Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Salad and Shepherd's Purse

Mark Twain once said of the cauliflower, "a cabbage with a college education".   He was right about the cabbage connection because both come from the same vegetable family (Cruciferae) as does broccoli, rocket, brussel sprouts, bok choy, mustard greens, radishes, kale and even the swede.

Today it seems to me that the cauli has been overlooked for its green cousin broccoli.  This could be due to the way cauliflowers were served up to us as kids.  How many of you think of cauliflower cheese when a cauliflower comes in view?   Because it's not green we somehow think the white curd of cauliflower doesn't share the same good food properties as broccoli.  How wrong we are!
Roasted cauliflower, red onion and toasted almonds on a bed of rocket

While there are still some cauliflowers about I would like to share with you a winning recipe from "Pipi the cookbook".   I have served this frequently as a warm salad option to much acclaim as it brings out the true nutty flavour of cauliflower.   It can be served cool but I wouldn't serve it chilled because it will lose flavour.   It's a good salad to have when the weather is still not that warm.  The secret is roasting the cauliflower and onions and letting the orange and olive oil dressing soak in while still hot.

Cauliflower and Almond Salad with Orange Dressing

A recipe from Alexandra Tylee of Pipi restaurant in Havelock North with my suggested variations (serves 4)
Preheat oven to 170 C

For the Salad
2 red onion (or white onion) peeled and cut into wedges
1 particularly splendid cauliflower, cut into 2cm wide florets
½ cup toasted almonds
small bunch parley
1 Tbsp red peppercorns (I didn’t have these so I used sliced semi-dried tomatoes) 

For the dressing:
100 ml olive oil
juice of 2 oranges
1 dessertspoon Dijon mustard
½ tsp sugar
Salt and pepper

Heat a large oven tray, oil the onion before placing on the hot oven tray and cook until soft and starting to brown (about 30-40 minutes)

The cauliflower is dressed with oil as per the onions and place on the second half of the hot tray 20 minutes into cooking the onion.  It takes 20 minutes for them to be soft all the way through but not mushy (stir frequently).

While this is cooking prepare the dressing.
Once vegetables are cooked put them into a bowl and pour dressing over immediately

I usually lay a bed of green leaves on a platter and then the salad.  I find rocket a good peppery addition.  The greens will soak in the plentiful dressing. Cover with almonds. parsley and red peppercorns  (or any other colour addition to the dish like calendula petals, or finely sliced red peppers when in season).   I have often replaced the parsley for chervil because of its delicate leaf and aniseed flavour.   
I like to serve this salad on a long glass platter
I made this salad over the weekend for friends and as I could only find one small cauli at the market, I did 50/50 broccoli/cauli and it still worked well.  I cook the cauli a little longer than the broccoli.   You could use all broccoli if you prefer.  I ran out of almonds and used freshly shelled and roasted walnuts instead and it was just as delicious - you could also use hazelnuts. 

If you have a small cauli you need to halve this recipe.  There is plenty of dressing in the recipe and I usually have some leftover to toss through a green salad as well.  Otherwise, the dressing will keep for a week in the fridge.

The Cruciferous Group

Named Cruciferous because of its flowers.   They have four equal-sized petals that form  a crucifix or cross-like shape.   Any of you growing rocket will notice as weather warms they quickly bolt to flower and their white flowers have this distinctive cross shape. (By the way I use the rocket flowers in salads).  But the name "cruciferous" is undergoing change.   Scientists are now starting to favour the term "brassica vegetables" instead, and that makes sense if you are a gardener.
Left Italian Kale flowers, centre Rocket flowers, right wild roadside brassica flowers

This family of vegetables come out on top of the nutrient charts.   Scientists have been studying them for their cancer prevention qualities.   It's suggested you eat vegetables from this group at least 3 times a week, preferably five times, and have a serving size of a cup and a half.  Like carrots they are better cooked with oil or butter to get the most of the beta-carotene and minerals.

Alison Lambert, the Otago Farmers Market chef, has a really good quick recipe for sauteed cauliflower.  I witnessed her turning around previous haters of cauliflower with this method of cooking.
Simply Cooked Cauliflower - Alison Lambert

If you want to know more about the cauliflower and cruciferous vegetables with research references then I recommend plunging into this site...
WHFoods: Cauliflower

For selecting and storage of cauliflowers

Cauliflower will keep in the refrigerator for a week but it should be stored with the stalk down so that air can circulate and no moisture gets into the curd (head).
Always pick a cauliflower with a white firm curd - not starting to separate.
Cauliflower will keep much longer if it still has its green protection leaves in place.
Cauliflower will turn yellow in alkaline water, to keep white add a little milk or some lemon juice to the water.

