Wednesday, 3 August 2011

a culinary day in honour of my mother..

when i was planning my garden after i moved into my new house 3 years ago i decided to plant productive trees only..but i decided on those trees where the fruit is not readily available in the shops..among the trees i planted were a pomegranate, a cumquat, a feijoa, an elderberry and a crabapple..

in those 3 years my dear little crabapple, 'malus gorgeous', has battled through 2 years of drought..with the temperature reaching 48 deg centigrade on the 7th feb 2008..

it was on this day that i had organised my mother's 80th birthday celebration at one of her favourite restaurants with family and friends in the dandenongs (a range of low mountains about an hour from the centre of melbourne)..while we were celebrating we were aware of bushfires because we could see smoke in the distance but we were unaware just how serious the fires were..we only learned when we arrived home and heard the devastating news that whole townships had been completely razed by bushfire and that many people had tragically lost their lives..

this winter has been kinder to victoria because we have had quite a lot of rain..and for the first time i have had a crop, albeit very small, of crabapples..i left them to sit on the tree for months to enjoy the little ruby jewels but today i picked them in order to make a small jar of crab apple jelly..i did so because i wanted to have a culinary day that reflected some of foodie things that i associate with my mother who died 2 years ago today (five months after her birthday)..

crabapple recipe
i washed the crabapples, removed the stalks, and placed them in a saucepan with water and the juice of half of a lemon just to cover and cooked them until they were quite soft..the pulp was strained, without squeezing, through 4 layers of muslin..the resulting juice was measured and placed back in a saucepan with an equal amount of sugar and heated until the sugar was then boiled until it set which occurred within 5 minutes of it boiling..then it was poured into a sterilized jar and sealed.. 

ruby jewels from 'gorgeous'

'gorgeous'  pink crabapple juice

crabapple juice and sugar

'gorgeous' ruby jelly

the violets i now have growing with exhuberant fecundity in my garden come from my mother's garden..and today i made candied violets as another culinary journey in honour of my mother..

candied violet recipe
i picked the violets early and tied them into a bunch to facilitate washing them (much easier than trying to wash them untied) and then i cut the heads from the stalks..i then put them into my dehydrator on 35 deg c for 2 hours..once they were dry, using tweezers, i dipped each violet into beaten egg white and then into castor sugar..i then put them on a fresh plate of castor sugar to dry..

fuzzy violets

a lovely bunch of violets

washed and drying violets

violets in dehydrator

and they actually are purple still!

sourdough loaf number 2
and while i was making the jelly and the violets i made sourdough loaf number 2 from my sourdough's an improvement on the first loaf..and it goes really well with the crabapple jelly..yum..

sourdough loaf no 2 from sourdough starter

and by the way those violets are going to adorn some cupcakes i plan to make in a few weeks time for a going away party i am hosting for a family member..jane 


  1. Jane, sourdough is looking good! We love crabapple jelly and are always so grateful when our friends give us their fruit to turn into preserves. What a touching way to honour your mother's memory.. :)

  2. I keep asking for crabapples from people, I'm going to stalk the streets soon and knock on doors. I get so sad when I see fruit falling unloved to the ground. I agree with Celia your bread is looking great.

    Jelly and violets for remembrance, I am sure your mother is smiling somewhere to see you making and thinking of her. We had a lunch the year after my mother died, my sister and I, and put all the foods she loved on the table.

  3. I would plant the same sort of stuff! I know I can get certain fruit at the market but I often want to try unusual fruit. The exception is figs, I'd love to have a fig tree!

  4. hi was a really special day for me and as i write this i realise that the memories of the day are now preserved on my blog.. :)

    i agree with you about unloved fruit falling on the ground somehow seems sacrilegious :(..your meal with your sister sounds so special..:)

    lorraine..a fig is on the agenda for my back yard (the others are in the front along with my vegetable garden because it faces north and because i love a productive garden) when i get my act together..figs are manna from heaven especially when eaten straight from the tree at dawn when the dew is still on them..:)