Paddock+Garden = Today’s Late Lunch

Our plan, for a long time, has been to be as close to a self-sustainable lifestyle as possible while still having a practical mindset….you can’t do everything! We still have a long way to go, however, today marks a milestone at RaFG headquarters.

Today, when I looked at our roast lunch, there were only two things on the plate that had not come out of the garden or the paddock (condiments excluded), the potatoes and the broccoli. It’s too early for potatoes (here anyway) and I never have any luck growing anything in the Brassica family.

I started to write this post while lunch was cooking. I could smell the leg of lamb (from one of our lambs) roasting away in it’s marinade of garlic and rosemary (both out of the garden) infused in olive oil.

In the saucepan, ready to cook, were the beans and squash picked fresh out of the garden.

And soon to go into the roasting pan, with the lamb, was the golden nugget pumpkin that I picked yesterday.

All we need now is a crop of hops and some grape vines…

What’s growing in your garden?

Mrs D x

 

 

2016: Done And Dusted

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I know…I’m 10 days late. I started writing this post last year. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to actually finish some blog posts. I have about 14 drafts on the go at the moment. See how we go.

Anyway, I’m never blinking again! Where did 2016 go?

This is what 2016 looked like for Mr D and me. A lot of people have said to me that 2016 was a bad year. It certainly had some challenges for us and we lost our dear Nanna, however, for the most part, I decided to highlight what was good about this year.

Enjoy! You’ll need a cuppa for this post.

January

It was either a really quiet month or a really busy one judging by the lack of photos. I can guarantee that we were weed spraying, whipper snipping and drenching sheep at some point.

We did celebrate our young friend Anitra’s 18th birthday.

February

We celebrated our friend Jane’s 50th birthday in fine ‘Once Upon A Time’ style.

Spent a couple of days in Merimbula.

The garden was in full swing.

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Our piggies were growing like wild fire.

Mr D built the Turkeys their new accommodation.

Towards the end of Feb, we headed off on an 11 day cruise to the Pacific Islands.

March

Mr D constructed new accommodation for our growing piggies and the three boys were castrated.

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Lambs were born.

I turned another year younger.

We moved our son to his new house.

Lots of veg was harvested from the garden.

April

Mr D went back to work part-time after being made redundant in June 2015.

Our nephew, Matthew, married Gabby.

Mr D built the first piggy feeder….it’s come a long way since then.

The vegetable garden kept giving and giving.

The fire was started for the first time in 2016….we almost made it to Anzac Day.

May

Our daughter turned 22.

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We drove to Tatong, which is past Benalla in Victoria, to pick up Stumpy the Boar. He is quite a bit bigger in this photo than when we first got him.

Mr D and I took a day off (Mother’s Day) and drove to Mt Selwyn. We walked the Heritage Trail at Kiandra (no photos due to corrupt SD card) and then on the way home, stopped at the Snowy Scheme Museum in Adaminaby.

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Nanna passed away. A sad day indeed.

Lambs and three of our pigs were prepared for the freezer. Another hard day.

The fencing for paddock three was completed and repairs to the fencing at the back of the property were carried out.

June

Winter had definitely arrived. Mr D and I headed off to Bermagui to have lunch with friends. It was -5 degrees celsius in Bunyan however in Bermagui (a couple of hours East of us) it was a balmy 20 degrees.

I made my first ever batch of Cumquat Marmalade with Cumquats off a friend’s tree.

I enrolled to study Bachelor of Arts at Charles Sturt…..because I don’t really have enough to do already (cough).

We prepared for Christmas in July.

July

Christmas in July arrived. It was a lot of work however totally worth all of the effort.

Our son turned 20.

I accidentally left the house paddock gate open and the cows found their way in causing quite a bit of damage and leaving sizeable momentos in their wake.

In the same week, strong winds sent my green house flying along with all of the seedlings in it, we received quite a lot of rain and a tree fell on the paddock one fencing.

More lambs. Three lambs were lost to a neighbour’s dog and one to the Eagle.

The two Sows adjusted to life without the boys.

August

Lemons.

Shanks attempted to boss the cows. What was he thinking?

September

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Seedlings.

Moving day for Stumpy to his new accommodation.

We borrowed the bull from our neighbour. Hopefully we will have calves in Spring 2017.

The neighbours started their annual burning of paddocks.

Our nephew, Joshua, turned 21 and we travelled to Sydney to help him celebrate.

