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!
Every parent is a little biased about their child’s talents. So it’s not surprising that I think our Angus Boys are very clever.
This morning, Hubby had some mowing business to attend to and whilst I was sipping my morning coffee, I spied a few familiar black masses in the paddock nearest our cottage – the very paddock that I had moved those familiar black masses from yesterday. The Boys had somehow opened the gate and let themselves back in!
Down went my coffee, on went my boots, and out I headed. As I walked up to The Boys, they slowly started heading towards the very gate they’d opened. I walked ahead, and with few “Koo-mons!” we soon had a game of Follow-The-Leader! Our gentle approach has seen them become very calm and they seem to know that when we appear, we take them to greener pastures.
So within less than ten minutes, The Boys were reunited with the rest of their brothers chewing happily, even posing for photos. And I was back with my coffee!
I’m a sound sleeper. There’s not much that wakes me up, but this morning’s thunder clap had me sitting (lightning) bolt upright at 4am. And I was glad to be awake to hear the blissful sound of raindrops on the roof.
With no town water connection, we rely on our tanks for water. And when it rains, we feel happy! Hubby was up at 6am clearing a blocked down pipe, Drizabone on, drenched and smiling! I watched through the kitchen window as he stood to take in the heavens opening.
Country life has taught me about simplicity. And it’s the simple things that really matter. Water is fundamental to all of us, and if I can be reminded of that in the middle of the night, I’m somehow even more grateful!
Staying healthy is a priority for me, and one thing I love to do is walk! It seems to get the endorphins flowing, it encourages logical thinking and it’s not too hard on the knees!
And right near our farm is a fabulous dirt road that’s the perfect place to walk it out. There’s always a friendly neighbour driving past to wave to and we’ve seen plenty of ‘other’ neighbours including echidnas, kangaroos and the neighbours’ Hereford girls.
And with this as our view this evening, we think we’ll take the long way home!
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.