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!
Olives and their oil have been treasured for centuries, and every year at Mulberry Tree Farm we harvest our olives with great pride. And unfortunately to date, we haven’t had much to celebrate post harvest.
I’ve tried curing buckets of the beautiful, bitter fruit but not with much luck. Hubby suggested we make our own oil so we started researching – at the local café in town.
Sure enough we were very lucky to be introduced to a local treasure who is an olive expert and lives two farms down from us. Mr Fratelli came to the Goulburn Valley in his twenties. He fell in love with it, bought a small plot, and met and married a beautiful girl who helped plant the groves. He now has his own olive oil press and supplies the top restaurants in Melbourne with his liquid gold. His oil is so good that he even puts his image and name on the bottle!
We learned from him that certain olives are best for oil, and others are prime candidates for preserving due to the amount of oil they yield. A good oil olive will yield 16% oil. Some olives yield 3% and these are the ones for preserving.
We were shown that pH plays a big part in preserving olives – just add a splash of vinegar to fresh water to keep the olives from becoming mushy.
Some of ours preservers were ready, so they’re in sterilised jars and we’re changing fresh water every day for 10 days before adding that touch of vinegar.
And our oil olives are still maturing, so we’ll leave them a while until we take them down the road for pressing.
So now there’s no excuse for anything but restaurant standard olives … But, just quietly, I might be doing the tasting before putting my name to these!
When you grocery shop, have you noticed the perfect fruit and vegetables on offer?
I admit I never did until I started to grow my own. The produce that makes the cut in supermarkets and green grocer’s displays is like the last ten standing in a beauty pageant. Only the “best” go on show?
But what about the slightly imperfect, quirky or funny ones? When it’s fresh produce, they taste better than the one’s in store. And when they’re your own, you love them just as much… And some of them love you back too!
Things are looking particularly rosy in our veggie patch at the moment. The tomatoes are ready and ripe for the picking!
We’ve had a very productive season with last year’s left over tomatoes sprouting themselves! Nature has a wonderful way of rejuvenating itself that I think even Lana Del Ray would appreciate!
With these plentiful pickings, our family and friends love us! And with this beautiful seasonal produce, soon I’ll be sourcing tomato passata recipes in readiness for winter stews and pasta dishes to enjoy these blushing beauties year-round.
We’ve just returned from a trip to the Big Smoke and were super excited to see street trees beating fruit!
A beautiful apple tree was fully adorned with fruit in one of the high streets.
And a pear tree was laden, making me dream up a poached pear with cinnamon and ice cream dessert.
Street foraging is already popular in California, USA, and I think it’s fabulous.
If you have a nature strip that’s needing a little TLC, why not plant a fruit tree? It will brighten your place with its foliage, and even more so with the conversations you’ll have with passers by admiring your tree. You might even make a new friend, because there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when someone gives you food of which they are the custodians!
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!
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!