Making progress and more sunny days

I’m loving these late summer days…
Summer gardenAmazed by the talent of a clever face painter at a birthday party we went to this weekend… Can you tell we went to see Frozen recently? Maia ice queen 2So impressed I got a little arm art painted on myself…Arm art 2Wondering about Maia’s desire to have a barbie photo shoot!

BarbiesScoffing lots of delicious homegrown tomatoes (these ones are Black Krim)… They are especially good on toast for brekkie!
Black Krim tomatoesVisiting the Hamilton gardens, and especially enamored by the kitchen garden this year…

Marigolds8Inventing loads of healthy juice concoctions since I got a juicer a couple of weeks back, my current favourite combo:

yummy vege juice recipeWorking away on my cheery throw….

Crochet throw 25So pleased with the way it’s turning out, love the grey… It really makes the colors pop!
Crochet throwStill sipping my nightly sleepy tea. The tags may be my favourite part!tea sayings Preserving plentiful plums, everyone loves this plum sauce…

plum sauce recipeLicking lots of ice creams… Purely to cool down of course. Don’t sprinkles make everything better? ice cream sprinklesHoping you have a lovely day tomorrow! Heart 4What’s happening in your world this week? J xox

Apples apples apples

If you have been reading for a while you will know that we live close to an amazing orchard where we get most of our fruit from.  This time of year there is an abundance of apples, and when I was out there yesterday there were 10kg bags of ‘pink ladies’ for $10. These are one of my favourite apples and that is a serious bargain!

Pink ladies are lovely sweet tangy fruit which are delicious to eat and also make excellent cooking apples – no sugar is needed.  A few years ago I brought one of these apple peelers, which the kids love to use… It peels, slices and cores the apples in about 15 seconds. Even a three year old can use it:

While we are peeling I sit the apples in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon so they dont go brown. My handy helper and I then loaded up the dehydrator…

And filled a pot for some yummy stewed apple to have for dessert:

Actually one of my favourite things about the peeler is that it peels the skin off in one long piece (they are so pretty), and perfect for our worm farm.  I did take some photos to show you but they were a bit yucky to be fair!

Eight hours later we packed up two containers with dried apple, but I have to confess we have eaten one of these already.  The dehydrator is still out so Ill fill it up again this afternoon and this time make some to store for later! I picked up the dehydrator second hand some years ago for about $20 and I love to use it to make dried fruit.  Apples, strawberries, plums and feijoas are our favourite… I store the dried fruit in air tight containers in the freezer and there it stays happily until its all eaten (a ‘lost’ bag of feijoa lasted for over a year and was still perfectly delicious!).

Dried applesPS. Home dried fruit makes the most delicious bircher muesli!

In my kitchen

pickled vegespickled vegesIve been making these gorgeous jars of garden goodness…

pickled vegesYou’re supposed to wait two weeks before opening, but Im not sure that I can wait that long 🙂

Today’s bounty…

Veges from my gardenThank you for all you lovely comments yesterday. I thought I’d share one more peek into our garden, here is what I collected today (minus 4 tomatoes which I gave to my mother in law together with 2 cucumbers and another that went to our neighbor). On the menu tonight: pasta with tomatoes, beans and silver beet and fruit salad with nectarines, tangelos and strawberries for dessert. The green tomatoes are another favourite of mine- Green Zebra (they are ripe when yellowy-green),the potatoes are called Purple Heart I think.  The cucumbers are destined to become pickles with the dill, and the left over beans I thought I would try pickling too… not sure how they will turn out. Jx

Strawberry and Boysenberry Jam

Strawberry Jam It’s strawberry season, and this has been a great year for strawberry growing. Our little patch is doing well, and we get plenty of small berries from the alpine strawberry plants which are growing all over our garden.

We are lucky to have a couple of berry farms very close to us, so I have been able to buy strawberries for next to nothing. Its got to the point though, where we’ve eaten about as many as we can handle. Ive dehydrated a couple of batches for winter eating. Dehydrated fruit makes great snacks (we also love bircher muesli with home dried strawberries, plums and feijoas in it… yum!), I’ve frozen a few big bags too (these are mostly used for smoothies, and maybe a batch or two of winter strawberry jam).

I made a small batch of strawberry and rhubarb jam a month or so ago, and today I made strawberry and boysenberry jam. I think the pot looked particularly festive…

Strawberry Jam Carter helped. His job? Official taste tester.

Strawberry Jam Looks tasty doesn’t it?

Strawberry Jam Jam making is actually one of my favourite things, it’s so easy and so satisfying. I don’t usually use a recipe, and with berry fruit you don’t need to worry about setting as they have plenty of pectin.

Strawberry Jame 6Do you like to preserve?  What’s your favourite jam? I think Carter’s favourite is strawberry and boysenberry, since this morning he has had the new jam on a bowlful of homemade yoghurt and two jam sandwiches!