The curd or head of the cauliflower will become discoloured and bitter tasting if exposed to too much sunlight.   So once the curd reaches the size of a tennis ball, pull up 3 or 4 of the outer leaves and tie them loosely around the curd - this is called blanching.  It is usually ready to pick within a week or two after blanching.   
Plant them early spring and in late summer.   They require rich soil that retains moisture - and a fortunate run of weather because they will bolt if too cold or too hot and dry.
I have to admit I haven't had a lot of success with cauliflowers and usually opt to buy them from the market.  They are a bargain when I think how difficult it is to grow them.   I thought this year I would have another try with the 6 purple caulis seedlings I planted a few weeks ago. 

The pouches of the Shepherd's Purse

Shepherds Purse was the first plant I remember learning about in primary school - I was fascinated by its name and the heart shaped pouches.   
It was named because the fruit resembles the shape of the purses carried by the shepherds of Bethlehem. Through the centuries it has also been called Witches' Pouches, Poverty Weed, Mother's Heart, Poor Mans Pharmacy and many more. 
I had no idea that this little "weed" was actually related to the cauliflower until I discovered it on the Cruciferous family list.

You can eat all of this plant - the little seed pouches are peppery and can be added to soups for an added zing and the dried roots have been used as a substitute for ginger - no less! Its used as a food in Japan, China and Korea.   
It's had a history of use as a medicinal herb and is supposed to stop bleeding. In China it's used to reduce fertility and is traditionally used in childbirth because of its uterine-contracting properties. 
Usually found on waste or roadside land as a pioneering plant, its a weed that appears on poor or recently disturbed soil.  If it's growing in abundance in your garden then it's an indication that your soil needs some help. Rather than pulling it up immediately why not let it do some of the work for you by absorbing excess salts and turning them into organic compounds.   

For more information on this super little weed take a look at this link
Shepherd's Purse Herbal History

Shepherd's Purse growing along Portobello Road
Shepherd's Purse is in its full fruiting glory on the Otago Peninsula.   It's going to seed just like its cousins rocket and kale - indicating to me that it is warming up here in the south.....a little. 


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Incredible Edible Egg and Sorrel Tart

One of Kerry's biddy Faverolle hens - added artwork by Kerry

One of Kerry's biddy Faverolle hens - added artwork and photo by Kerry   

I have learnt that not all eggs are equal.  A well grown egg is a complete food. 

"Eggs provide protein of the highest quality plus all known vitamins and minerals (except vitamin C)" David W Rowland Health Naturally.   

I buy free range eggs on animal welfare grounds and I believe that a healthy happy hen must produce a better tasting egg, but I had no idea that a battery-hen egg didn't have the same nutritional value as a true free range egg.   I am so lucky I get access to home grown eggs from my neighbours Rob and Claire and my sister Kerry.    I think Kerry's hens are the luckiest hens I have ever met.   They roam amongst her orchard and live in a dream hen house with a view of the city and harbour. 
Sorrel Pie can be made in this long tin or a round pie dish, recipe from "Riverford Farm Cook Book"

Sorrel has lemony sharp flavour that heralds the fresh flavours of spring.   The tartness of sorrel goes perfectly with creamy eggs so I just had to share this spring time favourite with you all - Sorrel and Onion Tart.

Sorrel and Onion Tart

(serves 6-8)
First make the shortcrust pastry:
175g plain flour*
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
125g cold unsalted butter (I also have used ordinary butter) cut into small cubes
About 3 Tbsp cold water
Roll out the pastry immediately to line a 24cm loose-bottom tart tin, put in the fridge for 30 minutes while oven heats up to 180C and you begin to prepare the filling.   
Line top of tart with baking paper and cover with beans or rice to blind bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown, removing the paper and beans for the last 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool before adding topping.   
(Blind baking will avoid the pastry becoming too soggy and is also necessary if the filling is quickly cooked to ensure that the pastry does get cooked.) 

* for short pastry use cake or plain flour because it usually contains less gluten protein. For a good short pastry you need to keep the flour protein strands shortened and you do this by coating the flour molecules with butter.   For bread making you stretch and extend the protein strands by kneading so that the dough is a strong and stretchy texture while short pastry needs to be a crumb texture to give lightness and crunch.

