Stone fruit haul n first Blackberries for tha season

Well it is coming to tha end ov summer here in trouwunna/Tasmania not that there was much ov a summer but there has bin plenty ov yummy fruits around, this week I picked another big lot of tha prune plums n they are everywhere on my van dash drying plus I bought another lot of green gages from tha local market as well.
Plums, peaches n blackberries
The green gage leathers turned out fantastic, they took awhile to dry because ov tha weather n they were real thick, I’m just letting them sit in tha sun 2day n I will roll n store them, tomorra I will put down anotha batch n unfortunately I think this will be tha last green gages unless I’m lucky that is, I love green gages.

Plums, peaches n blackberries

I recon I have dried in end weight about 4kg ov plum leathers which is a lot ov fresh fruit because it at least halves in weight wen drying, so I will be enjoying plum leathers 4 months to come in tha tropics, n let me tell ya look out mangoes wen I get back up north, I didn’t do mango leathers up there last season but I will be doing a lot next season. I think it is my favorite way to preserve fruits now, no added sugar which is fantastic.

Along tha road on tha way back to my mums place between my grandfathers place n hers it is about a 35km stretch ov road n there is a lot ov what I pick each season on just this bit ov road.

I also picked a small basket ov white peaches tha last ov them I recon n I picked 2 punnets ov blackberries for a crumble, tha blackberries closer to mums are ripening now but further up the valley around where I used to live I still have a couple weeks before they are ready.

 

Sloe Plum JamWe have nearly eaten all tha peaces they are so sweet n don’t sit around for to long, I made a nice blackberry n green gage crumble last night that we all enjoyed n today I made sloe plum jam for tha first time.

I vaguely remember my grandmother talking about tha small very dry n tart plums on tha prickly bushes along tha sides ov tha roads here as we drove past them to go fishing a few times, I had tasted one n they were terrible so I never tried to cook with them n also there were so many other better or so I thought fruits around, until today.
I was checking out the pears to see if they were ready early but not yet n on tha way back to tha van I passed a bramble ov sloe plums they look amazing n I thought I have to try making jam out ov them. I have tried a friends sloe gin n it was to die for but I don’t drink that much so not really interested in making that but jam is another matter.
Sloe Plum Jam

 

I picked a small basket just to try before picking heaps more, I pitted them this morning n cooked them just like any other dryer plum adding a bit of water to loosen them up. The color that developed was amazing maybe the prettiest deep burgundy red/purple I have ever seen. The jam turned out great n I had it on a proper rye sourdough just now with a cuppa tea, the bread is from Pigeon Whole Bakery in Hobart (best sourdough in tha country).
Sloe Plum Jam, Pigeon Whole sourdough bread from Hobart

I will wait until they are a bit ripper before I pick tha next lot they recon if you leave them until tha first frost they loose some of there bitterness, I don’t think they are bitter it is more a dry tartness to me but I don’t think they were as ripe as they could have been n I want to see how much difference a couple ov weeks makes n then I will freeze them because I read something that says this helps fake a frost.
Prune plums fresh n sun dried

Oh n ya can see the sun dried plums in the picture above they still need a few days n then I will put them in a syrup.

Well thats it for now enjoy 🙂

 

Elderberry n Apricot, chilly n yellow plum jam

Ok it wasn’t such a good day for slavin ova a hot stove all day but it had to be done becoz I couldn’t fit all tha fresh fruit in my mums freezer.
I started off by making my first batch ov elderberry (Sambucus nigra) vinegar, I hope it turns out nice.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) Vinegar

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) Vinegar

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) Pulp

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) Pulp

Next I made elderberry  jam, I luv elderberry jam n even though it isn’t an easy one to make I always try to make at least one batch a year if they are around.

First I like to freeze them it makes it easier to get tha berry off tha stems (which are slightly toxic) so once frozen gently tickle tha berries off tha stems put into a pot n add like a cup ov water to get them going, boil these until tender then let them cool down a bit I then push them through a sieve, I use a wooden spoon n then my fingers to get every last bit of flesh I can.

Put tha flesh back into tha pot, add lemon juice or blended pith n juice n bring it back up to a boil then add your sugar, I use 1/3kg raw sugar to 1kg fruit flesh.

