Poached loquats with jasmine and see Julie & Julia on me!

by Forager on September 14, 2009

Spring has come unusually early this year and all around me lush green shoots sprout, flowers are in full bloom, cherry blossom petals float and swirl down streets lifted by warm spring air drafts and birds twitter overhead as they build their nests. It’s all rather romantic at this time of year.

My parents’ backyard is a hive of productive activity at this time of year and all the fruit trees are already heavy laden with fruit. There are pomelos, guava, nectarines, mandarins, lemons, kumquats and loquats – all of which are either fruiting now or are covered buds ready to bear fruit. I’m not sure what my parents’ secret to garden productivity is but many of these fruit trees, particularly our pomelo and lemon trees fruit all year ’round. Perhaps it has something to do with my parents’ hyperactive dog, Toffee, who industriously piddles her own little dose of nitrogen fertiliser at the foot of every plant, and sometimes, on demand when excited.


One of the trees fruiting now are the loquat trees. Loquats are peculiar, the small, furry fruit turns from green to a pleasant golden yellow when ripe and grows in large bountiful clusters on tall, proud trees. I’m sure our neighbours laugh when they see my parents or me jumping ineffectually at the base of the tree trying to collect the fruit off these tall trees, before we inevitably give up and get the ladder out.


Seeing the plentiful fruit inspires me to do something other than simply peeling and eat them. I decided to pick some of the riper fruit for poaching.


Loquats are often juicy but have thin walls of fruity flesh, hiding large seeds within. The cutaway of the fruit below shows how large loquat seeds can be. Given ripe loquats are generally the size of large grapes, this doesn’t leave a great deal of flesh, so you’ll need a fair few to use in any recipe. The flavour is sweet but very subtle and not particularly distinct so I use jasmine to scent the loquats. Below is the simple recipe I used.


Jasmine spiced loquats recipe (serves 2)

Ingredients:

* 30 or so large ripe loquats (about 100g)
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 2 shavings of lemon rind
* 2 tblsp dried jasmine flowers (available from Asian groceries and Chinese tea shops)
* 1 cup of water (or enough to cover the fruit)
* squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

  1. Remove the skin of the loquats by washing and scoring the loquats before dropping them into boiling water for 2 minutes. Transfer from boiling water into cold water and peel skin off and de-seed.
  2. In a pot bring sugar and water to a boil, reduce to a simmer before adding loquats and remaining ingredients (I use a porous tea-bag like pouch to keep the fruit separated from the other ingredients)
  3. Poach the loquats over a gentle simmer for 15 minutes
  4. Drain, allow to cool before serving with ice cream or sorbet. I used store-bought mango sorbet in this recipe.



I don’t normally make desserts as the use of butter or sugar in recipes terrifies me (eating the produce that eventuates from a recipe is fine though), so making any dessert-like recipe is something different for me. It’s the type of dessert I like – not jaw numbingly sweet, and the total amount of sugar in the recipe is something I can comprehend and cope with (yes, I know as a ratio the amount of sugar is still high but the total amount isn’t so I can deal with the compromise). And it’s a recipe that for me is perfect for the transition between seasons – the inexplicably summer heat linked sorbet and a memory of cold winters from the poached fruit. Having said that, when compared to other poached fruits, this was very time consuming and fiddly one to prepare. There’s a lot of work involved to get a very small amount of edible fruit. Maybe I’ll stick to eating them straight off the tree next time.

And I have a little giveaway! I managed to score myself a double pass to see Julie & Julia! I was so excited as I read the book earlier this year whilst holidaying in Vietnam and thought that other than the hilarious account of Julie Powell’s attempts to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook, it also provided good insight into the life and sometimes curiously obsessive mind of a food blogger to external audiences. But upon reading the fine print of the freebie pass, I realised I wouldn’t be able to attend the screening as I’ll be away in South America (yay! and boo! simultaneously).  So it’s not a grand competition but I’d like to give the pass away to a fellow food lover. Simply comment on this post to enter the competition!



Now the boring stuff:

  • the pass is valid for 2
  • valid on October 3 & 4 for VIC, QLD, WA, NT and
  • valid on October 3, 4 & 5 for NSW, ACT & SA
  • competition closes next Monday and I’ll send out the pass at the end of next week before I leave on holiday (yay!)

Good luck in the competition!

Updated: Monday 21st September 2009

The winner was chosen the old fashioned way – all entrants’ names were written on slips and put in my mug.

The lovely Oggie Bad then did the honours and drew the winner: Trish! Congratulations! Hope you enjoy the movie!


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shez September 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Goodness! How lucky are you to have a fruit bearing tree in your backyard, and a loquat one at that! Would love a ticket to brighten up the long weekend *fingers crossed!*

And oh! Have fun in Sth America!