October

We took a day off and headed to Floriade in Canberra.

Mr D and I celebrated 25 years of marriage and spent a night at Jamala Wildlife Lodge within the National Zoo and Aquarium, Canberra.

It was my first attempt at making and decorating ginger bread cookies in preparation for Christmas hampers.

The veggie garden started giving again.

Uni came to an end for the year.

Addy came to live with us.

We prepared five lambs for the freezer.

November

 

We had a bumper crop of Strawberries.

The Lavender flowered and looked glorious.

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We put the first lot of eggs into the incubator only to get one chick due to temperature issues. I shipped it off to our neighbours over the back, Ian and Narelle, as chicks don’t so well on their own and they had chicks of a similar age.

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Lemon Butter was made using our lemons and eggs.

I spent the best part of a week on the Central Coast catching up with family and friends.

Our Little Girl (Sow) became limp while I was away and didn’t recover. Mr D quickly organised the Butcher as there was nothing that could be done.

Mr D sprayed weeds. It’s never ending.

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The Christmas hampers were started…the non-perishable items, that is.

As a result of Little Girl’s sudden demise, we were left with a lot of pork. Some of this was minced and we spent the best part of two days making pork sausages with our friends, Georg and Al.

December

The Christmas tree went up.

 

Our borrowed Bull decided that he wanted to spend time with the neighbour’s cow who was in season. As a result, fence repairs became necessary.

Mr D and I spent a day in Canberra to celebrate his Birthday. We started off with Yum Cha at Ginseng in the Hellenic Club. We then tripped off to Old Parliament House followed by a boat ride around Lake Burley Griffin.

We had our annual Christmas get together with the locals.

Christmas hampers were finished.

Mr D and I celebrated Christmas with family in Sydney.

My brother, Adrian, got married to the lovely Anela in the gardens of Burnham Grove Estate, Camden.

We drove to Tumut to celebrate Christmas Day with B1 and B2.

A bit of rain and warmth and the veggie garden took off.

To finish off 2016, we saw the New Year in with our friends Georg and Al.

Well that’s all of the interesting stuff for 2016. It was a big year and 2017 is shaping up to be the same. Wears me out just thinking about it.

2017. Have a good one!

Mrs D x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Made Pork Sausages

The harsh reality living on the land is that not everything goes to plan, even despite your best efforts.

If you are reading this post, it is important to remind you that our animals have a very good life and when it comes time to prepare them for the freezer, it is done humanely and they are treated with respect.

A couple of months ago I noticed that our intended breeding sow, Little Girl, seemed to be favouring her back left leg. It caused some concern at the time, however, after a few days it appeared that she had recovered. Two weeks ago, however, the limp was back and within a few days, she was unable to get up. Mr D kept her comfortable until the end.

The decision to prepare her for the freezer was not an easy one, I can assure you of that, and many tears were shed. She really was a gentle giant. Mr D made a phone call to the vet who confirmed there was nothing we could do for her. At first it was thought she had a condition called OCD (Osteochondrosis) however the butcher discovered that she had a broken hip. The two conditions may have been related.

Anyway, as a result of her condition and having to euthanise her, we ended up with a lot of pork as Little Girl weighed in excess of 200 kgs.

Apart from the usual cuts of meat, a friend suggested we have a go at making sausages. With this in mind, we made sure that the butcher boned out several large pieces to put through the meat mincer.

If you are considering making sausages, it would be fair to let you know that it is not a five minute job, unless you’re a butcher of course. The whole process took the best part of two days, with two of us preparing the meat and it’s seasonings on the first day, and then four of us making the actual sausages on the second day; bearing in mind that we were using a domestic grade meat mincer.

Let’s start at the beginning…

By way of preparing the meat for mincing, my friend Ally and I trimmed any excess fat and then put it through the grinder. With 16 kgs of pork mince, our plan was to have plain mince as well as flavoured however, in our excitement, we ended up seasoning the whole lot. Whoops! The mince was then split into four batches and the flavours created were Hmong, Sweet Italian, Polish Kielbasa and Herbed. All of the recipes can be found at honest-food.net under the Charcuterie label.

On the day…

The first order of the day was to taste our pork mince and it’s seasonings just to make sure we didn’t need to add anything. Unfortunately, the saltiness was obvious however, once it’s added, there’s no taking it back (we know for next time). The salt didn’t detract from the flavour however it was prominent.

