Tuesday, 30 April 2013

April's Autumn Richness

Totally exhausted.  Bone-weary and dog-tired.  That's what April-May means in gardening and harvesting terms!  When overabundant blessings become a curse!  Collecting fruit every day and trying to either eat, give away or preserve the bounty, means long hours in the garden and kitchen.  Stirring bubbling pots of jams, jellies, chutneys and purees long after bleary-eyed weakness sets in.  Oh boy!  The April/May holidays come just in time every year, for this final Autumn cache of garden delights to last the long sparse winter hibernation.  Can't wait for that fireside cave-time when I can gather my thoughts and be creative indoors as temperatures plummet outdoors!


Feijoa puree without any sugar or additives - pure goodness!

5L bucket feijoas collected every day, along with figs and olives

Feijoas ready to dehydrate

Feijoa Ginger Jelly
For my daughter's birthday cake, I figured instead of the usual chocolate cake, I would make her a birthday fruit-of-the-month cake.  The recipe comes from an ex-colleague and is easy to make and tastes so delish, fruity and moist!  I use egg substitute so that my husband can partake and enjoy as well (he is egg-free, so we tend to be as well).

Feijoa cake

Moist and fruity
kylie's feijoa cake recipe
125g butter
1 cup raw sugar
3-4 feijoas, grated, skin included
1 egg substitute (or real)
1  1/2  cups flour (white or wholemeal)
1 tspn baking soda
1 tspn mixed spice
2 tspn cinnamon

Melt butter in pot, add sugar and feijoas and egg substitute.  When mixed, add the rest of the ingredients enough to mix and pour into a greased cake ring tin.  Add topping and bake at 180degC for 35 mins.

25g butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tspn cinnamon

Last week began with a hiss and a roar of activity - I made several jars of feijoa jelly, guava jelly, apple chutney and dehydrated 15 trays of feijoas (in 3 rounds of round-the-clock craziness).  And then there was a mid-week, on-the-spur-of-the-moment spasm, where I suddenly got the urge to make ginger-flavoured muesli!  A big batch of it, cradled in a blend of honey and organic sugar coated oats, splodges of cinnamon,  cashews, brazil nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds and of course, finely diced sprinkles of crystalised ginger.  Very, very nice! Spicey but oh, so nicey!


Ginger chunk Muesli
6 cubic metres tree mulch resembling my muesli base!

Add to that long-hour lunacy, I worked like a Trojan in the garden, clearing large patches of weed-infested, vine-crowded tracts of ground underneath the fig and several feijoa trees, loading and carting barrow-loads of newly delivered tree mulch to throw over the newly-bared earth to suppress future weed proliferation.  Okay, so I am not in any way suggesting that one can keep up this break-neck pace, as I proved so impressively to myself - come Friday evening, I was knackered!  And I don't even have any!  Maybe girls should be knickered while knackered should be kept expressly for the male species!

Crazy-sized Monty's Surprise apple dwarfs Granny Smiths

Homegrown ingredients to make chutney

2 Large 1L jars of Spicey Apple Chutney
Anyway, I was totally knickered, and vowed that my second week of holiday should be spent pursuing more sedate forms of entertainment.  So we went and picked olives instead, ours and someone else's on Saturday.  And we hosted some friends for lunch on Sunday - so I spent much of my time, guess where - in the kitchen again!  Can't seem to get out!  Then this morning (Monday), I was back in there, baking a feijoa birthday cake for my daughter for her 18th birthday!  Happy birthday Shayni!

Last holidays, I sneakily made a throw out of old jerseys and bits and pieces I had amassed in my sewing paraphanalia, for her birthday, along with some seat covers for her little car and  money toward upkeep of said possession.  She spent a day washing and waxing her car and cutting out and pasting the name of her little bright red bubble car onto the cleaned and waxed side: "Jellybean".  Now she will never be able to travel incognito again!  She also gets a massage and hot rock massage from moi, to top her birthday treats and then we are off for a big screen movie performance of Iron Man 3.  

red cherry guavas

1.2kg red cherry guavas collected every second day

Guava Ginger Jelly

Guava Jam

Fig jam on left
So after a fruitful week, I am now set to slow the pace right down....... zzzzzzz

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