Thursday, September 19, 2013

Act 2: Tamarillo Chutney

When I went to Primary School - these were called 'Tree Tomatoes' - whatever the case they make a nice dessert but also tasty as a chutney. Eat with a slither of cheese on a cracker or with a decent meaty sausage. The remaining of our meagre harvest has found its way into this delicious condiment. Yum! To secure next seasons harvest Darling Man had to make a dash to spray water on the tree's tender new shoots when he arrived home from night shift in the wee smalls - before the frost was able to do its damage! Phew - good save!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Nature's Colours

Absolutely struck with the intensity of colour while skinning these babies! I was going to pickle them but decided to poach instead. While lounging in bed with the Saturday paper I found a recipe for doing just that! I am midway through the task but am very taken with the skinning thing - so easy - they are normally beasts to peel. This also enables one to utilize the maximum amount of the actual fruit. All good!

Back to the colour - I just love nature's colours and I really like the underside of the skin that is orange that is almost pink. My bench was a mess - littered at the time with a layering of kitchen tasks at varying stages so the fruit got plonked on this 70's plate that I hurriedly rinsed cause it was handy! The fruit and the plate compliment each other don't you think.

Darling Man planted out our new Tamarillo tree only this season after nurturing it along in a pot for a while - he so has the magic touch with growing things. It did however fall foul to a frost just at what seemed to be the very worst time hence our first harvest was minimal. So I do hope we can at least get a delicious dessert or two. Tamarillo sponge pudding and French Vanilla ice cream maybe...

This has been a very special week as our fifth grandchild has arrived - Lincoln George William Young turned up at 8.02 on Tuesday morning. A brother for Floyd and a second son for Paul and Sarah-Jane who are just thrilled with their two little boys!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Done and Dusted

So! Lola's cardy is all done and I am thrilled to bits with it. My Mum came to my rescue with the bit I was pretty sure I knew what to do but didn't want to risk it - it was pretty much as I thought. So under Mum's tutelage I completed one side and felt sure I could manage the other at a later stage. Alas when I set into it I did not realise that the wrong sides were facing so I got right to the end and found it had to be un-done - my worst fears realised! Duh! So patience and a slow un-knitting of it all and was soon back on track for take two! Went to my friend's wool shop for deep blue velvet ribbon and it is finally Lola's to wear and keep her cosy now the weather is cooling down at last. Actually I say bring on the frosts because there are way too many nasty bugs circulating at the mo. 

I had another small victory tonight - I mastered the fruit sponge pudding after a very poor attempt made at it at the weekend - honestly is has just not ever been my strong suite ever and yet it really is quite a simple affair and a very common, old school winter pud! I was determined to make some adjustments to the recipe and get it right and get it right I did tonight! Yay - it's a keeper! I do not like things to beat me - I like to get back on the horse and work things out!

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Last night we had friends over for dinner and All Black Rugby. As they came in the door Jessie handed me a bag of fresh walnuts. They grow at their place and they are gorgeously fresh and silky yum yum - I kept eating them.... hard to stop. However today good sense prevailed and I decided to make a favourite slice so that we could make much more of them and spread the love... I know for a fact it would have taken Jessie a bit of work to shell them just to get them to this stage.

This is my Mum's recipe - it freezes well which is important because it is rich and one doesn't need to eat too much at one time - means I will have a tasty stash chilled and ready to eat for visitors. One very special person is visiting us this week - our beautiful Erica from London arrives on Tuesday and also my lovely Mum and Dad will be here at the weekend for great-grandie birthday celebrations. Since I am a working girl I need stuff on-hand ahead of time.

Walnut Slice

120 gms butter
1 tin condensed milk
1 Tblspn Golden Syrup
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 pkt plain wine biscuits (crushed)

Melt the butter and condensed milk and stir in the golden syrup, then the chopped walnuts and crushed biscuits. Press mixture into a tin and bake at 170 degs C for 25 - 30 minutes. This slice should be golden brown on top and soft to touch. Cool in tin. Ice with coffee icing and sprinkle with extra chopped walnuts.

