Tag Archives: Family

Farewell Duchess – Go chase pigeons in heaven…

In 2009, it was agreed that our son, Christopher could have a Border Collie, so the search began.

It soon became apparent that there would be a wait, so put our name down with two breeders. Unexpectedly, the wait was not so long, one of the breeders had a puppy, in a new litter, that was not traditionally marked, and therefore not quite as desirable to others. We went for a visit and it was decided that we would return in six weeks time to bring our little Duchess home to join our family.

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At the same time we had started a search for a ragdoll cat, surprisingly our new family members arrived at our home within a week or so of each other. The blue ragdoll was named Banjo, after the famous Australian poet, Banjo Patterson.

But this story is about our Duchess. While she was not the prettiest when she was born, it was soon evident that she was growing into a beautiful dog, not only in appearance, but also in nature. Her kennel was placed outside Christopher’s bedroom window, and as soon as she was able, Duchess would spend her time on top of the kennel rather than in it, that way she was able to be nearer to her Christopher! A very strong bond was forming.

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Julie your quilt. A gift from Family

Recently we took a little break and travelled home to be with my gorgeous sisters and to visit our beautiful mum. I say home, because that is still what we call it, it is the home that we all grew up in, and love so very much.

After a five plus hour road trip, we arrived at home to find Sonnie and Jan working hard in the garden, they had arrived earlier in the day and had done some amazing work tidying things up.

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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…

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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!

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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

Nana Mac’s Potato and Orange Salad

My mum has been telling me about Nana’s potato salad for the last few months, and with the oranges on hand, I called and got the recipe… It was boiled potatoes, diced; orange, diced; white salad onion, finely diced; and the dressing was the only dressing I knew when I was growing up – cream, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Of course there were no quantities given.  Mum and I chatted a little and I told her I planned to change the dressing, add fresh herbs and use some different potatoes – she wants me to let her know how it went.

A delicious, refreshing salad of potatoes, oranges and fresh herbs.

Nana Mac's Potato and Orange Salad

This recipe was inspired by my grandmother's recipe for potato salad.

Ingredients

  • 250 g Purple Avon potatoes (or similar)
  • 250 g Sebago potatoes (or similar)
  • 4 oranges
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped chives
  • 2 handfulls of baby rocket

For the dressing

  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sugar, to taste
  • salt and pepper

For Serving

  • 1 tsp finely chopped mint
  • 1 tsp finely chopped chives

Directions

  1. Peel the potatoes and place into a saucepan. Cover with cold water and add a little salt. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until just tender.
  2. Meanwhile 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 and set aside. Using your hands, squeeze the off-cuts of the orange over the bowl to get as much juice as you can from them, discard the off-cuts.
  3. Prepare the dressing by adding the mustard, white wine vinegar and 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the juice and then whisk to combine, season with salt and pepper and add a little sugar if needed.
  4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and cut them into wedges, while they are still hot. Add the potatoes, mint, chives and oranges to the dressing and, using your hands, gently toss to ensure the potatoes and oranges are well coated in the dressing and herbs. Set in the fridge to cool.
  5. Just before serving, drain any excess dressing from the salad into a small bowl, add the remaining tablespoon of olive and whisk together. Add the rocket and toss to coat with the dressing.
  6. Place half the rocket into the base of a serving dish.
  7. Add the remaining rocket to the salad, and, again, using your hands, gently toss through.
  8. Arrange the salad on top of the rocket in the serving dish and scatter with the finely chopped mint and chives.

Notes:

  • Purple Avon potatoes are a purple fleshed potato.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Source: Nana Mac’s Potato and Orange Salad

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Oranges 1

My beautiful sister Jan, recently visited us for a little holiday. Jan lives in the north of the state of Victoria, very close to the great Murray River, and a wonderful citrus fruit growing area – about six and a half hours drive from here! When I knew that she and her friend, Heather, were going to come for a visit, I asked if she could pick up a couple of bags of oranges, thinking that they would be the same size as those you can pick up at fruit and vegie shops – 3 kilograms… When she arrived, I was presented with 2 bags of oranges – each weighing about 10 kilograms! 20 kilograms of oranges for $12 – that is crazy!!! Of course, I was not allowed to pay for them, but now the challenge begins…

I have given some to visitors, and we have eaten quite a few, and I think I have had to throw about 6 out! I have made old fashioned butter cake – gluten free, which after a couple of tries, is pretty darned good. The orange cake has been iced, sliced and frozen, so that we can have cake when we feel like it.

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However, over the next week there will be a lot of orange based recipes being prepared, and at times, concocted in my kitchen. On the list so far:

  • Orange marmalade – a must for Gary;
  • Orange and mint jelly – already half made;
  • A delicious refreshing citrus mocktail – which could easily be turned into a cocktail for those who must;
  • Orange cordial;
  • Sauces;
  • Salads;
  • Desserts, etc!

Oh, and a little tip, for an easy way to peal oranges, that I read about in an old recipe book of mine The Times Calendar CookBook by Katie Stewart, 1975. This works beautifully, but would probably only do 4-6 oranges at a time, because they still need to be hot for the peel and pith to come away cleanly.

To peel oranges:

Score the peel of the oranges into quarters with a sharp knife. Put all of the oranges in large basin and cover them with boiling water. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, then drain and peel away the skins. Using this method, both the outer peel and the inner white pith will come away from the fruit. If any white pith remains, simply scrape it away with a knife.

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I have also tried this method on lemons and it worked just as well, so would imagine it could be used on most citrus – grapefruits, limes etc.

I hope that you enjoy seeing everything orange from my kitchen over the next week!

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

Links:

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