Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rhubarb and Berries Freeform Tart

This recipe is adapted from Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion (Lantern 2010, pp. 562–65).
  • First make a basic shortcrust pastry: 80gm butter sliced and rubbed into 240gm plain flour with a pinch of salt; once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs slowly add very cold water till the mixture amalgamates into a workable dough. Cover and chill for 20 mins in a fridge.
  • Dust pastry board/bench with flour and roll out to a 10"/26cm round form, around 5mm thick. Remove to a baking tray and place back in fridge while you simmer, for just three minutes, 750gm sliced homegrown rhubarb in 1/2 c. each of hot water and sugar, and the juice of an orange.
  • Remove rhubarb to a bowl to cool and keep the syrup. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Coarsely crush 50gm raw almonds, 2T each of sugar, plain flour and toasted oats with a dash of almond essence. Divide this mixture in half with one half going into the rhubarb mixture and the other sprinkled over the pastry base except for a 4cm boarder.
  • Pile rhubarb into the central circle and hold in place by folding back the edges and pleating them into place; it looks like an upside-down beret of fruit!
  • While you bake it for half and hour, reheat the syrup and reduce it over a few mins. Remove pastry and top with several halved strawberries or similar berries/soft fruit. Brush all with syrup and bake for a final ten mins.
  • Brush with more syrup after it has cooled for a few moments. Serve cold with yogurt or cream...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Feral Fruit Maps

There are a few groups who have set up electronic maps of fruit trees, mainly located on public land, available for foraging, i.e. fruit picking. Here's an example: http://www.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=113329138399514125575.00047fff295ddda73bd86 This means that there is a great opportunity for us pinpoint local trees with fruit ripe for the picking. In the mountains many such trees exist along the railway tracks near the station. We're not sure whether the council ever had a policy of planting trees in these locations or whether they tended to spring up there as people ate fruit and tossed away their seeds as they cam too and from the trains. Most of them are pomes and stone fruit: apples, pears, apricots, plums and cherries. If you use the mapping tool for local purposes please let us know.


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)