Monday, May 31, 2010


Regrettably, we managed to miss the dog on the tuckerbox both times we drove through Gundagai.  But we didn't miss Cafe on Sheridan.  If you ever visit Gundagai - this is the place to hang out. It was 9C when we arrived for breakfast. The owners thoughtfully provide rugs for outside diners, and on this bright cold sunshiny morning that was a wonderful welcome. Inside is a small art gallery, gift shop, cafe and the most bubbly owner - Julia Magnone.  And if you are very very brave you order breakfast with the lot. Two sausages, mushrooms, two large halves of tomatoes, baked beans, two poached eggs, toast, chutney, four rashers of bacon - all for $16.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Inspiration followed by many months of waiting

I'm a blog-hopper. I love reading and learning about other people's lives, thoughts and activities.

I also grow quince - lots of quince.  So I'm off to make quince liqueur, as inspired by Kyoto Foodie here. The quince has been cut, the liqueur poured (not shochu though), the bottle sealed and hidden in the cupboard, and now the waiting begins.

Waiting shouldn't be too hard - forgetfulness can be a great tool.  I already have some amazing fruit liqueurs, made years ago, sitting quietly at the back of the cupboard.

I'm also tempted to make cumquat liqueur as there are still about two kilos of donated cumquats in the frigo waiting for action.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Saffron milk cap

We've been out in the pine forests gleaning mushrooms.  These are my preferred - milky saffron, pine mushrooms, lactarius deliciosus.  In previous years we've just picked any and every mushie we could find, but this year the policy is small is beautiful - and believe me, these are small at about 5cm in dia.  Not sure that that makes a difference with flavour, but the imagery is deliciosus.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Would you believe - these are spuds?

They make great (potato) chips, and we're yet to discover how best to use them. Bake? Boil? Mash?  If they win the support of some of our local chefs, then the grower will consider commercialising the potatoes.  (You know how asparagus can cause one's urine to take on a green hue?  Well - imagine the panic after eating these!)

Later: it wasn't the spuds, it was the pine mushrooms; we've had the neighbours all reporting major "kidney" problems as they survey their liquid output!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The beauty of autumn

The hakea laurina is now looking like its common name - pin cushion hakea.  A close look at the original (large) photo shows the flower head is studded with ants!

We tend to think of spring being the time of regeneration and beauty - when in fact autumn can be even more so.  These flowers are brightening the short days.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Around home

Tiny tiny frog found when the Jerusalem (f)artichokes were dug up.

Earthworm on steroids?  If only it had stayed still it would have been 20cm long! The narrow end on the left is the front.

Hakea laurina before and after.

These two seem to always travel anti-clockwise.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Changing seasons

Have been pruning the apples and pear, which all still have many (turning) leaves.  Then noticed that the sloe (prunus spinosa) and damson  had completely lost their leaves.  And exposed an amazing sight - the one and only sloe on the entire plant.  It's the first time I've seen a real live sloe - it's tiny (about the size of a blueberry) and the pip is 80% of the fruit.  It didn't have much taste, so I wonder what it imparts to gin?  The sloe is also known as blackthorn - and those thorns are seriously dangerous.

Sally Wise has a recipe for sloe cheese using 1.5kg sloes - given the current output it's going to be a long time before I'll be making that.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hakea laurina

The hakea laurina flowers are now looking very much like their common name - pin-cushion hakea.