Monthly Archives: April 2015

Committed to the Figs

Fig PasteYesterday we visited some friends of ours for an impromptu afternoon tea, that turned into dinner and a couple of glasses of wine.  They live on an amazing property in north Auckland and have several fruit trees including a large fig tree.  I was offered some figs, which I eagerly accepted because I’ve never eaten them (as far as I can remember) and was excited at the prospect of what I could do with them.

20150427_123217This morning we woke to horrendous weather…..high winds, heaving rain.  Not the kind of weather than you voluntarily go out in unless you want to make Fig Paste and don’t have all the ingredients!  I wasn’t confident that the figs would last until next weekend so action had to be taken…..out in the weather I went, to the supermarket.

The Fig Paste looks like it turned out great, but as they say the proof is in the tasting which I’m about to do with some yummy cheese!

Fig Paste


  • 3 pounds fresh figs, stemmed, cut into quarters
  • 2.5 cups red wine, such as Syrah
  • 2 cups Jam Setting sugar
  • 1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons (1 tablespoon)


  1.  Place figs into a food processor and pulse until they are completely minced.
  2.  Place the figs into a saucepan with the wine, sugar and lemon juice/zest, and stir until the sugar dissolves and you are left with a clearer, deeper coloured mixture.
  3.  Allow to simmer over a low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. When it starts to thicken do setting tests on a chilled saucer until the paste is set like jam.
  4.  Pour the fig paste into sterilized jars until they are 2mm from the rim.

ANZAC Biscuits

ANZAC BiscuitsWhat else would you make on ANZAC Day?  I looked in a couple of recipe books and they all seem to have the same ingredients, just different quantities.  They are REALLY quick and easy to make so a great option for kids.

I followed this recipe, except that the version I had didn’t include the raisins and almonds.

UPDATE:  I found another recipe that I now prefer.  It’s got twice as much Oats and so doesn’t spread as thin as the other recipe.  Just a personal choice really 🙂  I also threw in some sultanas which worked out great!

For those of you who don’t what ANZAC Day is about for New Zealand, Anzac Day occurs on 25 April. It commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war and also honours returned servicemen and women.

Lest we ForgetThe date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles, the gateway to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. At the end of the campaign, Gallipoli was still held by its Turkish defenders.

Thousands lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign: 87,000 Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, including 8500 Australians.  Among the dead were 2779 New Zealanders, about a fifth of those who served on Gallipoli.

My Great Grandfather’s first cousin, William Copland (a.k.a. William Thaxter) was killed 8th August 1915, aged 31, in Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli, Turkey.



!HOT! Chili Sauce

Chili SauceMy husband is a BIG chili pepper fan so for the past few years we’ve always had one or two plants.  Some were successful (aka produced hot chilies, and lived), some not so much.  Unfortunately over Winter last year our two best plants died for some unknown reason.  The big problem, come Summer was that neither of us could remember what type of chili they were.

Chili PlantsSo, “Operation Chili Plant” was started.  We bought 6 different plants and have slowly over the Summer been testing them.  We’ve planted Apache, Fatalii, Habenaro, Serrano, Jalapeno and Thai Chili Hot.  In hindsight, we probably could have just looked on the Scoville Scale and used that as a guide….but oh well.  Getting Hubby to eat them is much more entertaining.

Most of the plants did really well, especially the Fatalii and Serrano plants.  We have patiently been waiting for them to turn red and over the Summer have picked a few, drying them either naturally or in the oven on a low heat (80degC) for 3-4 hours then grinding them into Chili Flakes.

Chili Sauce 2The past weekend we picked a big batch and decided to make Chili Sauce.  We searched the internet for recipes and came across this great site with a number of options.  We decided on the Fatalii Hot Sauce, but pretty much used all the chilis we had, so didn’t limit it to just Fataliis.

I have not tried the sauce….quite frankly I’m too scared to.  Hubby says it’s HOT HOT HOT!  Perfect!  Well….for him anyway.