When setting up your work space, some things that are handy when you are making sausages include scissors (for cutting the casings), jugs of water (to keep the casing on the nozzle moist), gloves and plenty of fridge space.

We began by threading the casing onto the nozzle. The process worked much better if we didn’t do large quantities at once although it meant threading more often. The reason for this is that we found that the casings dried out on the nozzle fairly quickly making it more difficult to feed off as the pork mixture filled the casing.

The mixture needed to be pushed into the machine at a consistent and, what I would call, urgent rate. It was discovered that less mince on the feeding tray worked better as it gave more room to manipulate it. We certainly got a work out pushing the mixture down the chute.

When the mixture started to fill the casing (we were using thick sausage casings), it was important to allow the casing to fill without letting it overfill. This is the part that is hard to describe as it’s a case (no pun intended) of ‘you had to be there’, however we all know what a thick sausage looks like. It also helped to have someone taking the weight of the sausage as the casing filled and became longer. This reduced the chance of blow outs (where the casing splits and mince starts pouring out) and I think, in the end, we only had three blow outs.

Tying the knots in the sausage was much easier with dry hands. To start, only one end was tied. This allowed us to pinch and twist for each sausage and push the mixture along (if required) in the casing to produce a more even product. By the 10th kilo of sausage making, we probably had this down pat. The second person assisting in this part of the process helped to stop the sausage twisting around itself which hindered the pinching and twisting process.

After we’d finished making the sausages, the only other important thing left to do, apart from cleaning up our mess, was to barbecue some for lunch. So, with Barry the Jack Russell supervising, we enjoyed delicious home made pork sausages.

Thank you to Georg and Ally for your help.

Happy sausage making!

Mrs D x

 

Some things to note:

Most of the recipes researched had, roughly, a 4:1 ratio of meat to fat, the above recipes included. We actually reduced the amount of fat and were happy with the result.

Having now made the sausages, I would halve the salt in the recipes next time.

A lot of the research suggested semi-freezing the meat to make it easier to put through the grinder. I imagine that the fat content, if following the recipes to the letter, would have complicated the grinding process as the mixture warmed up, however, the meat with less fat, at fridge temperature, moved through the mincer with relative ease. I also had a problem with semi-freezing, defrosting (as would naturally happen) and then re-freezing.

The sausage casings were purchased from the local butcher. They had already been pre-soaked in water.

Most of the herbs were fresh out of the garden. Unfortunately, our garlic was not quite ready to pick and we used a lot of garlic.

On sausage making day, we were grateful for four sets of hands. Two and even three sets were not quite enough. Obviously you are dealing with a raw and perishable product, so you want to move fairly quickly. With the help of our good friends Georg and Ally, once we got the hang of what we were doing, we were a lean mean sausage making machine.

Allow the mince and it’s seasonings to sit in the fridge for two to three days. Oh the smell….just glorious. This is okay with very fresh pork mince which we were using.

We have since invested in a gas powered smoker to try smoking the sausages. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

Lastly, be prepared to laugh a lot. Once you start threading those sausage casings onto the nozzle (I hear snickering already), the conversation goes downhill really quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamala Wildlife Lodge- An Experience

To celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary this year, Mr D and I spent a night at the Jamala Wildlife Lodge which is located within Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium. It is expensive at $1300 (weeknight AUD) per night however it was worth every cent.

On arrival, and as part of the check in process, refreshments were served. It was obvious when you entered the uShaka lodge, which housed the reception area and some of the accommodation, that no expense has been spared. It was stunning!

After check in, we headed off on our first tour of the zoo with Ty, our tour guide. The tour was just shy of two hours, so comfy walking shoes were a must.

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At around 4pm, after our visit to the Meerkats, we were escorted to our Giraffe Tree House. Something that Mr D pointed out that I hadn’t considered, is how unobtrusive the accommodation is as part of the zoo. Once you’re there however, you are blown away at the level of detail, style and comfort. You won’t want to leave.

The highlight of our adventure was feeding Humberkhali (Hummer), the resident Giraffe.

After feeding time, we were left to our own devices. We sat on the verandah and enjoyed the view over the Scrivener Dam. There were feed troughs attached to the building that had been filled with hay by the keepers. This ensured that Hummer continued to come and go until it was time to head to The Cave for dinner. You don’t have to hang in your room though, you have the option to continue exploring the zoo.

