Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Mid winter Xmas and looming deadline

The midwinter xmas menu for House & Lifestyle was really very successful - roast capsicum soup, a  winter salad followed by duck breasts with orange sauce (not as traditional as it sounds), potato and leek mash, sauteed spinach and caramelised fennel and yams. Then a coffee and chocolate 'trifle'  with roasted tamarillos. .
I plan to cook the same menu for Russ's birthday this month, for some old friends. Although I prefer to eat vegetarian, I'm fine with catering for meat eating guests and occassionally I can appreciate small amounts of meat  - mainly fish or seafood, but I did have a little of the duck breast to check the combination with the sauce and was pleased. This is the dessert (below) - I love tamarillos and our tree is producing well, even tho it's now covered with frost cloth just in case!

I've also made tamarillo and raspberry jam, which is a great success - that'll be added to the new cookbook for sure, but deadlines are looming for this book and I still don't have a title! It's mainly chutneys and pickles, but also relishes, liqueur, a couple of jams, marmalades, vinegar, sauces, and also things like preserved limes and lemons and some sambals/tapenade/fresh chutneys as well.

Tamarillo and raspberry jam

The birds were beaten to the persimmons this year, mainly because while we pruned the tree and re-shaped it last year, so it didn't produce nearly as well. Obviously we must have pruned a lot of last year's new growth off, but hey - it'll fruit well next season, I'm sure.  Lucky I have persimmon, tamarind and date chutney to see me through quite a bit of this year. . .as for our figs, well, I had to buy some to make my pickled figs in brandy as so many of mine didn't ripen. I really do think I may have planted in too shady a place, although other fig growers say this has been a bad year. I'll know next year, just hope we get more sun.
I've been so focused on trials for the book that my garden has been terribly neglected - but over this last (Queen's birthday) weekend I got out there and it's starting to look as if someone cares once more. Fortunately it doesn't take too long to have it looking good again. It was hard to cull so many self-sown flat leaf parsley and rocket seedlings, but they were far too congested to grow well, in any case, and I pricked out and planted as many as I will need.
Winter is starting to sharpen its teeth now, the trees are dumping their leaves so that the ground is a patchwork of gold, burnt orange and reds - lovely, but we've had three summers in a row so this could be quite hard for us softies.
Preserving limes and lemons has been another bit of inside work to do when I'm not teaching, they're so good in lentil dishes, casseroles, fish dishes and also for adding to dips and spreads.

making mustard and a good antipasto mix with roasted red peppers (you can use tinned or bottled as well as fresh), black olives, rosemary and garlic.

Talking about garlic, I have several heads roasting in the oven right now, and will cool them, squeeze out the flesh, mash and season, then cover with extra virgin olive oil to keep in the 'frig. Great in mashed potatoes, or just to spread onto ciabatta or foccaccia drizzled with extra oil - mmmm, so good.

1 comment:

Norma said...

Russ is a lucky man - what a birthday feast to look forward to!!

I didn't know it was possible to keep roasted garlic covered with oil in the fridge, great tip, thanks :)