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macadamia trees and honey bees

Notes from a tree change

The Queen

 

 

Macadamia Crisps

I adapted this from an almond biscotti recipe that I’ve been making for years. It really is even better with Macadamias.

Macadamia Crisps

  • Servings: makes about 20
  • Time: 1 hr over two days
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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What you need:

  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1 cup Self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 150g dry roasted macadamias

What you need to do:

  • Beat egg whites until stiff
  • Gradually add sugar
  • Fold in nuts and flour
  • Spoon into a greased & lined 10cm∅ loaf tin
  • Cook in moderate oven (180°) 30 mins
  • Cool in tin, wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight

Next day:

  • Cut loaf into thin slices
  • Bake in a low oven (140°) on a lined tray for 15-20 mins.
  • Store in an airtight container

Rainbows and Waterfalls

Since moving to the country I’ve noticed that the prettiest thing to snap an iphone at is often the sky. I’ve compiled a whole file of pictures of the sky taken from our little farm. I’m not sure if its because we see more of it here, or if I’m just noticing it more.

Canteen duty also looks a bit different in the country. Run by the parents once a week, each family volunteers for duty.  I was a bit nervous at the prospect of feeding the whole school. I decided to do pizza scrolls. I didn’t get any returns, thankfully.

As I was driving home the other afternoon, I saw these amazing beauties by the side of the road. Now tell me you don’t believe in fairies.

Our resident Frog Mouth Owl is still insisting on pretending he’s a branch, but only occasionally. We say good morning every other day. Here he is blending in:

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And here he is not bothering:

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Same time of day. I love that he’s so inconsistent. He must have an artistic temperament. In other news, look what we found when we cleared away a huge swathe of lantana (well, when I say we, I mean the hardworking farmer in the family..)

 

IMG_1342We could hear the running water but couldn’t see a thing through the spikey mass. We would never have guessed we had our own waterfall & rockpool. Pretty cool. No leeches found so far.

Aren’t passionfruit flowers eccentric. They kind of look like they’re doing jazz hands. Or is that just me?

 

 

Frog Files

Birthday Bees

When the women on those “Housewives of” shows turn fff…forr… Err, have a big birthday, they always seem to get a weighty bit of bling or perhaps a birkin bag or a pair of louboutins (or all three, plus a trip to Paris). Now, I’m certainly not knocking this practice (I have a trip to Japan in the planning stages myself at the moment, Yay!), but this is not Beverley Hills and birkenstocks are far more common in these here parts. Instead, here I am on my ‘big’ birthday with my very first top bar beehive and I couldn’t feel more spoiled or be more excited.

This one has a cute window so you can peer in and watch the superorganism at work – without disturbing the girls one bit. Another bonus of a top bar hive is that you get quite a lot of wax too. I bought this cute candle mould online. Oh, the pinterest potential…

My day went like this: sleep in, coffee, perfect blue sky, cafe breakfast, children’s birthday party (which included a puppy and a pony), picnic dinner and an evening tipple in my favourite glass which reminds me of Sweden. Simple but perfect.

Thanks to my beautiful family for a lovely birthday. This being forty caper is not too shabby…

 

 

 

Meet Digger

Meet Digger. Our faithful companion, fastest blue heeler in the north, champion soccer player and most effective snake early detection system on the market. Not that he’s for sale. We adopted Digger not long after we moved to the farm so he really feels like a big part of our tree change experience. He has very few vices. He barks at birds. He drops slimy balls at your feet. Only things you can love him for. He has taken to completing a 7am perimeter patrol of the house – peering in the bedrooms and barking if he finds anyone still in bed. Bless him.IMG_1003

Other members of our animal family are excelling themselves too. Penny has learnt to to drive the tractor and look at what Star produced today:

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I’m no expert but that is one eye-wateringly big egg. I bet its a double yolker. Stay tuned.

The garden is loving all this rain. 110mm in 24 hours. Thank you garden fairies, but can I get some washing done now please?

 

Life of a Macadamia Nut

We’re coming tantalisingly close to our first harvest. Right now the nuts are in the last stage of development and are still bright green.

They are quite sweet at this stage and taste delicious -crunchy and fresh, a bit like coconut. The girls have started picking up the early harvest. I suppose I should make some sort of rule about pink tulle in the orchard. They come home with hems caked in mud in the manner of Catherine Earnshaw wondering the moors in Wuthering Heights. Then again, if Emily Bronte says this is ok then who am I to argue? They didn’t have napisan then.

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In other news, I have dealt with the great tomato glut of 2016 by making sauce, relish and passata:

That’s a lot of chopping. And simmering. And the boiling of bottles. So when it came to dealing with the cumquat crop I just skewered them and bunged them in a jar with a bottle of brandy and a cup of sugar. You’re welcome, future-self.

And hello, Citrus Martini with finger lime caviar, how have we not met before?IMG_0997

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Cucumber Pickles

Cucumber Pickles

  • Time: 1 hr - prep time mostly
  • Difficulty: easy
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We had a huge crop of apple cucumbers not long ago. After an entire weekend of canning and pickling tomatos I just couldn’t face sterilising jars, so this recipe was a welcome change. My son reliably informs me that the result looks like something from a classroom at Hogwarts. I assure you they taste much better than they look and I promise you won’t grow a tail or anything.

 

What you need:

  • 8 cups of cucumbers, peeled, deseeded and sliced finely.
  • 1 Spanish onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons course salt
  • 2cups sugar
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns

What you need to do:

  1. Once you’ve prepped all the cucumbers (it takes a while, sorry), mix them with the onion and toss them with the salt. Drain for at least 30 mins.
  2. In a small bowl mix the sugar and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Once drained, smash the cucumber mix into a jar alternating with the coriander and peppercorns.
  4. Pour the vinegar mix over and let steep for a day in the fridge before using.

Farm Gate Stalls

There are many cute farm gate stalls in our area – selling the excess from peoples gardens, their hens, or bees and even their kitchen. Its hard to go anywhere without giving in to the temptation of stopping off to see whats on offer. Vine ripened tomatoes, passionfruit and eggs. There’s always a surprise. Yesterday there was Dragonfruit.

This stall is my favourite.

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I’m afraid I might be her best customer.

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