For more info on making pastry go to Radio New Zealand replay to This Way Up

For the tart:
50g butter
1 large red onion (I have used brown onion successfully)
150-200g sorrel
3 eggs
250ml creme fraiche (I have also used sour cream or cream with some lemon juice added)
50ml milk
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Black pepper

Melt the butter, add the onion and cook gently for 15 minutes until soft. (Be careful with red onions not to brown them or they will become bitter).   Cut off the stems (I was shown a trick to remove stems from all sorts of greens by chef Alison Lambert by folding the leaf in half, hold with one hand while pulling the stem in a downward action with the other hand - this is quicker than using a knife).

Slice the leaves roughly - add them to the onion and cook for about 2 minutes.  Don't despair when the volume will quickly decreases to about 1/3rd  and it changes from a brilliant green to a khaki colour.   You can also add in a few leaves of comfrey to add extra nutrients to your meal.
Whisk the eggs, creme fraiche and milk with half the cheese and season well.   Stir in onion and sorrel mix and pour into cooled blind baked pastry case and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Place in pre-heated oven to 150C and bake 35-40 minutes, until the filling is set and slight brown on top.   

The pan was full of leaves to begin with, then reduces turning
khaki - not the comfrey leaves they stay green.  I also
used brown onions but red onions look more decorative.

Serve warm with a fresh salad adding a touch of sweetness and colour to contrast with the tart Sorrel Tart.   This is the salad I served - greens of rocket, miners lettuce and chervil (but any combination of greens or lettuce would be fine), cooked beetroot with dressing of honey, balsamic vinegar and olive or avocado oil, and slices of oranges (mine  had been in a jug of cranberry juice which makes them look like blood oranges - I don't like to waste anything), sprinkled with calendula petals.  Top with a drizzle of avocado or olive oil.

Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)

Sorrel is a garden perennial herb/vegetable easily grown - and I have increased my one patch to many plants around the garden including one in the greenhouse for winter supply.  

Sorrel is high in vitamin A and contains some calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. 

It's easily grow from root division and what an asset to have a vegetable that you don't have to plant every year.   

Sorrel is in the buckwheat family and it's cousin is the dock.   It looks similar to a dock but the leaves are a beautiful soft green and shaped like arrows.     French sorrel has smaller milder leaves.

Try and collect the smaller younger leaves for the kitchen because they wont be quite so tart.

Keep harvesting it and cut off flower heads to have a continuous supply.  It will want to go to flower when the heat of summer arrives. 

Warning:  the tartness in sorrel is oxalic acid so you must not eat too much of it, especially raw, or you could end up poisoning yourself.   

It has been used in the kitchens of Europe for centuries and has many uses - a finely chopped leaf to a salad or coleslaw to add a zing of freshness, the main ingredient in a traditional sorrel soup, a delicious green sauce that goes well with fish, or added to other cooked greens like spinach, kale or silver beet.

Who better to rave about sorrel than Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame.   I have the link to his article in The Guardian on my Jeannies.Kitchen facebook page - along with other food related links I have found inspiring while researching for this blog and would like to share. 
Hugh's Guardian article on Sorrel now on Jeannie's Kitchen facebook
The Incredible Edible Egg - "most complete" protein source in a single food,  so much so that they use eggs for judging the quality of protein in other foods.
Good quality eggs are an excellent source of vitamin A, B1 and one of the few viable sources of vitamin D.
Eggs are high in minerals; an outstanding source of an absorbable form of iron, calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals.
Severe burn patients are fed huge quantities of whole eggs and egg concentrates as a source of protein to rebuild large areas of lost skin.
Free range eggs contain a better fatty acid profile (omega3-omega 6 ratio is almost equal which is ideal) compared to total grain fed chickens where the omega 6 can be as much as 19 times greater than the unsaturated omega 3.

All the information on eggs I have obtained from  "Nourishing Traditions - The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats" written by authors Sally Fallon and Mary G Enig.    Sally has a background in nutrition with training in French and Mediterranean cooking.   Mary has a PhD and is an expert of international renown in the field of lipid chemistry.   She has headed a number of studies on the content and effects of trans fatty acids in America and has successfully challenged government assertions that dietary animal fat causes cancer and heart disease.   Sally's message is to trust what our grandmothers used to cook and to question low fat diets and polyunsaturated oils.   I am keen to know more about the science of food and I will be using this as one of my key references - so if you question what I have written about eggs or want to know more this book is a good start.

