October 22, 2008

Orange Slices in Orange and Star Anise Syrup

We were walking down the lane yesterday as a part of home-schooling activities. The weather was quite alright for taking a walk with blue skies above us and plenty of sunshine. On the right and left side of the country road, there are little forests and meadows with luscious green grass. A horse was grazing on the side of the road in front of someone's yard, barred with a long strip of electric fence. A little dog came out of his house, sniffing at us. There's an empty goat house on the side of the road. Common view. What's not so common is that to see in the countryside these hectares of land are not grown with fruit trees. It seems there's a lack of interest in growing fruit trees but just letting gorse or other prickly bushes taken over the land. What a pity.

We're only living on a 8 acres property but we never are tired of planting. When we bought this property 5 years ago, we found that the back of the hill is covered with wild blackberries. So thick other plants can't be growing themselves under it. There were gorse bushes everywhere and each year it should spread its seeds anywhere. If we did not do anything about it, our hill won't be looking like today. It was a hard work, time consuming and money spending. A lot of time if we look back but it's the efforts which will worth the future.

kawa-kawa new zealand native puriri

almond tree pinenut tree

Until today, with all the blackberries are gone (you may view the photo album on our picking blackberries), we're still battling with their sprouts which are growing madly this year. A trip down the hill every now and then will be both inspections on their growth and also exercises for all of us. Our hill now is planted with pinenut trees, walnut, macadamia, almond, some stone-fruit trees, and also puriri ([vitex lucens] a native New Zealand tree) while Maori herb such as kawa-kawa bushes are grown in the wild happily.

I also make the use of rose garden to plant garlic. It is said that garlic can help enhance roses fragrance by planting them around the roses or near them. I have about 30 rose bushes and if I plant 5-6 garlic plants around the roses, you can imagine how many garlic heads I harvest in Summer. It is not the quantity that I am looking at here, but the quality of them. I don't use chemical pesticide, so both my roses and my garlic are pretty much organic. Barbara ever made sugared rose petals to make the use of them.

Here's the look of my rose garden last year:

What I am looking at here that the use of the land. We all want to keep New Zealand green and with planting fruit trees, there will be benefits for many parts: we as the consumers, insects as the pollinators, and the land itself. If we start from our household (me in New Zealand), followed by your households worldwide, I believe we will be able to keep the earth happy. Don't you think so? I am certain if we start making our household green and start planting herbs, vegetables, or fruit trees, and make use of the space we've got, we can help the world staying green.

Here are oranges I picked from our young but madly fruiting citrus trees and cooked them in orange and star anise syrup to send as an entry for HOTM this month hosted by Ilva of Lucullian Delights.

oranges in orange and star anise syrup

Orange Slices in Orange and Star Anise Syrup

6 oranges, peeled (use the peels in the making of syrup and remove the white bitter pith), and sliced


2 oranges, peel (use the peels for garnish) and juice
1 cup (more or less depending on the sweetness of the oranges) caster sugar
1/2 cup water
2 star anise

Cook the orange peels, sugar, star anise and water until bubbly, then reduce to simmer. Cook until thicken. Add in the orange slices, simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the stove. Let cool, and then sprinkle with the rest of orange rind. Serve with thick Greek yogurt or as the company of other desserts or breakfast with muesli. Enough for 4-6.

Just a short note: I'm going to join Pink Paris-Bre(a)sts for Pink October hosted by my Kiwi friend and fellow home-schooler mum, Bron Marshall in Christchurch. Join us if you can!


Meeta said...

arfi! what a lovely looking garden. just like paradise! new zealand is a place i so desperately want to visit.
the oranges and star anis looks like a perfect dish to sit on the porch and enjoy all your hard work in that garden.

Ivy said...

Arfi you are so lucky to be living in such a lovely place and have a piece of land of your own. Athens is such a cement city and we consider ourselves lucky to have a small balcony to have some pots with flowers. Your oranges in syrup sound great.

Happy cook said...

I kno i know i have tol you this before, but am saying it again you have a wonderful garden and i am jealous....
Orange in syrup well that is a excelent way to do.

Ilva said...

Thanks a lot for this wonderful entry Arfi! My mother planted a lot of parsley around her roses, she said the helped a lot too!

Pearlsofeast said...

Arfi,I always love to come ur space and ur post, pictures are always nice and refreshing.Since I stayed in southern hemishpere,I love to read about it.This recipe is enticing and can imagine the taste combined with aniseed.

ovenhaven said...

I dropped by here from Linda's, and what a treat it has been. I absolutely adore your rose garden. To be surrounded by so much greenery must be wonderful! The orange and star anise syrup sounds great :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

What a gorgeous garden. Your roses are so pretty - and you have a green thumb, I'll say! :)

linda said...

What a lovely way of serving oranges!
You're doing a wonderful job with your garden. I can imagine it's a lot of work!

Rosie said...

Arfi what lovely photos and those roses are gorgeous. I love the way you have served your oranges :)

Rosie x

Tartelette said...

What a great property! Wow! All your hard work is paying off making it look good! Love this simple and light dessert, very refreshing!

Yasmeen said...

I didn't know the garlic and Rose can grow together. lovely pictures as usual,the tangy salad with star anise is simply superb.
I've an award waiting for you at my blog.please collect:)

Ivy said...

I have an award for you.

bee said...

dear arfi,
there's something for you at jugalbandi. congrats.

Cakelaw said...

What a great idea - I never would have thought that garlic would enhance the scent of the roses. I love your beatiful garden - keep those pictures coming!

Farhan said...

Salam to you Arfi!

You have a beautiful garden.. How do you maintain that many acres of land? Do you have helping hands? And do you sell your produce at a farmer's market or keep them all for your family and friends?