I wish I had a green thumb! This sentence will lead you to the conclusion that I don’t and you would be absolutely right! I’ve tried to grow plants on two different continents. I’ve tried different soils, gardens and pots and it just never worked for me. What ever I do, somehow I lose my plants. It’s sad really. I mean, how many of you have tried to feed your plants with nice and organic super good worm poo. One… none? You see I’ve tried even that and it didn’t help! It might be time to quit – if I can only know how to…
So imagine how excited I can become around someone’s successfully grown garden or an orchard – wow that is something!
A few weeks ago we flew across Australia, I am not saying where exactly in South Australia so I can protect whatever is left of my modest dignity. We were guests of some really nice people who were happy to entertain a child and child’s mother for a few days. The child was over the moon with excitement with all the scheduled entertainment just around the house. Things like mowing the grass and cleaning the pool were uber exciting but when they organised a camp fire in the back yard just for him, he was ready to quit on us as his parents and stay there forever!
As for me, well I can happily say I had the same level of excitement when spotting a kumquat tree in one of their gardens! A beautiful tree, full of little golden kumquats, completely forgotten at the end of a No Through Road. I almost fainted when I realised that all that can be lost due to negligence. I started breathing again only when I was asked if I wanted to take some home with me and I simply said “yes please”, without thinking about the consequences. I came to my senses of course (that is if anyone asks because it is not allowed to fly with any food in your suitcase, right) and decided to look for the same fruit in the local markets.
Since I had these aromatic and wonderful fruits in my fridge, I couldn’t stop thinking about the different opportunities to cook and bake with them, but one idea stayed with me all the time. First thing I made was a preserve or slatko as my mum would call it. It’s simply wonderful, aesthetically and taste wise. One fruit – one bite, ideal for preserve but at the same time can be nicely accompanied by any short bread or a bundt cake for example.
Kumquat preserve is inspired by my mother’s stuffed plums preserve she used to make for us when we were kids.
300 gr kumquats
150 gr sugar
rind of 2 lemon
100 ml water
50 gr roasted walnuts
In a medium sized saucepan mix water and sugar and cook on a medium heat until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to minimum, add lemon rinds and cook for another 5 minutes or until the liquid becomes slightly thicker or changes colour slightly. Add washed kumquats and cook for 15 minutes or until the fruit is cooked but still in one piece. The cooking time will depend on the fruit and how ripe it is, so you might have to test it a few times – remembering to leave some for the jar.
At the end, add walnuts – previously roasted for 10 minutes on 180C.
Leave to cool and transfer into jar. One teaspoon of this preserve and a glass of water in the morning will make a big difference to the day.