We bought some pickling jars from IKEA (not listed online, but they were about $3 each). I thought these were a good option, as the seals for the jar are food grade silicone, not rubber – much more long lasting, and easily sterilised in boiling water!
We got peeling and blanching, and set to work making the brine.
I threw in some herbs (fennel seeds, from fennel we grew last summer, and fresh bay leaves from our garden) and added a few crushed cloves of garlic.
The result? Slightly crunchy, sweet and sour carrots with a hint of aniseed flavour. Perfect for hot weather packed lunches (I’m going to bring some to work today in my salad!) and a tasty, straight from the jar snack, if that’s how you roll.
It was delicious. Polenta-crumbed chicken with a garlic butter sauce, baked mashed potatoes and a fresh salad with home grown lettuce and tomatoes. Fine polenta makes an amazing “crumb” coating – super crunchy!
What made this dinner so surprising?
Besides the fresh lettuce from our garden, J also found a teeny-tiny baby carrot! We have other carrots growing, probably closer to full size, but J knows he lives with a food blogger, and deemed this too good a garnish to leave in the ground. And after a long day, it was the perfect thing to cheer me up :)
In summer, the passionfruit vines in our garden go into overdrive, and produce a bounty of heavy fruit. They’re juicy, tangy and sweet, and while we have done our best to eat them or use them in cooking, it’s been hard to keep up.
On Australia day (last week), J scooped out just over 1 litre of passionfruit pulp from our harvested fruit. J’s cousins H and E were coming over for afternoon tea that day, so I made a baked passionfruit curd cheesecake.
Baked Passionfruit Curd Cheesecake
Recipe by Sarah Hobbs, published in Notebook Magazine, April 2008, Page 126
Juji’s note: This is a great recipe to make the day before – the cheescake is much better if chilled in the fridge overnight. This also freezes well, if you find yourself with leftovers – just defrost for about an hour in the fridge before serving.
2 passionfruit (I actually used about 6 or 7)
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
Spray the base of a 20cm (base measurement) springform pan with cooking spray. Place the biscuits in a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the butter and process until well combined. Transfer mixture to the pan and use a glass to press the crumb mixture firmly over the base and side of the pan (you’ll need to ensure the crust is about 2/3rds of the way up the sides of the pan). Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
In the meantime, to make the passionfruit curd, place passionfruit pulp, butter, eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
Preheat oven to 160°C. Use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Add eggs and lemon rind and beat until just combined.
Pour half the cream cheese mixture into the biscuit base. Dollop spoonfuls of half the passionfruit curd over the cream cheese. Pour over remaining cream cheese and dollop half of the remaining curd. Use a bamboo skewer to gently swirl passionfruit mixture and cream cheese to make a marbled pattern.
Place on an oven tray. Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until centre is just set. Turn oven off. Leave cheesecake in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1 hour or until cooled completely. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill (for at least an hour, preferably overnight). Spread over remaining curd to serve.