I love summer rains here in Queensland, especially the soft, gentle ones that last all day, hushing the world into quietness, making me feel like I’m on an island instead of a hilltop.
I love going outside in these rains, strolling through my gardens, breathing in the smells of damp earth and rain-washed herbs.
My garden is a late bloomer this year and for awhile there I wondered if anything would grow. I’m happy to report that lots of things are growing at last: tomatoes are ripening and chilies darkening, herb seedlings leafing out after looking decidedly straggly for a long time.
The pumpkins are flourishing, sending forth bright orange blossoms. I’ve never grown pumpkins before and I’m very excited for Autumn when they’ll be ready. Aussies have introduced me to a whole new cuisine with pumpkins. I grew up eating them in sweet things: pies, jelly rolls, and sweet breads. Now I love them in savory dishes: roasted with herbs until they taste like candy, tossed into pasta with creamy chunks of chevre, scattered over pizza with crispy prosciutto. Mmm.
I’m especially excited to see my calendula blooming. It is such a wonderfully healing plant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, antifungal, antiviral, and immunostimulant. I can’t wait to harvest the petals to infuse in oil for a healing skin ointment and stir them into luscious creams and soaps.
I suppose I could be using the fennel blossoms for something, but they look so pretty and delicate that I can’t bear to cut them just yet.
After my garden meanderings, I like to sit down with a good book and a nibble. This week I’ve been making homemade gummies.
I adore gummies. They’ve been my favorite candy since I was a little girl. Unfortunately most store-bought ones are full of sugar and chemicals, so I started making my own. They are ridiculously easy, take five minutes to make, 15 minutes to set, and that’s it!
I started with Apricot ones, which were delicious, and yesterday I made an adult version with homemade Sour Plum Juice and Port Wine. Oh my. Glistening little jewels with rich flavors and a hint of sweetness, they are my new favorite.
They are scrumptious accompaniments to my wood-burning, keeping me going as I etch designs into spoons, paintbrushes, and Christmas ornaments.
What is your favorite treat while you’re working on projects?
Sour Plum Port Wine Gummies
1/3 cup plum juice (to make your own simply simmer 4-5 halved plums in 3/4 cup water until plums are soft, strain, bring juice to boil and simmer until 1/2 cup juice is achieved)
3 Tbsp grass-fed gelatin
13 Tbsp Port Wine
1 tsp real maple syrup
- Pour juice into small saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle gelatin over juice, stirring and heating just until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in Port Wine and maple syrup.
- Pour into container with spout.
- Use container to fill chocolate molds or ice cube trays 1/2 way.
- Place in freezer for 15 minutes then remove.
- Gummies will remove easily from molds.
- Store in fridge until ready to eat.