Fig time

I love figs and several years ago we bought a White Adriatic fig to grow in a pot. The trickiest thing to get right about this particular breed of fig is working out when it’s ripe. The fruit has a green skin which doesn’t darken like other figs do when they are ripe. Instead it turns a paler shade of yellow-green, which can be a bit tricky to spot.

A ripe White Adriatic fig
A ripe White Adriatic fig

So far this year we’ve actually managed to pick more fruit than the birds have stolen!

Our tree is still quite small so our yield is solely for eating fresh. Our neighbour has a much larger tree which bears more fruit than they can manage. A bucket turned up the other week and I wouldn’t have know what to do with it except that a friend had recently fed me some Roasted Figs baked with thyme. It sounds unusual, but boy does it pack a lovely syrupy taste. The recipe comes from David Lebovitz and I can highly recommend it. Sadly I forgot to take photos so you’ll have to check the link to see how good it looks.

December Catch-up

Wow, some rain at last. It may not have been much but it least it settled the dust for a day. My hay-fevered nose is grateful. Despite the lack of recent rain our garden is growing very quickly in the warm weather.

The three sisters bed has really taken off. In just a month the scarlet runner beans are reaching the top of the trellis

Sisters_bed

and they are also using the young blue popcorn plants as additional supports. So far the pumpkins are growing, in a restrained fashion, but I don’t expect that to last for long!

Sisters_cornbean

December garden discussions can’t go past the subject of tomatoes. I’m really pleased to see that the newest variety that we are trialling, the Pink Thai Egg tomato, is showing lots of fruit and is well in advance of all our other varieties.

Tomatoes16dec

Sure we won’t be eating these for Christmas lunch, but it’s the closest we’ve managed to date.

Speaking of ‘new’ things in the garden our newest fruit trees are delivering surprising results. We bought a White Adriatic fig a few months ago and already it’s putting fruit out. Yes that small knob where the leaf joins the stem. I will have to be good and remove the fruit to allow the tree to develop well in its first year, but it’s good to see it making such a good start.

Fig

In May 2011 I took delivery of two native lime trees. Both are growing in pots and both have now survived two winters protected in our ‘grove‘, that fantastic growing process promoted by Jackie French. The fingerlime has really taken off and I have allowed some of it’s fruit to grow on this year (I removed about two thirds of the original fruit).

Fingerlime16dec

As you can see the fingerlimes are growing strongly and I have my fingers crossed that I will get good quality fruit. The plant will be transplanted to a larger pot later in the year.

As Christmas is approaching I couldn’t resist buying ‘Christmas in a pot’, my NSW Christmas Bush Ceratopetalum gummiferum.

Christmas_bush1

Buying a plant is still better value than buying the branches as cut flowers from the florist. I’m hoping that I can persuade this frost-tender native to survive tucked up to over-winter next year alongside my citrus plants.

Christmas_bush2

If you are also seduced into buying a Christmas Bush keep in mind that its a case of what you see is what you get. Buy the plant with the red-est flowers, they won’t change colour at a later date.

 

The K.I.S.S. Principle 2

Having made the perfect simple pasta, I extended my K.I.S.S. theme to include an equally easy Italian dessert.

Our neighbour helped by providing the perfect fruit – figs. Her tree has been having a monster year of fruit, but the fruit was splitting because of the rain. As I was still in my cooking funk the discovery of a no cook dessert recipe for the figs was just what I was after.

Enter my favourite Italian cook Marcella Hazan! (Marcella’s Kitchen, page 304) with her Gelato di Fichi (Fig Gelato). This recipe is so simple that any budding junior masterchefs, not to mention stressed adults, will find it a doddle.

Take 450 gms of figs (if you have thin-skinned ones there is no need to peel them) and cut the stem off. Process the figs with 130 gms of granulated sugar in a food processor or blender until they are creamy. Then add 12 tablespoons of water and 250 mls of milk to the fig mixture. Blend again. You can then put this through your ice cream machine or if you can’t be bothered freeze the gelato and after two hours and a further two hours later, fork through the mix to break up the ice crystals. Done.

Figgelato

By coincidence, if you caught Hugh F-W’s Rivercottage Everyday last Thursday you will have seen almost the same recipe used to make raspberry iceblocks, Hugh also has a variation of this recipe for banana and lemon iceblocks. Now we only need some sunny weather!