Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

Posted on 21st December 2013

Grow | Kiwi Fruit


kiwi fruit on vine

kiwi fruit flowers

Kiwi fruit (Actinidia), or Chinese gooseberries as they are also known, are deciduous vines. They are ideal for people without a lot of space as, providing they are kept trimmed, the vines can be kept to a manageable size. However, one plant is not enough, as kiwi fruit are either male or female and you need two to tango! If you decide you want to go into kiwi fruit in a big way, you can plant up to eight females per male plant, at 3 m (9 ft) spacings.

As they are deciduous, kiwi fruit can also withstand frosts while dormant and grow in a range of climates from cool to temperate without any fuss, providing they are in well-drained soil. Spoiling them with extra chicken manure and deep soakings of water during summer will ensure they give you a bountiful harvest, and they normally start bearing properly after 4 years.  Prune them hard in winter and remove any canes that are more than 3 years old, as these have passed their use-by date.

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Posted under grow
Posted on 20th December 2013

Cook | Kiwi Fruit


kiwi fruit Mille Feulle recipe


Kiwi fruit & mascarpone mille feulle

1 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup caster sugar
25g plain flour
250g mascarpone
300ml thickened cream, lightly whipped
1½ sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
6 kiwi fruit, peeled, sliced

1. Heat milk on low, until just simmering. Using an electric mixer, beat yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Add flour and mix to combine. Pour over hot milk and mix well. Transfer to a clean saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Transfer to a bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Fold through mascarpone and ½ cup whipped cream.
2. Preheat oven to 210 or 190C fan. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
3. Cut the whole sheet of pastry in half to form 2 rectangles. Place all 3 pieces on prepared tray. Bake for 15-20 mins, until puffed and golden. Set aside to cool completely.
4. Lightly press two rectangles to flatten slightly. Spread half of custard mixture along one piece of pastry. Top with sliced kiwi fruit and another piece of pastry. Spread over remaining custard mixture and kiwi fruit. Top with remaining pastry. Spread over remaining whipped cream and top with remaining kiwi fruit. Cut into slices to serve.

Serves 10

To save wastage of pastry sheets, cut the half needed whilst pastry is still frozen. Return unwanted half to the package and return to freezer.

Try This…
Kiwi fruit & custard tarts
Mix together ½ cup store bought premium vanilla custard and ¼ cup whipped cream until smooth. Fill 180g packet store bought pre-baked pastry shells with custard mixture. Top with sliced kiwi fruit and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook
Posted on 20th October 2013

Grow | Avocado


 avocado on tree

Growing an avocado in the home garden is not for the impatient, as from seed to fruiting it takes around 6 years. Luckily, grafted plants are available that not only give you a particular variety but also reduce the time to fruiting by about 3 years. Avocado trees need to be grown in a frost-free area and excellent draining is crucial as they are prone prone to root rot. A thick mulch of leaf mould will also keep their roots cool and moist, but take care not to build this up around the trunk. Full sun with protection from burning winds in summer is also desirable. Which variety you choose depends a lot on where you live. For those in the tropics, ‘Walden’ is worth a go, but further south try ‘Hazzard’ or ‘Pinkerton’, which have the ability to set fruit over a wide range of climatic conditions. Avoid taller growers like ‘Hass’, ‘Fuerte’ and ‘Sharwell’ if you want any space left in your yard, or unless you live on a large property. The best selection for marginal temperate zones is ‘Bacon’, which can even cope with the odd frost once established. Avocados can also be pruned back to keep their size in check. A good rule of thumb here is 20 per cent off after fruiting. Complete plant food and sulphate of potash are great nutritional supplements to help your tree cope with cropping and stay healthy. Ripening times vary depending on the variety, but start to harvest your crop when the first avocado falls from your tree and you won’t be far off.

Avocados don’t fully ripen until they are picked from the tree. Store at room temperature for about 3–5 days. They are ripe when the skin ‘gives’ slightly when lightly pressed.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under grow
Posted on 5th July 2013

Harvest | Pears




Pears should be unblemished and firm as they will continue to ripen once picked. Store unripe pears at room temperature for 3-7 days or until ripe. Once ripe, store refrigerated for 2-3 days.

What to do with glut

pear and cardamom suase recipe

Pear & cardamom sauce

2 pears, peeled, chopped
½ cup water
¼ cup caster sugar
2 tsp ground cardamom

1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 10 mins, until pears have collapsed. Using a hand blender, blend until smooth.
2. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Alternatively freeze for up to 3 months.