Eggs are a Brain Food

Eggs are an excellent source of long chain fatty acids, that play a vital role in the development of the nervous system of infants and the maintenance of mental acuity for adults.   From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig.
Beau eating his Soggy Soldiers
 That childhood favourite Soggy Soldiers is a fun way of getting kids to eat eggs and I fed my children eggs this way because I was taught by my Mum that eggs are a good infant food.   

Now my grandson Beau loves his Soggy Soldiers....buttered toast slices in finger length strips ready to dip into a softly boiled egg in an egg cup.  

Not many mum's will know about long chain fatty acids.   Thankfully the knowledge that eggs are a valuable brain food has been passed down from our ancestors - and science is proving this wisdom.

A selection of Kerry's eggs
The Dominican nuns knew eggs were a brain food.   When sitting school certificate at boarding school we were given a boiled egg and toast for breakfast.   I loved eggs so this was a treat for me.   Ironically my sister Kerry hated eating eggs and here she is now producing some of the best eggs around.  It's the hens she loves and I am the lucky one who gets the high value free range eggs. 

Now that's a Chook House!

Kerry's newly renovated hen house with a veranda so that the nest boxes remain dry and makes collecting eggs a real pleasure.   She was inspired by Pamela Brown (who wallpapered the outside of her house as part of her Master of Arts project) to use wallpapers to decorate the nesting boxes.  She is waiting to see what pattern the hens prefer.
Pamela now runs a gallery out of the Lees Street house and you can follow her on

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Gooseberry Shortcake and Sweet Cicely

Gooseberry Shortcake was my Mum's signature cake and a firm family favourite.  I think of the gooseberry as a signature fruit of the South around Christmas.  It's something we can grow really well in this climate and it has so many delicious uses, both sweet and savoury.
Gooseberry Shortcake - a winning combination of sweet cake
and tart fruit in the mouth
I presented this family treat to book club and everyone loved it, so I am sharing the recipe with my book club friends and anyone lucky enough to have gooseberries.    This was made using last year's gooseberries - they freeze really well.   You can spend time head and tailing them before freezing but I usually do this when I use them out of the freezer, because who has time to do this around Christmas time?  They should be picked green for cooking.  The red gooseberries are good left to ripen and be eaten raw.

Gooseberry Shortcake

175g butter
175g sugar
2 eggs
dash of vanilla
200g flour
3 Tbsp cornflour
1 heaped tsp of Baking Powder

Put oven on at 150 C.
Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy (best to use a mixer and keep it going for at least 5 minutes at this stage because if you can get the butter and sugar really pale and light it will make for a lighter texture of cake)
Beat in eggs one at a time and a dash of vanilla.
Gently mix in the shifted dry ingredients to make a dough.   You might have to add more flour, or if it is too stiff then add a little milk.   It is a very soft light dough so rolling out can be tricky until you get used to it.
Divide the dough into two pieces - put down some baking paper on a tray, sprinkle with flour as the dough will be quite sticky and roll out into a circle about the size of a large dinner plate - place the still frozen (or fresh) gooseberries onto the dough as below.

Two parts of the shortcake - gooseberry tails are
 those black specks on the left side
Next roll out the top of the shortcake on another piece of floured baking paper making the top slightly larger than the bottom.  Now comes the tricky part....You have to with confidence flip over the top to place on top of the gooseberries, then gently peel off the paper.  Next crimp the two layers together around the edges and with a fork finish the edge with the lines of the fork.   Prick over the top of the shortcake with a fork and place in the oven to cook long and slow - about 40 minutes at 150 C.   When the cake top is no longer shiny it usually means it's done.
You can use any other fruit - the key is to avoid putting sugar onto the fruit as this makes the cake soggy.
To serve sieve icing sugar over the top - cut into squares or wedges like a pizza.
This can be an afternoon tea treat or served as a dessert with whipped cream and it successfully fed a crowd of 12 at book club.   It has to be eaten that day because the gooseberries make the cake soggy eventually...unless you like it soggy.
Variation: You can replace a little of the flour with some ground hazelnuts or almonds to add to the texture.

Gooseberries are easy to grow and they tend to be quite expensive to buy.    Perhaps it is because their nasty prickles make picking a chore.   My sister Kerry has come up with a great idea of easy picking with espaliered gooseberry plants.

Top: the gooseberry attractively espaliered, and
below: the tiny new fruits - how easy they will be to pick!