It turned out nice n thick it is one ov those jams dat can be a bit runny if ya don’t get it rite.

Next I made apricot, chilly n yellow plum jam, I had some yellow plum pulp left ova from setting down a new lot ov leathers today so I added this to tha last ov tha apricots n for extra kick I added some chilly. All the fruits n 1 cup ov lemon juice were boiled then tha sugar added, again I use tha 1/3 to 1 amounts n then bottled when ready about 20 minutes hard boil.
Elderberry jam & Apricot, Chilly n Yellow plum jam

The leathers got a good skin on them today as it is very hot here finally…..YAH!!! so I’m hoping to get these done by Sunday to set down a green gage leather Yummmmmmm 🙂

Sorrow, Mournin, Mullein Medicine n Apricot Yummiezzzzz

So this fortnight I have visited Parrdarrma (Paredarerme) a fair bit ov tha time I attended tha Putalina festival mid month n or though tha weather woz a bit miserable the festivities were well still festive 🙂

I woz also invited by the local Parrdarrma mob flag raising on Friday tha 23rd at Boomer Bay for tha start ov their Survival Day weekend get togetha (their flag is lowered for actual Invasion Day 26th January, they do not celebrate on dat day) this woz a great privilege n a very special day, connections for a lifetime made.

I then stayed on “my uncles property” Parrdarrma land just around tha corna a bit, dis property is sea water frontage n he has a massive sheltered fire place to hang out in n warm up around, it woz tha first time I’ve a a good fire for awhile, I really miss fire wen I can’t or just plain “Not Allowed” 2 have one.

Verbascum thapsus (Mullein)I spent sum time there fishing, gathering mussels, oysters n snails n yah I finally likin tha oysters, I cooked the mussels on the coals in their own juices n they were superb, I cooked tha oysters on their shells n poured a nip ov cider on them at the end n they were good enuff to eat, up until then I haven’t liked them n couldn’t make myself eat them but these were ok next time I am gonna try smokin n bottlin them.

I didn’t catch any fish there but my fatha n brotha who were there to caught a good haul of fish n I ended up wid lots ov fish heads for soup my favorite! n I got to eat raw flat head roe rite out of their tummies n washed down wid home brew, it doesn’t get any fresha than dat a.

My uncle shot a rabbit for me n I made a lovely rabbit stew in tha camp oven, I also brain tanned tha skin/fur my first attempt at dis technique n it turned out great but it is very hard on tha joints in tha hands n I couldn’t do as much as I would like or as many as I would ideally like to do to make anything substantial, I think my tannin days r ova sadly or hopefully it could just be tha weatha down here but good news is my eatin days are not ova, I luv rabbit.

I didn’t get to take any pic’s ov these things because my niece Dannika had a million questions for me n there were to many people around in tha space to start muckin round wid a camera n I was just enjoyin tha moment so you will have to take my word dat it was all scrumptious.
Verbascum thapsus (Mullein)Verbascum thapsus (Mullein)

I called into attend tha Hobart Invasion Day rally n support tha community on a very sorrowful day for dis land n it’s first peoples n a very shameful day for everyone else celebratin tha invasion ov dis land n it’s peoples, I wont say anymore bout tha subject it is to sad. 😦

Anyway wot I want to share is about tha Mullein n apricots I prepared, I had cut up n pitted a lot ov apricots befor leavin mums n I put sum on trays on my dash for leathers n sum I froze for lata which I made jam wid for my mum n dad.

Verbascum thapsus (Mullein)On tha way to my uncles I found a patch ov mullein (Verbascum thapsus) dat wasn’t in a spray zone so I pulled up n picked a heap which I sat it out on baskets in tha van to dry, it take mullein ages to dry especially because the weather is terrible here at present so once I got back to my mums I put it in tha oven on real low to finish it off, once dried I crushed up n stuffed it into a big jar for lata use, I will use it in mixed herbal teas for myself in general n if I feel like I’m getin a cold or congested n especially for a friend ov mine dat has lung problems.

