feijoa shortcake

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These cool crisp autumn afternoons just beg for something fresh from the oven… I’ve pinned this recipe to the fridge as the first to make as soon as I can secure 10 large ripe feijoas (we have fresh feijoa monsters in this house).

The recipe is credited to celebrated Kiwi chef Hester Guy and found in the archives of Radio New Zealand online. She says the base comes from an old Jewish cookbook and and can be adapted to any fruit depending on the season.

FEIJOA SHORTCAKE

Ingredients

  • 8–10 feijoas
  • rind and juice 1-2 lemons or 1 orange
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 180g butter, softened
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • vanilla essence
  • 250g flour, sifted with 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2–3 Tbsp flaked almonds (sliced almonds)

Method

  1. Line the base of a 23–25cm spring-form cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Pre-heat oven 180ºC.
  2. Peel feijoas and slice into 10mm rounds, sprinkle with rind and juice of lemons and mix in sugar, leave while mixing base.
  3. Cream butter and sugar, and add egg and vanilla essence and then flour and baking powder.
  4. Press about ¾ of the cake mix into lined cake tin, spoon over feijoas, lemon and sugar mixture.  Break remaining dough into small pieces and dot casually over top of feijoas.  Lastly sprinkle with flaked almonds.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven 180ºC for 45 – 60 minutes.  Reduce temperature if cake is browning too much.
  6. Serve warm with lightly whipped cream.

Note: the original recipe on the Radio New Zealand website doesn’t specify the quantity of vanilla essence… based on similar recipes, I would use 1 teaspoon.

first taste

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natsukashaii

Feijoa season is never quite real until I have the fruit in one hand and a teaspoon in the other. That taste. There’s nothing like it. And the texture. And the memories.

Twitter told me back in March that the feijoas had arrived early this year and I’ve been noting disgruntled friends in other cities commiserating about the price of them in the supermarkets etc. But I have not seen any myself, until I stumbled across six trees in my neighbourhood, neglected, fruit unwanted.

The first ones I grabbed were ruined by fruit fly. Ugggh. The horror and the disappointment. But, unable to help myself, I went back and discovered good sized feijoas that were untouched.

Simultaneously, Word Porn (on Facebook) delivered up this unknown gem: Natsukashii. I have a suspicion that this translation from the Japanese may not be entirely accurate – but it is the most perfect description of what it is like to taste a feijoa again after half a lifetime (or even just 10 months), to be overcome with “euphoric nostalgia” for all those good times, just sitting and laughing and scooping. Absolutely among the best memories.

A special thanks to all you wonderful people who have signed up to follow this blog and are wondering (ahem) if anything actually happens around here. According to my WordPress statistics, YOU are all happening around here!

Recipes to follow.

world’s first feijoa maze, Tingha, NSW

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Something very exciting is happening in Tingha, a small town inland from Coffs Harbour in New South Wales.

Tingha feijoa maze

Around 2000 feijoa trees have been planted to form a hedge maze. First one, anywhere.

They’re only two years old at the moment and have a way to grow. But, doesn’t it look good?

The maze is expected to be open to the public in 2015. And there are hopes for a cafe and a Big Feijoa*.

I’m thinking Tingha is set to become the feijoa capital of Australia and I’ve got my road trip pencilled in.

Tingha feijoa maze

Feijoas at Tingha

You can find out more about the ground breaking work of the Tingha Regeneration Project, and follow their progress via the Tingha Regeneration Inc website.

Many thanks to Christine Neville for the lovely photographs.

*If you aren’t familiar with Australia’s Big Things, they’re usually monster fibreglass sculptures or architectural structures that capture the iconic nature of a place. Mandatory for a photo opp on a road trip.

feijoa champagne

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If you  have feijoa juice left over from other recipes, you can make your own home made “champagne”. The recipe comes from the lovely team at Millstream Gardens Blog, which contains a wealth of gardening, herbal, health and food information.

This reminds me of the home made ginger beer my mother would make and keep in the hot water cupboard… and which would occasionally burst and fizz everywhere. My guess is that likewise, keep an eye on your feijoa fizzy and don’t forget about it.

