spring colour

While the spring bulbs are dazzling us  and the  blossom is ethereal and elegant against the sky, this is a plain jane  time of the year for the vegetable garden. It is pretty bare and well a bit boring……well mine is.  The winter veg have mostly finished and its too early for new spring seedlings.

I think that is why I swoop so enthusiastically into the rhubarb patch gathering up large armfuls because the red stems are just so colourful  and tender at this time of year. It is my favourite breakfast fruit dish in spring.

I know a lot of people don’t like using rhubarb because they think you need large quantities of sugar to sweeten it, and as we all know we should be limiting our sugar intake. But, shock horror,  I don’t use sugar with rhubarb, I cook it just with fresh squeezed orange juice.
I fill a baking dish with rhubarb cut into about 6cm lengths bake it in the oven with the zested rind and juice from 2 oranges,  until it is just soft but not falling apart. I often add frozen raspberries after it comes out of the oven, from our summer harvest which adds more intense rich ruby colour to the dish.
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Guaranteed to make you smile while you  are eating your favourite cereal in the morning. I make this a lot for guests at this time of year
and it has converted many a non rhubarb eater. Try it love to hear what you think.


My other colourful stalwart at the moment is purple sprouting broccoli. A little lemon zest, some garlic and olive oil,  a quick sauté in a pan and it’s ready. The colour is wonderful and the little florets are just as pretty as flowers in the kitchen.

What is in your vegetable gardens that is giving pleasure at the moment? Do tell I need some inspiration.


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from the kitchen……….feijoa sorbet


This is the perfect recipe for those of you like me, who are groaning under the weight of your feijoa harvest. Although you may not
feel like a sorbet when it is cold outside, we had friends for dinner at the weekend and it is a lovely finale to a hearty winter dinner.


We all know how prolific feijoas trees are, well the best thing about this recipe (apart from the fact it is delicious)   no peeling is required.


A kind friend from Dunedin who I send a box of fruit to every year sent me this recipe when it appeared in the Otago Daily Times, it comes from the Riverstone Kitchen.


Feijoa Sorbet

800 grams of feijoas, ends trimmed and skin on
400 grams caster sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend for 2 minutes or until smooth. Chill and churn in an ice cream machine according to instructions, or place into a container and freeze, then blend it again in the processor place into a container, cover and freeze again.
Take out to soften before serving.

 As easy as that…………….enjoy.

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an autumn recipe

You just have to love Autumn she brings such bounty to our kitchens.
The garden produce particularly the tomatoes just keep coming.


Yesterday as I made yet another batch of this wonderful Tomato and fennel jam I thought this is too good not
to share.


I have lost count of the number of times I have made it . I am going to feel quite bereft when my
tomatoes  finish producing, as I am so used to having this in the fridge it has become an indispensable
staple. Spread on life changing bread for lunch, it elevates a simple baked, or pan fried piece of fish or
chicken, great with homemade burgers, or crackers and cheese, the list goes on.


I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.


Oven Roasted Tomato & Fennel Jam

1 kilo of tomatoes cored and halved
2 cloves of garlic crushed
finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup each of brown sugar & caster sugar
1 tspn ground fennel seeds
1/2 tspn ground ginger & chilli flakes
1/4 tspn ground allspice

Give each tomato half a gentle squeeze to remove some of the seeds.Put tomatoes and all remaining ingredients into a bowl and toss to combine. Set aside for 15 mins so the sugar starts to melt and combine with the tomato juices. Tip everything into a roasting dish scraping out any sugary juices that remain. Place tomatoes cut side up and roast for 30 minutes at 180 degrees.
Turn over and using tongs pull off skins and discard. Continue to roast, stirring occasionally until the juices have reduced and become syrupy.


Tip into a bowl and cool. Store in the fridge in a covered container. Keeps for 10 days. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

The recipe came from Dish magazine


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In the kitchen……………summer harvest

It’s that time of year when cooks and gardeners are to be found in the kitchen.


Late summer and the garden is bursting with produce, and  it is time to preserve the harvest.


The first of the orchard  apples are ripening, crisp and juicy with a slight tartness that is never found
in supermarket apples. The pesky birds have been having a feast, desperate for juice in our drought
conditions. Hopefully now they have departed down the road where the vineyard with the ripening grapes,
is so big they don’t net the vines, they just use bird scarring devices. As I drove past a few days ago,
flocks were wheeling above as though they were biding their time to swoop down, outwitting man’s
efforts to put them off their plundering.


We enjoyed an Apple and hazelnut cake.  It’s a good way to use up bird pecked apples and the last of our hazels.


Jam making is also in full swing. Cottage guests comment on the homemade conserves how fresh they taste, ‘not like bought jams’.


When I make jam I use less sugar to fruit ratio, than is commonly stated in recipe books, about 1 kilo of fruit to 600
grams of sugar. I find that using less sugar the fruit taste comes through without being masked by an overly sugary
sweetness. It does depend on your palate. Once opened I keep the jars in the fridge. I also use Jam sugar which
contains added pectin and works well when using lesser amounts of sugar to attain setting point.

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Today it is the last of the season apricots, and  Black Doris vanilla plum jam in the making. As I write this
I can hear the popping of lids in the kitchen which tells me the jars are sealed. I am feeling just a little bit


Apple and Hazelnut cake

150 grams butter
200 grams caster sugar
2 eggs well beaten
90 grams self raising flour
100 grams ground hazelnuts
125 mls milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, add eggs and mix until combined
fold in dry ingredients
stir in milk
pour batter into a 20cm greased tin
slice peeled apples and arrange on top or chunks of apple and chopped extra hazelnuts to cover top of cake
sprinkle over light brown sugar
bake in a 190 degree oven approx. 45 minutes, or until golden and cooked through
serve warm with yoghurt or a dusting of icing sugar


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