Sunday, October 31, 2010


The Spanish called this nut Cocos which means "monkey face" because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resemble the head and face of a monkey. Nucifera means "nut-bearing."

Coconuts do not have a long shelf life, especially after the outer husks have been removed. When purchasing a coconut choose one that is still heavy with juice. Shake it to make sure there is plenty of juice inside. Check the eyes, they shouldn't look dark or moldy. Choose a rich brown shell if you wish to press fresh milk. Inside, the thick flesh should be a pure white color; yellow flesh means rancidity. A lighter brown shell means a younger nut with soft meat that is delicious as a snack, or shredded to use in recipes. Milk pressed from these coconuts may be less creamy but its flavor can be fresher and tastier.

To open a coconut, hold over a bowl in one hand with the tip on one end and the eyes on the other. Whack the coconut with the back of the cleaver a few times all around the center until it cracks open cleanly into two nearly equal halves. Make sure you use the blunt side of the cleaver. Catch he juice in the bowl as it drains from the cracks.

Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a "functional food" because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content.

Fruit Wine Awards

19th June, 2010

Without a grape wine industry in the tropics our emerging fruit wine alternative has flourished with wines made from mango, jaboticaba, lychee, Davidson plum, pitaya, mangosteen, ginger and passionfruits, to name a few.

This region has the most commercial fruit wineries than anywhere else in Australia and so it’s befitting to hold the 2010 Australian Fruit Wine Awards in Cairns. Next Saturday fruit wines from all over Australia and New Zealand will vie for the gold, silver and bronze medals; judged by experienced and passionate fruit wine judges Amanda Conrad and Wayne Hewitt from Hobart.

I helped out last year and was surprised to see there were over 60 fruit wines and liqueurs entered with 40 from this region. The judging categories are similar to grape wine; Light Flavoured Dry Wine, Full Flavoured Dry Wine, Light Flavoured Sweet Wine, Full Flavoured Sweet Wine, Fortified Wine (Dessert Wine), Sparkling Wine and Liqueurs. I particularly enjoyed some of the fortified wines and tropical flavoured liqueurs.

Last year the Victorian ‘Thieves & Duffers’ won the Best Fruit Wine of the show and this year’s wine judge Wayne Hewitt’s Rebello had a stunning strawberry sparkling winner. However our local Murdering Point scored the best sweet wine for its Pinnacles Passionfruit wine and de Bruey’s Boutique Wines took out the Best Liqueur trophy with two of their Flagship Coffee Elixer and Tropical Temptation liqueurs.

The Australian Fruit Wine Awards is held each year in conjunction with the Cairns Show Wine Awards in a separate room downstairs in the De Jarlais function centre. This year the new Cafe and Market has been added to showcase local foods of the region. So on Saturday 26th between 3-6pm you can come along to the public tasting of grape and fruit wines as well as local foods. For more information go to .