Milestones and lemon delicious pudding

by Forager on December 15, 2009

There are a few things to celebrate – for a start this is my 100th post! It was also my blog’s 1 year anniversary a couple of months ago, back in October, but back then I was taking a hiatus from blog posts whilst holidaying in South America.
So, to mark this humble little milestone, I thought I’d take a break from the usual holiday or restaurant review posts I normally do, take a step back and take a look at some fresh food influences in my life.

The Co-pilot and I live in a small apartment in the inner west of Sydney. It’s petite and cosy with a small balcony and seas views. To brighten up our little concrete box, we have some plants and herbs around the house and on our balcony but it’s not much in the way of fresh food, it’s more to add some symbolic greenery to our surroundings.

When I want to forage for fresh produce, our families provide more than enough variety for us. The Co-pilot’s Nonno lives in Haberfield with an immaculately maintained garden. Every weekend we head over to have a cup of coffee and help him do small chores around his large and productive garden. He complains about how much work is required daily to maintain the garden but he loves being able to provide fresh produce for all the family. He always has an abundance of fresh herbs flourishing in his garden and is our main source of tender baby continental parsley, and amazingly healthy basil, oregano, rosemary and sage.

Young continental parsley
Healthy basil
Oregano
Sage

As it’s early summer he is growing carrots, celery and Lebanese cucumbers, and the wild strawberries, figs (Nonno’s favourite fruit), muscat grapes, coffee beans and macadamia nuts are starting to fruit and mature as well.

Lebanese cucumbers

Figs

Wild strawberries (a European favourite and so intense in flavour)
Muscat grapes

And I can’t neglect to mention the flowers. Nonno has a variety of flowers growing in his front and backyard and ensures I don’t leave his house without flowers, whether it be a armful of birds of paradise, intensely perfumed magnolias, smiling daisies or a delicate posy of violets. Often he’ll sneak outside and cut some flowers to surprise me. What a gentleman! I can easily imagine how Nonno must have been a very suave, smooth-talking and popular ladies man in his youth…

Happy daisies in full bloom

Heading back to my side of the family, my parents also maintain a large and productive garden. Their produce though is, not surprisingly, Chinese influenced and more “exotic”. Their garden produces loquats (which I’ve featured in my blog before), guava, mandarins, nectarines, pomelos, water chestnuts, lotus root and countless other common Chinese vegetables and herbs.

Our pomelo tree which fruits all year round
The pomelos are still young, about the size of oranges
(they mature around August next year in time for mid-Autumn moon festival)
Lotus root and water chestnuts


And, as the post title would suggest, they have a very productive Meyer Lemon tree. Meyer lemons are a variety of lemon that is sweeter than the usual varieties (like Eureka) that are commonly found in green grocers. The sweetness lends itself perfectly to lemon-based desserts. Our tree produces copious amounts of Meyer lemons – so much so that the boughs hang heavy with the weight of the fruit.

Our hyperactive dog Toffee likes resting in the shade of the Meyer lemon tree


Even before the fruit is ripe, the tree is flowering again and preparing for the next batch of lemons. So we are never in short supply of Meyer lemons. We have Meyer lemons coming out of our ears.

Fruiting and flowering Meyer lemon tree

And my parents are always pushing large bags of them my way. But – the lemons are too sweet to use in a salad dressing and I already made myself an enormous jar of preserved lemons. They really are perfect for desserts as you cut out the sugar content required and substitute it with the lemon’s natural sugars – but I really don’t have a sweet tooth and don’t normally make desserts. But I had just so many lemons to get rid of, I had to break from (my own) traditions and try my hand at dessert making.

Just a few lemons


After a quick perusal of recipe cookbooks I found that most lemon dessert recipes actually don’t require much lemon juice, maybe only a tablespoon or so. that is until I came across a recipe for Lemon Delicious Pudding, an old 70’s favourite, that was simple and required 100ml of lemon juice! A perfect way to eat into my haul of Meyer lemons!

Recipe: Lemon Delicious Pudding (adapted from BBC Australian Good Food)
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 50g butter, at room temp
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 100ml Meyer lemon juice
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • good quality vanilla ice cream (to serve)
  • pure icing sugar to dust (optional)


Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Grease a baking dish

2. Place butter, sugar and lemon rind in a food processor and process until pale and creamy. Add lemon juice, egg yolks, flour and then milk one at a time, processing well after addition of each ingredient, until a smooth batter forms. Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl.


3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Lightly fold through batter.

