Lisa Rainbird brought Bowen Island Herb Salts into being in 2015, after a visit to a salt mine in Germany.
“They had some salt blends, but there were things that put me off - like the plastic containers, for example. Also, we grow a lot of herbs in our own garden here on Bowen, so I thought making our own might be worthwhile,” says Lisa. “We started our company using glass grinders, and making use of whole-sale Mediterannean sea salts.”
The salts have evolved to include berries and fruits from Lisa and her husband Bernie’s garden, and their company now makes berry-sugars and teas.
Lisa says she enjoys experimenting, and is currently working on curing her own bacon with her salts. She says these adventures are being documented on her company website at bowenislandherbsalts.com.
If you’re a local food-lover and cook who wouldn’t mind answering a few questions about what goes on in your kitchen, or if you know one, please get in touch!
What’s your favourite kitchen utensil? (of all time, or maybe of the moment)
My favourite utensils are my slow cooker and dehydrator – use to make our salts, dehydrate all our fruit from the garden as well as greens because we run out of freezer space.
If you could only have one cook book…
It would have to be the Joy of Cooking because it has everything in it. Although I’m not vegan, I also love my vegan cookbooks, particularly “Get it Ripe” by Jai Steele. Everything in there tastes great with our herb salts!
Who’s your biggest culinary inﬂuence, and what did they teach you?
My biggest culinary influence was my aunt in England. As a child I remember how much she enjoyed cooking good and simple food from the garden in the summer. She always used to get so excited with the broad beans were ready! Every year I make sure I have some broad beans in the ground in her memory.
When did you realize you loved to cook?
Well, I don’t really love to cook, but I do like good food. That is why I grow a lot of herbs... they make the simplest meals taste so yummy!
Tell me about a culinary challenge, and how you overcame it.
I tend to avoid culinary challenges because I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. If it is too complicated, I don’t bother!
How has living on Bowen inﬂuenced your cooking?
I think that simply having a garden to grow all the herbs and fruit in has influenced my cooking because in the summer we get an abundance of herbs and fruit which need preserving. So, I like to think of different ways of using the herbs and fruit, and ways of preserving them so they last longer.
Here’s a traditional German treat that Lisa and Bernie say typically enjoyed by us on New Year’s Eve.
“It is truly delicious,” says Lisa. “But beware, it can leave you feeling pretty rough the next day.
- 4 litres red wine
- 1 litre orange juice
- 2 bags of Bowen Island Herb Salt mulled spice
- 1 large sugar cone
- 0.5 litre 151 proof rum.
Simmer the wine with the orange juice and mulled spice on low for about 30 minutes (the longer you simmer, the more flavour). Don’t boil.
Place pot outside with sugar cone suspended over top of the pot. Soak the sugar cone with rum, and light with a match.
Slowly ladle the rum over the sugar cone as the sugar melts and drips into the mulled wine. Continue ladling the rum over the sugar until all the sugar has disappeared into the pot.
Drink up and enjoy!