Paleo orange ice blocks

orange-ice-block

Citrus and coconut water are a refreshing combination on a hot day. You could add a pinch of sea salt and have these as a replacement for those hydrating ice blocks you get at the chemist, as coconut water replaces electrolytes in the body.

Ice block moulds can be found in $2 shops or kitchen shops, otherwise use plastic cups and paddle pop sticks. You may need to double the recipe if your moulds are bigger.

1 cup of coconut water
1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice

  1. Combine coconut water and freshly squeezed orange juice in a jug. Pour mixture into ice block moulds.
  2. Place lid on moulds and place them in the freezer for a minimum of six hours.

Makes 4 ice blocks.

Carrot, orange and currant salad

orange-salad

Inspired by Mark Jensen’s Carrot, orange and blackcurrant salad in The Urban Cook. I’ve adapted his recipe and left out the red chilli and sherry vinegar, which he added although saying it was not in the traditional middle eastern version. I’ve also reduced the ingredients to serve one person. Mark recommends having the dish in Autumn when both oranges and carrots are in their peak.

1 Tbsp dried currants or raisins
1 orange
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp olive oil
several fresh mint leaves, chopped

  1. Soak the dried currants or raisins in water to make them easier to digest.
  2. Cut the top and bottom off the orange, and then cut off the rest of the skin to ensure all of the white pith has been removed. Cut the orange into segments. Add any juice and the segments to serving bowl.
  3. Peel and grate the carrot and add to the bowl, along with the mint, drained currants and olive oil.
  4. Mix all the ingredients to together and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 1.

Tank off

tank-off

July was our worst month so far. We didn’t sow suitable Winter crops early enough. We really need to start seeing some action in the garden or we will fail miserably at our challenge and in as little as a few months it will then become an impossible feat.

As we sat on the grassy hill enjoying some sun and steak sandwiches, we discussed our progress in the garden.

I’m worried the potato crop has failed a second time. It looks like we have lost the first row. Matt declared that he has given up on them this year. He thinks we should have used more soil and compost for hilling them up, rather than nutrient poor sugar cane. He also thinks we have been watering them too much, whereas I think they might have not been watered enough.

Matt also thinks that our soil isn’t good enough yet, as we used compost from a landscaping supplier rather than use the full no-dig option. We agreed that the vegetable beds don’t get enough sun in Winter as they are shaded by the neighbours’ mango trees. And yet too much sun in Summer.

We were starting to consider that the unidentified citrus tree we have might be a lemon, as the fruit are starting to turn yellow. I looked through our plant label album and discovered it was actually a ‘washington navel orange.’ Matt nobly took the blame and said it was his fault for thinking it was a mandarin!

Our grass is starting to brown off and we haven’t had any decent rain in over five weeks. To make matters worse, I accidentally didn’t turn the tank tap off properly. (I have a habit of not putting lids on jars tightly either!) Our tank was half full, but now it is down to the bottom rung.

Juicy jelly

Home made jelly tastes completely different from the store-bought jelly crystals. The little secret that I’m going to let you in on is that it is just as easy as pouring in some boiling water and mixing. Ok, maybe there are a few more steps, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Recently I took some orange and passionfruit jelly to a friend’s place for after dinner. They turned their nose up and missed out. Later they found out that it was home made and regretted not trying it. Please don’t make the same mistake.

We’ve had the odd alpine strawberry from our hanging basket. They taste of sweet sorbet but would never sell in the shops because they are no bigger then my smallest fingernail. The strawberry seeds we planted in the vegetable beds haven’t shown up, which doesn’t really matter because the melons have happily taken over the space and spilling over the sides!

1 cup of fruit juice
1 cup of boiling water
sugar
4 tsps gelatine (or equivalent agar agar)

  1. Squeeze fruit to make one cup of juice.
  2. Strain the juice through a sieve to remove seeds and/or pulp. (optional)
  3. Add sugar if needed to taste. Usually about 1 tbsp.
  4. Add boiling water to a cup and then quickly mix in gelatine with a fork.
  5. Combine the gelatine and juice mixture.
  6. Pour in to molds and set in fridge overnight.

Note: I’ve used this recipe with lots of different fruit juices. It’s a great way to get rid of lots of passionfruit and withhold the seeds. Experiment and let me know what you try.