- First make a basic shortcrust pastry: 80gm butter sliced and rubbed into 240gm plain flour with a pinch of salt; once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs slowly add very cold water till the mixture amalgamates into a workable dough. Cover and chill for 20 mins in a fridge.
- Dust pastry board/bench with flour and roll out to a 10"/26cm round form, around 5mm thick. Remove to a baking tray and place back in fridge while you simmer, for just three minutes, 750gm sliced homegrown rhubarb in 1/2 c. each of hot water and sugar, and the juice of an orange.
- Remove rhubarb to a bowl to cool and keep the syrup. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
- Coarsely crush 50gm raw almonds, 2T each of sugar, plain flour and toasted oats with a dash of almond essence. Divide this mixture in half with one half going into the rhubarb mixture and the other sprinkled over the pastry base except for a 4cm boarder.
- Pile rhubarb into the central circle and hold in place by folding back the edges and pleating them into place; it looks like an upside-down beret of fruit!
- While you bake it for half and hour, reheat the syrup and reduce it over a few mins. Remove pastry and top with several halved strawberries or similar berries/soft fruit. Brush all with syrup and bake for a final ten mins.
- Brush with more syrup after it has cooled for a few moments. Serve cold with yogurt or cream...
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
We went over all the sterilising: first make sure the bottle has no chips or cracks; wash jars, elastic rubber rings and sound metal lids and rinse all well; place in 150 degree C oven for 20 mins; fill bottles with fruit while still warm; Anne suggested using a medium syrup (1 cup of sugar to 2 cups of water)* over the packed fruit; cover and clip the bottles and set in the steriliser (pressure cooker, large pan or special equipment — see below); cook as recommended (different times for different fruits). Depending on your equipment the syrup will be cold (in special equipment, 10–30 mins, see below) or hot (quick deep pan method 2–20 mins; or pressure-cooked, 1–5 mins). There are oven methods too. I advise consulting a book.
*Fruit can be bottled in water, and honey, stevia or golden syrup can substitute for sugar.
Preserved lemons — simply bottled in salt were another delicacy we learned to make. Again, so easy!
Lindsay, in Katoomba Country Brewer, Shop 2, 101 Katoomba Street (i.e. behind Katoomba Street), stocks Ball and Fowlers Vacola bottling equipment, bottles, wax, pectin, etc. Contact him on (02) 4782 3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Funky Front Yard Farmers and Crop & Swap
Along with growing lots of vegetables, Jo and Joe from Springwood have recently initiated a community orchard in their local street (see http://www.funkyfrontyardfarmers.blogspot.com for more about them).
They have also initiated a community food swap, which will begin in November. The Crop & Swap will start on the second Saturday in November at the Faulconbridge Community Hall (see http://www.cropandswap.blogspot.com). See you there.
If you're interested in food foraging, read this article, which recently appeared in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/us/15forage.html
Apple Pruning Workshop
There will be an Apple Pruning Workshop at the BM Organic Community Gardens this coming Friday 26 August, 11am to 1pm Developing a pruning strategy and pruning technique. Cost: $8. Contact Jed for more information: email@example.com
On Friday 19 August the ABC Radio National program Bush Telegraph ran an item in their Food on Friday segment on the chestnut blight. You can hear a podcast, read some brief notes (and find some chestnut recipes) here:
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Hazelnut and Vegetable Crumble
(from Rose Elliot's The Supreme Vegetarian)
Turn the oven on to a moderate temperature (180 degrees Centigrade).
Prepare 1 kilogram of several different kinds of homegrown or cheap and fresh in-season vegetables (such as pumpkin) and steam till tender, reserving the water.
Mash one third of the mixed vegetables with one tablespoon of olive oil and some of the reserved water to form a puree, and then mix back into the rest of the cooked vegetables with a vegetable stock cube or other favourite seasonings, and place in the base of a casserole.
Place 75g rolled oats, 75g sliced hazelnuts and 75g crushed* hazelnuts with a grated onion, one crushed bulb of garlic, and some thyme or similar fresh/dried herb into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Add 50g olive oil and stir to a crumbly mixture.
Cover vegetables with nut crumble and bake for half an hour or so, till the crumble browns.
*I crush shelled nuts by placing them in a paper bag and belting/rolling over them with a rolling pin.
(from Claudia Roden's The Food of Italy)
Turn the oven on to a moderate temperature (180 degrees Centigrade) and grease and line with greaseproof paper or dust with flour a 20cm round cake pan.
