Friday, 1 May 2015

May Garden Share Collective

It has been such a warm Autumn in the mid north coast of New South Wales.  We were lucky to escape the strong rain and wind that Dungog, Newcastle and Sydney recently experienced but have had enough rain that we rarely need to water our plants.

I am still picking the odd dragonfruit (pitaya) but this is the last one
(as my neighbours picked the other one on top of the fence).

There are over 100 avocadoes on the big secondo avocado tree.
These are lush and full of flavour.

Ever present lettuce are always delightful to grow and have on hand for salads and sandwiches. 

It is a great time of year to grow rocket as it doesn't shoot to seed too quickly in this weather.

Zucchinis bursting with flavour and delicious flowers to fry as well.

I was so excited last year when there were 5 custard apples on the tree.
This year there are over 30, can you imagine my excitement!?

I  am including echinacea as a herb, although it is a pretty flower as well.

The 4 jalapeno bushes are still producing flowers and fruit.
I do love a hot chilli.

We pick the capsicum green before they can be invaded by pests.

Fancy a leek?

My little kaffir lime tree is finally starting to grow enough so that I can pick a few leaves occasionally

Green pawpaw grow beautifully in our climate.
Pawpaw need a male and female plant to produce fruit but readily grow from seed.

As do papaya, the rounder cousin to the pawpaw.
This green, soon to be red papaya is self fertile, producing both male and female flowers.

Luscious red pomegranates, bursting with flavour.

Oranges, slowly ripening. 

This is a Fejoia which grows on a tree.

Ruby red grapefruit, grown successfully as a dwarf tree.

The snake beans are having a second round.
A good dose of fertiliser ensured that these vines kept producing for months.

These are the highlights of my May garden as part of the Garden Share Collective hosted by Liz.
Please, browse through the other Garden Share Collective members gardens.

Buon appetito, enjoy Merryn xx

Honey Syrup Cake

Most of you know that I keep bees.  Hubby and I share this fascinating hobby.
Our honey is delightfully fresh and flavour some.
It could be classified as organic due to our stringent conditions and that the inside of the bee hives are coated with beeswax rather than painted.  As well as using no chemicals and the absence of nearby farms.  I will look into certification after Winter when the bees are less active.

I recently asked a few friends what we should call our honey and I laughed at the answers.
You see, over time I have had quite a few stings to my head resulting in a swollen face or head.  Sometimes it is my hand that becomes enlarged and of course all of my friends tell me to take care.
Here are some of their responses to naming our honey business;

Anyway, here is an amazing honey cake recipe courtesy of Guy Grossi from "Love Italy" which will become one of your favourite recipes as well after you make it.

Honey Syrup Cake
Torta di Miele

3/4 cup (180ml) olive oil
1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (140g) natural yoghurt
1/2 cup (180g) honey
2 cups (300g) self raising flour, sifted   (N.B. I add 2 extra teaspoons sifted baking powder)

Honey Syrup
25g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 170˚C.  Grease and flour a 25cm spring form cake tin.
Whisk together the olive oil and sugar in an electric mixer.  Add the eggs and whisk for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is creamy, then whisk in the yoghurt and honey.
Fold in the sifted flour by and until just combined, be careful not to over mix otherwise the cooked cake will be heavy.
Spoon the cake batter into the tin and bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in to the centre comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on  wire rack.  Leave to cook in the tin for 10 minutes.
For the honey syrup, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Make holes all over the top of the cake using a wooden skewer then brush over the honey syrup. Serve at room temperature.

Doesn't this cake sound good for you?  It keeps for about 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Buon appetito, enjoy Merryn xx

Olive Oil Cake

Some cookbooks really have a huge appeal to me and often I will refer back to again and again to a particular recipe that is outstanding.
Prior to Christmas I bought myself Guy Grossi's "Love Italy" and it is a delight to browse through and read every word.  Embracing people, towns and food traditions that span back hundreds of years. As you follow Guy around Italy discovering food wonders and much heritage you could well be there yourself.   This is a heartwarming book and every recipe I have cooked is a huge success.

Olive oil cake - moist and light

Look at this amazingly fluffy texture


Õlive Oil Cake
Torta all'olio d'oliva
5 egg yolks
175g caster sugar, plus 75g extra
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
200g plain flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (125ml) vin santo  (sweet dessert wine)  
1/2 cup (215 ml) olive oil
7 egg whites
whipped cream, to serve, optional

Preheat oven to 170˚C.  Grease and flour a 24cm spring form cake tin.

Whisky the yolks and the 175g of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy.  Add the zest, flour and salt and mix on slow speed until combined.  Increase the speed to medium and add the vin santo and the olive oil in a steady stream until combined.

Beat the egg whites with the extra 75g sugar until soft peaks form.  Gently fold into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the cake tin.

Serve at room temperature with some whipped cream alongside, if you like.   This is especially delicious with a glass of vin santo.

Buon appetito, Enjoy Merryn xx