Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Foraging in the fields. Tuesday, March 31 2015

Last week we had a nice drop of rain and I noticed a few white spots in the neighbours paddock as I drove past. So on the weekend, I went a-wandering around a few of the paddocks here, hopeful that I might get lucky and find some mushrooms. Well find them I did! For the first time in about 5 years, I found lots of them! I think it must be a combination of conditions. Perhaps a long dry summer with early autumn rains when the daytime temperatures have still been reasonably warm.
On Saturday I picked a dozen or so in the paddock where I last found them in abundance in 2010. Then on Sunday I tried another paddock where the dairy effluent spray has been going and I picked over 2.5 kg! Yesterday in the late afternoon, I went and had another look in the same paddock and picked another 800g! So this week we are having mushrooms in many incarnations for dinner. Beef stroganoff, mushroom and broad bean pilau, mushroom and tomato frittata so far. I also cooked up quite a few and have frozen them for other meals in the future. Yum!
Can't beat the taste of fresh mushies!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Just Peachy. Tuesday 24th March 2015

Last weekend I was finally able to start my harvest of a laden peach tree in my orchard. I have been watching eagerly for several weeks, waiting for them to colour up and soften. I noticed that. Birds or possums were starting to have a nibble on some of them so that was my cue to start the harvest.
First up, out came the preserving unit and by the end of the weekend I had bottled a dozen big jars.

Then I stewed some peach slices and puréed them. This lot was turned into peach leather and a little experiment as dehydrated cooked peach slices.

I also tried some dehydrated raw peach slices which took much longer than the cooked ones and didn't have nearly as much flavour. In the end my taste tester Max and I decided the leather was a better end product.

With more purée, I made a peach ice cream. It lacked a bit of flavour so I added some passionfruit pulp and vanilla essence. This was a custard based ice cream and in hindsight, I think a yoghurt base would have given it a better flavour. There are plenty more peaches on the tree so that can be next weekends experiment.

Then on Sunday, I stoned and chopped about three kilos and made a big batch of peach jam.

There are still plenty more to harvest so I think I will bottle some more last weekend, stew some for the freezer, and of course eat some fresh ones.