Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cooking up a storm.

Its taken me two days to sit down and write this post. I have been chipping and chopping, stirring and pouring and would you believe how many seeds there are in a melon.....phew!!. I have called it quits for today but will make some fresh bread tomorrow to take down to Brisbane with me.

First on the list was the pea and ham soup....the rain and the cooler weather convinced me the time was right. I dug out a ham bone that was almost lost in the back reaches of my freezer and popped it into my largest pan. Wish I had taken a photo as I had to keep rotating it as it was too big for the pan. Did contemplate chopping it in half but last time I tried that I chipped a bit out of my trusty Chinese cleaver...wont do that again! Plenty of turnips, carrots, sweet potato and beans from the garden to bolster it up. I had it for dinner last night and have 5 boxes to freeze for dinners when I am in a rush.

Next, I picked the Lilly Pillys (in the rain I might add) washed them and boiled them up. When they were soft I hung them to drain overnight and turned my attention to the dreaded pie melon. I only used one as it was one of the smallest and weighed in at 3.4Kg. I removed the skin and roughly chopped the flesh and picked out the seeds......there went another hour or so of my time...sigh. THEN I read the recipe. Mix with equal parts sugar and leave to soak overnight. It actually said to use equal sugar to melon, before peeling but I thought that would make it a little sweet so modified the recipe. Two jobs waiting for tomorrow so I embarked on some Red onion jam that I have been meaning to make for ages. At least I could finish one job!!! While all this was going on I made a fresh loaf of bread to go with the soup and chopped up some Macadamia nuts and ginger for a fruit cake. I put those to soak in iced coffee and rum to...yes.....stand overnight!

The finished fruit cake.

I mixed up a batch of yogurt and it was time for bed.

This morning I returned to the kitchen bench.......added the juice and zest of 4 lemons to the melon mix with 60g of finely chopped fresh young ginger. (the recipe said 30g of powdered ginger but hey I like ginger). Into the pan to boil. I was working with 2kg of melon and 2kg of sugar and my pan was pretty full. It was taking forever to set so I rummaged around my pantry and found a packet of jam setter. Wish I had used 4 packets as one was just not enough so I resorted to the "cook long enough and it will eventually set" method. I am now the proud owner of 16 bottles of melon, ginger and lemon jam. Very nice it is too. I had to taste test it so I spread it on wholemeal bread for my lunch. I am pleased that I didn't use the full quantity of sugar because it is a very sweet jam.

Next came the Lilly Pilly Jam. I used the recipe from "Through my Kitchen window" and thank you Mariana.....it is beautiful to look at and delicious. Quite tart and tangy. I love it. On Marianas recommendation to use a slightly under ripe lemon for more pectin I picked the first lemon from our new lemon tree. I have been nursing that tree for nearly 18 months and check the fruit almost daily. If that lemon was a sample of what that little tree can produce...Hallelujah. It was so juicy.

Now that I had my oven free (from sterilising bottles) in went the fruit cake. By the time that was finished it was late afternoon and all I had to do was print out the labels for the jam. Now I am not the computer whizz in the house...I muddle along....after not a little hair tearing I made a desperate call to dr.K. "HELP. " Everything was going wrong. I was changing a draft copy that dear Marcella had helped me set up and every time I tried to change anything it just got worse and I couldn't find my way back to the original. Such a dear boy that son of ours :-) He took pity on his poor old Mum and set me on the straight and narrow again with a new draft for labels which actually fit the label sheet that I have! Thank you dr K, you saved my bacon. The labels look pretty good too ;-)

Just had time to make dinner. I used up a little of the left over roast venison with a few mushrooms that have popped up in the garden with the rain. Some onion, garlic and a little gravy with a spoonful of Mamas plum jam to give it a lift. All wrapped up in a sheet of puff pastry and voila, instant dinner.

That's all for today I think. Time to go play chasey with Tiggy who thinks he has been thoroughly neglected today. At least that is what I think he is trying to tell me as he keeps tapping me on the leg with his toy in his mouth. Come on Mum .....time to play.


  1. You did have a busy couple of days didn't you. I like the look of your venison pastie.

  2. My goodness I am exhausted just reading about your day Linda. Your macadamia ginger fruit cake looks perfect; such a nice colour you achieved. I bet it tastes delish too.
    Im so very pleased to hear that you were happy with the lilly pilly recipe. Well done and enjoy this distinct and unusual jelly. It is something that you just can't buy so aren't we part of an exclusive club.
    Home baked bread, home made pea and ham soup, more jams; are you sure you aren't running a country cafe out there or something?

  3. Thankyou Marcella...it was delicious. I am a wonder at the left overs :-)

    Hi Mariana....I was on a roll. Once I had the kitchen to myself and a spare day there was no stopping me. Trust me...this was not a common occurence. Once the rain dries up I shall be back in the yard working. Thank heavens for the freezer.