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Canapés and drinks started at 6.30 pm in The Cave. We walked however you can catch the bus. Walking, of course, means you get to see some of the animals that didn’t come out earlier in the day….if you’re lucky.

 

I have to admit I didn’t take any photos of the food…whoops (well, just one of the bread and dukkah). When you’re sitting next to a Lion’s den, it’s easy to work out where the camera should be pointed. I can tell you, however, it was five courses of deliciousness and the staff were amazing!

We were lucky enough to help celebrate Jake, the white lion, and his sister Misha’s 9th birthday while we dined. My photos don’t properly represent the size of these animals however I can tell you they were huge. You can see that the Hyenas felt they were missing out and a birthday kiss from Misha had Jake cringing.

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The next morning we walked up to The Cave for breakfast which was served at 7 am. There was plenty of choice, hot and cold, including gluten-free options. With half an hour still to kill before the 8 am tour, Mr D and I wanted to see some of the animals that we had missed the day before. Fortunately, the Sun Bear and Lions had decided to make an appearance.

At 8 am, we started the morning tour with Millie, our guide. Something that only the Jamala guests get to experience is the new part of the zoo which is still under construction. The highlight here was the White Rhinos. Three big boys weighing in at roughly 1.5 tonnes each. They reminded me of our piggies in that they enjoyed a scratch and tussling for our attention.

The morning tour concluded just before 10 am at which time we were taken back to our tree house by bus, packed up, waited for our bags to be collected and then walked to reception to check out.

Check out time is 11 am however your visit is not over if you don’t want it to be. You have the option to continue exploring the zoo at your leisure.

Jamala was a great experience and one I would highly recommend.

Mrs D x

Tips

If you arrive early, that is before the 1.30 pm check in time, the reception staff will give you a pass to enter the zoo.

There is a lot of walking so wear very comfy shoes.

Smart casual dress for dinner. Mr D and I dressed up a little more as we live in jeans and boots on the farm. I wore black pants and a nice blouse and didn’t feel over dressed. Everyone went to a bit of effort. When you’re drinking Moet and eating Canapés, you want to feel the part. Don’t panic though, some of the guests didn’t change for dinner.

 

 

 

Crowd Pleasers: Potato Bake

I have a friend who loves potato bake. Actually, I have lots of friends who love potato bake however this particular friend (she will know who I’m talking about) always tells me she can’t make it the way I do. Pfft!

The hard part, I guess, is there is no set recipe. Having said that, you only need potatoes, onions, cream and grated tasty cheese and you make it to suit the number of people you are catering for.

I don’t profess to be a creative cook. I will follow a recipe to the letter, the first time, and then modify it to suit our taste and that’s how I get to call it my own.

I don’t think Potato Bake belongs to any one person. My Step Mother made it a lot when I was growing up. Our friend Dave, from Bredbo, makes a version of it. My children make it when they have a crowd over for a BBQ. It really is a throw together side dish, and a delicious one at that.

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Potato Bake

Potatoes

Onions

Thickened Cream

Grated Tasty

Yep. What now?

The quantities of ingredients will depend on the number of people you are feeding.

Let’s assume I have 4-6 people coming over for a BBQ. I would use a pie dish unless I was feeding teenage boys and then I would have to upsize.

Peel and slice one medium sized onion and set aside.

Peel and thinly slice 3 to 4 medium sized potatoes. You can always peel and slice more if you need them.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius fan forced. Spray your pie dish with oil. You will thank me later when it’s time for doing the dishes.

Put a single layer of potato in the pie dish, slightly overlapping each piece.

Sprinkle some onion rings over your layer of potato.

Keep alternating layers of potato and onion until you have reached the top of your pie dish making sure you finish with a layer of potato.

For a pie dish sized potato bake, I would use 300 ml of thickened cream. Pour over the top.

You have a couple of options at this point.

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Option 1: Sprinkle with the grated tasty (as much as you like) and place in the oven for 45  to 60 mins.

Option 2 (my preference): Place foil over the top and place the potato bake in the oven for 45 mins. After this time, remove the foil, sprinkle with the grated tasty and place back in the oven for 15 mins or until cheese is melted and is golden brown.

Serve. Enjoy!

Mrs D x

Tips

Place your potato bake on a tray as it tends to bubble over the sides. I hate cleaning the oven.