4. Pour into prepared dish and place in a large baking pan. Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up the sides of dish

5. Bake for 45 – 50 min, until top is lightly browned and set with a creamy lemon curd below. Remove dish from pan.


6. Dust with icing sugar and serve with good quality vanilla ice cream.


For my first foray into baking, I was pleasantly surprised at how edible it was! It was sweet enough to classify as a dessert but the tartness of the lemon was unmistakable and ensured it was my type of dessert – not too cloyingly sweet. The toasted crust was nice and firm with molten lemon curd below. Simple and absolutely delicious with a dollop of vanilla icecream!

And now there is sharing of produce between our two families. My parents gave Nonno a cutting from their precious “Tan Hua” (昙花) cactus plant. Tan Hua (Selenicereus Grandiflorus) is also commonly known as “Queen of the Night

” and for good reason. The cactus leaves each produce large flowering bulbs. Each of the flowers bloom only once, only at night and only for a few hours. Once in bloom they look truly grand and magnificent, their petals are soft and delicate and their perfume is fragrant but subtle.

Queen of the Night

Nonno has been watching his plant with curiosity and wonder as it produces copious amounts of flowers, every now and then catching a glimpse of their secret bloom at dusk. After months of careful observation he can now tell when the flowers will bloom and gave the Co-pilot’s parents a few blooms to watch overnight. Sure enough, after we’d finished dessert and cleared the plates, one of the flowers discreetly bloomed before us. This caused a little flurry of activity in the house and everyone rushed to get their cameras and phones out to capture the moment. When we showed the photos to Nonno and my parents – both were quietly proud that we enjoy their produce so much. And the best thing is, through sharing fresh produce from their gardens, my parents and Nonno have now built up a strange connection – a friendship despite not having met each other and no common language (only my parents tend to be anti-social hermits). So the act of sharing fresh produce has helped connect the different facets of my family.

And to finish there are a couple of awards too!

From “Awesome Betty”at The Hungry Girl I’ve received an Over The Top blog award!

According to the rules of the award, I must provide my readers the answers to the below 35 questions in ONE WORD. I also must THANK my award giver for this fun award (thanks Awesome Betty!) AND grant 6 of my FAVORITE BLOGGERS this award. Then, give them the heads-up that they have been nominated by yours truly.


  1. Where is your cell phone? Charging
  2. Your hair? Cut
  3. Your mother? Stern
  4. Your father? Passive
  5. Your favorite food? Crab
  6. Your dream last night? Cloudberries
  7. Your favorite drink? Bloody Mary
  8. Your dream/goal? Happiness
  9. What room are you in? Lounge
  10. Your hobby? Food blogging
  11. Your fear? Moths
  12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Traveling
  13. Where were you last night? Ballast Pt Park
  14. Something that you aren’t? Passive
  15. Muffins? What?!
  16. Wish list item? Holiday homes around the world
  17. Where did you grow up? Sydney
  18. Last thing you did? Cook
  19. What are you wearing? Robe
  20. Your TV? Old
  21. Your pets? Dog
  22. Friends? Neglected
  23. Your life? Busy
  24. Your mood? Tired
  25. Missing someone? Yes
  26. Vehicle? Hatch
  27. Something you’re not wearing? Make-up
  28. Your favorite store? Ebay
  29. Your favorite color? Purple
  30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
  31. Last time you cried? Last Tuesday
  32. Your best friend? L-bean
  33. One place that I go to over and over? Kitchen
  34. One person who emails me regularly? Co-pilot
  35. Favorite place to eat? Hong Kong

Who conjured up those questions? What sort of question is “muffin?” Yes I didn’t answer some of them in one word but sometimes just one word wouldn’t make grammatical sense.

Anyway – I would like to pass on this Over The Top Award to 6 bloggers – all 6 I’ve just discovered very recently so I’d love to know more about you all!

And from those stealth assasins over at The Ninja Review I’ve received One Lovely Blog award!

So since the previous award I passed along to blogs new to my conscious, I’m passing on this One Lovely Blog award to 8 bloggers I know (better) and admire for one reason or another:

1. Not Quite Nigella – for your passion and dedication to blogging
2. A Table For Two – for your gorgeous inpirational photos and travel diary
3. Pikelet and Pie
for your gorgeous inpirational photos and travel diary
4. Fig and Cherry

for your gorgeous inpirational photos and travel diary
Hmm.. a bit of a theme here..

5. Feasting on Art – for your unique marriage of food and art
6. Lemonpi – for your truly outstanding, breathtaking food porn
7. Hoglet K – for your refreshing perspective on food and sustainability
8. Pigged-out – for your gorgeous macro lens photos


And finally, thanks to an invite from the gorgeous ever-bubbly Lorraine over at Not Quite Nigella, we appeared in the December 3 edition of MX promoting tweeting for StreetSmart.

I’m not sure what I was expecting – perhaps that they’d just use my blog name in the piece, but the article posted my real name, and until now, I’ve actually written largely under my nom-de-plume, Forager. So I was suddenly and forcibly outed to my work colleagues, friends and family and have since been plagued with questions about “why I was in MX?” and “what’s this food blog business they mentioned in the paper?”