Beat a tablespoon of baking powder into 3 egg yolks. Add 200g sugar, 125g butter/margarine/olive oil, 200g plain flour, and 200g hazelnuts (which have been skinned if you're sensitive to their taste, roughly chopped and quickly toasted in a pan or in the oven), the grated rind from one lemon and 4 tablespoons of soy/cow's/rice milk. Mix it all together well.
Beat the 3 egg whites (which need to be at room temperature) with a pinch of salt till they are stiff and fold through the rest.
Bake for a good half hour, taking out once brown and cooked through.
(from Claudia Roden's The Food of Italy)
Squeeze enough oranges (or other fresh in season citrus) to make up one litre of juice.
Add either the juice from one lemon or 2 tablespoons of orange blossom water.
Add 4–6 tablespoons of castor sugar (adjusting amount to taste), stirring well to dissolve sugar.
Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
Blend ice cubes in food processor till a granita texture is obtained, and serve immediately.
Any uneaten mixture can be frozen again.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
The Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food has some great general advice, which can be downloaded, on growing fruit and nuts, and on pruning:
I find referring to some ABC online print and video resources useful:
On grapevines, see:
For general advice on making fruit trees more productive through pruning:
On citrus pruning:
On deciduous fruit tree pruning:
On apple trees:
A transcript of a television program, which includes some pruning tips:
This program transcript includes some tips about pruning. More than that some good words to say about the humble carob and some other handy advice:
And if you look deep into the program some snippets on berry cane cutting from Peter Cundall:
More advice can be found here:
Let us know which advice you found most/least useful, so we can improve our resource access advice.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Here are some ideas:
# eat fresh or use fresh juice with other fruits as a salad or compote
# use on grated carrot or beetroot as a dressing
# use orange instead of lemon juice when making hommus or guacamole dips
# use up to a cup orange juice instead of the same quantity of water for every cup of rice you next steam up
# serve with fish (instead of, i.e. as you would for, lemon)
# grate fresh rind and freeze spoonfuls in small packets in your freezer
# pare the peel finely, dry well and grind or chop and use in baking, or as a base for liqueur*
# make orangeade or orange squash
# freeze the juice with a little sugar
# prepare clean segments and freeze in a light syrup or dry pack
# make an orange sauce, e.g. for pancakes
# make orange marmalade
# make orange souffle
# make an orange (instead of lemon) pudding
# make orange muffins, loaf or cake
# make orange ice/gelato
If you have your own tree, or can access orange flowers and leaves, you can use the 'neroli' oil for flavour and scent. Dried petals can be pounded with castor sugar (1:2) and stored for use in sponges and other baking.
Oranges go well with a range of spices (such as allspice, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg) and seasonings (such as chives, garlic, mustard, pepper, sage and tarragon).
* In their great book Fruit For the Home and Garden: A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivation and Culinary Use (1985, A&R: 186), Leslie Johns and Violet Stevenson recommend:
squeezing 6 oranges and paring and finely chopping their peel;
blending the juice with 2 cups of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of coriander and adding the finely diced peel;
pouring the blended mixture into a jar and pouring 4 cups of brandy (or some other white spirit) over it;
covering and leaving for two months or so to infuse;
filtering the infused mixture and bottling it.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Oil and line with grease-proof paper a deep 20–25cm cake tin. Set the oven at 180 degrees Centigrade.
Chop 100g hazelnuts in half (the recipe says to blanch them but I left the skins on). Toast them in a little frying pan on your stove (doesn't take long).
Slice 6 baking apples (6 if they're big Granny Smith style apples, more if they're smaller). The recipe says to peel them but I left most of the skin on and just tossed out the central core.
Beat 4 egg yolks with half a cup of brown sugar. Add juice of one lemon (I used an equivalent in orange juice because they are so cheap and plentiful at the moment). Finally, slowly beat in a heaping cup of wholemeal flour.
Beat 4 egg whites (easiest with room-temperature eggs and a pinch of salt). Fold these into the cake mixture with the toasted hazelnuts.
Pour half of the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Layer half of the apple slices on top and repeat process. Cover top with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of margarine or butter and a sprinkling of 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
Cover the top once it brown and leave in the oven for up to 90 mins (i.e. 'until a skewer pushed into it comes out clean').