Herb:   Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)

Sweet Cicely belongs to the parsley and carrot family- does hemlock.
What a sweet herb this is - you can use sweet cicely when cooking fruit to halve the amount of sugar used and is excellent with tart fruit such as rhubarb and gooseberries.   Chop up the leaves to sweeten up a salad - especially good in a salad with its cousin, the carrot.  But you have to be careful!  It looks similar to its poisonous cousin, hemlock.    Hemlock is a darker green with sometimes blotches of purple on the stems, not a soft green like sweet cicely.  When you crush the leaves of hemlock it smells pungent and unpleasant, whereas sweet cicely has an aromatic aniseed odour.    Once you know it is sweet cicely chew on a flower stem - its like eating those old fashioned aniseed balls.  All parts of the plant including the carrot-like root dug up in autumn are edible.
The soft green leaf of Sweet Cicely
Sweet Cicely is a useful herb for the kitchen and a pretty plant to have as a spring-summer feature in the flower garden. It prefers a semi-shade position with free draining soil.  Here's a good suggestion.... plant it inbetween rhubarb plants - making it convenient to harvest at the same time as rhubarb for use in the kitchen.  It can grow up to 1 metre high and dies down in winter.  
Herbalist Culpepper says, the roots or the leaves of Sweet Cicely can be made into a herbal tea. It has the reputation of aiding digestion, dealing with flatulence, easing stomach upsets, and may help with menstrual pains. It was used as a protection against the plague.
The seeds can also be chewed to help digestion.  It was one of the herbs used by Benedictine monks to make Chartreuse.
Dried sweet cicely seeds can be used as you would use caraway seeds sprinkled on baking or try in apple pie instead of cloves. For more info Herbs-Treat and Taste

Herbs inspired me to garden.   I started using them for cooking and was rewarded with the flavour improvement in my food.  I wanted to learn how to grow them.  Then I discovered the folklore, the uses our ancestors had for curing themselves of all sorts of ills, and the stories of how people for centuries used these plants.   

For my friend Cecylia, I just had to include in my posting that sweet cicely is associated with St Cecylia and was strewn on church floors to add fragrance.  Cecylia, you will now want to grow this plant not only for its sweet uses but for its name.   I will leave you with a beautiful image of St Cecilia.

A stained glass window in the church at St Gerards Monastery, Wellington - Saint Cecilia, patron saint of music

Friday, 5 October 2012

Marmalade...starring grapefruit

Old fashioned primula I got from my mum's garden..
don't know its name but its a spring flower favourite
Spring is a busy time in my garden for weeding and mulching with seaweed, but it's also a time when there is plenty of citrus available.

I have taken a break from the weeding to make a batch of my much appreciated grapefruit marmalade.

The recipe originated from an old Aunt Daisy cookbook and is called "Johnny's New Zealand Grapefruit Marmalade". I've changed it a little by reducing the sugar and adding coriander seed but the method remains.  It takes a few days to process but this makes the consistency of the marmalade excellent.

It's a bitter-sweet marmalade and if you like it sweeter increase the sugar or cut back on the amount of peel used. Remember it's the peel that has the most pectin to assist the setting.

Grapefruit Marmalade infused with Coriander
Marmalade is really a citrus jam and can be made from any combination of citrus.   The name originated in Portugal (Marmelos) and is a quince paste-like jam not citrus.   A Scottish grocer, James Keiller, of Dundee in late 18th century purchased a cargo of oranges on the cheap.   He thought they would bring him a sweet profit but discovered he had bought bitter Seville oranges.   His canny wife wasn't going to let his error go to waste and created marmalade. Unfortunately as far as I know we don't get Seville oranges here so we can't make the original bitter orange marmalade.   Now that could be interesting... to try a combination of quince and citrus.   

Johnny's NZ Grapefruit Marmalade

For every pound of fruit add 3 pints of water (500 g of fruit to 1500 ml of water).
I first cut the fruit into 4 and cut out the pips (keeping them aside).  I use the slicer fitting on my food processor to slice the fruit finely.  It can be sliced by hand but this could take quite a while. Put fruit into a large glass or ceramic bowl.  I take out any large pieces of peel and set aside.   I then put in the chopper blade on my processor and finely chop up the large pieces of peel and add to the bowl.
Tie up the pips into a piece of muslin and add to the bowl.   
Cover and sit in a cool place for 36 hours to soften the fruit.
This is the fruit soaking not yet cooked

Next in a large stock pot bring to the boil and simmer gently for an hour to 1.5 hrs until the fruit softens.  If you like add a muslin bag of coriander seed ( I use a tbsp of seeds slightly crushed for 3 lbs of fruit) for a flavour infusion.
Coriander tied in a muslin bag cooked with the fruit