So, it’s time to come clean. My name is Trina and I’m a food blogger. I hope you’ve enjoyed the 100 posts so far and hopefully I’ll continue posting more tasty posts – preferably more from far off lands!

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Betty December 15, 2009 at 10:53 am

Yay! Congrats on your 100th post! The lemon pudding looks like the perfect way to celebrate :) Can I come and stay in your houses around the world?!

2 Dave B December 15, 2009 at 10:56 am

Great work Trina! Have thoroughly enjoyed the blog. How long till "the co-pilot" is outed huh? Maybe I'll do that for you 😉

3 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella December 15, 2009 at 11:22 am

Firstly congratulations on your 100th post! Secondly, yes we really do have the same parents. Did mum and dad tell you that if got moth dust in your eyes you'd go blind? 😛 And Thirdly yes I thought they'd use our blog names not our actual names in the article too! :( Fourth, thanks so much for the award, I'm so honoured and lastly gorgeous lemon delicious pudding! 😀

4 chocolatesuze December 15, 2009 at 11:55 am

congrats on the 100th post dude! youre so lucky with all your lemons!

5 Christie @ Fig & Cherry December 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Congrats! I am so jealous that you have access to that wonderful garden. I cannot wait to start one this year. Would love to pinch a few of those Meyer lemons in the new year :)

Thanks so much for my award! That's very sweet!

6 Adrian @ Food Rehab December 15, 2009 at 12:36 pm

aww shucks, a chocolate filled thank you for the award! I'll do up a post soon.:)

The 100th post! Nice one- and that pudding…omg! I could taste the crust. The smell would've been too good.

7 Belle@OohLook December 15, 2009 at 12:36 pm

What a lovely 100th post! You're lucky to have relatives with such prolific gardens – the blooming flower looks amazing.

8 Reemski December 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Why hello Trina, nice to meet you! That was one of the bestest blog posts i've read in ages…made me all warm and fuzzy inside! Glad i'm not the only one who's respective in law parents haven't met!

9 Conor @ Hold the Beef December 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Congrats on the 100 posts Trina :)
I love the greenery photos in this one, though it makes me look out at my pitiful garden with a sigh!

10 Jacq December 15, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Congrats on reaching 100 posts! I wish I had access to all the great fresh produce that your parents provide, especially that Meyer lemon tree!

11 Simon Food Favourites December 15, 2009 at 5:36 pm

congrats on the 100 posts. looking forward to many more :-)

12 Gourmantic December 15, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Congrats on the 100th post and cheers to the next 100! :)

I'd love to have such a garden with all the fresh herbs and fruit.I have eaten locquats before but not had them cooked in any form.

Thank you kindly for the award :). I too am very glad we've found each other's sites and I'll have to take a look at your archives soon at a more leisurely pace.

13 mademoiselle délicieuse December 16, 2009 at 11:41 am

Congratulations on making the big 100! It was lovely to meet you over the weekend and thank you so much for the award *blush blush* I feel very honoured and humbled because my blog is still so new! Thank you once again, and I'll have to get thinking about that list of questions…

14 Forager December 16, 2009 at 11:47 am

Hey Betty – Thanks! And you can stay in my houses around the world if you bring your boat!

Hey DaveB – Haha, maybe it's time.. or perhaps The Co-pilot needs to live in my shadow from time to time. It's not all about him! 😉

Hey Lorraine – Ok, first – thanks! Second: Omigod, yes! But they also said if I ate moth dust I'd go mute! Third – I know! You can't even find me if you search for my name I'm that secretive! Fourth – you're more than welcome!

Hey Chocolatesuze – Thanks heaps! I've got so many of those lemons I have no idea what to do with them!

Hey Christie – Thanks and you're welcome for the award and more than welcome to some lemons when you want them

Hey Adrian – You're welcome! And yes, I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty the dessert turned out to be

Hey Belle – Thank you! And yes, very lucky to have relatives with green thumbs. It is a rather pretty looking flower isn't it?

Hey Reemski – thanks – that's very sweet of you! Yes, they haven't met and they seem hellbent on not meeting till we're married. Might be a while before they meet then!

Hey Conor – Thank you! I know how you feel about the produce. Our own basil doesn't hold a candle to the plants Nonno grows!

Hey Jacq – Thank you! They definitely all have an abundance of goodies. I just need to think outside the square and cook with them

Hey Simon Food Favourites – Thanks Simon!

Hey Gourmantic -Thank you! It took me a while to get to 100! Loquat jelly is quite popular and they were nice stewed too – but boy they were fiddly! You're very welcome for the award!

