Smooth skinned, juicy and with a refreshingly sweet tartness when ripe, plums may be considered unfashionable by some, but their versatility is indisputable.
Perfect as an accompaniment to rich meats as a sauce, chutney or pickle, or as the central ingredient in cakes and desserts or eaten fresh, with its luscious aromatic flavour coupled with its intense red-purple hues and nutritional benefits, the plum will endure.Read more
Originating from China, nomads and merchants carried apricots to Iran, Turkey and along the Silk Road and were possibly introduced to Greece by Alexander the Great. Born out of the winter cold, apricots bask in the summer sunshine until they are transformed into a sweet tangy luscious fruit with rich orange coloured nectar. They excel in locations with long cold periods without frosts, which damage the delicately fragrant white pink-tinged blossom, followed by a dry medium – hot summer. This year we have an abundant harvest. As the golden fruit continues to swell and ripen, the branches hang progressively lower under the weight of the fruit, referred to as “eggs of the sun” by the Persians.
The preserving pans will be busy with a variety of apricot jams and for something a little different apricot chutney and preserved apricots. The golden preserves nestled amongst the Christmas berry preserves will create a festive pantry that beckons and tempts the hungry and inspires the cooks culinary creativity.
Nine months after our ritualistic March garlic planting, the early December harvest produced an abundant garlic stash. Leaf browning from the tips and the softening of the stem is nature’s way of telling us it’s garlic harvesting time. After lifting the bulbs from the soil and gently shaking them to remove the precious excess, the air drying or curing process begins which intensifies the flavour and pungency.
After a couple of weeks when the outer skin had dried to a papery texture, they are cleaned and will wait patiently in the coolness of the pantry ready to serve the household with their medicinal antiseptic and antibiotic properties and their defining culinary flavour. Turning some of these treasured bulbs into preserved garlic provides a creamy rich and mellow preserve that's a must for the kitchen gardener and culinary explorer.
This luscious chutney, reminiscent of summer, adds zing, the wham and wahoo to the table. Fresh peaches combined with the punchy flavours of ginger, chilli and mustard produce a delightfully fresh fruity but robust chutney that provides a tantilising point of difference to white meats, cheese boards, cold meat platters and the ploughman's lunch.Read more
Chockie, with his cool Aussie surfer-boy dreadlocks, was the darling of the flock. Shy and always the last to be tempted by a Lucerne or chaff treat, he was the gentleman of the troop. Frank consistently produces award winning fleeces at the Strathalbyn Show while Cheeky, the defiant one, stamps his feet to express his disapproval. Woody parades the paddocks with a regal air as he flaunts his distinctive white crown and Sammy, well he’s the allusive one. Always alert, always sizing the situation with his piercing mysterious eyes.
All special in their own way, but Chockie was my favourite. His magnificent fleece, radiated in the sun: two parts luscious caramel and one part dark chocolate. His temperament - gentle, reserved but engaging. He now resides in the heavenly paddocks after passing away peacefully in my arms last year. His legacies, two fleeces, are destined for special projects.