New Zealand is heating up now, hot and humid. It's just the right time to soak in the pool or relax in the tree hut while enjoying our garden feast. Tree hut? Well, it was originally planned to be a tree house which then went to another identification as the tree hut, because it was not build on certain branches of the trees. It was built like you build a house or cottage, except it is smaller than your own living room. We make sure it is secured with all the railings around, you know kids, house can turn to be a madhouse with them screaming and running around. They have to limit themselves with that kind of activities up there.
The development itself started about two-three weeks ago, but we were busied by Christmas, Ben's birthday and the New Year.
Ben was the one who was really excited in the process of development. He loves carpentry and he stayed there out in the orchard from morning till Simon the builder came home in the late afternoon. Then, he would continue working with his Daddy until dinner time. He's been busy and you can see it by his tool belt hanging furiously around his waist. And yes, they are real tools!
The kewl thing about it is that they can slide down the pole like a fireman! While it is built in the orchard, we can pick fruits, bring them into the hut, and enjoy them. Often, we bring our morning or afternoon tea, even dinner (fancy having dinner at 6pm the sun is still hot like 3pm!) in the tree hut while shooing the birds off the fruit trees.
Lately, we've been enjoying Schulten plums. The appearance is just like your Black Amber with its dark purple skin and creamy flesh inside. It is so juicy and sweet, you have to be ready with a serviette on to cover your chest being squirted, or else just leave it running down your elbow.
And there's also plumcott, which is the cross between plum and apricot (if you are in New Zealand and want to get these trees, you can order them at www.ediblegarden.co.nz--Sarah Frater is the owner). The skin is red when it's really ripen but yellowish when it's near to mature. The taste is somewhat like apricot and greengage.
So, yup! Our lives now are pretty much home-orchard-garden-swimming pool-tree hut-beach-home; repeated. Anyway, I made chocolate chips loaf the other day and it was a hit with the kids (of course!) as a tea time cake. It is very easy to make with an easy recipe. Let me know if you've tried it!
Chocolate Chips Loaf
150g unsalted butter
80g caster sugar
3 large eggs
100g almond meal
50g self-raising flour
a tablespoon milk
a drop or two vanilla essence
50g chocolate chips for the batter, and about 150g-more for the top
Prepare a mini loaf tin, measure about 20cm, greased and lined/floured. Preheat the oven to 180C. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time, beat well as you go. Fold in the almond meal and flour with a big metal spoon gently. Add in the milk, and then fold in the chocolate chips. Pour and scrape the batter into the tin, scatter the rest of the chocolate chips over the top of the cake, pressing gently. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave it in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring on to the cooling rack. Serve dusted with icing sugar if you like. Serves 6-12 (squares).