If you upsize the size of your potato bake, obviously you will need to increase all of your ingredients accordingly.

Stick a fork in half way through the cooking time. Every oven is different and there is nothing worse than eating uncooked potato.

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Use sweet potato in every other layer for a low GI alternative.

Use light cream and light grated tasty to reduce the calorie content.

 

 

 

Do You Think It’s A Sign?

July has been a huge month. Lots of good stuff and lots of annoying/ frustrating stuff.

I’m feeling like it has been one thing after another at the moment, so I need to rant. Hope you don’t mind.

Christmas in July went off with a bang on the 2nd. I have a post written however I am having some issues with corrupt files on the SD card in my camera and I am not able to take the photos off it (photos that can’t be replaced). I’ve tried all of the things I can think of (including recovery software) and my next step is to take it to the IT guy in town. He wasn’t very reassuring though. Wish me luck on that one!

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The day after, being Sunday, Christmas in July, the Eagle took our newest Lamb. I know it’s nature however it is still heartbreaking when it happens. We have had more lambs since so we are always on the look out for predators. I find I’m doing a lap of paddock one morning and afternoon to do a head count and make sure we still have five lambs (a set of twins were born on the weekend).

Mr D has been away a lot with work which has left me doing things I wouldn’t usually do. Not because I don’t want to, simply because I just don’t have the physical strength to do it. I’ve had to find muscles I didn’t have and still don’t. Enter pinched nerve in shoulder and dodgy knee needing physio. Am I getting old? Or maybe I’m just not meant for this stuff.

We have lost several Ewes recently. We don’t know why however when we talk to our neighbours, they have had the same issue. Not to say that makes us feel better, it’s just comforting to know that it’s not necessarily something we are doing wrong.

Bearing our losses in mind, I noticed a Ewe had fallen over just on the other side of the house paddock fence. It was a Tuesday morning and Mr D was in Wagga. She couldn’t get up and although it would have been easy enough to go and push her back onto her feet, I had Shanks to deal with first. So what was my reaction? Cry. Then swear…a lot! Then start to use my brain.

How to distract Shanks? I went and collected some biscuits of hay from the bottom shed and threw them over the fence on the lower side of the paddock where the Ewe had fallen over. I tossed that hay into a position where Shanks wouldn’t see me as I entered the paddock thanks to a very large fallen tree surrounded by a copse of living trees. Anyway, I managed to get that Ewe on her feet and despite a few stumbles along the way, she made it down to rest of the sheep and the hay.

The cows and sheep (except Shanks) were moved into paddock three this month ( it might have been June, I’ve lost track of time). Paddock three incorporates part of our driveway so we now have two gates to open and close when entering or leaving the property. I can tell you now that’s a pain, especially when you consider the amount of rain we have had. Mr D and I had been leaving the house paddock gate open during the day (when at home) however as the livestock hadn’t discovered that part of the property in their usual travels.

Well, in my wisdom or lack thereof, I decided to leave the house gate open over night last week. I saw the cows come through later that night and I should have dealt with it straight away. I didn’t. The next day, it took me about an hour and a half to remove them from the house paddock. They caused quite a lot of damage and there was poo everywhere. Lesson learned the hard way.

This weekend just gone, B1 and B2 came to visit as it was B2’s birthday recently. 20 years old. Far out! He brought some friends with him and they spent the weekend riding motorbikes, eating, watching movies…the usual stuff. It was a great weekend!

Monday, yesterday, saw Mr D heading off to Albury for the week and me left to restore the house back to it’s usual order. By the time I went to bed last night, aside from being exhausted, the wind had become gale force and it stayed that way all night. Even the ear plugs weren’t blocking that noise.

Now if I thought that parts of this month had been challenging, I was wrong.

This morning I was up at 5am, as I am most days, to put wood on the fire. Because the wind had been so strong, even with the damper shut, the wood had burned quicker than usual so the fire was out except for one little coal. It took me an hour to resurrect it.

In the meantime, while collecting smaller pieces of wood for the fire, I noticed that the wind had blown my green house over along with all of my seedlings. I went back to bed. I haven’t even dealt with that yet.

Later in the morning, as I drove down to feed piggies, I noticed a tree was down over the fence of paddock one. This paddock connects to paddock three and the cows and sheep have access to both.

