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.
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.
* 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
- 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.
- 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)
- Poach the loquats over a gentle simmer for 15 minutes
- 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!