Book review: Sabrina’s juicy little book of citrus – by Sabrina Hahn

sabrina-citrus-book

No plants generate more gardening questions than citrus – and zesty gardening goddess Sabrina Hahn has got all the answers, including green and practical solutions to the most common problems. 

Bringing together lemons, limes, grapefruits, kumquats, oranges and much more, this little book is packed full of useful information on how to grow happy healthy citrus in your garden. 

Sabrina’s Juicy Little Book of Citrus is written by Sabrina Hahn, a media presenter on ABC’s gardening talk-back radio. The book features beautiful black and white line drawings which illustrate various points. As Sabrina says, it is “solid information and no photos”. It is the ideal size to fit in your handbag.

The citrus family is an enormous one and its members include sweet oranges, grapefruits, pomelos, bitter oranges,  kumquats, calamondins, mandarins, tangelos, lemons, limes and citrons.

The book covers propagation and care, twelve citrus varieties for the home gardener, and a section on troubleshooting.

I did discover that the risk of growing citrus from seed is that it can take anything from 6 to 30 years before you see any fruit. Perhaps there is hope for my fruit-less lemon tree yet.

I also learnt you need to fertilise citrus little-and-often and Sabrina recommends a half a handful of fertiliser every month from September to February in the first year.

Highly recommended for citrus lovers.

Sabrina’s Juicy Little Book of Citrus – by Sabrina Hahn

 

Luscious lemon sago

lemon

After five attempts at making sago, I have finally found the answer. It still looks like frog’s eggs, but it’s a light and refreshing dessert.

Sago is sometimes sold as ‘seed tapioca’. The one  I used is made by McKenzie’s and they clarify the difference on the back of the packet:

A common alternative to Sago is Seed Tapioca. Sago and Tapioca are both starch extracts, sago from various southeast sago palms and tapioca is processed from the tubers of the cassava plant.

This explains my mixed results. Perhaps I should rename the recipe to Luscious Lemon Seed Tapioca? Naw, it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

You may like to try this recipe with limes instead. I like to eat lemon sago alone, but you can serve it with fresh or stewed fruit and cream or custard.

1/2 cup of sago
2 cups of water
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp golden syrup

  1. Wash the sago and soak for an hour in some water.
  2. Rinse off the water. Add 2 cups of water to a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  3. When boiling, add the sago and stir until quite transparent (this can take 15-30minutes).
  4. Add the lemon juice, golden syrup and sugar.
  5. Pour into a bowl or mould and chill.

Serves 4.

Market salsa

market-salsa

The markets were quiet today – just how I like them. I was able to pay straight away (without queuing) and no bumping into dogs, prams and market trolleys. The ingredients for this salad are made from purchases from the same stall where the owners play music to their vegetables. I’m hoping this salsa makes me sing all afternoon.

1 cucumber, small
handful of tomatoes
3 capsicums, one of each colour
lime, juiced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
several leaves of fresh basil
a few strands of chives

  1. Peel the skin off the cucumber and dice. Dice the tomatoes and capsicum (red, orange and yellow). Add them to a serving bowl.
  2. Add the lime juice and extra virgin olive oil with the chopped herbs as a dressing. Mix together and serve.

Serves 2.

Heatwave

beetroot

Everyone keeps commenting that we skipped spring and went straight to summer with 30 degree days and a heatwave in Brisbane. I’m hoping that all this hot air will be followed by some decent refreshing rain.

The ever faithful passionfruit and choko have stopped bearing.

We pulled out all the onions and shallots as they were covered in black bugs. The neighbours sprayed their weeds and grass (probably with Roundup) a few weeks ago, and ever since we’ve had a lack of ladybugs.

Buds and flowers are starting to appear. We have four ruby red flush roses and all the citrus are flowering. We also have some figs forming.

We harvested the remaining cabbages (5.3kg). They were starting to get ravaged, by what I though was hungry possums, but ended up being just a collection of caterpillars.

It was very exciting to finally pull up the first row of potatoes. They filled up a shoebox and weighed in at a healthy 4.5kg.

It turns out the unknown greeny-yellow citrus was a lime. So the other tree must be the mandarin.