With piggies fed, I’ve headed back up to the house all the while contemplating the repair needed to the fence. I’ve let the chickens out and have gone to replenish the Turkey’s water only to discover the water tank that supplies the outside taps is empty. At this point I’m wondering if I should have got out of bed this morning.

I stayed calm, kind of. After coffee and an egg and bacon roll, I came up with a plan to fix the fence (temporarily), executed it and now I just need to monitor the livestock until the weekend when a proper repair can be done.

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That was all before lunch time and as I’ve looked to the sky and asked the powers that be what else could go wrong, I’ve seen this. Was this a sign? What was it telling me? Probably nothing. Just good timing. I had a giggle. In my mind, that arrow was telling me to get out NOW!

So I’m just about to finish this post and I’m thinking about heading down the paddock to do the afternoon piggy feed. I’m wondering if I’ve faced enough challenges today or if there are more waiting. It is only 3.30pm after all.

How is your day, week or month? Traveling smoothly or crashing and burning like mine?

It’s nearly August. Hooray!

Mrs D x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windfall Marmalade (Cumquats)

Last Monday, to celebrate Liz’s second birthday, we tripped off to Bermagui to have lunch with friends, Dennis and Jenny, on the waterfront.

 

Before we headed off, piggies had to be fed and I had to take a few photos of the stunning display provided by our frequent visitor Jack Frost. Actually, it’s lucky any of them turned out as I couldn’t feel my finger tips. And yes, even by the time we hit the road at 9.20am, it was still -5 degrees celsius. It’s that time of the year.

Bermagui also put on a stunning display. Sunshine and sparkling water. No wind. Fish and chips for lunch. Freshly made Tartare sauce. My kind of day.

After lunch, we headed back to our friend’s property, just the other side of Cobargo, to enjoy more sunshine and a stroll around the garden.

You can imagine my delight when I spotted their Cumquat tree. And they were happy to share them along with a few lemons. A little windfall.

Well, all good things come to an end. We found ourselves leaving Cobargo a little bit later than planned which left me feeding piggies in the dark. Not recommended.

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Since then, the Cumquats have been successfully converted to marmalade. Windfall marmalade I’m calling it. Jenny had given me a quick run down on how to make it and overall, it was successful. It is messy and time consuming however it’s worth the effort.

Here’s the recipe.

Cumquat Marmalade

1 kg Cumquats (I had just over so I used the whole lot)

Juice of one large lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

5 cups water

6 cups sugar

Jam Setta (just in case)

Set up a strainer over a large pot. Cut your Cumquats into quarters being careful not to cut right through. Squeeze each Cumquat over the strainer. The idea is to catch the juice in the pot and the pips in the strainer. Make sure you get all the pips. I missed a few.

Place your squeezed Cumquats into a food processor (I had to do two batches), process and then place in the pot with the juice of the Cumquats, the juice of the lemon and the five cups of water.

I didn’t have a muslin cloth, so I improvised by using a clean thread bare tea towel (that I cut up) tied at the top with kitchen twine. This is used to wrap up your pips. Place your wrapped up pips in the Cumquat mixture. Cover and leave overnight to soak.

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Bring the Cumquat mixture to the boil and then simmer for half an hour or until the rind has softened. At this point, you can discard the muslin bag.

Add the sugar. Stir constantly over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. After the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil and allow to boil, without stirring and uncovered, until the mixture jells when tested (refer to Dos and Don’ts).

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Pour the mixture into hot sterilised jars and place the lids on immediately.

Enjoy! Mrs D x

Dos and Don’ts

The pips are supposed to aid in the setting of the jam. This didn’t work for me so I used Jam Setta following the directions on the packet.

Don’t vacuum and mop before making this jam. I had the juice everywhere including all over me. The next morning I had ants from one end of the house to other.

The easiest way to do the jell test is to use a plate placed into the fridge. Once you think the jam is ready, place a teaspoon of the mixture onto the plate and it should set to a jam consistency within a minute or so. If it doesn’t, then more boiling time is required.

Use a heavy based pot. The one I have used is Bessemer (I’ve had it forever and I use it for everything). The thing I have learnt about jam (in my limited experience) is that it goes from being ready one minute to burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot in the next. A heavy based pot will reduce the chance of this happening.

The lids must be placed on immediately after pouring the hot mixture into the jars. If you allow the mixture to cool before sealing, you may end up with mouldy jam. You will cry!

Pouring the mixture into the hot jars requires utmost care. Don’t burn yourself.