This week the trees started flowering and there was that smell of cut grass and the coming of summer as I walked to work. I can't wait for spring - it's been 18 months since I've had my favourite season.
My winter veggie garden is just about finishing off now. The broccoli, broccoletti, and cauliflower have all been eaten. The spring onions and carrots are still going strong, as is the silverbeet. The kale and leeks haven't really reached edible size, so I guess we'll leave them. We had our first, delicious beetroots this week. I boiled them with skins (to keep colour and flavour in) then peeled and roasted the segments for a little while. They were yum in a goats cheese salad.
We're planning a much bigger patch for the many summer veggies, and I think we'll use my little raised bed for herbs or a seed bed.
Meanwhile, the veggies aren't the only thing that's growing. Our littlest nephew is quite the charmer!
Friday, August 13, 2010
It's been a while because (a) I've been rather busy moving house and (b) the new house didn't have internet immediately. But here, finally, are pics of the new house. We're enjoying having our own space and I'm really enjoying walking to work. We're now looking for the right flatmates (why is it that everyone on the flatshare websites seems like a complete weirdo/tart/scrounger?) and after that we'll be a little more financially comfortable - since the house is quite large.
The best bit about the new place is that it's got a great kitchen, with a gas stove no less! I'm in culinary heaven. I've already baked cookies and made yummy grapefruit marmalade with all the grapefruit which are ripening at Sandspit. I had a challenge finding a single clear recipe online, so I'm sharing mine with you.
In a nutshell it's (1) slice fruit, (2) 10 min simmer, (3) wait a day, (4) hard boil with sugar, (5) jar.
6 grapefruit (mine weren't overly large)
2 lemons (but this recipe works for any citrus combination)
about a kilo of sugar - depends on your fruit
a square of muslin, or failing that, a thin sock or nylon knee high - not one that's been worn!
Put a saucer in the freezer.
Scrub the fruit thoroughly with soap and rince. Without peeling, cut the fruit into segments then thinly slide the segments. Put the slices and juice in a very solid, heavy-based, large saucepan. Try not to lose any juice (slide them on a plate to hold it).
Chuck out the pips (make sure you get them all) and keep any seriously pithy or rind-only bits separate and put them in the muslin/sock. The pith yields all the pectin to make the marmalade set and gives marmalade it's typical bitter taste. Now tie up the muslin ball and dangle it into the fruit in the saucepan. Tie it onto the handle of the pan so it hangs there, preferably not in contact with the base of the pan.
Bring the saucepan to a simmer and let it cook for 10 mins, then leave it to cool and wait a day.
Squeeze out the muslin ball. Don't open it, just squeeze as much whitish goo out as possible - this makes your marmalade set.
Measure the volume you have in the pan, and add the same volume of sugar (or a little less if your citrus is quite sweet) and enough water so your mixture is runny (I used about 500 ml). Bring to a rolling boil (this is why you need a big pan!) and continue boiling as hard as you can for about 10-20 mins.
You can test if your marmalade (which will still be quite liquid in the pan) is ready in two ways:
1) temperature. It should be 218-220 F.
2) the saucer test. Bring out your frozen saucer and drop a droplet of marmalade on it. The droplet should quickly form a skin and be quite gelled in consistency.
Put in sterilised jars (i.e. jars you've boiled) while still hot. If you don't have a jam funnel, a measuring jug is quite good for this. Depending on the kind of jars you have, there are various ways of preserving the marmalade - read the instructions.
Then sit back and enjoy on toast, with peaches in a sponge, in bread and butter pudding.... :)