub with intensely rich, fragrant flowers. How intense?  INTENSE!! Yesterday I visited a local garden nursery to pick up some vegetable seedlings and seeds for my new veggie patch. As I was wandering through the nursery an amazing sharp, floral, tangy, zesty smell wafted my way. I stopped dead in my tracks, excitedly sniffing the air! I knew that smell! Following my nose I found a table holding around 7 plants – BORONIA!! I was beside myself with excitement. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, this is Tasmania after all! However, I have not actually seen and smelt the real plant before and have not as yet come across a nursery that had it in stock. I grabbed 3 of the plants like there was no tomorrow! The fragrance is amazing, smelling just like my boronia absolute at home! I carried my beloved boronia’s with me around the nursery as I gathered what I had actually gone there for, all the while their heavenly scent surrounding me. The car was filled with the intoxicating boronia aroma for the drive home and my lovely plants are currently sitting on a table outside delighting me with their fragrance each time I pass.

There are around 90 – 100 species of boronia. Boronia megastigma or brown boronia is the type that is used for the production of boronia absolute. They grow to about 1 meter x 1 meter and have delightful purple-brown bell shaped flowers with a striking yellow/lime green colour inside. I also chose a yellow boronia with yellow bell shaped flowers, still fragrant but not as intensely fragrant as the brown boronia. Apparently they can be difficult to grow, tending to be fast growing and short lived – not particularly good news for a non green thumb such as myself!

The shrubs are commercially grown in a number of locations throughout Tasmania – around 12 plantations are located in the North and East of Tasmania, totalling around 45 hectares. The flowers are mechanically harvested between August and October each year. The concrete is produced from the open flowers by non-chlorinated solvent extraction. Traditional alcohol extraction of the concrete produces the absolute. There are around 150 chemical constituents that naturally occur in Boronia, with beta-ionone and dodecyl acetate being the two main components contributing to the aroma. The aroma is typically described as an intensely rich and floral aroma with an initial opening of the natural green freshness of cassis and the character of ripening hay followed by exotic fruit undertones of yellow freesias and a woody dry-out. The persistency and intensity of the scent has made it highly valued in the perfumery world and is also used in the food industry as an addition to citrus and berry formulations.

There is only 1 producer here in Tasmania that I am aware of. The high demand and small supply makes boronia absolute an incredibly expensive, if not the most expensive, botanical perfumery ingredient in the world. The producer only sells to those capable of buying in large quantities – to then buy from these suppliers is very costly, a very recent quote for just 50 mls of absolute will set me back AUD$1750!!

For those who follow this blog, you’ll be aware that I make and sell 030 Orange Blossom and Boronia Natural Perfume – I occasionally worry that I won’t be able to secure enough boronia to keep making this perfume, but I guess that’s just the way it is sometimes.

030 Erlithe Boronia perfume

030 Boronia perfume amongst the Boronia!

At least I have my very own boronia shrubs for now and who knows, maybe I’ll work out how to extract my own boronia absolute – dreaming! : )

Have any of my readers ever seen and smelt real boronia? If so, what did you think of it?

Kerry Che x