Archive for January, 2011

Posted on 14th January 2011

Grow | Passionfruit

By MEREDITH KIRTON

Passionfruit vine growing on fenceunripe passionfruit

Sometimes known as granadilla, passion fruit (Passiflora edulia) was named by Christian missionaries to South America, where it is native, after Jesus as the flower itself looks like a crown of thorns and the red stain of the fruit is symbolic of Christ’s blood spilt in his Crusification.

But you don’t have to be a believer to grow passionfruit, you just have to have a fence and a sunny, frost free position.  North-east or north-west is ideal in the southern hemisphere, as these generally get the most sun.  Passion fruit also use tendrils to climb, so they need a trellis or wires on the fence or wall in which to start making their way up.

Passionfruit also need a well drained site, with added organic matter for both nutrient supply and water hold capacity, as they are both thirst and hungry plants.  For your trouble, the will reward you very quickly with crops of fruit, normally within their first year, but certainly a bumper crop by the second. It’s normally recommended that you buy a grafted plant, not just so you can have a known type, but also because passionfruit can get a number of virus and bacterial problems and grafted plants are generally more resistant. “Nelly Kelly” is a popular black passionfruit, whilst Panama Red’ and ‘Panama Gold’ are the larger fruited types that are also great to eat.

Regularly feed your passionfruit with either well rotted manure or citrus food, and thin out any excess growth to allow sun to penetrate to all the vine, as this will stimulate spring flowers and summer and autumn fruit.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under grow
Posted on 14th January 2011

harvest | passionfruit

By MANDY SINCLAIR

home grown passionfruit and passionfruit flowerCrop of passionfruit

What to do with glut

Whilst passionfruit don’t ripen once picked, fruit that has fallen to the ground and become a little wrinkly are usually fine to eat.
Store passionfruit, refrigerated for 2-3 weeks, but only 1 week if kept at room temperature

Freeze:
Freeze juice in ice cube trays – if you have an abundance of fruit, simply remove pulp and freeze in portions, an ice cube tray is perfect for this.

Passionfruit sorbet

Combine 2 cups of water, ¼ cups caster sugar and finely grated rind of 1 lemon in a saucepan on medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil for 10 mins. Set aside to cool. Stir through ½ cup lemon juice and ½ cup of passionfruit pulp. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.

Preserve:

Passionfruit curd

In a large microwave-proof bowl, whisk together 4 eggs and 3/4 cup of caster sugar, until well combined. Add ½ cup of passionfruit pulp and 100 grams of chopped butter. Microwave, uncovered, on medium (50%) power for 6-10 mins, whisking every minute, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour into sterilized jars, seal and refrigerate.
You will need approx 4 passionfruit for ½ cup pulp.

Makes 1¾ cups

passionfruit curd recipe

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under harvest
Posted on 14th January 2011

cook | passionfruit

By MANDY SINCLAIR

passionfruit melting moments recipe

Passsionfruit melting moments

250g butter, at room temperature
½ cup pure icing sugar
1 ½ cups plain flour
½ cup custard powder
passionfruit curd, for filling (see recipe in the Harvest post)

1. Preheat oven to 160C or 140C fan. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in flour and custard powder until mixture forms a soft dough. Refrigerate for 20 mins, until slightly firm.
3. Roll teaspoons of dough into balls and place on prepared trays. Press lightly with a fork, to flatten. Bake for 15 mins, until golden. Cool on wire racks.
4. Spread a little passionfruit curd onto one biscuit and sandwich together with another. Repeat with remaining biscuits and curd. Chill until ready to serve.

Makes 20 filled biscuits


tip ….
Fill biscuits just before serving. Store unfilled biscuits in an airtight container.


try this ….
Passionfruit ice cream cake – strain the pulp from 5 passionfruit and stir the juice through 1 litre of softened vanilla ice cream. Spread a little over base of a store-bought double sponge. Sandwich together with remaining sponge. Spread remaining passionfruit ice cream over the top and sides of the cake, to completely cover. Freeze for 3-4 hours until firm. Cut into slices to serve.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook
Posted on 1st January 2011

grow | salad bowl

By MEREDITH KIRTON

growing a salad bowl

January is a time when thoughts of green salads and fresh, healthy ingredients is never far from your mind.  So it makes sense that growing your own salad greens so you have a salad “on tap”.  Salad green can come in a many colours and flavours, from the sweet crispness of ‘Icebergs’ to the nutty taste of rocket, to the lemony tang of sorrel or the bitterness of endive.  What many people don’t realise is just how simple and fast it is to bypass the shops and grow your own straight on the back doorstep.

What leafy greens mostly need plenty of water and regular feeding, without which they can become bitter.  They also want free draining soil (or Australian Premium Standard Potting Mix).  What most people don’t do is prepare the beds well enough with loads of organic matter, like home made compost, worm manure from your farm, rotted or pelletised manure, even well composted grass clippings can be dug through.  This helps build up the nutrition of the soil and build its structure so that it holds water well and will be the best thing you can do for either clay or sand soils.

The next thing to consider is the frequency of your plantings and the varieties you wish to eat and that suit your climate and the season.  Sowing by seed allows successive plantings, putting a new row in every 2-3 weeks is ideal, as you want to be able to harvest throughout the season.  Most lettuce types grow well in winter and spring and autumn, but can run to seed in summer.  ‘Great Lakes’, which was bred by Yates, is ideal for coping with summer heat and tastes great in salads.  Sorrel is fabulous for coping with cold climes and rocket, which has that fabulous peppery flavour, is best planted in spring and autumn and will be ready for munching on just a few weeks after sowing.

No Space at All?

Think micro vegies…the latest taste sensation in all the best restaurants.  All these are are “just germinated” trendy new leaves that are plucked whilst still babies.  You can grow them in a seedling tray and harvest 2 weeks later.  Think Mesclen lettuce mix, pea sprouts, radish shoots, celery, baby spinach and mini radicchio.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under grow
Posted on 1st January 2011

harvest | salad bowl

By MANDY SINCLAIR

harvesting salad leaves from the home garden

Storage:
Salad leaves are at their best when freshly picked, that is the beauty of growing your own salad bowl. However, if you are storing leaves, rinse lightly under cold water. Shake off excess water and place leaves in a clip lock bag. Seal and refrigerate for 2-3 days.

storing salad leaves

What to do with glut

Whilst lettuce and salad leaves don’t store well for any length of time they can be used in recipes other than salads. You can prolong the freshness by following storage instructions or try using as vessels to hold meat and chicken dishes, in soups, stir-fries or casseroles.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under harvest
Posted on 1st January 2011

cook | salad bowl

By MANDY SINCLAIR

caeser salad recipe

Salad bowl Caesar salad

half baguette, thinly sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100g sliced prosciutto
Baby rocket, baby spinach, chervil, parsley
4 boiled eggs, quartered
½ cup shaved parmesan
Dressing
2 egg yolks
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 anchovies, chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ cup light olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Place baguette slices on a baking tray. Brush with oil and season with salt. Bake for 8-10 mins, until golden and crisp.
2. Lay prosciutto on another baking tray and bake for 5-10 mins, until crisp. Set aside to cool.
3. To make dressing. Place all ingredients, except oil in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, add oil in a thin steady stream, until dressing thickens. Season to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Place salad leaves in a large bowl with ¼ cup of the dressing and toss to combine. Divide between serving plates and top with egg and shaved parmesan. Crumble over prosciutto and drizzle with remaining dressing. Serve with toast slices.

Serves 4


tip ….
Experiment with a variety of leaves, fresh herbs in any salad are always a favourite of mine.


Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook