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 ;-)
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.