Thursday, 15 March 2012

Summer fruit and preserved grape leaves

I love the idea of preserving grape leaves to make dolmas, or simply using them as an edible doylie or 'plate'. So easy, and so delicious.

There are so many grape vines in New Zealand now, it seems crazy not to make use of the leaves. I stuffed mine with cooked rice, toasted walnuts and dried cranberries, herbs and a few spices - yum!
It's been busy around here, so much produce and so little time! Also, the first photoshoot for the new book was last weekend - exhausting! Fascinating, but exhausting. Photographers are so meticulous, their gear weighs a ton and they can't be hurried (thank goodness, I wouldn't have it any other way, but it was a long weekend. . .). I hasten to add that the photographs here are mine, and not professional in any way.
I've been so busy making pickles, chutneys and relish that I forgot to post photos of Central Otago fruit from when we were there over summer; so before it's just a distant memory. . .

Aren't they gorgeous? My friends David and Jeni grow stunning organic produce off what used to be pretty much bare land in the Kawerau gorge, and sell to top retaurants in the area - and you can see why

They work way too hard, but their commitment shows and can be tasted in every bite of the produce.

Amazing people. And it hardly needs to be said that using quality produce yields the best tasting preserves every time, there's simply no question about it.
So, summer revisited and autumn is on its way - passionfruit, pears, red capsicums and chillies, figs, feijoas in April, limes and other citrus soon, and persimmons. Not to mention saffron crocus - true! I have some in the garden,and my yield was almost a tablespoon of saffron threads from about twenty bulbs last year. At this rate it'll never make me rich, though, and I still have to buy some each year - luckily, it does go a long way.

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