Would you like guilt with that?

Some people feel guilty about things they have or haven’t done in life – the big stuff.

Me, I feel racked when I realise the last of the peaches fell to ground, there were figs I missed spotting or the birds beat me to a particularly succulent bunch of grapes.

My confession – I adore filling jars, and everything that goes with preserved food – safe from decay, wildlife or neglect. Squirreling.

Golden Hornet crab apples

This weeks race against the sin that is waste (Aunty Isabel lived through the war and “Waste is Sin” was one of her favourite sayings) has had me drying figs, jellying crabapples,  jamming plums, relishing tomatoes and roasting peaches.

My Grandmother (and Aunty Isabel) would have been horrified at the use of such perfect fruit as these peaches in crostata, pies were a place for less than perfect fruit.

I roast fruit in a single layer sprinkled with sugar and dotted with butter, cooking in a moderately hot oven until just bursting.


The restaurant menu also saw hour old kipflers simply dressed with olive oil, fresh mint, basil and parsley, a little seeded red chilli and salt. Yum with fresh curd cheese and black olive tapenade.

A salad of rocket, endive and sorrel had tiny barely ripe port grapes scattered through – the effect like balls of vejuice bursting in the mouth.

grape and tomato

A rainbow of colours in the heritage tomatoes not only looks pretty but presents a spectrum of flavour, every variety having different levels of sweetness and acidity.

Spinach went into a savoury crostata with three types of cheese and eggs collected that day.

cheese crostata

Seasonal cooking begs for restraint. Kind of ironic when nothing else is showing any.

Dried Figs

Make a syrup by boiling 1 litre of water (or wine) with 1 kg of sugar.

Pop the whole figs (stalk intact) in this syrup and simmer very gently for about an hour.

Remove from the syrup and lay figs, allowing a little space, on trays. Place in the sun to dry for three days or until dried to your liking.

Keep the syrup and reuse for this purpose or reduce and pour over ice-cream.


  1. Edwina

    Kim I hear you – I’m battling the summer glut at the moment too. I feel slightly less guilty if the excess produce goes to the chooks, but find myself wandering past the chook yard and tut-tutting them if they haven’t eaten the bruised peaches I kindly tossed their way. My discovery this year has been to sun dry tomatoes. Cut them in half and lay on a tray under a fly screen, the sun does all the hard work for me, and 3 whole trays of tomatoes reduce to a single jar’s worth.
    They look like blueberries in your picture? Or are they grapes? If blueberries – do they grow well where you are?

    1. Kim

      Thanks Edwina

      Your chooks must be very spoilt! I’m feeling really sad about mine this week because I forgot to lock them up one night and seven of my eight Plymoth Rock x Winedots which I hand reared were taken by a fox. They were grapes in the picture, but see my note to Marg about blueberries, next project!
      I will try tomatoes in this recipe in the sun as well – hopefully Louis wont take a liking to them 🙂

  2. Marg Ives

    Just loving your page Kim. I get completely inspired by being able to cook anything which has been grown in my garden.
    Like you, this year I made Santa Rosa plum jam and tomato relish to squirrel away for the winter months. I also made jars of lovely fresh pesto for my family. Love your idea of baking summer fruits. I would also be interested to see if
    blueberries grow in Mudgee.

    1. Kim

      Hi Marg

      Thanks! Funny you should ask about Blueberries, we are looking at a variety called Blueberry Burst because theoretically they should do really well around here. Don and Claire Klatte had a big planting on at Rylstone many years ago and it would be nice to see there early work honored.

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