Friday, January 31, 2014

Plums and peaches

We are enjoying a bumper harvest of stonefruit right now. Super juicy big plums from off our 'Louisa' trees (to the left of the basket in this photo).

Basket of fresh stonefruit and plum muffins

I made some plum and banana muffins which did not last very long at all!

We're harvesting the stonefruit daily and fortunately they are getting eaten quickly. The plums keep a lot better than peaches, which tend to go bad overnight given the chance. I just cut the bad bits out and usually add the good flesh to smoothies, or put on top of porridge for breakfast.

I will make a peach trifle soon. If I get a chance I may bottle some of the better fruit too.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Time for tomatoes

Our tomato plants are producing lovely juicy tasty fruit right now. The 'Brandywine Pink' beefsteaks are doing well, although I had to net them this year - we have a resident blackbird that likes to eat them too! As a result I am picking them as soon as I think they're ready, rather than leave them the extra time on the plant. I would rather have them ripen up fully indoors than risk coming out to find big holes pecked in them the following day!

Here is a basket lot I picked yesterday:

Brandywine Pink tomatoes
The big one in the photo weighs in at a mega 592g (20.85oz)!

What to do with all these tomatoes? Well I shall be making pasta/pizza sauce, and some soup too.

I also grew some smaller 'standard' sized tomatoes 'Blood Butcher' which are doing fairly well. We use these mainly for salads, and I will be putting some in the dehydrator to dry them for 'sun-dried' tomatoes.

Bloody Butcher tomatoes

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year everyone

Hope it is a good one for you and your loved ones. 2013 had its ups and downs for us so we are hoping 2014 is a smoother ride!

Christmas came and went in a flurry, with much time spent in the kitchen baking up tasty treats for gifts. I also made another chocolate and raspberry mousse layer cake for dessert on Christmas day:

I decorated the cake with a layer of ganache and then some fresh raspberries (from the garden), blueberries and chocolate sprinkles. Rather a lot of chocolate went into this cake but although it was rich, it wasn't sickly or too sweet. Had I more chocolate in the pantry I might have got more creative and put shaved chocolate on top instead of the sprinkles.

'Christmas' plums
 After enjoying loads of juicy sweet early peaches, we are now onto plums and nectarines.

Nectarines and plums
We have various nectarine trees, 'Queen Giant', 'Spring Red', 'Red Gold', 'Tasty Gold'. They are all good! We are trying hard to keep the possums off them, mainly by trapping. We are enjoying them fresh of course and as you'd expect I will be busy making chutney, jam, and bottling and freezing them too.

Lots more stone fruit to come as summer progresses!

The weather has been mixed, hot and sunny, with sudden tropical downpours as well. Hoping to get to harvest my 'Grosso' lavender sometime soon. I probably should have done this a couple of weeks ago before the showers started as it's better when really dry (the scent and less likely to spoil), also more flowers have opened than I would have liked but never mind, it still smells and looks pretty good!

Grosso lavender