FEIJOA CHAMPAGNE

Into a 2 litre plastic bottle put:

1 ½–2 cups cooled feijoa juice

1 cup sugar

Water to fill within 5cm of top of bottle

Pinch of wine or cider yeast

Put in a warm place for 3 days or until bottle is tight, then store in fridge.

Festival de la Feijoa, Tibasosa, Colombia

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Every year in June, a small town in the mountains of Colombia celebrates the humble feijoa. Except the feijoa is not so humble in these parts. It is revered.

The feijoa reigns in Tibasosa where the pueblo’s economy is based upon the funky little feijoa. There’s even an annual Feijoa festival held every June. Las Margaritas, a specialty shop produces and sells over 15 unique products made from the feijoa including Sabana a liquor, candy, pastries, ice cream, jam, cake, cookies, milk shakes and lots more.

From what I can gather* Tibasosa is about three hours from the capital Bogota, situated in a picturesque and beautiful part of the Sogamoso Valley. The region boasts a rich volcanic soil that “grows everything from 302 varieties of potatoes to tomato fruit trees, papaya, chimoya, and [our favourite] exotic feijoas”.

I’m still hoping to uncover a traveller’s blog that gives a personal take on the festival experience, but no luck so far. In the meantime I can share this page which contains a wonderful series of photographs from this year’s festival… there are no words to accompany so I am desperately wanting to know more, especially about all those fabulous VWs on parade… but mostly I want to taste some of those feijoa delicacies.

Have you been? Can you tell us more?

And because they’re so lovely, here are some of the posters from this and previous years. Just love the artwork combining the distinctive town architecture with the feijoa flowers.

Festival de la Feijoa 24

tibasosa feijoa

Festival de la Feijoa 24

Anyone wanting to get together an antipodean delegation??

* This post was written with the help of Google translate :) I apologise for any errors that may undoubtedly exist. Lo siento pero yo no hablo espanol.

Read More:

meanwhile, in feijoa land

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It’s funny, I feel a bit shy popping my head back in here after all this time… but there we have it. I’m back on my feet and intending to breathe life back into this blog.

Life went a little pear shaped for us back in May on a couple of fronts but the upshot is that we are now settled into our own little postwar cottage in North Brisbane, and loving the Queensland lifestyle. There is quite a lot of murraya hedging around this property, some of which I feel could be replaced with the gorgeous silver-grey foliage of sellowiana. It’s on the future projects list.

What’s been curious is that the feijoas keep finding me, here in the ‘burbs.

A couple of streets away – on a jaunt to the local supermarket – I have discovered a house with three feijoa trees in the front yard. It was so surprising, that I stopped and looked and looked again. Unmistakable. It’s a bit of a gardener’s delight, that property, with many unusual and exotic fruits and I would love to have a chat to the green thumb who lives there.

As well, we’ve discovered the best little IGA in the whole of Australia*, a few suburbs away. Aisles and aisles of kiwi fare: rice risotto, instant pudding, chow-chow, spam… (oh, the memories, good and bad)… and all those things that are not good for the hips and teeth: eskimos, jet planes, jaffas, pineapple lumps, milk bottles (the real ones), K-bars, Whittakers, etc.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a real Kiwi delicatessen without… feijoas.

IGA feijoas

Real feijoas (this was back in May), very nicely placed next to the Wicked Chocolate Dip… so tempting except for that price tag. That’s EA. $1.99 each. Ouch.

feijoa drop lollies

And feijoa lollies. Sad to say I didn’t try these either, only because the label says artificial flavour and colour, and I have become a little bit wary of how far food science is taking us away from good food, especially when my child is demanding some. But they’re there if you’re local and need a fix.

More soon, feijoa lovers.

* IGA Boondall, 2138 Sandgate Road

Kindred Feijoas (Tasmania)

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If you’re down on The Apple Isle, near Kindred, and craving feijoas, please check out these lovely people. I’m figuring the feijoas are running later in the season because of the climate… this is making for a really great feijoa tour as you follow those feijoas south!!

Kindred Feijoas has a small orchard of 96 feijoa trees which have just started producing near-ripe fruit. Fruit is expected to be available until about mid August.

They are open for Farm Gate sales BY APPOINTMENT ONLY… Telephone 03 6429 3238 or Christine on 0412 070 622.