Now tha apricots tha leathers dried off much beta than I expected as I have neva done them before I thought they would turn real dark a but they kept their color really well as you can see. They came out nice n thick to n once dry enuff I rolled these n stored them for lata use, these n tha plum leathers r good for wen you know you get a bit blocked up hehe 😉

Apricot leathersApricot leathers

Well dats it for now like I said weatha isn’t to flash so not out n about much but hopefully it will find up for febuary so until then yalada 🙂
Oh n as you can probably see I am a bit obsessed wid my mums lizards, I luv lizards…..

Apricot jam n leathers

 

Wild Plums n Lemons Abound

Hi everyone I’m finally back at it, I have bin on tha road for some time n haven’t really had much weed wise to blog about but I am back in my home state trouwunna/Tasmania for a few months n will be foraging like a crazy woman to restock before departing permanently to tha tropic’s.

A lot of what I live on weed wise do not grow where I am relocating too so I want to gather n store as much as I can fit in my van n that I am physically able to gather.

So as usual at this time ov year wild plums abound along with luckily 4 me berries, so first off I have made a wild plum leather with a very small dryer variety of wild plum one I haven’t eva found before.
I crushed these with my hand & squished out tha pulp which I then pushed through a sieve I then oiled my stainless steel trays spread tha pulp out evenly n dried, luckily it was a hot couple ov days n they dried quickly I then have to scrap the dried leather off the tray cut to size n roll then store.

Wild Plum Leathers

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After the leathers I made Cherry Plum, Tassie Pepper Berry n Tamarind hot sauce.
Wild Plums
I washed n just covered plums with water n boiled until the flesh was falling off seeds I then pushed the pulp through a sieve n added back to tha pot, I added brown n spring onions, lemon juice n pith food processed n also pushed through sieve, spices such as curry, mustard, coriander seed, cumin seeds, cloves n Tassie Pepper Berries (tasmannia lanceolata), chilly, black pepper, white pepper, salt n bay leaves. I also added a big heap ov tamarind that I collected last year in Mossman FNQLD I boiled it all at this point for about an hour until it reduced by about 1 inch I then added white vinegar n sugar, I don’t follow recipes but there was about 4 liters ov fruit liquid so I added about 2 1/2 cups of vinegar n 2 kg sugar.
Wild PlumsI boiled this for a further hour or so until it reduced another inch or more then I added corn flour to thickened to tha final consistency I wanted, I then bottled.
Wild Plum n Tassie Pepper Berry  n Tamarind Hot Sauce

I was also lucky enough this season to pick a heap ov berries from a friends dads yard, I made a mixed berry n lemon jam with these for elders friends n family.

I ended up with about 4 kg ov fruit to this I added 2 cups ov lemon juice n pith, tha one that I food processed up n pushed through a sieve along with 3 kgs sugar it was then oiled n jarred.
Mixed Berry n Lemon Jam

Finally I made a lemon n cherry plum cordial, tha color is amazing the color comes out ov tha skins of tha fruit when boiled so once strained with minimal disturbance to the pulp itself to maintain clarity I added only clear lemon juice sugar n vinegar about 1/2 cup ov vinegar to every 1 liter liquid n 2 cups ov sugar to every liter.
Wild Cherry Plum n Lemon Cordial

Well thats it for now I am hoping to pick yellow plums soon for leathers, happy foraging everyone 🙂

 

Fish n Cockle Soup

Fish n Cockle soupI just had to share a picture ov the beautiful Swainsona formosa, Sturt’s Desert Pea, (above) I took this shot on my travels through the Pilbra, these lay about tha desert floor like a bright red carpet with black eyes, along with other beautiful wild flowers but I decides not to take pictures ov every wild flower I seen on this trip coz I spent most ov my time last trip behind the camera lense but I had to grab a shot ov these I missed them last trip.

The friends I’m staying with in Denham WA caught a big blue chin or blue bone n a couple other lovely fish at the beginning ov the week so we had baked fish 2 nites in a row, the blue chin was filleted for the kids to eat n I kept the skeleton n gorgeous head for soup, I put it in the freeza until I was ready n the otha day we went to a beach not far from home n gathered a good sized bucket ov cockles there were five different species interestingly n I had to tried each species to see if I could tell the difference n there was a slight difference between a few but not others.

