Apricot chicken with chickpea pilaf

Apricot chicken close upCountry Cookery

Apricots suck me in every time. Fragrant, nectary, juicy, hand-picked from a tree – well of course – but even those not completely ripe, less than fragrant apricots that you get from most greengrocers. I buy them even when my gut feeling tells me they’re not fantastic. (I don’t usually do this with other things!) A suggestion of an apricot is still worth it for me. I am an apricot nutter. Continue reading Apricot chicken with chickpea pilaf

Apricot, almond and spice cake

Apricot almond and spice cake

I think our suburb must be the apricot capital of Melbourne – there are trees drooping with fruit all around us, not too many birds to steal them, and the owners of most trees don’t seem very interested (perplexing!). I’ve taken to doorknocking and last year I found a house with two trees and a lovely Vietnamese family who were happy for us to pick what we wanted, as they eat a few apricots but prefer fruits of Vietnam. They are swimming in apricots – or squelching really, as they are spattered all over their driveway. This year we visited twice and took some eggs from our chickens as a small thank you. Continue reading Apricot, almond and spice cake

Apple and lime cake

Apple and lime cakeApple and lime cake

I realised there was not a single recipe here for apples! Plenty of apricot, plum and fig recipes – because they’re fruit trees I have, and which I love getting creative with every year. There’s also a bit of citrus (particularly lime!) going on. We don’t have an apple tree, but I do love apples … of course. Apple tarte tatin is about the best dessert going if you ask me, and I also love an old-fashioned apple and cinnamon tea cake – yes, the kind you might have made in high school. I’ve been tweaking a recipe for a few years (primarily spiking my cake with ungodly amounts of brandy; all warm and spicy in the mouth). But here is another apple thing I love. A very simple and yet elegant apple and lime ‘cake’. Continue reading Apple and lime cake

Sultana polenta cake

sultana polenta cake

‘Sultana cake’ is probably not the thing you lust after … but bear with me! This cake is beautifully buttery without being particuarly high in butter, and the sultanas … well, I like sultanas, but in this cake they taste somehow better than plain sultanas – juicy and mellowed and more sophisticated. It’s definitely a case of a thing being more than the sum of its parts. Continue reading Sultana polenta cake

Plum curd

plum curd and tart casesplum curd tarts 1

Once a year I scramble across the roof of our chicken coop to pick a bucket of cherry plums. The tree hangs right over the roof, and conveniently the neighbour’s chicken coop is right next door and the tree hangs over that too … It’s just one little step from our roof to their roof and I do it, cheekily never asking for permission. Up there I’ve got full view of their whole yard, but with my head in a fruit tree I get a bit bold and reckless – I just want to fill my bucket! My six-year-old daughter now wants to join in! (Fruit-focused recklessness carrying on into the next generation.) Continue reading Plum curd

Chocolate pavlova with cherries

chocolate pavlova with cherries

This pavlova has snuck onto the scene as a dessert for the festive season in our family – not as the main event (we’re all pretty wedded to Christmas pudding), but as a dessert for those barbecues and picnics in the lead up to Christmas or for Boxing Day. Continue reading Chocolate pavlova with cherries

Custard apple and lime drink

Custard apple and lime drink

In autumn I have a slightly expensive habit, which is buying unusual fruit! I suppose if I didn’t live in a city with great markets and green grocers nearby, I’d have to find another pastime. And moving to the country is definitely tempting, but I think I’d find it too hard to turn my back on all the produce, restaurants and inspiring mix of cultures around us.  Continue reading Custard apple and lime drink