Friday, August 20, 2010

All things citrusy..

..but mainly marmalade, marmalade, and more marmalade!

Over the last few weeks I've been preserving a large amount of citrus fruit. Further to our last citrus bonanza, we were given a big quantity of Meyer lemons (thanks L!). I made a double batch of my favourite lemon honey recipe but still had plenty left to use up before their 'best by' date. Some time ago I made a lemon pickle that we enjoyed, but I can't remember which recipe I used or where I found it..doh. I hate that!

Anyway, I have made several large batches of marmalade, which apart from a boiling-over incident on the stove....has been a very successful enterprise. I've now got several dozen jars of perfectly set (for once!) marmalade gracing my shelves. I first made a 4 fruit mix -  oranges, lemons, limes and lemonades - which was tart and zingy.

The rest is orange and lemon, with a stronger orange flavour. The lemons were mainly added for their setting power (although they were Meyer so not as sharp as Lisbon or other pure lemons).

And since purchasing my new candy thermometer, I've been getting a good set with all my preserves.

I also still have a few limes left in the fridge. Earlier in the week I made a Thai Jungle fish curry (no photos though sorry as the camera got misplaced for a few days!). But you can find the recipe here. It was definitely one of the better Thai curries I've made. I also added some grated galangal since I have lots!

Will keep you posted on the hunt for the lemon pickle recipe!

As happy as a pig in....

Lots of lovely slushy, splodgy mud thanks to all the recent rainfall!

Yes 'porky' and 'bacon' are growing into big girls now. They're enjoying their diet of milk, food scraps and the odd handful of pig nuts. Soon they'll need a bigger house!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More special fruit trees

We collected 3 trees from Kaiwaka Gardens (ex. Koanga) and planted them yesterday. They are 2 apples - Northern Spy, a well-known and loved heritage variety, and Vaille Early which was common locally 150 years ago.
We also planted another variety of pear - Triumph de Vienna, a large brown russet and an excellent dessert pear.

and here's food for thought - according to the Koanga tree catalogue, a Northland nursery (Morrisons) had 140 varieties of apple for sale in their 1907 catalogue! 140! And then came supermarkets after WWII and the fruit was grown with one aim - long shelf-life! So we lost all the really tasty apples. Isn't that sad. It's nice to know that at least we've got a few of the old varieties in our orchard to carry on the link in the chain for future generations.

 The manuka hedge is flowering and looks beautiful:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lime muffins

I found this recipe in the July issue of NZ Gardener magazine. They are nice and zesty and the fresh citrus flavour makes a change from the norm.

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk (or a little more to make the correct consistency)
1 tsp grated lime rind
1/4 cup lime juice
250ml plain yoghurt
50 butter, melted

Glaze - juice and zest of 2 limes, 1/4 cup caster sugar. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Spoon over hot muffins. You can also sprinkle on more sugar and decorate with lime rind (I just grated over a little more zest but omitted the extra sugar).

Sift the dry ingredients and mix together with a fork.
In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients, then add to the dry. Mix gently to combine.
Bake in muffin pan for about 12-15mins at 200degC.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Can anyone identify this bean?

I've been having a tidy up of my seed collection today and am a bit annoyed with myself as I did not write the name of this bean seed down..... doh! I think it came from Koanga Gardens originally (quite a few years ago) but their website doesn't help me identify it. It is a 'shellout' bean.
Does anyone out there know what it is?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Update, beginning of August

Time is ticking along and I have been a bit slack about posting of late..

Actually I have a reasonably good excuse, since I have started working again and am now doing a couple of nights nursing. It has been nearly 4 years since I last had a job... and many more years since I did any nursing, so it's a bit of a shock to the system, but I'm finding it quite rewarding (plus there's the pay - hooray!). So a bit of a change in routines here on Cabbage Tree Farm, and a bit of downtime while I try to catch up on my sleep!

Anyhoo.. down on the farm the cows are still with us. Here they are keen to be moved on to 'pastures new', which happened just after this photo was taken! They let us know they want to be moved by herding and making a lot of noise, it's quite funny!
They are doing a great job of munching the grass for us (even if the ground is getting a bit pugged up in the process, oh well, if we get the farmers sheep in that will help flatten it out!). They are fine looking cattle, and very good natured. I shall miss them when they're gone. But we are looking forward to a bit of beef in the freezer in a couple of months' time....

The pigs are growing fast. We're giving them colostrum, vege scraps (which I cook up with potatoes/kumara and pumpkin), plus the odd handful of pug nuts. They are really turning over the ground well, and with all the recent rains, have lots of lovely mud to wallow in! What more could a piggie want? Here they are in a feeding frenzy!:

And a little less frenzied enjoying the milk:

We have eggs at last! Both our Araucana hens are laying now, plus we're getting x2 Brown Shaver eggs a day (not sure if only 2 laying or what..) No eggs from my old Indian Game hen 'Clucky', I'm not sure she will start laying again, but she's a very good mother if we wanted to hatch out some more chicks. Mr Roo the rooster isn't looking too happy of late, I fear he might be on his last legs.He's getting on a bit now, we inherited him from a friend about 3 years ago and he must have been a couple of years old already.

Here are some of my dwarf sweet peas coming into flower. I love sweet peas, will soon be planting more in the garden.

Our collection of jade plants just got a lot bigger! These are just some of the ones we've inherited from G's late uncle. Most of the pots are still in good condition, a couple have cracked. Not quite sure what we're going to do with them all! However won't be any problem just leaving them for a while as they don't require much attention other than the odd bit of weeding. Some of the bigger ones are quite top heavy, so we might need to invest in some bigger pots at some stage. But at least if they're grouped together like this they can support each other to some degree.