It’s a gorgeous afternoon, soft and golden, cool and green, our goats and sheep nibbling contentedly among the shifting shadows of the gum trees.
A lime yogurt cake is baking in the house, and Bear and I just finished a break on the veranda, watching our little world as we chatted and sipped cold drinks. It’s so good to be home.
Monday was a lovely but busy run-around day. We got up early and drove out to the Pilton hills to pick mulberries at our friend Carolyn’s property. She is an incredible gardener, generous with her produce and her time, happily trading and sharing whatever bounty she has whether it’s a basket of limes, a bundle of asparagus, or, at this time of year, a few kg of mulberries.
I always love visiting her and meandering through her gardens and orchards to see what amazing things she’s built, planted, or harvested. We had a fun time crawling about under and among the mulberry branches, filling baskets and bins with gorgeous, ripe berries. Carolyn and I kept getting our long, blond hair tangled in tree limbs and emerged looking like wild women with berry stains everywhere and hair stuck up with leaves and rogue mulberries. Bear, on the other hand, appeared utterly unscathed. Even his hat remained on his head!
Laden down with mulberries we bid farewell to Carolyn with promises to drop by bottles of homemade mulberry liqueur and cordial.
Then I was off to Oma’s to process all the berry beauties. We pushed them through a hand-cranked sieve that retained the seeds and left us with gorgeous mulberry juice. Then we made sugar syrup and blended it with the juice before bottling. Oma processed hers in a hot water bath and I put mine in the freezer. I just love that gorgeous color.
Next up was making pasta. Oma’s recipe is simply 1 egg per cup of flour. We made a 5 cup batch using Oma’s free range duck and chook eggs that turned the dough a rich yellow. We floured it well and cut it into workable pieces.
With mulberry stained fingers we pushed the dough through the pasta machine into long, wide ribbons, then again into thin sheets, and once more as we cut them into fettucine and vermicelli. The weather was so warm that the pasta was dry before I got home and I didn’t have to hang it to dry.
It felt so good to come home with glistening bottles of jewel-tone mulberry syrup, stacks of homemade pasta, and plans for how to use both.
With the warmer weather we’ve had, I’ve been making all sorts of cold drinks with the mulberry syrup. After the long day of berry-picking and pasta-making, I made us Mulberry Gin cocktails. Yesterday afternoon I raided my garden for fresh herbs, then sat on the veranda with Mulberry Lemongrass Iced Tea, while bottles of Mulberry Mint Iced Tea chilled in the fridge.
Tonight we’re having my homemade vermicelli tossed with roasted tomatoes and garlic. I’m really looking forward to it.
What is your favorite cool down beverage? xo