Monday, 16 September 2013

The Royal Agricultural Show Day

This year we decided to embrace our country lifestyle by entering some items into the show.

Hans had NEVER gardened until we moved to York. His veges have been fantastic,  so he decided to enter 2 categories. The Beetroot and the Cabbage.  The Beetroot is an heirloom variety from The Diiggers Club called Chioggia Beetroot. They look amazing with their large bountiful leaves and stems.

We also entered photographs into four classes; A set of three photo's to tell a story, An overseas scene, A flower photograph and a child at play.

Imagine our excitement to find Hans won first with his Beetroot and second with his Cabbage.  He also won first for his overseas scene and a third for his flower photo.

I also took out a first with the three photo's that tell a story. The photo's were of our gorgeous Grandson trying his first mulberry. I love these photo's of him. The fact he is so photogenic certainly helps!

It's all about the Kumquats

This week it has all been about the Kumquat.  Of all our citrus trees this is my favourite. We planted it around two years ago and it is so lush and healthy.  The dark glossy leaves contrast so beautifully with the stunning perfect orange fruit.

The variety we have is the  'Nagami' kumquat.  We chose this as it requires a hot summer, ranging from 25 °C to 38 °C, but can withstand frost down to about −10 °C  without injury.  Last summer we got up to 43 degrees and our recent winter we suffered frosts when the temperature plummeted to -5. Even though our summer was more extreme than recommended, the beautiful tree came through unscathed.

So what to do with this beautiful fruit?  As it was show weekend I decided to enter a plate of four small cakes.  I searched the net and found a fantastic recipe for Kumquat and coconut cupcakes on the 'Straight From The Farm' blog.

Unfortunately I didn't win, but I am sure had the judges judged by taste, it would have been a different matter. Instead they peeled back a small part of the patty case and just looked at the side. They really missed out on the subtle taste of the kumquat mixed with coconut and coconut milk. I had also candied some sliced Kumquat for decoration.  I took a batch to work and they were a real hit.

The photo below is not of what I entered, but a batch I made a few days before to taste test. The show ones were finished off much nicer.  I was so stressed with getting them ready in time that I forgot to photograph them.

This is the second harvest, the first was in summer, so this one was quite small. What to do with the last bowful left on the tree.  My Dad was raving earlier in the year about some  Kumquats in Brandy that his neighbour gave to him.  I collected the last of them, washed and dried them, then pierced them with a sterilised darning needle. I packed them into a 1 litre clip top jar and poured over 1.5 cups caster sugar and then filled the jar with Brandy.  They should be ready for Christmas to serve over icecream. Yum can't wait, they sound delicious