Sunday, July 10, 2011
The workshops will cover:
Establishing fruit & nut trees in the Blue Mountains
Maintaining trees, pests and diseases, nutrition
Harvesting, storing, preserving and sharing
The venue is the Blue Mountains Organic Community Garden, Harold Hodgson Park, in Katoomba
When? Three Saturdays: 15th October, 10.00am—1.00pm; 29th October, 10.00am—2.30pm (bring lunch for a half hour break); and 12th November, 10.00am—1.00pm.
Interested in this free Course No 9070 Statement of Attainment in Access to Work & Training? Register now.
Contact Denise at TAFE on 4753 2039 or email denise.newton3@ tafensw.edu.au, or contact Anitra on 4782 9003.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Fits is well with Maryanne's idea of a fruit and nut community orchard. Perhaps we could distribute samples of heritage varieties and Indigenous fruit and nut plants in small islands throughout the mountains — just as they already appear in certain places near railway stations and even public parks (see Medlow Bath).
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
The ABC TV1 Gardening Australia site also has a fact sheet on pruning olive trees, which we'll need to be doing later in the year. You can watch an ABC TV1 Gardening Australia program on grafting olive and apple trees too.
There are olive farms in the Megalong Valley (see post below). Poor soils, well-drained soils and cold winters are the olive's natural habitat. But the high humidity characteristic of Blue Mountains' weather is an enemy of olives. In places, such as the upper mountains, where an olive tree might not get full sun and many weeks of it they will not thrive.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
If you want advice on tending the strawberry plants try the Vegetable Patch site. Also the ABC's Gardening Australia has three items on growing strawberries: a 2003 fact sheet by Colin Campbell; a 2007 fact sheet by Janea Edmansont; and, an item from a 2007 issue of the Gardening Australia Magazine; And, if you're heavily into strawberries or have had problems growing them, consult the Berries page of the NSW Department of Primary Industries horticulture site.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Kat Szuminska reports that they've just bulk ordered fruit plants for the Blue Mountains Organic Community Gardens, also in Katoomba. See their website for some recent activities involving citrus planting: http://bluemountainscommunitygardens.org/ If you'd like to be involved with planting the new stock, contact Kat directly.
The ABC TV program Gardening Australia, which screens at 6.30 pm every Saturday evening, has announced that next week (Saturday 14 May) they will feature the grafting of fruit trees. This is a subject of great interest in our network and we hope to hold a workshop later in the year on it. Meanwhile watch the program — see http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
On the SBS website, leading up to our preserving fruit workshop, take a look at the Gourmet Farmer's advice and at Costa's planting fruit tree guide, and the moroccan dressing for a salad of fruit of your choice (local, of course).
Friday, April 15, 2011
On Saturday 14 May, starting at 11.30 am Anne Elliott (Slow Food Blue Mountains) will present a workshop in Katoomba on preserving fruit using Fowlers Vacola equipment. Entry is by donation and bookings are essential.
If you want to find out a bit more about preserving home produce with Fowlers Vacola before registering for the workshop, see a personal view at cartoonist and John Ditchburn's site: http://www.urbanfoodgarden.org/main/processing-garden-produce/fowlers/fowlers.htm
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Last year there weren't any walnuts to collect but this time there were. Walnuts fall inside a fleshy fruit that quickly blackens and becomes slimy. Ultimately, the sun and rain ripen and wash off this thin outer layer but meanwhile there is a tendency for mould to develop and invade the nut. Therefore walnut picking up requires skills in checking the probable quality of the walnut and then scrubbing the dark outer flesh off to leave a lovely shell like those we're accustomed to in shops.
The Australian Walnut Industry Association claim that walnuts grown in our country are free of pesticides and chemical treatments, and fresh, i.e. always sold within several months of harvest. If you go onto the Austnuts: Australia's nut directory site, and click on the walnuts section, you will find masses of useful information, including Perry's Fruit and Nut Nursery Home Garden Cultivation Notes and walnut recipes.
The Austnuts: Australia's nut directory site also has similar information on chestnuts and, of course, other nuts which can grow here in the Blue Mountains, such as almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Wash and core — or scald and peel, and core — 2.4 kg of fresh figs. Make a syrup by boiling together 500 ml vinegar and 500 ml water with 2.4 kg sugar for ten minutes. Now drop the whole fruit into the syrup and very gently cook for three to four hours. Bottle in sterile jars while hot and seal after cools.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Note in the Blue Mountains Gazette this week, that the council is treating blackberries so the advice is to avoid eating spray with your berries by going without when you see berries grown on public land. Also go to the council's website to notify the Noxious Weeds team leader if you need to be put on its Chemically Sensitive Register to be notified when they spray nearby.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Now the biggest and longest opening outlet of its kind in Australia, it is located in Shops 1 & 2 Jones House, Ha'penny Lane (under the Katoomba Post Office). Phone: 4782 5890.
