A stroll through the garden – October 2017

Duchess and I have decided to take you on a stroll through our garden.

It has been a dry and cold winter and we are hoping to get some spring rain sometime soon. In fact I had a grin from ear to ear one morning earlier this week as we received just a few mls – it was nice to watch and listen to the rain falling.

The garden is coming along nicely and our citrus are now happy with their new home, luckily they survived the harsh frosts, unlike many in the area.

Continue reading

Oranges 1 – A recap!

The oranges are gone, well, with the exception of the few that have been set aside for our breakfast fruit over the next week or so. Overall things went really well, and we have some lovely goodies stashed in the store for future use. We’ve also enjoyed some orange flavoured meals as well.

That being said, the marmalade proved to be my nemisis. The first batch didn’t set and discoloured!  What to do… Add Cointreau to the mix, and lable it as Orange and Cointreau Syrup for use with desserts – I have to say it goes deliciously with date pudding !

So what was the problem?  More pectin you say? That’s what I thought, anyway. So I saved all the pips from the oranges and lemons used in all the other recipes – I had a lovely little pile of them by the time it come to revisit the marmalade. Neither Gary, nor I, could understand what happened to the first batch, it’s never happened before…

With everything prepared, I started again – it was looking beautiful, time to test for set, and again… it just wouldn’t set and turned dark. Fearing it would burn, I took it off the heat and bottled it. The next morning when I checked, it was syrup, nothing like the lovely jelly like consistency of marmalade. By this time I thought I knew what the problem was – while the pot I was using was big enough, it was tall and narrow, not wide and squat.

Not wanting to waste the fruit sugar and time and effort, this time we decided to try and cook it a little more. It just got darker, and again wouldn’t set. Finally, I had to bite the bullet and use commercial pectin (I have plans to make my own in future, but didn’t have time at this point). Set was reached, it doesn’t taste too bad, really, just sweeter than usual and it looks like treacle!  A new wider, shallower, preserving pan style, pot has now been ordered and is on its way. I am hoping that by using it, we will avoid any more marmalade dramas.

So what was cooked? You will have seen some of the goodies in previous posts, but here is the list in full…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is one more recipe brewing, but it is going to take another couple of weeks – Collette’s Vin D’Orange. I will put up a post about it when its ready, and let you know what it is like.

Finally given that Jan provided all the oranges for this little marathon, I thought it only propper that I share the recipe for this delicious dessert that she has shared with me – Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream.

Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream

This simple little dessert is the perfect way to finish a meal. It can be prepared ahead - adding the Yoghurt Cream and pistachios just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 6 large navel oranges
  • 6 fresh dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbs pure icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 55 g (1/3 cup) pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped

For the Greek Yoghurt Cream

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
  • 125 g light cream cheese
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
  • 1 tsp pure icing sugar

Directions

  1. To make the yoghurt cream, place the yoghurt, cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Use a small sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until combined. Place the cream and icing sugar in a bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Fold into yoghurt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to chill.
  2. Cut top and base from each orange. Use a sharp knife to remove skin and white pith. Holding each orange over a bowl to catch any juice, cut along either side of the white membranes to remove orange segments.
  3. Combine orange, dates and mint in a bowl. Sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon. Toss to combine.
  4. Divide fruit among serving plates and serve with pistachios and yoghurt cream.
  5. Garnish with sprigs of mint.

Notes:

  • My sister Jan passed this recipe to me, she received it from her friend, Mandy, who found it in Australian Good Taste – September 2011, p.80 .
  • Allow 2 hours chilling time.

 

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

slide1-2

Links:

Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Sticks 

Nana Mac’s Potato and Orange Salad

Orange and Mint Jelly 

Orange Cordial

Spiced Oranges

Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream 

Sugar Coated Candied Orange Sticks 

Zingy Citrus Mocktail

A Lot of Gardening and a Little Bit of Citrus

With the weather on the improve, the garden has been the place to be of late. While the garden on the terrace has been totally revamped,

Gary has been working around the pool, removing the existing planting and totally renovating the surrounds. He has removed a trailer load of nandina, rectified the irrigation system, barrowed in pebbles, sunk plinths and has urns ready for the planting. He has also erected our old canter-lever umbrella, and employed some local tradespeople to extend the paving – it looks amazing – but you’ll have to wait to see how it looks…

I have spent a little time in the corner patch, where we now have a raspberry bed, all planted, and with trellis erected.

But one must be patient, it will be a year or two before we see any real results from this little patch. I’ve also been leveling the ground and stockpiling soil in readiness for the creation of all the new beds.

In the kitchen, well, inspiration has come from our garden, to a degree. Our little patio mandarin had 12 fruit, so we could either eat them as is, or make some marmalade which would reward us for a longer period of time. We opted for Mandarine Marmalade which also has a little Cointreau added just at the end.

Then there are lemons, so this morning when I was making a batch of gluten free Friands, I ducked out and pulled one off the tree to liven the mix for the raspberries and almond ones.

Another recipe that has been brewing for a couple of weeks, is Blood Orange Vinegar, a recipe that I found in the wonderful book “A year on the Farm” by Sally Wise. This vinegar is not only beautiful to look at, it really livens up a salad. We have a blood orange tree ready to be planted, so hopefully in a few year’s time, we will be making it with our own oranges.

Finally, given that it is now asparagus season, and I had picked up some beautiful thick spears from our local farmer’s market, I made an Asparagus, Cheese and Shallot Tart to have for our dinner.

It was so good to come in from the garden and quickly put a salad together to serve alongside – for Gary, I topped his off with some of our home smoked salmon.

There is lots to do in the garden still, the shed is to be erected on the new concrete slab, more leveling of the ground, and the building of the new beds, meantime the seeds have been planted and are showing their colour as incentive for me to get to work.

So until next time…

Bon appétit!

Links:

Mandarine Marmalade

Friands

Blood Orange Vinegar

Asparagus, Cheese and Shallot Tart

The Terrace