Monday, September 27, 2010

Fresh lemon sponge

This 'sponge' lasts up to a week. It is a lovely light cake, ideal for serving as a dessert with fresh fruit or a soaked dried fruit compote.
Beat half a cup of corn (or other) oil with one cup of raw sugar. Beat in two eggs, one at a time. Sift in one and a half cups of self-raising flour and a pinch of salt alternately with half a cup of soy milk. Add two teaspoons of grated lemon rind. Pour into a pre-greased and floured round cake pan. Bake in a 180 degree C. oven for three-quarters of an hour, but cover around half way through once the top has browned.
Mix together one-third of a cup of lemon juice with one-quarter of a cup of brown sugar, stirring well to dissolve sugar.
Once cake is 'done', remove from oven and prick all over (say 100 times with a skewer) before gently pouring the sweet lemon mixture over the hot cake. Leave it to cool in its tin and then gently remove.

Monday, September 20, 2010

More pruning at Varuna

Yesterday we pruned again at the Varuna Writers Centre in Katoomba (see photo, below left). This is an ongoing project — we will have another working bee there in a couple of weeks (TBA). The weather is beautiful this time of year. There is some great information about pruning fruit trees at different times of the year for different purposes at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension service website: click here for the page.

The cuttings of the native raspberry that I — and several others — got from Wendy and Tom Whitton's place are starting to establish themselves too (see photo, above right).

There is so much blossom in the air, lots of us are suffering from the allergic affects of pollens. But, the upside is the nurturing feeling of new beginnings.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Olives growing in Megalong valley

The photos are from pruning fruit trees at Varuna Writers Centre in Katoomba on Monday 6 september, an ongoing project of the fruit and nut tree network.

Slow Food Blue Mountains has organised two visits to the Glyn Newydd Olive Grove in Megalong Valley for Sunday and Monday 14 and 15 November. A tour through the organic farm will include information about growing olive trees and harvesting olives. Lunch includes a taste of their olive products — dips, oils etc. (The cost is $35/$39.) Take a look at their website.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


It's too late to prune many fruit and nut trees now to improve the summer harvest. However, tomorrow we are pruning at the Varuna Writers' Centre because they prefer to see them 'tidied up' rather than worry about the coming crop. Indeed we all prune out of season sometimes when a tree is damaged by the weather, has been attacked by pests and disease, or reshaping is desired or required because of the trees siting.

A book recently published by the CSIRO, Pruning for Flowers and Fruit by Jane Varkulecivius, has many chapters on pruning specifically fruit trees/plants, including the canes of berries (which we covered in the workshop at Lizzie's in May).

The photo shows Paul at Anne Elliot's yesterday, with some preserved kiwi fruit. Yum!


We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)