Posts Tagged ‘locavore’

Harvest Monday … a little bit late

This years’ guava harvest is early.

But I’m now fighting a battle on ***three*** fronts, up from one last year.

Bats eating the fruit when raw.
Fruit fly laying little grubs whenever they feel like.

And these guys:

Lorrikeets

Bloody lorrikeets!

They like to knaw on the fruit just as it has ripened and about to drop to the ground. They are then scattering the seeds all over the place so it looks like a cat has vomited copiously on my lawn.

Bits of uneaten fruit fermenting in the sun then attract the fruit fly, who lay grubs.

I have been trying to collect the fallen fruit and bagging it to minimise the spread of the fruit fly. But there is so much fruit! 80% of the stuff is affected by fruit fly I can’t give it away. Plus I am so busy at the moment, I don’t have the time to make jam/jelly products.

I have been ‘processing’ as much as I can: seeding and degrubbing the fruit then placing it in ziplock bags in the freezer. Apparently freezing may reduce the amount of pectin, but I’ll deal with it when I get there.

Processed Guavas

So! This week the harvest is:
6kg guava (3kg processed)
1 tomato
Bayleaf, Parsley and Vietnamese mint leaves.

Harvest Monday 16/4/2012

I don’t pay much attention to the garden. I pick what I have when I remember that I’ve got it. I generally plant stuff, forget that I have it, and then the poor produce wilts under the onslaught of aphids or powdery mildew.

Usually I just pick bits of mint, parsley, thyme and rosemary when I need to. You could it a grazing garden.

In any case, I think I ought to document what I have harvested, as and when I do pick the more significant stuff.

So here we go. This week:

harvest

1. Eight Random ‘arisen from the compost’ tomatoes. Yes, I know the photo only shows two. Three are still on the vine, two are in the fruit bowl. One got eaten.

2. Two kaffir lime leaves.

3. Stalk of lemongrass, ripped off the plant. This beast is threatening to take over the entire planter box, and doesn’t even taste very lemongrass-like. Is it from a planted stalk, or an offering from the neighbour? I can’t remember.

4. Five vietnamese mint leaves, provided as part of a pho dinner, which I rescued and stuck in water until roots sprouted.

5. Handful of basil leaves from a friend’s garden.

This all got turned into a rather tasty thai green curry.

In other news: Libby has transferred hospitals, had a pacemaker put in two weeks ago, and was extubated (tube-things removed) last week. This is a test to see how well she can do for herself, but there are still thoughts about a heart transplant once she has put on some weight. She is returning to her usual inquisitive self and very much interested in the thermometers, syringes, echo probes and so on that come her way, always keen to have a closer look and maybe help drive.

Fig Jam

I awoke one morning to a banging at the door. Out lovely neighbour had just ventured out in the rain to harvest some figs. They had planned to make fig jam. A few days later, I find this on my doorstep:
Happy Jam Making!

Hurray for generous neighbours!

The first time ’round, I was out of lemons, so I used the zest of limes and lime juice based mainly on a recipe from the West Australian newspaper.

I substituted 2 small lines for the lemon, but didn’t think about the proportions until I had thrown it in the pot. I got 5 tablespoons of juice to 600g of fig fruit; which was the amount I used to 1.2kg of guava juice when making jelly.

After boiling for 1 hour, it wasn’t passing the ‘sets in a cold dish’ test, so I threw in a random amount of pectin, leftover from the jelly making last year.

Imagine 5 tablespoons of lime juice plus the sourness of pectin and a mere 500g of fruit.

Yeah.

I wasn’t that pleased with that first effort.

So I resolved to try again, with a recipe from The Golden Wattle Cookery book, a heady tome handed out to young ladies graduating from West Australian high schools.

Fig Jam
12 lbs (4.8kg) figs
9 lbs (3.6kg) sugar
2 lemons

1. Wash figs. Cut up roughly, removing stalks
2. Sprinkle over 2 lbs (800g) sugar. Stand overnight.
3. Add juice of lemons and skins (not cut up)
4. Boil until tender. Add rest of sugar.
5. Boil until a golden brown colour. Remove lemon skins.
6. Bottle. Cover while hot and label.

