Lemon Sorbet

Winter time provides us with those lovely juicy lemons from the north and the best ever “limoncello”(see our recipe below). Since this fine liqueur is made from lemon peel you have lots of high vitamin C juice to process. We put the juice into ice cube trays for those cold winter months. You serve the lemon juice as a warm drink sweetened with honey, it provides that much needed pick me up for the winter blues. I always keep 1 cup of this lovely juice to make this refreshing lemon sorbet- a tantalising treat for the tongue!

270g sugar

650ml of water

1 cup of strained lemon juice

zest of 3 lemons (if you have any from making “limoncello”)

Mix zest with sugar in a food processor until you have only fine bits of zest. Set aside for 2 hours or overnight. Then heat zest sugar with water and bring to the boil until sugar is dissolved, continue to boil for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 hour. Stir in lemon juice and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Place in an ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturers instructions. Remove the sorbet from the ice cream maker and place in a container to further harden prior to serving.

Grape Juice

Grape harvest time in Central Otago is the most beautiful time of our year, the trees and vines have most fabulous autumnal colours. This recipe for grape juice  has been provided by the lovely Jan and Jim Fraser from Arrowtown. The recipe uses ripe grapes. 

Wash grapes, cover with water and heat slowly to a simmer. Do not boil. Cook slowly until fruit is very soft then strain through a jelly bag. Add 1/2 cup of sugar (or less) to each quart of juice. Heat slowly again before bottling into sterilised bottles, seal and label. Enjoy!

Grape Jelly

This is another fabulous recipe from the Fraser’s which uses slightly under ripe grapes. Wash grapes. Add 1/2 cup water to 4 cups grapes. Cut up two tart apples into small pices and add to the grapes. Cook until soft. Strain the juice through a jelly bag. Measure juice and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add an equal measure of sugar. Stir over heat until sugar has dissolved. Check for gel. Pour into sterilised jars, seal and label.

Green Tomato Chutney

Soon the first major autumn frost will arrive, unfortunately this will wipe out our high producing tomato plants as they are all grown outside. This recipe makes a lovely chutney that we enjoy on sausages or as a tasty alternative to tomato sauce.

3 lb green tomatoes

4 large onions

1 1/2 lb sugar

1 1/2 pints malt vinegar

1/2 tsp ground pepper

2 tbsp salt

2 tbsp curry powder

2 tbsp mustard powder

2 tbsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp cornflour

Cut up tomatoes and onions, sprinkle with salt and stand overnight. Pour off liquid, add sugar, pepper and vinegar. Boil until tender. Mix together the curry, mustard and cornflour to a paste with a little cold water. Add to pickle and boil a further half hour to thicken. Pot into sterilised jars, seal and label.

Plum and Cinnamon Jam

This recipe is a little winner! I recommend the use of any red plum with a bit of tart flavour for this recipe, such as damson plums.

1 kg plums

1 kg sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Score the plums in half. Put the fruit in the pot and add 250ml water, sugar and cinnamon. Cook gently over a moderate heat for 10-15 minutes, stir until sugar is dissolved. Now increase the heat until a full rolling boil and cook for a few more minutes until jam has reached it’s setting point. Remove the plum stones from the pan using a colander style spoon. Pour into sterilised bottles, seal and label. Yum!

Lemon Cordial

This lemon cordial recipe makes a great tasting lemonade to enjoy all year round. The taste is very lemony but not too sweet. Our kids love our lemonade- it’s also great to know they are getting their vitamin C. For this recipe we use organic lemons, mainly sent to us from my lovely aunt Margaret in Katikati. 

20 lemons

2 kg sugar

2 litres of water

1 dsp tartaric acid

Firstly peel all the lemons with a potato peeler. Try not to get any of the white plinth. Place the lemon peel in a food processor with half of the sugar. Whizz until the peel is blended with the sugar. Squeeze all the juice from the lemons. The volume of the juice should be approximately 1 litre. Heat in a large saucepan the 2 litres of water with the remaining sugar. When the water syrup almost reaches the boil add the blended lemon peel and sugar. Stir until all sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon juice and the tartaric acid. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes then sieve through a fine mesh and pour into sterilised bottles.   Store in the refrigerator. To make up your lemonade add quarter of the chilled lemon cordial to a glass with ice cubes and add filtered water. 

 Apple Butter

This apple butter is great in the pantry cupboard- use it as the instant apple filling for apple shortcake. Our apple butter is made with our favourite cooking apple in the garden ‘Monty’s Surprise’. This apple has been researched by Crop and Food Research centre and found to be the apple with the highest antioxidants and anti-cancer agents of any heritage and commercial apple varieties tested in New Zealand.

