Sunday, February 3, 2013

And welcome 2013

Well we are a month into the year, I hope it is treating you well so far.  It has been a busy month of holidays, with plenty of beach time ...
with short periods at home in a mad frenzy of trying to resuscitate my dying garden.  The front lawn looks like this:
It is beyond depressing.  It is just so dry, until last Thursday we hadn't had a drop of rain since October, which is rare in this part of the world....driest Spring/Summer since 1932.  No matter how much water (in our case slightly salty bore water) I put on, there is no substitute for the nitrogen-rich rain that falls from the sky.  The 13 mm we had on Thursday has freshened up the garden a bit, but will probably not help the summer crops.  Even the real dry weather garden stalwarts, like the roses, buddlieas and euphorbias are looking miserable.  The plumbago seems happy even though it gets no water..
And think of those poor Queenslanders, who have been flooded out for the second time in two years.
Even the agapanthus looks scorched

We have not had a good start to the year.  It is largely utilities that are letting us down:  no power last Friday, a massive burst water pipe in the garden (no water for days on end) and our rainwater has run out.  It is unheard of for this to happen before the end of January.  And our hot water service in the bathroom has packed it in.

There's plenty of action in the veggie garden
so there's been apricot jam, zucchini slice and pesto galore.  I also made some zucchini soup which I am proud to announce was made exclusively with vegetables from the garden:  yellow zucchini, onion, garlic and a potato to thicken it  up.  Even the chicken stock was homemade:
I was given a large bucket of blood plums so I made plum sauce..
and a very nice plum cake:

200g butter
2 cups castor sugar
1 tblsp honey
6-8 blood plums (mine were very small so I used a lot more), halved and stones removed
3 eggs
slosh of vanilla essence
200g SR flour
1/4 teasp Dutch cinnamon
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 180c.
Butter and line a 25cm cake tin with baking paper.
Put half the butter and sugar into a saucepan with the honey and heat until the butter is melted.  Pour this into the cake tin and swirl to cover the base.  Arrange the plums cut side up over the mixture.
Beat the remaining butter and sugar until light.  Add eggs, one at a time and add vanilla.
Add flour, cinnamon and milk and fold gently until just combined.
Spoon the mixture over the plums and bake for approx 45 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Put on a rack and cool in the tin.
Run a knife around the edge of the cake and place a serving plate on the top and invert the cake.  Leave for a minute or two then gently remove the tin.  Serve with cream.

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