Tag Archives: feijoas

Welcome, stars of the New Year

If you were to look at a New Zealand calendar, there’s a good chance you would see 18 June marked as Matariki ~ 18 June being the official start of Aotearoa’s New Year. I have written previously about Matariki, the traditional Maori New Year and its connection to the star cluster, Pleiades, as well as its connection to  my life.  You can find the post at this link.

https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/matariki-and-my-mothers-birthday/

This New Year, instead of a re-hash of my own limited knowledge of Matariki,  I  invite you to join me over at Juliet Batten’s  blog, http://www.julietbatten.co.nz/musing-on-matariki/ , where you can see the wonder of one of New Zealand’s own seasonal events through a different pair of eyes.  Juliet is the author of  ‘Celebrating the Southern Seasons, Rituals for Aotearoa’. In her book, she writes with wisdom and clarity about our inherited ( Pakeha )  festivals, and how we can attune them to the seasons of New Zealand, and the traditional observances of the Maori calendar.

Despite Juliet’s clear instructions  on locating Matariki in  our southern skies ( “start with Orion, move diagonally down to the left, past Taurus and look low” ), I have failed to do so: mostly because I am functionally illiterate when it comes to reading the stars, but also because, this year, the weather has, so far, been distinctly unhelpful. Like this, in fact, ~soggy ~

Soggy boggy rhubarb

Soggy boggy rhubarb

with both night and day cloaking themselves in the same dark, dense, water-logged fabric.

Now, whilst I may be failing at star-craft and Pleiades-tracking, I have  spotted the return of another visitor, this Matariki. It’s none other than SOFIA, the ultra sophisticated and ultra modern star-gazer, from afar.

Sofia, a stratospheric observatory, is a joint venture  between Nasa and the German Aerospace Centre and will be based in Christchurch until July 24th. There will be 18 missions during the six-week deployment, each lasting ten hours. Although the main focus this year is Pluto, I am sure the crew on Sofia will get some fine glimpses of the Pleiades.

This is a photo I took of Sofia during her visit in July 2013. My old post on Sofia can be found on this link. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/2408/#comments

Sofia

Sofia

If it weren’t for the dripping state of the landscape,

Dripping Nandina

Dripping Nandina

I would have been out getting you a new photo of Sofia. But, as it is, I  prefer being indoors,    salivating over   gazing at the stars of my kitchen laboratory:

Tarte Tatin ( the first I have made );

Golden Tarte Tatin

Golden Tarte Tatin

Apricot and Feijoa Cobbler;

Sundrop Cobbler

Sundrop Cobbler

Poached Quinces;

Celestial festive quinces in honour of Matariki

Celestially arranged festive quinces in honour of Matariki

Piping hot pumpkin soup;

A little sunshine dips into the pumpkin soup.

A little sunshine dips into the pumpkin soup. (Do you see the pink monster at the window waiting for her turn at the soup bowl?)

Hmmm……looking at my kitchen creations, does anyone else get the impression that I am hungry for the sun? Thank goodness, the solstice and the rebirth of the sun are nigh. 🙂

Happy New Year. 😀

© silkannthreades

 

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“It’s In His Kiss” in my kitchen

Life has been a bit complicated lately. Almost, but not quite, as complicated as life for my*namesake protagonist, Anne, of It’s In His Kiss by Vickie Lester.

It's In His Kiss  (copyrighted image)

It’s In His Kiss
(copyrighted image)

So, like Anne, unable to find  answers to many of my worries, puzzles and questions, I resorted to kitchen therapy….yesterday.

“Anne found her comfort zone in her pajamas, sitting in her **father’s
kitchen watching him make dinner, which on this evening was chopped
grapefruit and oranges and mango, pancakes, and sausage.”

Now, although my Dad is a great cook, being far distant from me, across the Tasman Sea, I, comfortable in my pajamas, had to make my own comfort food… banana, bran and chocolate chip muffins. Not that my Dad would have offered  muffins as comfort food. He would have made a substantial roast dinner. But, hey, we do what we can. And, then, I made a feijoa and  apple crumble.

The feijoas,

remember these,

Feijoas (Pineapple Guavas) 2014 Harvest

Feijoas (Pineapple Guavas) 2014 Harvest

gave a nice sharpness to the sweet apple, and the rich buttery crumble topping.

Comfort Crumble in the Kitchen

Comfort Crumble in the Kitchen

Baking done, I am back to reading  “It’s In His Kiss”; where Anne has been up the creek canyon ( i.e. Beachwood Canyon…it’s real, even if the plot is imaginary ) without a paddle, but with a very fine Ferrari instead. And she has just been given the keys to a very fine house (people in Hollywood are so randomly generous… or are they? The Ferrari already seems like a double edged sword. ) Will the keys open any useful doors?  Will they bring answers or more questions? As Ms Lester says in her book blurb……“Anne Brown must find where the truth lies. Truth. Lies.”  Where does the truth lie? Six feet under? Is there truth in the lies? Does the truth lie? Is there any truth at all?

If you can’t wait to find out,  It’s In His Kiss  is available now at an Amazon near you. Oh, and have a muffin….

Muffins for Sustenance

Muffins for Sustenance

.. for sustenance. It’s In His Kiss is a high energy murder mystery ( with food scenes that will make you hungry…for more ). 😉

* Anne is only my “namesake’ protagonist because I imagine it so. She’s a wonderful character but was not written for me, or about me, or because of me. Just wanted to make that CLEAR.

** Anne’s practical, “business-as-usual”, loving father is Bob; Manny’s  the uncle. So far, Manny seems a trust-worthy guy, except when he’s behind the wheel.

© silkannthreades

Parting is such sweet sorrow…….

Here, in Christchurch, it is the day after Mother’s Day. And, in a way, I am glad it is the day after. Mother’s Day is always a  bittersweet day for me and, I would say, for one reason or another, it is for most mothers.

This morning, a friend, and fellow mother, came by to bring me some medlars and a jar of feijoa and vanilla jam.  I had provided her with the feijoas (pineapple guavas) from my tree and she had produced her culinary wand and turned them into an utterly delicious spread for my toast and bread, scone and bun (penny one).

Over the garden gate, we discussed our Mother’s Day celebrations. My friend started her Mother’s Day with a farewell to her son at the airport. He is off to work in Australia, our big neighbouring country across the Ditch, aka the Tasman Sea. Her Day was bittersweet. She was proud to have a son making his own way in the world, but sad to see him moving abroad.

This is how it is for many of us in New Zealand. Our generation, generations before and those of today, at some time or another, have moved, and continue to move, away from New Zealand. Some call it their OE (overseas experience), some just go. Some return and some don’t.   I think, if one lives on an island nation, always facing the sea, it is inevitable, that many  of us will, eventually,  feel the pull to see what lies over the horizon; to set upon a journey. Recent estimates of the New Zealand diaspora suggest that about 650,000 of us live outside New Zealand, with about half a million of that number living in Australia.  Amongst my friends and relations and acquaintances, there is scarcely a single one that is  without at least one family member living away from New Zealand.  Our families are, as they were from the very beginning of human settlement in New Zealand, often incomplete; separated by oceans and our vast geographic distance from much of the rest of the world. In my own case, my daughter, my parents and my siblings all live in Australia. And, for years, I lived away from New Zealand too.

On Mother’s Day, I spent some of the day, delighting in the Birth Notices in our local paper. Not something I usually do, but I had a little time to twiddle my thumbs, and the notices caught my eye whilst I was twiddling. They caught my eye mostly because of the names; Sophie, Max, Rose, Lily, Emily, Grace ; some of the short, sweet names reminiscent of names of my grandparents’  and great grandparents’ generations.  As I read the names,  I thought of all these new little ones enjoying their first ever Mother’s Day with their own special Mum. And I wondered, also, where they will all be on Mother’s Day a few decades hence; metaphorically still in their mother’s embrace but, in reality, they may well be far from home. But that is how life goes, with its comings and  goings, its arrivals and departures, interspersed with jam and friends and beauty and randomness. Thus it ever was in families and ever will be. At least in this corner of the world. And maybe in yours too.

‘Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow’  Romeo and Juliet ; this is entirely out of context but the words seem right for my post today.

© silkannthreades

Mothers, near and far…

To Mothers, near and far,
May you be loved and blessed, remembered and embraced,
And comforted, always.Mother's Day OfferingIn my posy ring, for you, I have placed lavender, heuchera, Mexican orange blossom and feijoa leaves, all freshly picked from my garden on this chilly autumn morning. The fruit baskets contain Taylor’s Gold Pears and Satsuma Mandarins ( not from my garden 🙂 )Posy Ring

Short and sweet, but not too sweet.

This post will be short and sweet, but not too sweet. It’s about cake; shortcake. Feijoa and Ginger shortcake to be precise.

Take a peek at the shortcake, freshly baked and cut. It’s rough and ready in appearance, exactly like the every day setting of my kitchen. Plain and simple; short and sweet

Now please help yourself to  a piece*….of shortcake Piece

and take a bite Tasteand let your taste buds linger on the soft buttery crust and luscious feijoa and ginger filling.

Here’s how it’s made:

110gm( 4 oz) butter & 110gm (half cup) sugar & 1 egg & 225gm flour, sifted &  1 tsp of baking powder & 7 to 9 feijoas, peeled and sliced & 9 small pieces of crystallised ginger, chopped & 2 T of sugar.

Soften butter and beat with sugar until creamy. Add egg and beat. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder. Shape into a ball and roll out on baking paper into a large oval shape. Leave the rolled pastry on baking paper and carefully place on baking tray. Slice feijoas reasonably thickly and cover half the pastry with the slices. Scatter the ginger over the fruit slices. Sprinkle with sugar. Carefully pick up ends of baking paper to ease empty half of shortcake over the feijoas. Crimp two edges together.  Bake at 170C -180C deg for about 30 minutes until cooked through and nicely browned.

The recipe was dictated to me by a friend. It is one she uses a great deal but I don’t know its origins.

Finally, here is a photo of the  feijoas, or pineapple guavas, from a  previous post. For those of you who can’t find feijoas in your markets / shops, experiment with another slightly tangy, firm fleshed fruit.  Fabulous Feijoas

*Something to chew on:

In my paternal grandmother’s family, if you were offered a ‘piece’, it meant a piece  of bread. The piece of bread would be buttered and spread with jam and then sliced off the loaf.  I don’t know if the use of the word piece in this way was widespread in early twentieth century New Zealand or was something peculiar to our family.  Please note that there is a loaf of bread in the photo collage. You are welcome to a piece 🙂

© silkannthreades

The Pineapple Guava

At this time of the year, with autumn leaves in full fall, there is very little left to harvest from my garden, with the exception of pineapple guavas or, as we like to call them, Feijoas.  The Feijoa tree is a relative newcomer to my small plot but it is already a prolific fruiter. I think most Feijoa trees are.  It is also easy care and has beautiful flowers which appear around Christmas time.  And it is evergreen, so it provides visual delight all year long.Feijoa feast

Feijoas are one of my favourite fruits but I find they are a very polarizing fruit in New Zealand. People seem to either hate them or love them.  I love them. I love them raw  and I love them cooked….. with, what else, but GINGER.  I make a delicious Feijoa and ginger short-cake (not available today, sorry 😦 ). Here’s a feast of photos instead.

If you would like to know more about Feijoas/pineapple guavas here is a Wiki link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acca_sellowiana

One interesting fact about Feijoas is that the fruit is ready only when it falls on the ground. So we pick the fruit from the ground and not the tree, although I believe that, if you want to hasten the harvest, you can tickle the fruit and catch it as it falls.

© silkannthreades