So our friends George and Jessie (who gave us the walnuts) are also my good friend Helen's parents and our son-in-law Paul's Grandad and Grandma and our dear lil Floyd's Great - grandparents. They are both in their ninety's and enjoyed the rugby very much - I fell asleep while watching the game and yet they both remained glued and engaged throughout! Lovely people and a nice evening! I am glad the All Black's beat the French tho and I was happy I was awake to see Sam Cane from Reporoa score a try - I am sure all of us Reporoa people who have stood on the side-line of school rugby games are collectively proud of Sam!

The Girls

'The girls' - now that is something I am much more used to saying with four daughters of our own! Marni Rose Elizabeth van der Poel was added to our family on 2 May - she is our fourth grandchild within less than two years! What a fabulous family time we have been having with all these new arrivals. Lola is pictured here with Marni - she's looking pretty coy about her new cousin - and is being beautifully gentle with her. I am sure they will almost be like sisters since the cousins all live nearby to each other.

Today I have been knitting a cardy for Lola and I am within a bull's roar of finishing it however I am stuck - when I read the pattern I 'sort of' know what to do but I lack the courage to actually do it as I fear ending up with a mess that may be hard to resolve... having put a lot of love and time into it I think I will wait until I can ask my friend Julie at the wool shop who will certainly know what to do!

However the pressure is off a bit as Lola is currently wearing a cardy that I knitted a few years ago - it was meant to be for my niece Lili who lives in France but as it unfolded I knew it was going to be too small for her so I finished it anyway. Annah popped in and laid eyes on it way back then and claimed it for her own - and now she has pulled it out of storage for her lovely little girl and it suits her so well! I am rapt to see it in use after all this time. Little did I know....

Lola is the big girl now so when Marni was born Annah passed on to Amy a beautiful little outfit that my Mum knitted for Lola when she was born - Amy loved it so much that she put it on Marni for her new-born photo shoot. Here she is at just 3 days old!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Backyard Harvest

Why is it called passionfruit I wonder? I guess it is rather exquisite and a bit fancy as far as fruit goes. Perhaps because it is a very colourful arrangement -pretty to look at along with a unique and explosive flavour... We grow it and I'm glad because I like it and it is very expensive to buy - even when in season. I saw it at Pak n Save yesterday at $26.99 a kilo!

On the other hand, at this time of year we have the mighty marrow. How does this ugly monstrosity start out as a delicate flower to fill with soft cheese and fry in a fine batter? I have done it before but was too slow to undertake such a scheme this year - I only dreamed of it. The flower then becomes a sweet little shiny green zucchini (sounds exotic) to slice in a pan with a splash of balsamic to serve as a side or include in a stir-fry. Then what seems like overnight it suddenly becomes this trifid-like creeping plant producing massive green logs that lurk under their huge umbrella leaves! Mmmm what to do with the Marrow Mountain that Darling Man has delivered to my kitchen?
With many other homey-jobs to catch up on yesterday I chose to ignore it. Not my problem I thought. Don't want to know. Give them away. Compost them. Bring me a sun-drenched strawberry or plum, peel me a grape even but don't lumber me with marrows!!!! Please!

Anyway dinner rolled around and I got all inspired and cut one of the smaller ones long-ways, scraped out the seeds and rubbed the cavity with our lovely fresh garlic and filled it with kumara, red onion and bacon mash, topped it with a herby crust and baked the blessed thing! An ordinary marrow suddenly became something quite stunning served with salad and Darling Man's Tomato Relish.

'Marrow Dressed to Kill'  - make it up as you go along -
So 'Passionfruit & White Chocolate Cake' - I saw it on the internet (no picture included), printed off the recipe but stalled on actually making it - I was thinking to myself - how could that work???