1.8kg cooking apples (peeled, cored and chopped)

cinnamon stick

5cm root ginger crushed

1/2 nutmeg crushed (optional)

6 cloves

1.35kg sugar

Put the apples and 450ml water in a large saucepan and simmer for 45-60 minutes until the mixture is a thick puree. Wrap all the spices loosely in a muslin bag. Add to the puree with the sugar and stir well. Simmer over low heat, stirring to slowly dissolve sugar, for up to 1 1/2 hours. Keep watch so it doesn’t burn. To test the butter is ready, allow a spoonful to cool on a plate, when it is ready it will hold its shape. Remove the spice bag, pot into sterilised jars, seal and label.

Crabapple Jelly

We made this jelly with some crabapples the McMillans from Bannockburn kindly gave us. The jelly was beautiful, a real favourite with the kids.

1.5kg crabapples

pared rind of 1 lemon

5cm piece of fresh root ginger, crushed

cinnamon stick

500g sugar for each 600ml of juice

Put the apples and 1.2 litres of water in a large saucepan. Add the apples, lemon, ginger, cinnamon. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until apples have collapsed and are pulpy. Spoon the mixture into a jelly bag and leave to drip overnight.

Measure the juice and weigh out the correct amount of sugar. Put in large saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cook at a full rolling boil and then test for a set.

When reached setting point, pot into sterilised jars, seal and label.


My lovely aunt Margaret in Katikati sent down 5kg of Lemons ‘Meyer’ variety. These lemons are un-waxed and juicy. The skins had a nice lemon smell which makes them well suited to making Limoncello- an appertif you have after a yummy pizza.

Step 1

20 lemons

2 x 750ml vodka

Wash lemons well, dry then peel skins with a potato peeler. Ensure no white pith is removed with the peel. Place in a demijohn. Pour over vodka and allow to steep for 2-3 months.

Step 2

2-3 c water

2-4 c sugar (a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water makes a classic simple syrup-add more sugar if you desire sweeter and thicker)

Put in saucepan, stir and slowly heat until disssolved completely. Cool. Pour syrup into lemon/vodka mixture. Steep for 2 weeks.

Step 3

Strain, pour into sterilised bottles, settle for 1 week before using. Enjoy with family and friends !!

Pizza Sauce

If you want the x-factor with those wood-fired pizzas this is definately the pizza sauce to make!!

1.5kg tomatoes cut into wedges

1 onion cut into wedges

5 cloves of garlic

1 dsp chopped rosemary leaves

1-2 chillis seeded and chopped

1/4 c tomato paste

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

ground black pepper

Place tomatoes, onions, chilli, garlic and rosemary leaves in a roasting dish. In a small bowl mix together the tomato paste, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix together with vegetables in roasting dish. Bake at 160 C for approximately 2 hours or until the vegetables  caramelize and shrivel a little. Puree in a food processor. Return to saucepan and bring to the boil, while hot pour into sterilised jars. Cover then seal.

Apricot Lavender Preserve

I just adore the taste and smell of lavender.  This apricot lavender preserve really encapsulates my sensory response to lavender. Please give it a try, it really is gorgeous!

2 lbs just-ripe apricots

1 3/4 lbs sugar

1/4- 1/2 c organic lavender flowers, fresh or dried

freshly squeezed juice of a lemon

Cut the apricots into quarters and remove the stones. Put the fruit, 400ml water and lemon juice into a preserving pan, and bring the mixture to the boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until the fruit is soft. Add sugar, allowing it to dissolve into the fruit. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to the a full rolling boil. Boil for 1o minutes. Stir in the lavender flowers and reduce the heat, cooking another 5 minutes. Pour into sterilised glass jars and seal.

Zucchini Lemon Curd

We plant the golden zucchini in our garden purely for making this lemon curd. Since it does not contain eggs the preserve can be kept longer on the pantry shelf. Our kids dislike zucchinis but hey presto, they don’t even know they are in it!! Yummy on ice-cream.

1 kg ‘Gold Rush’ Zucchini

juice and zest of 3 lemons

1kg sugar

125 g butter

Chop zucchini finely and steam until tender. Puree in food processor. Place zucchini pulp in a pot with the rest of the ingredients and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and boil for about 30 minutes, until the curd is thick and creamy like lemon honey. Pour into warm, sterilised glass jars and seal.

Loganberry Custard Tart

This really is so simple and just beautiful with fresh homegrown Loganberries.

Shortcrust Pastry

3 Cups of Custard

2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

2 tsp Mixed Spice

2 c Loganberries

Bake pastry blind in a flan dish at 180 C until golden brown. Add custard. Sprinkle with brown sugar/ mixed spice mix.

Place freshly picked loganberries on top of custard tart and serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s