Monday, 7 July 2014


Red wine & Honey baked Tamarillo served with Popcorn infused creamed rice and ground Native ginger seed.

                      So many people are reaping the rewards of their citrus harvests around this time, everyone except me. As there is something about the citrus tree and me and the countless times I've tried to grow any of the citrus varieties. The pest infestation, root rot, you name it I've experienced it, the frustrating thing is people have trees neglected dropping fruit in the corners of their backyards. So over the years of attempts now I've found the fruit trees from South America have been the best performers in our backyard that is located in a sub-tropical region but quite shaded. We now have several species growing and some having just finished their fruiting seasons and some that give off rogue fruits at any time of the year. We have tamarillo, guava, cherry guava, chilean guava, jaboticaba, brazilian cherry, vanilla vines, yam bean plants, soursop, custard apple, feijoa, pepino, abiu, passionfruit and coffee. Although coffee is not native to the region it is widely grown there for quite some time now. Tamarillo grow really well here and are a fast growing tree that can bear fruit at a year and a half old and mature on to become prolific bearers. This is a simple little dessert pairing the tang of the tamarillo with a creamed rice flavoured with butter popcorn. The seasoning used on top of the creamed rice is ground native ginger seeds imparting  flavours of pepper and ginger to add a little zing. The native ginger seed once chewed by our indigenous people and spat out along the paths to mark the trails that lead to food sources. The taste similar to the spice Grains of paradise of which also comes from the berry of another ginger plant.                                                                                                                          
                      To make the creamed rice I placed 2 cups of milk, 2 cups of prepared popcorn and 2 tbsp of melted butter in a saucepan and brought to the simmer before being removed and allowed to steep for 20 minutes or so. This was the strained and the popcorn infused milk was set aside. In a saucepan a 1/2 cup of rice and a 1/2 cup of water was brought to the boil. To this I gradually added the popcorn milk with another 2 cups of plain milk and a 1/4 cup of sugar, this was reduced to a simmer for around 30- 35 minutes until thick and creamy. For the baked tamarillo I simply preheated the oven to 160C, wit a sharp knife I made a small cross in the skin of the pointed end of the tamarillo. The fruit was then left to soak in boiling water for 2-3 minutes before being refreshed under cold water. I then cut the fruit in quarters starting from the pointed end cutting three quarters of the way through to the stem end. I then peeled back the skin of each section a placed the fruit in an oven proof dish with 1 cup of red wine, star anise and 2 tbsp of honey, covering loosely and baking in the oven for 15 minutes. I then removed the cover, basting the tamarillo 2-3 times while baking the fruit for a further 10 minutes uncovered until soft and tender but still holding structure. This was then cooled before being served with creamed rice.


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