Coconut lemon truffles

We picked our first ripe lemon of the season from one of our lemon trees this week.  I have missed having so many lemons within easy reach.  It'll take a few weeks for us to get into full crop - but the first just had such a lovely smell and really made me salivate.

So what to make with it that would celebrate its lovely flavor....?

Lemon truffles!

And not sweet, so you can really enjoy the acidity of the lemon juice.

So here is the recipe: (makes 25 truffles)

1 cup almonds
Zest of one lemon (preferable just picked off your own tree!)
Juice of one lemon
1 1/2 cups of unsweetened organic desiccated shredded coconut (plus extra for dusting the truffles)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp sweet freedom or coconut nectar (if you want more sweetness, you can add an extra tablespoon)
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Blend all the ingredients together (except the extra coconut for dusting) in a food processor until it starts to bind together to form a dough (1-2 minutes).

Take approx 1/2 tablespoon of dough, roll it into a small ball and then roll it in the extra coconut.  Continue with the rest of the dough to make approximately 25 little truffles.  Place in the fridge, if you can resist them, for half an hour.

Can be kept at room temperature or in the fridge.

They make a lovely gift for a friend.  Take her a couple of lemons, a box of truffles and the recipe to make her own.

August's harvest: Pears

Today we harvested about 3/4 of our large red pears.  They each weigh about 300g (12 oz) and we picked loads.  Sadly, we don't know precisely what variety they are - but think they are a red comice sport. Red sports were first discovered in the 1900's in Oregon.  A "sport" is a naturally occurring transformation that develops occasionally on fruit trees.  It's shape really isn't very traditional pear shaped - more round with no real neck and it starts out as a dark, dark red. When the fruit is young, its nearly black in color, but it does go lighter as it grows and then ripens.

As with all pears, it is best not to let them ripen on the tree, as if left on the tree, they ripen from the inside out for the center is mushy by the time the outside flesh is ready.  So these pears have gone into our "fruit" fridge in the garage.

To tell if a pear is mature enough to pick, the rule of thumb is that, while still on the tree, if you lift the pear to a horizontal position from the usual vertical hanging position, the stem will detach if it is ready, but won't if it needs longer.  (This does not apply to Bosc pears however, which are difficult to detach from the tree, ripen or unripe).

Once picked, pears need to be cooled.  Some varieties need only a day or two in the fridge (Bartlett), but others (Anjou, Bosc, Comice) need 2 - 6 weeks for optimal ripening.  Without this chilling, picked pears will just sit and sit and eventually decompose without ripening.

What ever variety ours are, they need a few weeks to ripen.

After their chill, the pears need to be at room temperature for 4 - 7 days, depending on the variety to complete their ripening.  The longer they've spent chilled, the less time they need at room temperature.

By the time our family arrive in a month, these should all be perfect!  Let's hope they like pears :-D  These are the juiciest, tastiest pears!

We still have to pick our other pear tree...maybe we can wait a couple of days for that.  Pears anyone?

Swimming in tomatoes!

The joy of growing your own fruit and vegetables: you wait for ages to begin harvest, then have masses all at once!

Even with just two tomato plants, we are nearly overwhelmed with tomatoes! We pick them just about everyday but yesterday seemed to tip me over the edge. We've been managing just eating them raw, but I now know I have to get cooking with them. I'm planning on making some roasted tomato soup and then also trying some tomato sauce. I've never tried that before. Should be fun.


For today however, I'm roasting some for my lunch and will have them on some gluten free toast.

They are drizzled with blackberry balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled with homegrown oregano and marjoram. Hmmm. Here's the oil-free recipe. Can't wait for lunch time.


Recipe: Balsamic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Balsamic vinegar - plain or flavored
Fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, marjoram

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/ 200 degrees C
Halve tomatoes and place on silpat or parchment paper on a baking tray. (It is important to use a non stick surface as no oil is added in this recipe.)
Sprinkle with chopped herbs of your choice
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar
Roast in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes.
Serve warm with crusty bread or on toast.
Store at room temperature for maximum flavor.