We hope you've experienced the mild and wet summer we have. Miraculously there were only two days over 40 degrees, and we had the third wettest summer (355.4mm) since 1993 when records started being kept at Tamworth Airport. Living in the Peel Valley, the major catchment for Chaffey Dam, conversations continue about dam capacity, increasing from 33.3 per cent in December to 42.2 per cent at the end of February. Our thoughts are with those on the east coast who have had too much rain and damaging flooding this past week.
The milder, wet summer has meant a bumper summer fruit and vegetable harvest with Fowlers bottles of plums already in the pantry and we have been eating fresh plums, compotes, crumbles and tarts since New Year. At friends' New Years Eve party guests had a choice of homegrown, homemade apricot or plum crumbles. Now that's country abundance.
We have about a week's preserving ahead of us with pear and apple trees laden with fruit, boughs resting on the grass they are so heavy. The apple harvest is so overwhelming that Duncan bought a fruit crush and press so we could make apple juice, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar.
Then there's the spectacular glossy black eggplants. Cornersmith's Use It All cookbook has been an excellent source of recipes for ratatouille, roasted eggplant pickle, and kasundi.
Enjoy this recipe for Plum and coconut cake from The Sydney Morning Herald 16/2/2021, perfect for lunch boxes or morning and afternoon tea at home.
Plum and coconut cake
What you need: 2 eggs, 2/3 cup (160ml) light-flavoured extra virgin olive oil, 280g (1 cup) natural Greek-style yoghurt, 1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind, 220g (1 cup) caster sugar, 80g (1 cup) desiccated coconut, 1 tsp baking powder, 260g (1 3/4 cups) self-raising flour, 6 plums, seeds removed and cut into thin wedges, extra caster sugar, for sprinkling.
What you do: Preheat oven to 160C fan-forced (180C convection), line a 20 x 30cm slice tin with non-stick baking paper (I used a 24cm square cake tin). Place the wet ingredients, eggs, oil, yoghurt, lemon rind and sugar, into a bowl and whisk until combined. Add the dry ingredients, coconut, baking powder and flour and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, top with the plum wedges and sprinkle with extra sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before slicing and serving, with extra yoghurt if desired.
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