The kids went away on holiday and we were told to remove all the perishables from their fridge. We found spring onions, mushrooms, small tomatoes and lemons. Great! That sounds like lunch already, but when we got home the neighbour had left us some freshly harvested beans. I augmented everything with fresh chili and a tiny garlic bulb from the garden, picked some parsley, and this was the lunch made by the Never Trow Out Anything maniac in the kitchen. A bit of lemon went into a gin and tonic for Mrs BYF, and the rest was squeezed over the peeled apples (from the tree at the back door) for the apple crumble which is now in the oven ! The rustic bread and salami was made by me. Wash it all down with a glass of great red home brew and ENJOY!!
Do yourself a favor and allocate 15 minutes of your time to read all three articles.
We are trying at all costs to stay away from purchased products.
We had the good fortune to be invited to pick apricots near Dunback. The day was clear and sunny and this year the trees were laden with sweet, ripe, pink cheeked fruit. The orchard is organic and amazingly free of bugs, wasps, birds and the like and the taste of the fruit was the best we had ever eaten.
Sheep roam the orchard and once we had explained the difference between sheep poo (ok) and dog poo (not ok) to the city kids, everyone got stuck in, munching and chatting as they picked in the shade of the trees. The baby grazed on whatever fruit he found on the ground until he announced “I don’t NEED apricots!” . When I commented on the meagre contents on Mrs BYF’s bucket she claimed to have eaten at least one tree’s worth and that it should be factored in to her harvest.
We had a great day out in the peaceful countryside. We met lovely hospitable people, drank great coffee and beer, and came home happy and pleased with our haul.
Back in the kitchen, we made jam, dried some, froze some, preserved some, and, with the smallest fruit, bottled them in grappa. We will need some warmth when the Dunedin winter bites so hopefully we will be able to keep our hands off these bottles until then.
True to African tradition, as soon as the Head of State (Mrs Back Yard Farmer) left the country for a holiday with the grandchildren, the Opposition (Aka Back Yard Farmer), arranged a well organised COUP and took over the kitchen table. Fortunately, no blood was shed as all the remaining living subjects (quails, chickens, rabbits, etc) were on the side of the opposition, seeing they were the sole beneficiaries of the must from 130 liters of wine (only after Grappa has been distilled though). Recipes to follow soon with the next post.
We love olives but are wary of the chemically saturated commercial products available. The solution is to cure our own the way it had been done traditionally in Italy. On the drive to Cromwell to collect olives we passed through beautiful, and often contrasting scenery, as one does when travelling in New Zealand. We stopped several times to admire the amazingly blue Clutha River. Normally rivers are colored muddy brown and the color and clarity of this river was quite thrilling. Then we passed by Cromwell where we once again stopped to look at the reflections of the mountains (one snowy peak in the background) in the water. In the distance tantalising, snow covered, mountains stayed just out of reach for close up pictures. The olive grove belongs to Bill and Helen Dunbar and is on the shores of Lake Dunstan. The lake and the snowy mountain tops are visible from everywhere, from the cleverly laid out open plan house and presses, to the trees when one is picking. The business markets fresh pressed olive oil which, once we got home, we compared with our favorite imported Italian brand and we are happy to report that it came out tops. There is much to be said for a fresh olive oil from good olives and carefully pressed and bottled. See the website http://www.Dunfordgrove.com
Bill and Helen invited me to pick my own olives – an unexpected bonus! The last time I had the opportunity to pick olives was in Italy in the Marche on the farm of an old friend, and then again in my friend Lino’s back yard (one tree only, but what a harvest!). We picked about 60 Kg, a mix of eating and pressing olives – thank you Bill and Helen.
Recipe for Curing Olives
The olives I picked were Picholine, Frantoio and Leccino. Leccino and Frantoio cultivars are the principal raw material for Italian olive oils from Tuscany. Leccino has a mild sweet flavor. Picholine is grown in Southern France and is a green, medium size, eating olive with a nutty flavor. I am going to cure them all for eating purposes and will try a few different recipes to make it all more interesting.
Picholine – I have about 40 kg of Picholine and will make 15 Kg in the following way.
Wash and submerge olives in clean cold water with lemon juice of two lemons as well as the lemon peels. Replace the water and lemon every day for five days. Now crush the olives with the bottom of a bottle, but do not destruct the fruit. Submerge again in clean water with lemon juice and peels and again replace water and lemon every day for five days. Drain the water well and pack the olives in glass containers. Ad a quarter of a sliced lemon and one crushed garlic clove per 5 liters. Make enough brine solution of 100 g salt per liter of water to cover all the olives. Bring the brine to a boil, let it cool for five minutes only and then pour the hot brine over the olives. Make sure all the olives are covered. I have plastic grids that fit tightly into the bottles and these keep all the fruit under water. Now add a thin layer of olive oil to seal the product and immediately seal the jars tightly. Store in a cool dark place for three months before consuming.
We had a glut of lovely apricots during summer (not from the garden, but from a local farmer) and I preserved quite a few for use during winter. Yesterday I used some of my stash for a pie and got a thumbs up from the household, even from the grand kids who, as a rule, do NOT touch their lips to any “new” foods.
Winter Apricot Tart
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
Any sweet pastry recipe will do for the case. I make a short crust pastry dough without eggs, using butter, sugar and flour, baked until golden. Line a 300 X 60 mm round spring form cake tin, you can also use a pie dish (in my case) and press the moist dough up the sides of the tin and pat down the rest of the dough on the base. Add the filling when the crust is cooled slightly.
500 g preserved apricots
225 g sugar
225 g butter
100 g flour
4 eggs whisked
1 orange juiced
vanilla essence or vanilla bean paste
Mix everything together well and pour into pastry case. Bake for 40 minutes at 200 degrees. Glaze the tart with home made apricot jam
I am going to try the same recipe using preserved pumpkin, in place of the apricot, next week.