On citrus side, the trees are at their peak. Lemons, Tahitian limes, oranges, tangelos and mandarins are all fruitful while the plum trees are blooming with their flowers, accompanied by some peach trees. We're expecting to have more blooms from nashi (pear) trees this year as we suspect that they only flower and fruit once every two years. Last year, we almost did not harvest anything and the fruits which were on the trees just fallen or eaten by possums or birds. If they are fruitful this year, we need to think what we do with them.
Now, lemons are the citrus fruit which are used the most in my kitchen. If you've tried any desserts which are lemon-based, you might like to think "I'd better grow lemons myself". Well, that is well worth it.
I often receive complains from my friends who are trying to grow lemon trees. They say that their lemon trees are quite temperamental. I don't find it difficult to grow citrus here, but perhaps some places do need extra treatment before growing citrus trees. We usually start growing plants, any plants, just after the frosts are gone. It is in October usually. Other time is Autumn quite suitable, around May.
We don't use commercial fertilizer or pellets, other than fowl, sheep or cows manure. Often we find ourselves are raking old manure out of the chicken houses or out there on the paddock where the sheep and cows have been, just to get a bag or two to add on the fresh raked soil or vegetable beds. These kind of manure are quite rich and we always use old manure because fresh ones often 'burn' the plants.
We also do worm farm. WORM? Yes. Have you heard about vermicomposting? The liquid produced from this farm is great for liquid fertilizer. It is quite rich too, so we need to dilute it with water. I often feed my roses with this in Spring.
However, growing lemons we don't find any difficulties at all. The soil is quite fertile and rich. The climate is just right to grow citrus as well, so there's no such reasons for not growing anything here, really. Besides the plants we can't grow in our climate region (we'd love to grow mangoes and paddy, if it's possible), we sort of getting plants to put in the orchard to do trial and error. This year, we add blueberry plants on our orchard and we'll see how they're going.
Lemon and blueberry, that will make baked blueberry, lemon and almond pudding. I brought this pudding when we went down to Mount Ruapehu and it was a star. My kids have loved it since then. Everytime I buy a pack of frozen blueberries, they know what I'm going to make. This could be really nice if we can pick our own blueberries in 3-4 years time. Well worth the wait, I suppose.
I am sending this pudding to Chris's Deep Freezer Summer Challenge.
Baked Bluberry, Lemon and Almond Pudding
Source: Taste Magazine. August 2008.
1 kg frozen blueberries, defrosted
1/3 cup caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon (I use half of the juice as well)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly butter a 20cm x 32cm ovenproof dish.. Put the blueberries into the dish and mix through caster sugar and lemon zest (I also squirted the juice from half-cut of lemon).
1/2 cup ground almond
3/4 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbs buttermilk
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp almond extract (I don't use this)
1/4 tsp sliced almonds
icing sugar, for dusting
Place the ground almonds on a baking tray and toast until the colour starts to go golden. Keep checking in case it's burning.
Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Add the toasted ground almonds and caster sugar. Stir in the melted butter, egg, buttermilk (I just use 1:1 of plain yogurt and milk), lemon zest and almond extract. Mix well and spread onto the berries, leaving about 2cm of fruit uncovered around the edges. The mix will spread during cooking.
Sprinkle slivered almonds over the top and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden and the fruit base is bubbling. Serve with icing sugar just before serving. Makes 6.
"Truly, it is by the remembrance of Allah that hearts find rest" - Qur'an 13:28
Happy Ramadan, my brothers and sisters in Islam.