Anyway I made a stock with the skeleton plus 2 otha fish heads, cockles, lemon grass, ginger, onion, celery, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, chilly, small piece cinnamon stick, 3 whole shiitake mushrooms,seaweed a bit ov mushroom soy, lemon peel, I simmered this for about 3 hours then strained n picked out the fleshy bits n tha mushrooms.

I then put the strained liquid into a pot n added the flesh n chopped mushrooms back in with chopped carrot, celery, ginger, parsley, celery salt n otha seasonings to taste. This was bought back up to tha boil for 10 minutes until veggies were just tender before adding two chopped brim fish n a bowl ov cockles for the last 10 minutes.

Fish n Cockle soup

It was absolutly yummy a real treat n tha kids loved it too as you can see in the pictures!

Eating Fish n Cockle soup

Steve (dad) n Daisy enjoying their soup

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Chrissy (mum) n Shelly, Shelly loves it so much she is trying to tip it down her gob in one go a 🙂

DSC_1421_01

Shelly really know how to enjoy her food n I took it as a great compliment.

Now that is how to enjoy ya food, so funny, we all enjoyed it greatly but not so much tha cleanin up, hehe.

Baked Fish Dish

Well back again, wanted to share pic’s ov the yummy fish I caught.

baked brim

These are what we call a silver brim I had two nice sized ones that I stuffed with ginger, lemon grass, pickled bell peppers, kalamata olives, lemon a sprig ov rosemary slat n pepper n I wrapped them in foil with olive oil n veggie margarine then baked.

Baked brim

I only baked for about 15 minute I like my fish JUST cooked so they stay moist, the flavors ov this stuffing went rite through the whole fish it was amazing.

Haha n just realized there are dates on all tha pictures, I had to use a friends camera coz my batteries are flat.

Greener pastures, a reprieve from tha red dust

So I have been travelling now for a few months n not finding much in tha way ov edible weeds n tha like since well Alice Spring really but last week in the Pilbra area ov Western Australia  I  came across this gorgeous free camping ground next to the DeGrey River, it was a refreshing green change from tha red dirt country surrounds.
After picking my spot n figuring out where the sun will rise n setting my fire place accordingly tha two most important things to me I wondered off down tha path that weaved it’s way threw n unda spectacular weeping paper bark’s towards tha wata’s edge to see if there would be any good fishin spots, not long down tha path I noticed what I thought was a variegated thistle ov some sort but on closer inspection I realize it had a poppy flower in place ov the expected thistle flower, I have since found they were Argemone ochroleuca gone feral up here, it is very pretty n got my hopes up ov otha weedy friends being present n yes as I looked even closer n got my weed eye back in I recognized an old long missed favorite Puha (Sonchus sp.), so I was absolutely thrilled I can tell ya, I hadn’t had fresh greens for quite some time like I said n my body was yearning for them so I jotting that spot down in my not so good memory bank n ventured further down tha path n the further I walk the more n more young lush green Puha leaves I seen they were everywhere,it was the most I had actually seen in one area in my whole life a, it was like a green fantasy land.
I thought to myself there was so much I would stay a few days n actually dry a heap to replenish my stores which I did n if I catch a fish bonus.

Puha (Sonchus sp) n Purslane (Portulaca sp.)I didn’t catch any fish by tha way but I had picked up a roo tail up tha road earlier on that day so camp fire Roo tail stew wid Puha n fresh spelt damper was on tha menu.

Roo Tail, Puha (Sonchus sp) n Purslane (Portulaca sp.)

