Originating from China, apricots were carried by nomads and merchants west to Iran, Turkey and Caucasus along the Silk Road and possibly introduced from Asia into Greece by Alexander the Great. Born out of the cold of winter, apricots bask in the summer sunshine until they are transformed into a sweet yet tangy luscious fruit with rich orange fruit nectar. They excel in locations where there are long cold periods, without frosts which damage the delicately fragrant white pink-tinged blossom, followed by dry medium – hot summer. This year we have an abundant harvest. As the golden-orange fruits continue to swell with juice and ripen and the branches hang lower and lower each day under the weight of the fruit, referred to as “eggs of the sun” by the Persians, I start to plan the harvest. Testing the fruit until they are deemed to be perfect is the gardeners reward for nurturing the tree through the year. We will pick the fruit in multiple batches, so there will be fresh apricots until the peaches come in. The preserving pans will be busy with apricot jam and apricot and ginger jam for something a little different, apricot chutney and preserved apricots. The golden-orange preserves nestled amongst the berry preserves from Christmas will create a festive pantry that beckons and tempts the hungry ones and inspires culinary creativity in the cooks in the household.Read more
The luscious cherry, a celebration of summer, is born out of the wintry dormancy of chilly winds and frosty mornings. This winters epitaph is a celebratory homage to dormancy and renewal and cherries winter addition.Read more
Artichokes have been known in Italy since the 15th century and the Italians have perfected the art of growing, harvesting, cooking, eating and preserving them. Preserve some of your artichoke harvest or when they are in abundance in the markets with this Italian inspired recipe and discover the joy of mastering the art of preparing artichoke hearts and sharing your home preserve with friends and family.
This luscious chutney, reminiscent of summer, adds zing, the wham and wahoo to the table. Fresh peaches combined with the punchy flavours of ginger, chilli and mustard produce a delightfully fresh fruity but robust chutney that provides a tantilising point of difference to white meats, cheese boards, cold meat platters and the ploughman's lunch.Read more
Chockie, with his cool Ausie surfer-boy dreadlocks, was the darling of the flock. Shy and always the last to be tempted by a Lucerne or chaff treat, he was the gentleman of the troop. Frank consistently produces award winning fleeces at the Strathalbyn Show while Cheeky, the defiant one, stamps his feet to express his disapproval. Woody parades the paddocks with a regal air as he flaunts his distinctive white crown and Sammy, well he’s the allusive one. Always alert, always sizing the situation with his piercing mysterious eyes. All special in their own way, but Chockie was my favourite. His magnificent fleece, radiated in the sun: two parts luscious caramel and one part dark chocolate. His temperament gentle, reserved but engaging. He now resides in the heavenly paddocks after passing away peacefully in my arms last year. His legacies, two fleeces, are destined for special projects.Read more