Saturday, July 30, 2011

Citrus — Oranges

In the lower mountains we have lots of citrus, which have been or are being harvested. Elsewhere in Australia, there is a glut of oranges so you might get some cheap and use them straight away, store in a cool place or preserve them. Depending on the variety, one orange usually yield 1/4–1/3 cup of juice.

Here are some ideas:

# eat fresh or use fresh juice with other fruits as a salad or compote
# use on grated carrot or beetroot as a dressing
# use orange instead of lemon juice when making hommus or guacamole dips
# use up to a cup orange juice instead of the same quantity of water for every cup of rice you next steam up
# serve with fish (instead of, i.e. as you would for, lemon)
# grate fresh rind and freeze spoonfuls in small packets in your freezer
# pare the peel finely, dry well and grind or chop and use in baking, or as a base for liqueur*
# make orangeade or orange squash
# freeze the juice with a little sugar
# prepare clean segments and freeze in a light syrup or dry pack
# make an orange sauce, e.g. for pancakes
# make orange marmalade
# make orange souffle
# make an orange (instead of lemon) pudding
# make orange muffins, loaf or cake
# make orange ice/gelato

If you have your own tree, or can access orange flowers and leaves, you can use the 'neroli' oil for flavour and scent. Dried petals can be pounded with castor sugar (1:2) and stored for use in sponges and other baking.

Oranges go well with a range of spices (such as allspice, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg) and seasonings (such as chives, garlic, mustard, pepper, sage and tarragon).

* In their great book Fruit For the Home and Garden: A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivation and Culinary Use (1985, A&R: 186), Leslie Johns and Violet Stevenson recommend:
squeezing 6 oranges and paring and finely chopping their peel;
blending the juice with 2 cups of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of coriander and adding the finely diced peel;
pouring the blended mixture into a jar and pouring 4 cups of brandy (or some other white spirit) over it;
covering and leaving for two months or so to infuse;
filtering the infused mixture and bottling it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Apple and Hazelnut Cake

On the weekend I made the following Claudia Rodin Apple and Nut Cake (Apfelnusstorte/Torte di Mele), from her The Food of Italy collection. It proved a success.

Oil and line with grease-proof paper a deep 20–25cm cake tin. Set the oven at 180 degrees Centigrade.

Chop 100g hazelnuts in half (the recipe says to blanch them but I left the skins on). Toast them in a little frying pan on your stove (doesn't take long).

Slice 6 baking apples (6 if they're big Granny Smith style apples, more if they're smaller). The recipe says to peel them but I left most of the skin on and just tossed out the central core.

Beat 4 egg yolks with half a cup of brown sugar. Add juice of one lemon (I used an equivalent in orange juice because they are so cheap and plentiful at the moment). Finally, slowly beat in a heaping cup of wholemeal flour.

Beat 4 egg whites (easiest with room-temperature eggs and a pinch of salt). Fold these into the cake mixture with the toasted hazelnuts.

Pour half of the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Layer half of the apple slices on top and repeat process. Cover top with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of margarine or butter and a sprinkling of 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.

Cover the top once it brown and leave in the oven for up to 90 mins (i.e. 'until a skewer pushed into it comes out clean').

Sunday, July 10, 2011

TAFE Outreach course on Fruit and Nut Tree Growing

Introducing the Basics and More! This Blue Mountains College (TAFE Western Sydney Institute) Outreach course on Fruit and Nut Tree Growing in the Blue Mountains has been developed in partnership with our Blue Mountains Fruit and Nut Tree Network

The workshops will cover:
Establishing fruit & nut trees in the Blue Mountains
Maintaining trees, pests and diseases, nutrition
Harvesting, storing, preserving and sharing

The venue is the Blue Mountains Organic Community Garden, Harold Hodgson Park, in Katoomba

When? Three Saturdays: 15th October, 10.00am—1.00pm; 29th October, 10.00am—2.30pm (bring lunch for a half hour break); and 12th November, 10.00am—1.00pm.

Interested in this free Course No 9070 Statement of Attainment in Access to Work & Training? Register now.
Contact Denise at TAFE on 4753 2039 or email denise.newton3@, or contact Anitra on 4782 9003.


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)