I often plan the recipes I share here weeks in advance. Always beginning with seasonal produce as my inspiration, either growing in the garden or a market find. In fact, this is a reflection of how I cook throughout the year. I first look at the produce available and then build our meals around that. This may be a slightly different approach to cooking compared to the modern kitchen where almost everything is at our fingertips all year round. But in essence it is simply the way we used to cook and eat. One that is in tune with nature and compliments our needs at different times of the year.
Therefore not surprisingly it is feijoas that have been whispering to me recently. I have mentioned our feijoa trees here before – we started with three to make a hedge and not long after my Dad gave us two more. Although we knew three would be enough we put them in the ground anyway. For the first few years we only collected a handful of fruit, then last year we were provided with the perfect amount of fruit for our family. This year the trees have grown even more (funny that) and now we have way more than we can comfortably eat in a season. Bags of fruit are going to school, dropped to friends, flesh scooped and bagged in the freezer, and some cooked with apple or pear into compote and preserved. I don’t even want to imagine what next season will look like…
There has also been feijoa cakes and muffins, and of-course crumble – the requisite autumnal dessert. Recently I realised a haven’t shared a crumble recipe on here yet. What! Only the dessert I make the most often, in fact at times the only dessert I make for months – OK, we don’t eat dessert every night but if I am going to make something it is crumble. At this time of year I can’t get away from the flavour combo of feijoa, pear and ginger. One of the most popular autumn recipes on Homegrown Kitchen is my chutney using the same flavour palette. As the weather cools I find myself reaching for ginger regularly including a weekly batch of chai tea mix. Ginger has amazing circulation boosting abilities so if you find it difficult to warm up in the mornings try a cup of chai maybe accompanied by a bowl of this gingernut crumble…!
*Homegrown Kitchen is now available worldwide*
I have had many emails inquiring if my Homegrown Kitchen cookbook will be available outside of New Zealand. At this stage it will only physically be in bookstores and retailers in NZ. However, I am thrilled to share that you can now order online HERE for free postage within Australia, and HERE for free worldwide shipping. Yay, please spread the word!
*I have been receiving some wonderful reviews and feedback for my new cookbook. I have collated some of my favourites along with FAQ’s HERE. Including these lovely words from my favourite gardening writer Lynda Hallinan…
“Nicola Galloway’s Homegrown Kitchen is a rare delight: an elegantly produced, thoughtful and beautifully illustrated companion for any cook or gardener who wants to live well without depriving themselves of any of the good things in life. It’s comprehensive without being preachy, offering sensible nutritional advice, healthy and hearty recipes and the benefit of 18 years of wholefoods experience. Oh, and it’s gorgeous in every sense of the word. I’m glad she’s taken this long to produce it; the wait was definitely worth it.”
The key to getting the 'gingernut' flavour is to use a dark unrefined sugar as it retains the molasses to add a burnt caramel-like flavour to the crumb. My sugar of choice is rapadura, and although it is more pricey, I use less sugar overall in my cooking so I don't mind spending a little bit more, a small bag lasts many months. However, readily available muscovado or even brown sugar will also work in this recipe as they have a similar flavour. I also want to mention that I prefer to pre-cook the pears until tender, there is nothing worse than scooping into a golden crumb to find under-cooked fruit. I often use my preserved fruit compote that I make en masse when pears and apples are in season. I simply open a new jar and pour into the baking dish, top with feijoas and crumble and bake. So quick and simple. My new cookbook includes all my preserving recipes and know-how.
5-6 pears or apples, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons water
about 1 1/2 cups scooped feijoa flesh
1 cup quick-cook porridge oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup rapadura or muscovado sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
pinch of salt
100g cold butter, chopped into 1cm cubes
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Chop the pears into eighths and place in a small saucepan along with the fresh ginger and water. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat until the pear is tender when pierced with a small knife. At this stage you can leave the pear as pieces or mash until smooth - this is my preference. Spread the cooked pear in the base of a shallow baking dish (approx 20 x 25cm). Dot with the feijoa flesh.
- Make the crumble. Place the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the cubed butter and use your fingers to rub until the mixture clumps together. Alternatively use a food processor and pulse the mixture to combine. Scatter the crumble over the fruit and bake for 30 minutes until the crumble topping is golden. Best served warm with a drizzle of cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream.