THIS WEEK....... IN THE KITCHEN.....AND IN THE GARDEN

I enjoyed a beautiful morning picking cumquats at a friends property during the week and now I have to figure out what I am going to do with these beauties. Cumquat liqueur, cumquat marmalade? hmmm need to think about that one ........ 

On the way back home, basket in hand, I remembered that I had run out of Bay leaves and lucky for me, my neighbour up the road has a massive Bay tree in the front of their property. It is at least 6 metres tall! If you have ever grown a Bay tree then you probably know how slow they are to grow. So this tree is OLD. I grabbed a big handful of leaves and I will show you what I do with them...........

 

I layed them out (artistically or the latest thing going, ephemerally) onto a paper towel, covered the Bay leaves with another sheet of paper towel and popped them into the microwave oven...........

cumquats (1 of 1).jpg

I put the timer on for about 1 minute 30 seconds on the lowest heat setting ( time  depends on your microwave). Just make sure to check just in case...... otherwise they will burn. You will hear some popping initially, don't be alarmed, it's just the moisture in the leaves making that sound.

Express dried! You can also dry the the Bay leaves in a (slow) conventional oven if Microwaves aren't for you.

Or if you like....tie the bundle of leaves and hang in a dry and airy place. I have also threaded them, like a necklace with some thin string and hung in the kitchen.

I love the fact that they retain their colour for a while. 

Mini Roses are another thing that I dry in the microwave. Great for decorating desserts! Use ones that have not been sprayed.

Before placing any dried herbs or petals in storage jars make sure they have cooled down completely.

TIP - Next time you peel an Orange or a Mandarin don't waste the peel: Oven-dry at 130 c and use them to season stews or tomato sauces, your house will also have a fresh citrusy smell throughout.

In the Garden................

I love my little plaque under the pink Camellia.....she looks so pretty! She has travelled to a few gardens....do you have a special keepsake that follows you?

I saw this idea during the week......how easy is this to build! Bit of wire, straw, potting mix, seed potatoes. Best time to grow potatoes August, September, October. For us in the cooler areas a month later. Bit early yet but pop it into your diary and have a go people.

How was your week? Have you got a great recipe for cumquats that you would like to share?