Makes 1 cup

try this …….
dried pears
Peel, core and halve pears, placing them in salted water as you go. Leave to soak for 30 mins. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Preheat oven to 60C.
Lay pear halves on wire racks and dry in oven for 12-18 hrs, turning occasionally, until dried to your liking.
Alternatively, lay pears on racks and place out in sun for 2-4 days, depending on time of the year and heat of sun.
Store in airtight containers.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under harvest
Posted on 5th July 2013

Cook | Pears


Steak sandwich with caramellised pears

Steak sandwich with caramelised pears & walnuts

4 x 150g porterhouse steaks
4 bruschetta slices
50g soft blue cheese
50g baby spinach
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
caramelised pears
50g butter
2 pears, cored, cut into thin wedges
2 tbsp brown sugar

1. Preheat barbecue on high. Cook steak for 2-3 mins each side, for rare, or until cooked to your liking.
2. Meanwhile, caramelize pears. Melt butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Cook pears for 4-5 mins, swirling pan, until tender and golden. Add sugar and cook for another 2-3 mins, until caramelised.
3. Lightly toast brushcetta. Spread cheese over each bruschetta. Top with a steak, spinach leaves, caramelized pears and walnuts. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

butterscotch pear tart recipe

Butterscotch pear tart

10 sheets filo pastry
50g butter
4 pears, thinly sliced, lengthways
¼ cup golden syrup
¼ cup cream
thick cream or ice cream, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 200C or 180C fan. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Spray each sheet of filo with oil and stack on top of each other. Cut 8 x 11cm rounds from filo. Place each stack onto prepared tray and bake for 12-15 mins, until golden and crisp.
3 Melt butter in a frying pan on medium. Cook pears for 2 mins, until soft. Add golden syrup and cream and simmer for 2-3 mins, until sauce thickens slightly.
4. To serve, place filo on serving plates. Top with pears and drizzle with butterscotch sauce. Serve with thick cream or ice cream.

Makes 8

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook
Posted on 3rd April 2013

grow | vine leaves/grapes


 Immature grapes

Grape Vine planting

Grapes have been cultivated for over 8000 years and evidence of them has even been found dating back before the last ice age and the Ancient Egyptians had realised how great they tasted and worked out that fermented, they turned into wine. The term viticulture is the science of growing grapes, and is a study many  horticulturists and wine makers have devoted their lives to.  Home grown table grapes need not take a lifetime of study, but a few tips will help.

Grapes need great drainage, full sun, and are deciduous vines.  Protection from birds during their ripening season, which is late summer and autumn, is also important if you want to eat any grapes yourself!  The most important thing to realise is that grapes are grown on vines and therefore need some support to grow them effectively.  A pergola or trellis is fine, but if you are going to get serious about grapes, and start your own mini vineyard, you are best to set up posts with about 4 wires strung between the two so that you can train them along these guides and get lots of fruit.  This idea allows maximum sunshine to get at all the branching, thus increasing your yield and also allowing easier picking and management of your vines. Pruning is the other crucial factor. Vines need to be kept cut back to a main framework each winter so that they don’t become unmanageable tangles.

When choosing a grape, decide whether you want a low acid (table) or high acid (wine) grape, and if you want a red or white skin. Also, get advise about grapes for your area, and make sure you specify whether or not you live in a humid or inland, hot or cold area as there are some that are more prone to mildew and others that need longer ripening periods than others. Lastly, when picking fruit, taste first to see if the grape is in fact ripe as grapes colour up before they become sweet, and as the saying goes, there is nothing worse than sour grapes!

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under grow
Posted on 3rd April 2013

harvest | vine leaves / grapes


 grapes and grape vine leaves


Generally speaking the longer grapes stay on the vine the sweeter they will be. Harvest bunches of grapes and store unwashed in a plastic bag refrigerated for up to 1 week. When ready to serve, wash and pat dry.

Grape leaves should be picked whole, without any holes and must not have been sprayed with pesticides. Choose the pale green supple leaves just below the new growth but above the bunches of grapes.

What to do with glut

  • Freeze

Pick, wash and pat dry grapes. Pack into small clip lock bags and freeze for up to 1 month. Ideal for lunchboxes, to use in punch or cocktails.

  • To Preserve

Grape juice

Grape juice

Pick 1kg of grapes from stems and place in a large bowl of water. Rinse well, discarding any overripe or wrinkled grapes.
Drain and place in a large saucepan. Using a potato masher, mash well, until grapes are squashed and juicy. Heat on low, until simmering. Simmer for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Mash again, squashing any remaining grapes that are whole.
Pour grape mixture into a fine sieve set over a large bowl. Set aside overnight in the refrigerator, to strain.
There will be a little sediment in the juice, if you prefer a clearer juice, strain again. Serve as is or dilute a little with sparkling mineral water.

grape vine leaves fro brining recipe

Brining vine leaves

Wash vine leaves under running water and cut away stems. Blanch in a pan of boiling water for 1-2 mins, until wilted. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain and pat dry.
Heat 6 cups of water and 250g of salt, stirring, until salt dissolves. Set aside to cool. Lay leaves in a sterilised jar, stacking on top of each other. Cover with brine and a square of baking paper, ensuring leaves are submersed in brine. Seal and set aside for 2 months.
To use the leaves, remove from brine and rinse under water. Use for dolmades.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS


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Posted under harvest