The citrus pith contains a high amount of pectin, which is why I didn’t need to add any to this batch. I also disobeyed step 3, by cutting my lemons into six big chunks. Increased surface area to help to disperse flavour.

I also added one generous teaspoon of very gingery powder ginger.

600g of fruit netted me three 250ml jars. I can’t wait to taste it.

So this is what my jam looks like:
Fig Jam

On the left is batch one, with extra pectin. On the right is the Golden Wattle Cookery book batch.

Next challenge: marmalade!

Green Tomato Relish

The weather in Sydney this summer has been really bad for growing anything other than mould. My marmoude tomatoes have been beset by fruit fly and snails. It has been so depressing – of the 1.5kg of green tomato I harvested to make this relish, 50% were rotten or had a little white worm inside.

This recipe is delicious. I could not stop ‘taste testing’ it, it was so moreish. I think it has something to do with the mellowing of the apple cider vinegar.

Green tomato relish recipe from farm girl fare

ingredients
800g green tomatoes, chopped
200g white onions, chopped
300g red banana chillies, bull horn capsicum or normal capsicum deseeded and chopped
1/2 lb. tart cooking apples, such as ‘Granny Smith’, cored and chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup organic apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon sea salt*
4 jalapeno chillies cored, seeded if desired, and chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped coriander*
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

Combine the tomatoes, onions, peppers, apples, garlic, vinegar, and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about an hour.

Meanwhile, sterilise your jars. Wash them in hot soapy water, boil them for at least 10 minutes, and dry them in a warm oven (160 deg C) until you’re ready. Take care with the seals, if it is a two piece lid, the bit with the seal doesn’t go in the oven.

Stir in the chillies, coriander and cumin and simmer for 5 more minutes. Purée the mixture using a stick blender.

Green tomato relish

I like my relish chunky; so puree half the pot at most, and then mix through so it is evenly distributed.

Grab your jars from the oven (don’t burn yourself!) and fill carefully using a tablespoon., leaving a 2cm headroom. Wipe any spills on the rim and seal the jar.

This made enough for three off 500ml jars for keeping, and one to have in the fridge for eating straight away.

Green tomato relish

I actually first made this relish last year. This was after I moved a tomato plant from a 20cm pot to a giant planter box just before winter, and had an enormous crop of green tomatoes. On the left is the green tomato relish, on the right are two jars of guava prepared in the same way.

*I found that if you don’t use the coriander, the mix needs a touch more salt. Add an extra 1/2 tablespoon to compensate. I also think the relish is delicious as-is without the cumin.

Potatoes for dinner

homegrown potatoes by A Sydney Foodie2
Potatoes for dinner, a photo by A Sydney Foodie2 on Flickr.

I really need to remember that I don’t need to buy any potatoes, and that I have my own stash.

Most of the time I forget. Here’s what I scrabbled out of the garden for dinner a few week’s ago.

The offspring said ‘ew’ when I showed him my grubby haul in the process of being washed. I guess that ‘in reality’, potatoes grow in supermarket plastic bags.

This lot got turned into a simple potato salad with mayo, capers, pepper and parsley from the garden.

The trick is to dress the potatoes whilst warm and it turns into deliciousness. Usually I add fresh sliced mushrooms and cooked yellow button squash.

I also tried making a version of a potato chip inspired by my frienddoingsomethingnew* . You slice your potatoes about matchstick thin, and then fry them up on the BBQ with oil and paprika. I marinated my slices in crushed rosemary, salt, pepper & olive oil. This got fried in a pan. The edges went brown and burnt. If you didn’t eat them right away, they went soggy. I still haven’t worked out the trick with these. Probably a deep fryer.

*yup, that’s right; I was at her place slicing potatoes, and then I went home and did the same thing!