Roo Tail Stew n Spelt Damper n teaIt was a fabulous meal in a beautiful spot, the Roo tail was so sticky n tender, tha Puha so fresh n after repeatedly dipping the heavy damper into the stew then into my mouth I could fit no more in n like a cat that has just devoured it’s prey n probably a native animal I sat contentedly by tha fire until all the food settled down lower in my stomach n I could actually move to go to bed, stuff dreams are made ov a, well my idea ov livin tha dream n eating like a queen anyway n for only tha cost ov a can ov tomatoes n corn, a few spuds n onions, oil ect n this fed me quite indulgently for a few days. 🙂

 

Chewy Cat Fish Stew

DSC_1224_01Ok guys just a quicky just encase you think I have drop off the face ov tha planet 😉
Found great camping/fishing spot on my journey n thought I would share pic’s I caught black brim or sum call sooty grunter as well I cook these whole in the fire or fry but I really enjoyed tha cat fish this time it isn’t the cat fish with the snake tail like I have had before it is the very spiky shark looking one n man can they get big……. n in tha fish n chip shop they are called silver cobbler.
I tried baking in the fire first that was ok but then the next night I decided to stew them in camp oven & I really like them that way the flesh stay’s real firm n they are so gelatinous especially around the head which was my favorite bit no surprise best fish head eva…. it was almost like eating roo tail with all the chewy sinewy like bits n tha lips ohhhh sorry they are my favorite bits it sounds gross but if ya don’t let ya head get in tha way you will neva look back the heads are the best bit of a fish. The cold flesh was nice in a sandwich with fresh bread too, not many bones that’s why they feed them to tha old people.
I just chucked into the stew what ever I had in the van n a can ov tomatoes some chutney, water n simmered real slow for an hour or so I leave the liver in for flavor too.
Well I am still around just not much on the can share food side seein as I’m bush most ov the time 🙂

Clear Warm Desert Skies & Delights

Long time between blogs but that happens on the road I’m afraid but I’m laid up for a couple days the driving has caught up with me so here is an update on what has been happening on my travels so far wild food wise.

In South Australia on the highway heading up towards Alice Springs I found a massively loaded prickly pear (Opuntia sp.) n couldn’t resists gathering some to eat n they were supper delicious but quite hard to process on the road in the middle of nowhere with no running water to wash the spins off, I did the best I could with what I had n I enjoyed them but word to the wise don’t use your good pig skin gloves to harvest them n hold them to peel because the spines do not come out they stuck rite into the gloves n I had to throw them….. hard lesson so be warned.
Prickly Pear (Opuntia sp.) & pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Further up the road I found a loaded pomegranate tree at a servo just before the boarder n garbed a small basket full unfortunately I forgot about the boarder quarantine n had to get rid ov or use them before I crossed the boarder and I was gonna make a drink out of the seeds but they were not ripe they were to astringent to use n I was very disappointed indeed that bloody quarantine has relieved me over the years of some gorgeous fresh produce the one that still stings is the last time I crossed I lost my beautiful organic home grown garlic along with some other yummy goods, I was not happy.

I had another 2 garlic bulbs from my uncles garden in Tassie this round and was determined not to loose them this time so I camped up for the night just before the boarder and cooked up the garlic n all the fresh cherry tomatoes from my friends place in Daylesford that I had with me n I can tell ya you wouldn’t have wanted me to breath on you for the next few days!!

The good news is I was allowed to keep the large bucket I had of chestnuts (Aesculus sp.) n the smaller basket of acorns (Quercus sp.) I had collected in Victoria, I was really happy for that I thought I would loose them all.

Once in central Australia just before Alice Springs I camped up in a nice spot n decided it was such a nice night I would have a camp fire n enjoy the night sky. I got the chestnuts out which I had earlier back down the road at another stop peeled the prickly husks off, I took a knife to these n split their brown shell with a cross so they wouldn’t explode on me I then put them on the coals turning them so as not to burn it was hot work. They were ok but I just don’t get the attraction to having them roasted because they are much nicer put into a stew n slow cooked they have a nicer flavor n texture this was, I think it must be like a traditional thing.
I also put the acorns on the coals to pop their shells which I then peeled off, I have pickled these which I have never done before n I’m hoping they will turn out nice I want the smokiness of the fire n the slight roasting to come through in the flavor, I will let you know how they go.
Chestnuts ( Aesculus sp.)

Podaxis pistillarisThat evening before I set up camp when I first pulled up I had to walk out the back aches n stiffness from all the driving it has been so exiting being on the road again heading toward warmer weather that I got a bit carried away n have done to much at once. anyway I was wondering around the area n I came across these fungi popping their heads up out of the red dirt in the middle of the desert, fungi never cease to amaze me n this tough little guy is Podaxis pistillaris. He is a relative ov the puff ball n there was only a few there so I didn’t kill him to do the usual cut in half pictures n spore print ect to show better ID for everyone I just couldn’t do it.