15 Forager December 16, 2009 at 11:51 am

<span>Hey Betty – Thanks! And you can stay in my houses around the world if you bring your boat!  
 
Hey DaveB – Haha, maybe it's time.. or perhaps The Co-pilot needs to live in my shadow from time to time. It's not all about him! 😉  
 
Hey Lorraine – Ok, first – thanks! Second: Omigod, yes! But they also said if I ate moth dust I'd go mute! Third – I know! You can't even find me if you search for my name I'm that secretive! Fourth – you're more than welcome!  
 
Hey Chocolatesuze – Thanks heaps! I've got so many of those lemons I have no idea what to do with them!  
 
Hey Christie – Thanks and you're welcome for the award and more than welcome to some lemons when you want them  
 
Hey Adrian – You're welcome! And yes, I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty the dessert turned out to be  
 
Hey Belle – Thank you! And yes, very lucky to have relatives with green thumbs. It is a rather pretty looking flower isn't it?  
 
Hey Reemski – thanks – that's very sweet of you! Yes, they haven't met and they seem hellbent on not meeting till we're married. Might be a while before they meet then!  
 
Hey Conor – Thank you! I know how you feel about the produce. Our own basil doesn't hold a candle to the plants Nonno grows!  
 
Hey Jacq – Thank you! They definitely all have an abundance of goodies. I just need to think outside the square and cook with them  
 
Hey Simon Food Favourites – Thanks Simon!  
 
Hey Gourmantic -Thank you! It took me a while to get to 100! Loquat jelly is quite popular and they were nice stewed too – but boy they were fiddly! You're very welcome for the award!</span>

Hey Mademoiselle Delicieuse – You're very welcome and it was lovely to meet you too! Lovely forward to seeing your responses to those questions too!

16 Arwen from Hoglet K December 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Congratulations on the 100th post and the MX photo!  It's great to see your family gardens.  I'm so excited at the idea of growing water chestnuts!  

17 Ellie @ Almost Bourdain December 16, 2009 at 10:10 pm

<span>Congrats on your 100th post and many more to come! Well deserved award and loving the meyer lemons!</span>

18 Sammy T December 17, 2009 at 12:41 am

<span>Congratulations on your 100th post Trina! It was a wonderful read, and very proud of you. =)</span>

19 Forager December 17, 2009 at 11:18 am

Hey Arwen – Thank you! Water chestnuts were an obsession of my mother. At one point we even dug a shallow pool in our garden to grow them on crazy industrial scales. Now they're just ornamental.

Hey Ellie – Thanks! And isn't it your birthday? Happy 25th! :)

Hey Sammy T – Thanks! *hugs*

20 Iron Chef Shellie December 17, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Where to start?!
– that basil looks delicious
– so does that lemon delicious pudding! I really must try making one, one day
– nice photo too with NQN!
x

21 Leona @ Pigged-Out December 17, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Congrats on the 100th post and the 1 year and the MX photo!!!!!! you go girl!! Man italians sure know how to grow good produce! Nothing beats food fresh from the garden! I swear it cooking with fresh produce gives a dish more flavour and taste.

My parents grow vegies in our back yard (only a little bit), chillis, beans, zuccinis (nothing special like yours).

Congratsssss – cheers to many eating adventures in 2010~!

22 Forager December 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Hey Iron Chef Shellie – The lemon delicious pudding was dead easy – I mean, if I can make it, anyone can really. And such a good way of using excess lemons!

Hey Leona – Gosh, it really is Trina catch-up day! I absolutely agree with the fresh produce, it makes such a difference knowing your family grows it. And thanks for the very kind words!

23 Jen (jenius.com.au) December 17, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Hey lovely, congrats on the 100th blog post! It was a brilliant read. I'm so very impressed by both the gardens and you're one lucky foodie having access such an abundance of home-grown herbs and fruits.

I'm sure you'll have more stories to tell when your parents do eventually meet co-pilot's nonno!

24 Forager December 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Hey Jen – Thanks and yes, I am very lucky to have access to such great gardens – lucky as I seem to kill every plant I touch! One day they will meet and I'll have to record that session!

25 Anita December 17, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Hey Trina, I saw you and Lorraine in that MX. Congrats on the 100th post. That is a heap of lemons you were given, I have a couple of lemon trees, but they're so small I'm going to have to wait years and years until I get that many lemons.. :)

26 Y December 20, 2009 at 8:28 am

Congrats on your milestone! Your garden looks amazing. If only my balcony could be half as productive as that… and here I was, enthusing over a handful of tomatoes, while you even had wild strawberries, Myer lemons and pomelos. Pomelos! Wow.

Very funny that you were 'outed' by MX. So now that everyone knows, what do they think? :)

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