Organic food never really caught my attention. Probably because there wasn't a need for it, and probably because I've always thought it was boring. Unfortunately, eyes are opened to these things when one gets some sort of allergy to regular foodstuff, or a need to avoid all the preservatives and chemicals that are in practically everything we buy off the shelves these days ... or unless one is a health nut ... or ok, just wanting to be healthy ... the right way.
A while back, I was put into a situation where I had to guest post something healthy. And was I in a fix! I realized then how little I know about eating healthy besides the couple of vitamin pills that I pop every now and then .... whenever I remember. (I have absolutely no discipline when it comes to these things).
So I made a quinoa something-or-other for the guest post, and got totally hooked to it ... hubby still says it's rabbit food and refuses to have anything to do with it.
But whaddaya know? Healthy food can be tasty.
I need to learn more about this organic culture. Just out of curiosity.
I was fortunate to be invited (thanks to Veronica @ Quay Po Cooks) to spend half a day with some fellow bloggers and the local media to experience a very educational session about Ozganics, a homegrown, award winning Australian brand, founded by Anni Brownjohn. Such a bubbly lady ....
She had 2 other chefs (Chef Ryan and Chef Loke) assisting her in a cooking demo ... great job, guys!
There's a wide range of products, these are just a few (the lemon chicken sauce was used in the cooking demo). You can find more at Jaya Grocer.
Chef Ryan whipped up the most delicious tasting Organic Sprouted Wheat Multigrain Bread ... I could eat the whole loaf. (Note to self: must make this soon!)
The bread went beautifully with my favorite dish of the day .... Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives. And the sauce was right out of a bottle! Who needs to be a cook-from-scratch snob when this is so easy and so delicious! This dish was also very well paired with quinoa ... yes! quinoa! ... that healthy thingy that I'm so in love with! Will amazement never cease!
The other 2 dishes on the menu: Thai Pumpkin Soup and Watermelon and Feta Salad. The soup and salad also had sauces and dressings from a bottle ... Ozganics, of coz.
We had a taste of 3 different kinds of dressing for the salad ... garlic, lemon myrtle and avocado. I honestly thought I'd prefer the avocado before I'd tasted it, but the feta overpowered the mildness of it as well as the lemon myrtle that in the end, the garlic dressing was a better compliment.
Waiting for those dishes to be ready was the most agonizing part ... thank goodness nobody heard the orchestra doing a crescendo in my tummy.
~ Feeding a hungry horde ~
And for the more inquiring minds ....
Definition of Organic:
(sourced from wiki)
~ no human sewage sludge fertilizer used in cultivation of plants or feed of animals (organic meat). The livestock must be reared with regular access to pasture and without the routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones.
~ avoidance of synthetic chemical inputs not on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, etc.), genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge.
~ use of farmland that has been free from prohibited synthetic chemicals for a number of years (often, three or more).
And having authentic Organic Certification means:
~ keeping detailed written production and sales records (audit trail).
~ maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products.
~ undergoing periodic on-site inspections.
In some countries, certification is overseen by the government, and commercial use of the term organic is legally restricted. Certified organic producers are also subject to the same agricultural, food safety and other government regulations that apply to non-certified producers.
So, even if you get a product that has a bunch of logos plastered on the label, that doesn't really mean it's certified organic. To be certified organic, products must be grown and manufactured in a manner that adheres to standards set by the country they are sold in. And in this case, Ozganics is certified by NASAA (The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia) and holds international recognition.
I came out of that session much smarter than I went in. There's still much to learn about organic foods. And I specifically am interested mainly in the dishes I can whip up with it. The only downside about organic products is that they're costly, and I don't mean a smidgen in difference, but quite a significant one. Hopefully that'll change sometime soon.
Thanks again to the organizers, Anni Brownjohn, Chef Ryan, Chef Loke, Jaya Grocer @ Empire, Nourish!, QuayPo Cooks for the invite and fellow bloggers who contributed to an enjoyable afternoon. Nice meeting all of you!