Tasmanian Southern Ocean Jade Salt is blended from sun-crystallised sea salt from the great Southern Ocean.

It contains pure ground seaweed, an edible variety known as Undaria which has migrated from Japan where it is cultivated.

It has established itself in the clear waters off Triabunna on Tasmania’s south-east coast. Undaria is rich in potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, as well as essential trace elements such as iodine.

But it is most highly prized for its strong ocean flavour; it is farmed in Japan, where many thousands of tonnes are consumed annually.

A mixture of herbs and spices has been added to complement and emphasise the natural flavour of fish, crustaceans, scallops and other shellfish. There are no additives or preservatives.

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Old Agony Fish Pepper has been specially formulated from an old recipe with the addition of Tasmania’s unique wild mountain pepper.

Tasmanian pepper comes from a small, attractive, slow-growing shrub known as Tasmannia lanceolata. Its distinctive features are spear-shaped leaves, bright crimson stems and creamy-white flowers in spring which produce juicy green berries, ripening to black.

Both the berries and the dried leaves are used in cooking; the dried berries are up to five times hotter than ordinary pepper.

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Old Agony Breakfast Pepper has been specially formulated from an old recipe with the addition of Tasmania’s unique wild mountain pepper.

In colonial days before refrigeration when meat, fish and other foods were preserved by salting or drying, strong spices were used to add flavour to what would otherwise have been bland and tasteless dishes.

Old Agony’s blend of carefully chosen peppers and spices will complement almost any savoury dish; use it sparingly at first — it is not styled Curiously Hot for nothing!

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Maximising the flavoursome tastes of Tasmanian Mountain Fish Pepper

AT TABLE

Sprinkle Tasmanian Mountain Fish Pepper on fried, baked or steamed fish. A squeeze of lemon juice will bring out the heat and the full flavour of the pepper.

IN THE KITCHEN

Mountain Fish Marinade
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Getting the most out of Tasmanian Mountain Curiously Hot Pepper

AT TABLE

Sprinkle Tasmanian Mountain Curiously Hot Pepper on breakfast eggs, tomatoes and sausages to awaken your palate and stimulate the flow of digestive juices. It is particularly warming on cold mornings.

IN THE KITCHEN

Tasmanian Mountain Marinade
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Sprinkled on fried, baked or grilled fish Jade Salt imparts a maritime tang. Use it with lemon juice on oysters — just sprinkle and allow them to stand for 10 minutes in the fridge.

JADE MARINADE

Process the juice of a lemon, two tablespoons of olive oil, a clove of garlic and 5-10 grammes of Jade Salt in a blender. Pour it over fish fillets in a shallow dish and allow to stand for 15-20 minutes, turning the fish once or twice. Then grill and serve.

WITH FROZEN FISH

Freezing can remove a lot of flavour from fish, scallops and prawns. Jade Salt can help to reclaim the lost taste. When the fish is thoroughly thawed, place it in a bowl with one litre of water and 10 grammes of Jade Salt.

Let it stand for 10 minutes or more then remove the fish — do not rinse, just pat fillets or peeled prawns dry with paper towel and brush with oil and a tiny quantity of light soy sauce.

Prawns in the shell should be left to drain in the fridge

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Tasmania’s wild mountain pepper can be up to five times hotter than ordinary black pepper – and it has quite a different taste sensation to chilli.

It’s rather like the Sichuan pepper used so widely used in north-east Asia to produce the famous tongue-numbing hot dishes of the region.

What makes Tasmanian pepper so prized by chefs for its lingering afterburn is a compound called polygodial (the experts say it’s a dialdehyde with a bicyclic sesquiterpenoid backbone, in case you really wanted to know).

It’s found in both the berries and the leaves of this attractive wild shrub which grows wild throughout Tasmania. The pepper bush is a Gondwanaland plant which evolved before that huge prehistoric continent broke up; that is why it has relatives in South America.

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If you’re freezing fish at home, pat it dry with a paper towel and wrap it so that air is excluded, either by wrapping twice in cling wrap (use plenty) or once in cling wrap and then in a zip-lock bag.

This will help to prevent ‘freezer burn’ which will make the fish dry and tough when cooked and may even make it unsafe to eat, especially if it has been stored for more than the maximum recommended three months.

Write the date you wrapped it on the package with a special freezer pen so that you’ll know when it’s reaching its use-by date.

Frozen fish should be slow-thawed by moving it, still wrapped, from the freezer compartment to the fridge. You can thaw it more quickly by leaving it on a metal surface at room temperature – but don’t let it get too warm or the flavour may spoil.

Microwave thawing can be quick, but unless you time it very carefully you run the risk of either partially cooking the fish or having it still partially frozen when it goes to the pan or the grill, both of which will result in uneven cooking and poor texture.

We formulated our Jade Salt mix with undaria seaweed to help restore the flavour many fish lose when frozen. A little sprinkled over the fish with a few drops of lemon juice and left for a few minutes before cooking brings back the tang of the sea.

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Basil, which came to Europe from India via the Middle East, is the culinary herb par excellence; its Greek name means ‘king,’ and they believed that it should be harvested only by the king, and then only with a golden sickle.

In India, where its Hindi name, tulsi, means ‘holy’, it is worshipped as sacred to the gods Vishnu and Krishna; it was laid on the bodies of the dead to ensure their admission to Paradise; and many Indians swear oaths in court on sprigs of basil. In Iran, Malaysia and Egypt it is planted on graves.

Legend says basil grew around Christ’s tomb, so in some Greek Orthodox churches is is used to prepare holy water and pots of basil stand on the altar.

In Italy and many southern European countries it was — and still is — a sign of love; when a woman put a pot of basil on the balcony outside her room, she was ready for her lover. In Romania, when a man took a sprig of basil from a woman, he was officially engaged.

Those concerned about a relationship would place two basil leaves on hot coals; if they lie where they are placed and quickly burn to ashes, the future will be harmonious. But if they crackle and fly apart, disaster will be the outcome. A sprig of fresh basil will wither in the hand of a promiscuous partner.

Basil is carried in the pocket or wallet to attract wealth, and new home-owners were given pots of the herb to protect the house and bring good fortune.

The Romans called it basiliescus, believing it would repel the basilisk, a malignant fire-breathing dragon that could kill with a glance. They also believed that basil would only prosper where there was chaos and misrule; they associated it with poverty, hatred and ill luck.

They said that to grow a good crop of basil, one must curse and shout while sowing it. From this arose the French saying semer le basilic (sowing the basil) for ‘raving.’

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