2 lili - pikelet&pie September 14, 2009 at 8:12 pm

I don't think I've ever eaten a loquat, though I'm sure I've seen plenty smushed into the footpath underneath a fruiting tree. Sounds delish, and I'd love to be in the running for a Julie&Julia ticket (+have a fun holiday!)

3 Anita September 14, 2009 at 11:33 pm

I also haven't tried loquats… I have a couple lemon trees… but they're so young I have to wait years before I can get anything from them! Would you suggest I plant a louqat tree? Great recipe too.
I would love to see Julie and Julia, looks like a bit of fun! :) Have a fantastic holiday!

4 Steph September 15, 2009 at 12:32 am

Ooh I love this! It's such a great spring dessert :) I totally understand your fear of the butter and sugar when making dessert, I choose to have a selective memory so I'm not scarred by the amount of butter that goes into pastries and brownies that I make haha! I can't wait to see Julie&Julie, that's such a shame you'll have to miss out on the tickets but I'm sure you'll be having an awesome time in South America!

5 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella September 15, 2009 at 10:26 am

Yum! I haven't had a loquat in ages. I love Jasmine flavoured anything (I had a Jasmine flavoured macaron and it was da bomb!). Lucky you getting that pass-that has got to be the ultimtate food blogger movie so I'm dying to see it! Hvae a greta time in South America and don't forget, strap your bike to your bf's bike! 😉 We want you to come back in one piece!

6 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella September 15, 2009 at 10:27 am

Acck that is what happens when I hit" post" before spell checking….

7 Ali September 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm

That looks very refreshing. I wonder if it would work just as well with cumquats as my neighbour's trees overhangs my yard. I just finished the book and am looking forward to the movie.

8 Simon September 16, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Looks like a high effort-to-fruit ratio. Would certainly want to be the eater of this dish, rather than the maker :)

9 Megan@Feasting on Art September 17, 2009 at 12:16 am

Ohhh! Home grown loquats and free movie passes!? This is the best post!!

10 Trisha September 17, 2009 at 11:10 pm

I'm totally inlove with Toffee!!! Awww! She looks like our family dog that I grew up with!!
Oh.. and this dessert is very very interesting with the addition of jasmine… mmmmmm quite exotic, I must say!!

11 Arwen from Hoglet K September 18, 2009 at 5:46 pm

I only tasted loquats the other day. I nicked one from someone's tree. It tasted good, but it was hard to peel. Your dessert looks great – I like the summer winter crossover.

12 Chris September 21, 2009 at 5:15 pm

I've never tried loquats before, but the seed to flesh payoff seems rather low – I'm not sure if I'd find it worth the effort. But the dessert sounds nice, perhaps, I'll have to get you to make it for me =)

13 Forager September 22, 2009 at 12:39 am

Hey Shez – Yep, my parents have an amazing green thumb ability to grow almost anything! I am much the opposite sadly. Thanks for the well wishes!

Hey Lili – You'd be surprised how many loquat trees there are. I see so many near Five Dock and around the Bay – I wonder if they're featured in Greek/Italian cuisine too?

Hey Anita – I think loquats are great fruit trees to have in the backyard! Whilst the fruit aren't so fleshy and generous, they are a constant novelty for kids too. Though, if you're going to plant one tree – the humble mulberry tree is hard to beat!

Hey Steph – I have no idea where all the sugar you eat goes! Julie and Julia promises to be a great movie – hopefully they'll show it on the plane!

Hey Lorraine – Hehe, I hate when I touch type & send before reading! I'll do my best to come back in one piece!

Hey Ali – It might work well with cumquats – though if my parent's cumquat tree is anything to go by, you'll need more sugar!

Hey Simon – You and me alike. I think once was enough for a lazy cook like me!

Hey Megan – Thanks! Though, the credit is more for my parent's ability to grow things really :)

Hey Trisha – Aww – I know. I love that fat little sausage too. She's pretty adorable isn't she?

Hey Arwen – Yup, one is a little fiddly, a dessert's worth is a bit of punishment. But as a kid sitting under the tree in the backyard in summer and eating the fruit – that seemed less work :)

Hey Chris – I agree. There are more forgiving stone fruit than loquats, still – there was plenty of fruit so I had to find a way of using it.

Thanks to everyone that entered the competition! The winner has been drawn and Trish is the lucky winner of the movie pass! I'll be in touch shortly to send you the pass Trish!

14 Trisha September 22, 2009 at 7:32 am

TRIIINAAAA!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I'm dying to see Julie & Julia! This is the best surprise ever!!

15 Forager September 22, 2009 at 10:09 am

Hey Trish – You're more than welcome! The ticket is on it's way to you now :)

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