Saturday, 4 July 2015

Gerald Who Is A Girl

It's so green here!  It's lovely and moist and cool and green.  The kikuyu grass is gradually growing down the hill and contributing to the intense colour.  And the weeds are enormous!  We've spent some time this week ripping out waist-high weeds around the potato beds, it looks much more civilised now.
 With the moist coolness comes little treasures to be found in the forest.  Look at the vibrant colour of this orange lichen on a tree stump.
 And teeny tiny fairy mushrooms popping up in clumps amongst the leaf litter.
 Moss abounds on the gnarled tree trunks of the old peppermint trees.
 I love the texture of the bark on this old jarrah.
Gerald the girl magpie (I named her after Gerald Durrell when she was a juvenile and I didn't know she was a girl) patiently waits outside the door for her breakfast of rolled oats, then she bursts into caroling song to let her buddies know that grub's up.
The kangaroos arrive most mornings and watch us with hopeful eyes that we might give them a few mouthfuls of wheat.  Lucy also enjoys eating the leaves on the banana passionfruit vine.  See how the outside of this end of the fence is bald?  She strips the leaves that she can reach, thankfully the majority of the vine is still growing happily on the inside of the fence.  Interesting that she doesn't touch the leaves of the ordinary passionfruit vines a bit further up the fence, apparently those leaves don't taste as good. 
We have to be a bit careful when the tame girls come into season, as that means the arrival of a large boy who follows the girl around for 3 or 4 days until he can do the deed.  This is Patience with her boyfriend.  Normally the boys are very wary and keep their distance, but when one is following a girl who will hop right up to us, we keep a close eye out just in case he decides to follow. 
Here's Patience again with a better shot of little Elf who is very disinclined to leave the warm pouch.  She is a very good mother, calm and quite happy to lug around a huge child for far longer than necessary.
I've been trying to use up some of our citrus.  I had a go with the Valencia oranges at making a preserve sort of thing, it's orange slices in syrup.  Basically I had to boil the oranges, then thickly slice them, then boil them again for a couple of hours in a sugar syrup, then stir in some Cointreau, then bottle the whole lot, syrup and all, into a sterilised jar.  The syrup went all thick and jelly-like, and every so orangy.  I imagine the slices and syrup will be rather nice on top of yogurt or cake maybe.  Hope so!  The oranges were too sour to eat so I thought I'd try something different with them.

I also made a Lemon Delicious Slice, to use up some lemons.  I have to admit that I don't have a photo, well, because we gobbled it up before I thought of the camera!  :-)  How about the recipe instead....

Lemon Delicious Slice
150g butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3rd cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 1/3 cups plain flour
Icing sugar to dust on the top
for the lemon topping
4 eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1/3rd cup plain flour
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
2/3rds cup lemon juice (for me that was 3 large lemons)

Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan-forced.  Grease a 3cm deep, 16cm x 26cm slice pan.  Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.

Make the base -
Place butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium for a minute or so, until melted.  Set aside to cool.  Stir in vanilla and sugar.  Sift flours over butter mixture.  Using a wooden spoon, stir until a soft dough forms.  Transfer to prepared pan and press in.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool a little.

Make the topping -
Whisk eggs, lemon rind, flour and sugar together until smooth.  Add lemon juice and whisk to combine.  Pour over the cooked base.  Bake for 20 minutes or until just set.  Cool completely in the pan. 

Dust with icing sugar, cut into pieces and serve.  Nice with cream.

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