The coriander gives "that extra something" to the flavour and if you wanted your marmalade more spicy you could try adding star anise.  Sometimes I use brusied cardamon pods instead of coriander - you can experiment!   Put the pulp back in the glass or ceramic bowl to sit for another 12 hours.
The fruit pulp after simmering with the coriander

The final step is measuring the pulp cup by cup into the stock pot and heat.    Measure the equivalent of 3/4 cup of sugar to every cup of pulp, and add an extra 1/2 cup of sugar for about 10 cups of pulp.   You are best to cook no more than 10 cups of pulp at a time - I usually divide the marmalade into two.   At this point you can also opt to freeze the second portion if you haven't the time to cook both.
Put a saucer into the freezer and the oven on around 150  to heat and sterilise the jam jars.

Add sugar to hot pulp and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.  Bring to a rolling boil.  It takes  longer than jam to set.  Check for setting after 20 minutes. As it gets to a good setting point the pulp is thickening.  If you are cooking less than 10 cups the setting will happen more quickly.
To test drop some of the marmalade onto the cold saucer and see if it sets. When you push it with your finger and it wrinkles on top your marmalade is done.
Juice of a lemon assists in the setting at this point and the foam disperses if you add a tsp of butter.
Put your hot jars on a wooden surface and with a small jug carefully fill the jars with the hot liquid.  Once they are filled you then cover with cellophane jam tops by dipping them to make them wet one side only into a saucer of water and carefully stretch over the top of the jars.  Secure with a rubber band. If using jars with preserving seals, wipe away any spillage with a damp paper towel to ensure the seal works properly.  I tend to save up and re-use jars rather than buying new ones.   The advantage with the seals is that there will be no evaporation of the jam so it will keep well for over a year... my marmalade never lasts that long.

Making marmalade does take time but it is a lovely gift to give to friends and family.   If you haven't made it before I would suggest you start with a small quantity and experiment with what flavour or level of sweet and bitter you prefer for your "signature marmalade".
You can also mix and match with all sorts of citrus.

If you want to compare bought marmalades you can go to this link from Target:
Season 13, Ep 22 - Marmalade - Product Check - Target - Shows - TV3


Half a grapefruit is a great way to start your day.   It's tart and tangy taste with an underlying sweetness gives you over 70% of your daily value of vitamin C and 20% of vitamin A.  

 If you want to know more about the health benefits of grapefruit go to this link:

You can make an interesting salsa with grapefruit, adding coriander leaves and chilli.  It's good as an easy dessert  - made special by coating the cut side of a grapefruit half with honey or dark cane sugar and put under the griller for a couple of minutes to caramelise. 

I have discovered from Judith Cullen's "Cooking Classes" recipe book a recipe I am keen to try.  

 Grapefruit Relish (great served with fish)
2 red onions thinly sliced, 2 tsp olive oil, 2 fresh small red chillies, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 large grapefruit peeled and chopped.
In a saucepan heat the oil and saute onions and chilli for about 15 mins until golden and caramelised. Add the grapefruit, sugar and vinegar to the onion mix and simmer gently until the mixture has a jam-like consistency (about 8-10 mins).

This is actually a hedge line - photo taken
in the Larnach Castle gardens.

A chemical in Grapefruit may mess with some medications making the drugs too effective, e.g. if taking pills for high blood pressure eating grapefruit may cause your blood pressure to drop too low.  
Pink or ruby grapefruit has lycopene and the benefits increase if you consume with green tea - so consider replacing the good old British cup of tea for green tea with your toast and marmalade.  
Regular consumption of lycopene-rich fruits such as tomatoes, apricots, pink grapefruit, watermelon, papaya and guava may greatly reduce a man's risk of developing prostate cancer - Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Jian L, Lee AH, et al.)  

I liked the way the gardeners have allowed this
 stray daffodil to stay in the garden at Larnach Castle 

I would like to share with you my visit to Larnach Castle gardens on the Otago Peninsula.  It took my friend Jane from Christchurch to get me to visit the gardens.   We both had heard head gardener Fiona Eadie talking on National Radio about the gardens and passing on her knowledge on what plants need.  The key is good soil made by mulching and leaving alone as much as possible.   
I must say I was totally impressed by the design and variety of the gardens.  Everything was mulched and looking so healthy and I think I will buy a garden pass for $20 so that I can see it again in summer.   Nine to Noon Mon 10 Sept Fiona Eadie

If you want to know more about Larnach Castle go to