Anyway I finally took the plunge and it is definitely a keeper. It is firmly pasted into my recipe folder and I have already made it a second time. I only paste in when I know it works and will potentially return to make it again. It gets an extra tick because it's a one bowl affair and I can throw it in the oven during dinner time preps. Easy peasy. You might like to try it too - especially if you have a vine of your own or a ready supply.

Passionfruit & White Chocolate Cake

125gms butter
150gms White Chocolate melts
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup coconut
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup passionfruit pulp
Icing sugar to dust

Heat oven to 180 deg C. Line a 20 x 20cm (or a 17 x 27cm) slice tin with non-stick baking paper. Place butter and white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and melt in microwave or over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until smooth.
Stir caster sugar into melted chocolate mixture. Next, stir in coconut, then eggs. Stir in sifted flour and baking powder and lastly fold in the passionfruit pulp.
Pour the mixture into prepared slice tin and bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until firm. Cool in tin, then remove and slice into bars or squares. Dust with Icing Sugar to serve.

PS - Whilst pasting in this recipe I found one for Chocolate & Zucchini Cake - I vaguely remember making it at some stage - oh well it must have made the cut! Another mighty marrow bites the dust - although it does say 2 medium zucchini - we might be a bit past that by now!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Christmas Leftovers

I LOVE raspberries. They're like a cluster of little red jewels just bursting with summer flavour. We bought a $15 punnet from Flay's Berry Farm for Christmas Day dessert - white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. I enjoyed having a few more days between finishing work and Christmas Day this year to do my festive cooking. The preparations went pretty well but I still seemed to flounder a bit and ended up visiting a supermarket and or corner dairy a total of 6 times over a three day period which was a bit crazy and disorganised of me. Even the berry farm was visited twice on Christmas Eve due to us realising on the first attempt that they had no eftpos. We were not the only ones to do it either! 

Each Christmas I vow and declare I will be more organised the next however I seem to be doomed to a mad rush arrangement where I throw my hands up and announce that it is all part of the fun of!

After Christmas was all over I found myself with a 1/3 of a punnet of raspberries rapidly turning to sludge. There is only so many times you can enjoy them guilt free with cereal in the morning. One must think of something to DO with this leftover luxury item! So I decided to boil it with sugar to preserve it in a jam-like state so that I could bake a favourite slice once I felt the urge to cook again post the Christmas effort. And when all the the other Christmas goodies were gone from fridge, freezer and cake tins. A bit of research - I was sure Mum would have that recipe somewhere. However, Belgium Slice my Mum told me is just the Belgium Biscuit recipe in the Edmond's cookbook made into a slice instead of rolled out and cut into biscuits. It is my best ever Christmas leftover recipe. I also like that during the holidays - once the madness of Christmas is over - one has the time to look for treasures like my little vintage plate. I love it's style-y ripples / tucks / pleats that grace its edges.

PS. Now quite obviously I baked this slice and wrote this post a few weeks ago now. The delay in posting it is due to computer hassles. All fixed now and I am planning to have another go at this Belgium Slice, with the other half of the jam-like mixture and this time I may add 'leftover from Christmas' glace cherries which I see winking at me from the fridge door.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Something old, something new.....

... something borrowed and something blue. Darling Man always has a blue shirt in his wardrobe. It suits him because of his gorgeous blue eyes. When our Amy got married recently she decided to have a piece of her Dad's blue shirt sewn into her wedding dress for her 'something blue'. I carefully cut a heart shape from his current blue shirt and my sister from France (who was in Noosa with us for the wedding) stitched the heart into Amy's dress on the morning of the wedding. I had already stitched a swatch of Amy's wedding dress fabric into her Dad's shirt to fill the place her 'blue' heart had been taken from!

The 'blue' heart features in their wedding highlights video which you can watch here -Steven & Amy
web page hit counter
web page hit counter