Guava Butter

After throwing kilos of boiled guava “pulp” after making myguava jelly into the Bokashi bucket, I thought I would investigate using it. I am supposed to be minimising my impact upon the environment

Charmaine had a recipe for Guava Butter

Guava Butter
Per cup of de-seed boiled guavas, leftover after making the jelly:

3/4 cups of sugar (184 grams)
Strained juice of one lime (approx 1 tablespoon)
Heaped tablespoon of softened butter (15g), in small chunks.

Don’t cook more that 4 cups at a time, because you can’t get the mix hot enough.

Put the de-seeded guava pulp in a large bowl, and microwave to steaming.

Add in the softened butter and lemon juice, stir.

Microwave for 2 minutes at a time, stir to combine until thick and piping hot.

The butter needs to be steaming hot because that’s how you maintain the sterilty and longevity of your goodies.

Spoon the guava butter into hot sterilized jars out of the oven.

Fill each jar almost to the top with a 1cm gap.

Seal immediately with new jar lid, or
the Fowlers Vacolla ‘kleerview’ plastic jam covers. These are neat, because as the contents cools, you can see the seal being sucked back towards the jar.
The steam seems to permeate through the seal whilst hot. No doubts that hot air takes up more space than cool air!

If using the kleerview seals, screw on the original jar lid on top to protect the seal. I’ve been doing this after the contents have cooled down, but I’ll report back later in the year if this destroys my plastic seal.

I only had enough space in my big bowl to do 3 cups.

You can also cook the guava butter on the stove, but because it is so thick, it spits all over you and the stove.

So here we are on the far right: my very first batch of guava butter.

Guava Jelly and Butter, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

And it tastes *so* good.

I won’t be giving this one away!

I wonder though – how long does this last? It does contain dairy after all. If you used clarified butter (ghee), would it last longer?

Guava Bread

Are you tired of guava related posts yet?

Thankfully now when I look up into my tree, I see fewer yellow globes waiting to hit me on the head, and the daily harvest is smaller.

Well I just had the most brilliant idea. Guava bread.

I was trying to find the banana bread recipe from the blog that was something like ‘living on $200 food budget per fortnight’*. Instead I ended up at africhef

Guava bread.
3 mixing bowls
1.5 cups of cooked guava (leftover from the guava jelly)
2 eggs
2 cups processed bran sticks similar to All-Bran cereal
2 cups plain flour
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup softened butter (approx 30grams)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
Walnuts to decorate

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In bowl one, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt.

In the second bowl, combine the processed bran sticks and squashed cooked guava in a separate bowl and let this mixture stand for approx 5 minutes.

In your main mixing bowl, crumble the butter and sugar together, fold in the eggs and then the guava/cereal mixture. Mix well.

Add in the sifted flour gradually to the guava/bran bowl and mix until the flour is evenly distributed through the mixture.

Guava Bread: Prep

, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

The resultant mixture was very very sticky.

I have no loaf pan, so I greased a 15x15cm square pan and lined it with baking paper.

The bread mixture was dolloped in. Walnuts were added after each ‘dollop’. The mix didn’t want to leave the mixing bowl, it was that sticky.

Place in the preheated oven and bake the guava bread for 60 minutes (timing from original recipe). I suggest starting at 30 minutes, and checking every 10 minutes.

When a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean it is all cooked. It looked quite consistent all over in colour, so I glazed it with cold guava jelly/rosewater leftover from the guava and macadamia torte, and returned to the oven for 5 minutes.

Remove the guava bread from the oven and allow to cool for 5 mins in the tin. Turn out onto a rack to complete cooling, and remove baking paper immediately so it doesn’t stick.

Guava Bread

, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

Serve with as-is, or with guava butter or jelly!

Verdict: Yum! The glazing added some nice caramel sticky bits, and the walnuts gave nutty crunchy goodness. The guava bread was a little bit sweet, but not overly sweet or oily like banana bread can be. I must be immune to guava flavour now, because I couldn’t find any!

Lessons learned and possible modifications? As mentioned before my guava bread was a bit overcooked. Cook for less time! I would add some spices like cinnamon, allspice or nutmeg which would add another nice dimension. Because there was no in your face guava flavour, I might try using fresh grated guava next time for a proper guava flavour.

*this is the banana bread recipe I was looking for.