With a Little Help From My Friends

Early October.

Early Oct. It took 6 weeks to get this far

What a difference six weeks can make. In this part of the world it is the span between the last frosts of Winter, and the first heat of Summer. It is the critical window that makes the difference between success and struggle. Between bumper harvest and watching the fruit of your labour cook on the vine. This Spring Beloved was away on business. I missed him terribly, not the least of which because I found juggling work, parental responsibilities, financial squeeze and life-dramas left little time or energy when it came to the garden.  I braced for the disappointment of shelving my more ambitious plans, consoled myself with the thought that pea-straw sown with alfalfa, buckwheat and clover as green-manure is still productive .. in a way. I hadn’t counted on Beloved, or the generosity of his many fans and supporters who refused to accept my compromise.

Lemon Pistachio Slice

lemon pistachio slice

Lemon Pistachio Slice

Beloved prefers his biscuits spiced and/or tangy rather than sweet, so I decided to tweak Gloria’s delicate lemon-esque slice to reflect our less subtle tastes. The results were an unqualified success; a delightfully lemony taste. Not too sweet, not too tart .. perfect for morning or afternoon tea. There’s a nice texture play going on between the crunchy biscuit base, softer center, gooey topping and nuts popping in your mouth. I might just have found another way to utilise the annual lemon glut.  I can take a plateful when I visit friends, take a plateful to work, bribe the Junior Sorority. Who’m I kidding? I will sneak a plateful for a midnight snack. I wonder what it will taste like still warm and served with Lemon Sorbet?

Epic Four Cheese Lamagna

Epic Four Cheese Lambagna

Epic Four Cheese Lambagna

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When I first started making lasagna, I did so according to X’s rather .. well .. bland tastes. Meat in a tomato sauce, plain bechemal sauce, pasta and not a hint of vegetables or anything more interesting than garlic. Stodgy and boring it was. Over the last ten years or so, this epic feast has evolved in its place. Be warned, it is a fair bit drier than you are possibly used to, and packs a heck of a flavour wallop. Lasagna will never be the same again.

Jammy Shortbread Sandwich Biscuits

Jammy Shortbread Sandwich Biscuits

Jammy Shortbread Sandwich Biscuits

This is the easiest, cheapest biscuit you’ll ever make and quite possibly the most popular. I make huge batches of them while I have casseroles or roast cooking in the oven. I bought the fancy schmancy cookie cutters with the tiny fitted shapes to make the “holes”, but an apple corer does the job just as well

The dough lends itself to endless variations. Add a tablespoon of cocoa and a tablespoon of milk to make delicious chocolate shortbread that goes well with strawberry jam or apple curd. Substitute 1 cup of almond meal for the wholemeal flour to give it a nutty flavour that goes well with apricot jam or chocolate ganache. It makes a very nice sweet pie pastry too 🙂