The next day I arrived in Alice Spring to the delicious smells of slow cooked roaster stew which I could only approve upon by adding some of the peeled chestnuts n accompanying it with stemmed purslane (Portulaca oleracea) which because it had apparently rain flat out for 4 day just before I arrived was every where, the sweetness of the chestnuts against the sourness of the purslane worked like magic in the mouth.
The purslane was the best I had ever seen n tasted it was beautifully young n crisp, I also pickled to large jars full for later enjoyment n I’m sure there will be no lack of this fresh healthy treat on the next leg ov my journey.

That same day my friend Petal came home with a palm trunk that he had removed from someone place n to his amusement I was so exited, I got him to cut it up into like 40 cm sections n then in half long ways to get to the heart of the palm, it was a cocus palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) n I was pretty sure all palm species hearts were edible, I had never tried palm heart before because you have to kill the plant to get to it.
The heart was beautifully white n very crisp, I cut out as much as I could while Petal n his partner Peachy watched with curiosity, we all had a nibble on it raw n I liked it a lot Petal wasn’t that impressed he thought it was a bit bland n to most it probably is, Peachy liked it too so pretty good results all round n I believe it would be nice in stir fries & or stews ect.

The only problem with it is it oxidized really fast so I went around to my friends back yard n picked some limes to squeeze over it which stopped the browning in it’s tracks, I had some for dinner that night n I pickled the rest the next day I hope it turn’s out nice again I will update.

In picture below from left to right is the pickled palm heart, purslane n the acorns.

Pickled Palm heart (Syagrus romanzoffiana), Purslane ( Portulaca oleracea )& Acorns (Quercus sp.)

Well that’s it for now happy gathering everyone. 🙂

Thistle Roots, Feild Mushrooms n Bubbling Wild Ferments in Daylseford

Ok so I’m staying at a friends place for awhile in Daylesford n I’ve been eating the usual suspects everyday dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) plantain (Plantago lanceolata) n dock (Rumex crispus) greens which has been good but the other day I managed to gather a good feed of thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare) the other day I knew my friends hadn’t tried them before so thought it would be a real treat for them n they absolutely loved them.

Bull thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare )
I scraped n cut up into bite size bits then to stop them oxidizing before they were all cut up n ready for the hot plate I put a squeeze of lemon in the water, once ready I simmered these for about an hour until tender I really love their artichoke heart flavor.
The next day we drove around looking for some mushies as it had rained recently we picked a bucket of field mushroom (Agaricus campestris) n a few puff balls (Calvatia sp.). My friends Stu n Nira had theirs with chicken livers fried up for breakfast they really loved them, I’m not a fan of the feildy any more for some reason I’ve gone rite off them I had a few small buttons n some puff balls on toast with an egg.
Field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris)
Also some of the fermenting projects we have done, from the left  remember the crab apple cider I was going to make into vinegar well first I had to keep my eye on Stu n Nira coz they would have liked to have drunk all the cider so I wouldn’t have anything to make vinegar with but all good they controlled themselves, I have now strained all of the solids out of this n added some of my home made vinegar with a little mother so now it is just a matter of time lucky I have good self control too.
We also made a new batch of kombucha it is sitting on they bench bubbling away n Nira n I made an apple scrap vinegar for them, we just cut up some apples you can use apple cores and or left overs we also added some grapes you can use any fruits for this that you have around, then we added a sugar syrup to the fruit in that big jar we used about 1 cup of sugar, this will become active n you let it bubble away until it settles a bit then strain the solids out and again wait for the liquid to turn to vinegar, if you have raw vinegar or a vinegar mother you can add these to help speed up the process but they are not necessary it will happen naturally in it’s own good time.

Wild ferments- crab apple cider vinegar, kombucha n apple scrap vinegar

Crab apple cider vinegar, Kombucha n Apples scrap vinegar

Well that’s it for now hopefully in a couple week we will get many different mushrooms fingers crossed. 🙂