Our NFP food co-operative specialises in organic wholefoods, encourages local produce and minimal packaging. There are transparent mark-ups and bulk discounts.
The co-operative will celebrate its 30th birthday Saturday March 12th at Phillip Hall & Park in Blackheath, 10am–10pm. Slow Foods has a stall where you can see BM FNTN flyers and can sign up to our e-list for bulletins about our activities.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Into a very large saucepan (e.g. the bottom part of a pressure cooker) place 5 cups of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of allspice, 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 kg raw sugar. Stir well and then occasionally, as you bring it to the boil, making sure the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile wash 2 kg apples, peel where necessary, roughly chop and add all to the simmering liquid mixture.
Bring back to the boil and, after a few minutes, add 350 gm sultanas, 250 gm of finely sliced preserved ginger. You need to stir it well for the next 15–25 mins as you keep it at the boil to thicken. Make sure your jars are sterilised and pour into 8–10 medium sized 'jam' jars.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
The following is a quote from the Landshare website:
Landshare is for people who:
+ Want to grow vegetables but don't have anywhere to do it
+ Have a spare bit of land they're prepared to share
+ Can help in some way — from sharing knowledge and lending tools to helping out on the plot itself
+ Support the idea of freeing up more land for growing
+ Are already growing and want to join in the community
Great idea and even easier to apply for fruits and nuts. That's happening around the mountains. The Quarry Garden at Blackheath is one example and the Cheriras Community Orchard is another. Think about expanding the idea.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Leura Goodies has fresh-picked (daily) blueberries from Mount Wilson suppliers for sale at the moment too.
This means that the up coming BM FNTN activity will focus on figs: 'the second (autumn) crop should be amazing and plentiful'.
We might get a fortnight notice time but it is likely to be March. Watch this space and, if you are a local to the Blue Mountains, make contact to get on our e-list so you get notified instantly!
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Meanwhile Blue Mountains Slow Foods have a series of Summer Harvest Kitchen workshops. The following should be of interest to fruities and nutters:
Good enough to bottle – Tips for preserving using Fowlers Vacola equipment. Thurs 3 Feb, 10 am–1 pm and 2–4 pm @ Cloudlands, Katoomba. Cost: by donation. Bookings: 4782 7376
Learn the simple steps for using a Fowlers Vacola Electric Sterilising Unit. Look at equipment required and take home practical, step-by-step sheets to keep. A hands-on component as well, bottling antipasto vegetables. Light morning/ afternoon tea will also be provided.
Chooks Tour: an excursion to small, integrated backyard chookhouses/runs in the Blue Mountains: Sat 5 Feb, 9.30-2.30pm @ Various Chook yards across the Mountains. Cost $10. Bookings: 4782 7376
Small group visits to 6-8 backyards and talk with owners about their chooks, chookhouses and yards. Finish at Sun Valley Produce with display of equipment and feed for keeping hens, and chickens for sale. (Heavily booked, so contact presenter for date of 3rd excursion.)
Notice too the campaign to save the bees.
I made some brandied cumquat and orange marmalade in November — from our own cumquats, sadly we don't grow our own oranges in our Katoomba garden — and now we're having it on Hominy toast each morning for breakfast — yum!
Saturday, January 1, 2011
About 25 people came to the Cloud Farm Community Collective open berry picking day today. It was great weather, but a little hot.
We took photos at the entrance of the one-acre netted food forest (left) and from inside, where garlic and other herbs grow adjacent with fruit trees and berry plants (above right).
Next month there will be other fruit to harvest, stone fruit will be ready in a number of weeks. The apples will take longer. To receive notification of such activities please register your email on our e-list.
On 31 December 2010 SBS screened one of a four-part documentary series, called Love's Harvest, on the experiences of organic farmers. The half-hour part on New Year's Eve was on a couple who established a commercial raspberry patch at Yandoit in Victoria. Especially if you like raspberries, and raspberry growing, it is worth a look.
BLUE MOUNTAINS FRUIT CALENDAR
We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.
Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.
Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry
Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade
Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry
Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon
Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)
Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut
Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote
Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)
Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)
Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo
Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)
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