Friday, April 25, 2014

A bit of time out

After some busy weeks of fruit preserving, we had a well-deserved short break away doing some good old-fashioned Kiwi camping. After a bit of a wild night with ex-cyclone Ita hitting us, the next day we tentatively headed off to the tip of Coromandel peninsula - Port Jackson.

The campsite at Port Jackson is a lovely spot right by the surf beach. It has been quite a few years since we were last there and is now a heck of a lot more popular, but fortunately for us the weather had put a few folk off, so the camp site was not too busy. When bad weather strikes, there are often slips along the road and sometimes it is closed, but when we arrived the road was open.

The weather was actually really good for the time of year, we had a lot of sunshine and hardly any wind. We did get a good downpour of rain one afternoon but it didn't last too long.

After a few nights at Port Jackson, we spent a night down at Hot Water Beach further south of Coromandel. Here you can dig into the sand at low tide and the pool fills up with (very) hot water from underground springs. It was crazy busy when we were there as you can see from the photo, but we still had a lot of fun. D was super excited the whole trip, but especially with the hot water pools.

So we're back home now and it's back to the apples and now feijoa harvest. Time to get busy with bottling again!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Figs again and a bit of rain today

Firstly, yes I'm still slicing and dicing the figs. This morning I made another batch of jam. I also made fig ice cream, using this recipe I found on Pinterest:

It's in the freezer as I type, quite a different technique to either the parfait style ice cream I usually make (see recipe here), or the 'custard' type of ice cream where you heat the egg yolk mixture. This one you just whip the egg yolks and sugar then add cream, milk and vanilla then put in ice cream machine. The fig 'sauce' is layered with the ice cream after it has spent a while in the freezer to firm up some.

Meanwhile, the fig and chocolate cake/bread was a great success. The recipe made quite a lot of mixture - I ended up filling 2 loaf pans, although I must say they didn't rise a great deal. I'm always hesitant to fill a cake pan more than 1/2 way in case it doesn't cook in the middle!

And the other thing about today is that we finally had a bit of rain, didn't last long but it was a reasonable shower. Has been so dry for so long that we really need the rain. I'm especially pleased because I sowed a whole lot of peas this morning!

Yes those are rain clouds!

That's not mist it's rain!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Yes, today is FIG-ORAMA day. Seriously. Fig city. Fig overload. Not that I'm complaining, not really...they are delicious of course and a real treat.

 But they don't keep well, a few days at best in the fridge - and they have taken over our fridge space (we have 2 fridges also!). So this morning I have made a batch a fig jam:

And chopped up a whole lot to dry in the dehydrator:

I overdried the last lot of figs I dried in the dehydrator, probably a combination of cutting them too small and just plain leaving them in the machine too long. So this time I cut these ones in halves and the bigger ones into thirds. Might take a bit longer to dry that way but I hope to avoid the crunch effect. They should be dry but still pliable.. Following some dehydrating guidelines I've dipped them in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) liquid prior to the drying. This is "an antioxidant that keeps fruit from darkening and enhances destruction of bacteria during drying". Sounds good to me! Fortunately I had the ascorbic acid left over that I bought a while back for use in bread making.

The next fig project will be a cake, fig and chocolate:

This is a recipe I haven't tried before. Makes a loaf type of cake. I'm hoping it will be tasty.

Spent a lot of time yesterday evening drooling over fig recipes on Pinterest!