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Times of abundance, times of drought

Oh, the cooking!

This year has been a bit on the intensive side, so I haven’t been cooking — or, as I like to call it, FOODSPLORING — as much as I would like. But that’s okay. I’m on holidays at the moment, and that’s pretty damn sweet. Like everyone else in Australia, something went off in my head days before Christmas and I was compelled to STOCK THE FRIDGE. We bought everything we could at the markets and crammed it into the fridge.

Then I went out to Mumini and Dadini’s on Christmas Day: they too had answered the call. As had my brother and his wife — except, since they were leaving town for the season, their impulse to STOCK THE FRIDGE had resulted in stocking Mumini and Dadini’s fridge. That was one freaking packed fridge, I tell ya. For various reasons, they had an excess of fruit and made me (NO! I MUSTN’T! DON’T FOIST YOUR DELICIOUS ABUNDANCE ON ME!) take a bag home.

What I’m getting at here, is the house is stocked. STOCKED.

Trough of cherries from M’s dad’s annual crop? Check.

Buckets of citrus from various donating parties, including workmates and relatives far and near? Check.

Waaaay too many tortillas since I forgot that a ‘batch’ makes two? And therefore an attempt to make eight produces sixteen? Check.

So many breads.

So many breads.

Good grief. Don’t get me wrong: great problem to have! But with great problems come great responsibility, and before the house fills with fruit flies and the tortillas begin fermenting on the bench — after all, this is the Canberra summer, and it gets hot — this stuff needs dealing with.

Tortillas: rolled up and frozen. You need to stop them sticking together in one big tortilla stack cake, so you can put a sheet of baking paper or foil or something between them, but that seems like a waste of paper — so I’m trying rolling them up individually and freezing the little rolls. Since they won’t stick together, we can grab them one at a time as needed.

Citrus: the obvious solution is marmalade. So I did that.

Sticky. In a jar, but sticky.

Sticky. In a jar, but sticky.

I followed the incredibly straightforward SBS Food recipe, and it took a little longer to set than I thought. Turns out the setting temperature of jams is 104°C. My thermometer goes up to that, exactly, but it sets in motion a sense of deep doubt about all the previous jams I’ve ever made. Were they really set, or were people just being polite? And should I give a crap?

Moving on: cherries! As per figs and free time, I’m not entirely sure there’s such a thing as too many cherries. But let’s pretend there is. Having developed a recent interest/obsession with smoothies, I took the obvious tack and froze smoothie-size baggies of pitted cherries for upcoming smoothie events:

Sacked up.

Sacked up.

Perfecto.

My freezer is full of bottles of homemade stock, bread — after a hot spell where we couldn’t stand having the oven on, we made a big batch as soon as it was cool enough and stockpiled the freezer — tortillas and cherries.

Overabundance yet to be addressed: the many, many, starting-to-look-wrinkly apples on the bench (again: a combination of responding to the seasonal urge to STOCK THE FRIDGE and an overabundance from my parentals’ house). I’m thinking of stewing them with prunes (also in excess how does this even happen) and freezing. But the freezer is, uh, a bit full. Hm. What’s plan B? Pies?

Ooooh, hand pies, what a great idea. BRB

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