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Add some spice to your life?

For a little extra spice get Oz Tukka’s versatile Outback Spice Rub featuring bush tomato, native mint and aniseed myrtle. Use it with beef, pork, lamb, pasta or salads. The Native Citrus Spice Rub with lemon myrtle, strawberry gum, blood lime and Davidson plum is great for chicken, pork and fish.

“Our Rainforest Oil is a macadamia oil infused with lemon myrtle, a bit of ginger and a secret something that I can’t share. Or try a variation with a hint of Tasmanian pepper leaf, native mint and lemon myrtle,” Linda suggests.

Who doesn’t love olives?

Based in Broke, Belarna Grove is a boutique producer of a gourmet range of olive oils, table olives, vinegars and balsamic dressings. Olives are one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world and olive oil has been used for millenia, but it is still a relatively new crop for the wider Hunter region. Belarna Grove owner Mike Wilson decided early on to focus on processing rather than growing olives.

“We pick up the olives, we have them pressed for oil or pickled for table olives. We have our own recipes for blending and flavouring and handle the entire processing and packaging part.”

With a stellar 2021 harvest, Mike is busy churning out customer favourites like his chilli and garlic olive oil. “We created that one when a customer said they loved our chilli oil and our garlic oil and could they have both of them together?” It’s spicy, with just the right touch of garlic and perfect for rich, full flavoured pasta dishes, for casseroles or to marinate ribs for a family barbie. Or try one of Mike’s balsamic dressings or his Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar. It’s rich, thick, sweet, and highly addictive. Use it in salads, marinades or (yes, seriously!) with strawberries. Another guaranteed crowd pleaser are his table olives. They come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colours, marinated in a choice of native bush herbs.

Sensory celebrations – Aussie style

Linda Tipper and Ray Kochel are the flavour aficionados behind Redhead-based Oz Tukka, offering native Australian spices, bushfoods and botanicals. “Our native Australian flora has outstanding health properties, nutrient levels and naturally present medicinal compounds and the flavours of our hot dry deserts and lush rainforests are finally finding their way into our kitchens,” Linda says passionately.

OzTukka features already popular spices such as lemon myrtle or wattle seed as well as lesser known varieties. All products are sustainably collected in the wild or grown commercially without the use of chemicals and gently hand harvested.

Delicate Beauties

The foreshore of Lake Mac is Laura’s home and her source of inspiration (and supply) for her delicately handcrafted earrings featuring dried wildflowers and gemstones.

“I have recently finished a science degree in chemical and biomolecular sciences but have always had very strong creative and artistic leanings,” she explains. She started making earrings for family and friends to keep her hands and mind occupied during the first Covid lockdown. They proved to be highly popular and she kept getting requests for more. It was the start of Elysian Petals, a lovingly curated range of artisanal, floral jewellery that constantly changes with the seasons.

Laura creates all her pieces with special care and relentless attention to detail, using handpicked Australian natives from the Lake Mac foreshore, carefully dried and preserved in resin to safeguard their beauty for years to come. With no two flowers ever being exactly the same, expect slight colour variations in every pair of earrings.

Laura has recently added beaded earrings made with genuine gemstones to her offering. “I’m using moss agate because it promotes self-expression, balances emotions and encourages trust and hope. And sea sediment jasper helps you find love, clarity and self-compassion,” she explains thoughtfully.

Isn’t that something we all could use a little more of these days?

International Book Award for 5 Little Bears

Leanne Murner, founder and creative force behind educational toy store 5 Little Bears has just won the New York Big Book Award in the nature children’s category for her first children’s book, Franki and the Banksia. “The book is about one of my sons asking his Poppy John questions like ‘Why are the birds there, why are they doing this or that?’,” Leanne says proudly. She also offers educational timber memory games, dominoes, light boxes, and whole eco-system information boards introducing kids to Australian fauna and flora.
See more of her wonderful toys and games here:

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