Winter mornings

Chilly mornings on Mulberry Tree Farm bring a special magic to the garden. Jonquils and daffodils bloom, and the trees make majestic silhouettes in the mist.

And the past two morning have brought a new feature – an ice skating rink, for the birds! The birdbath has been frozen solid, much to the dismay of the wrens and lorikeets!

But the birds are enjoying the biscuit and bread crumbs we put out for them. Scone crumbs are a favourite, so I’m pleased my winter baking is proving to be a hit with the locals!

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The Preservation Society

We love preserving things at Mulberry Tree Farm, especially when they taste good! Our homegrown quinces have been quietly curing in the larder, and Hubby decided to do what he does best with them – make quince paste!

And this time he discovered something else – after boiling with a lemon rind and whisking them in the blender, he came over with a teaspoon. “Taste this!” he beamed.

I’d never thought to try puréed quince, but it is a beautiful, complex and delicate flavour. And the best bit is, there’s no added sugar!

So Hubby set some aside for us to warm up for breakfast with a dash of yogurt … And it’s amazing.

And, by the way, so is his quince paste. We can’t wait to find some delectable cheese to sample it with!

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Teapot tea and scones

I love the ritual of morning tea, especially when I take the time to make teapot tea.

And this morning I went deluxe and made a batch of scones to accompany my pot of brewed leaves. I used the wonderful Stephanie Alexander’s scone recipe and, if I do say so myself, they turned out a treat!

The trick seems to be to use sour milk, which can easily be achieved by adding a squeeze of lemon to fresh milk. A while ago I had an over-supply of lemons so I froze the juice in ice-cube trays. I added the equivalent of two cubes, which had turned into the consistency of a lemon paste.

I also put my scone cutter to use, rather than cutting the dough with a knife which I have read makes all the difference to a successful scone.

And here is morning tea, serving up not only a well-deserved break, but also a good cuppa and a scone… or two!

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Pumpkin Patch Produce

Did you know that pumpkin flowers make for delicious food?! I didn’t until yesterday, so once they’re ready Hubby is going to cook them up!

We love eating zucchini flowers, so much so that one year we ate too many and missed out on our zucchinis… But we learned a very important lesson in the process – let nature do its work first!

With pumpkins, you can eat the male flowers and this won’t affect the pumpkin production. The male flowers are those without a pumpkin growing behind them.

Looking at these, I’m sure they’ll be beauties! I’m hungry for pumpkin flowers already!

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Summer harvest!

After the Christmas festivities, Hubby’s been out in the veggie patch and found our shallots and garlics are ready! The aroma is amazing!

And the dear old mulberry tree is bursting with beautiful dark berries. The flavour is intensely delicious and my fingers are stained a beautiful dark purple… So is my tongue: evidence that I may have eaten more than I’ve picked!

With this fresh harvest, we’ve suddenly recovered from our Christmas Food overdose! We’re thinking yabbie tail pasta with shallots and garlic, and mulberries for dessert with a good dash of ice cream!

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Christmas Baking

It’s been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and over the past few days, the heartbeat of Mulberry Tree Farm has produced some Christmas fare!

Butter shortbread and biscotti have been made ahead of the big day, and the sweet baking smells seem to hang in the air just long enough to make it impossible to taste test a biccie… Or two!

Luckily I’ve baked a couple of batches!

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Homemade herbs

There was a surprise waiting for me in the larder this morning – our very own dried herbs, in jars, ready to go!

I cut back the herb garden a few weeks ago, and Hubby suggested we dry the off cuts! It was such a fabulous idea and now we have bottled our labour of love… Well, he has!

The dried mint leaves provides an intense flavour for mint tea, and the aroma is so fragrant. Think I might make myself a cup now!

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