The address is 24 Swamp Rd, Kindred, Tasmania 7310.

chocolate feijoa cake

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The Waikato Times has a page titled The best feijoa cake ever and readers’ other favourite recipes. This chocolate feijoa cake is the feature recipe and there are a host of other recipes for jams, sorbet, muffins, smoothies etc.

This recipe is attributed to Waikato Times librarian Keri Anderson who describes it as the “best feijoa cake EVER!”

CHOCOLATE FEIJOA CAKE

Ingredients

  • 185g butter, softened
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1½ cups peeled, sliced feijoas
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (first measure)
  • 1½ cups self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (second measure)
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup sour cream

Method

  1. Lightly oil or spray a 20cm ring tin. Line the bottom of the tin with strips of baking paper. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel ripe feijoas (depending on size – approx 8 egg-sized feijoas) with a sharp knife. Slice each feijoa in half lengthwise, then slice thinly.
  3. Measure 1½ cups of the sliced fruit and place in a bowl with 2 tbsp brown sugar and the first ½ tsp cinnamon.
  4. Cream the softened butter and caster sugar in a small bowl with an electric beater.
  5. Beat in the eggs one after the other, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  6. Stir in the prepared feijoas, sifted flour, baking soda, cocoa, second measure of cinnamon and the nutmeg alternately with the sour cream in two batches.
  7. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top evenly.
  8. Bake at 180°C for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer exits cleanly from the middle of the cake.
  9. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the baking paper. Allow to cool completely.
  10. Cover the top and sides with the chocolate glaze.

For the chocolate glaze

  • 130g dark chocolate
  • 40g butter

Place in a small microwave proof bowl and heat on 50 per cent power for about 1 minute. Whip with a knife until smooth and shiny.

passionfruit-roasted nashi with feijoa fool

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Have you found the New Zealand Herald’s Food Hub yet? I love the revamped access to all their great recipes with the photo gallery format and the creator’s name making for easy and mouth watering viewing.

No doubt it will change over time but up there under the search box right here and now, it says “popular searches: feijoa…”

Many of those recipes are absolute tried and true classics by renowned New Zealand chefs such as Amanda Laird, Lois Daish and Jan Bilton.

Because it’s really feeling like autumn with the chilly temperatures and all those fabulous autumn fruits that are finally appearing, here’s something tantalising from Jan Bilton to warm a cool evening: passionfruit-roasted nashi with feijoa fool.

PASSIONFRUIT-ROASTED NASHI WITH FEIJOA FOOL 

Ingredients

  • 4 nashi pears
  • 8 tsp butter
  • 8 tsp brown sugar
  • 8 tsp passionfruit pulp
  • ½ cup cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 3 feijoas
  • Ground cinnamon to sprinkle

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly butter a small baking pan.
  2. Halve the nashi crosswise. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the cores.
  3. Divide the butter, brown sugar and passionfruit pulp evenly into the centres of the nashi.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tender.
  5. Meanwhile, whip the cream and icing sugar until thick. Mash in the feijoas and fold in.
  6. Serve the nashi warm accompanied by the feijoa fool sprinkled with a little cinnamon.

 

coconut feijoa cake

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Here’s the recipe for the exquisite cake I enjoyed recently at Hinterland Feijoas… it was perfectly wonderful and Sally knows the secret of baking with feijoas – chop the feijoas a bit on the chunky side so the fruit retains its unique flavour and the feijoa-ness just bursts across your taste buds. If you mash the fruit or cut it too fine, then the other flavours (like the coconut) can take over. It depends what you prefer, of course, but we’re all about the feijoa here.

The source of this cake is credited to New Zealand cook and face of the TV show ‘Food in a Minute’ Allyson Gofton, who received it from her friend Shirley.

COCONUT FEIJOA CAKE

Makes 1 cake

Ingredients

  • 150g butter
  • 1½ cups caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped feijoas

Method

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until light in colour and creamy in texture. Beat in the egg yolks.
  2. Fold in the coconut and sifted dry ingredients with the milk and fruit.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the cake mixture.
  4. Turn into a well-greased and lined 23 or 25cm cake tin.
  5. Bake at 180ºC for 1 hour or until a cake skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before turning out.
  6. Dust with icing sugar before serving or cover with a lemon icing prepared from icing sugar, grated lemon rind and lemon juice.
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