Saturday, 5 July 2014

One Flourishing Feijoa Season

Flourishing and fleeting. Two words that describe the highly sort-after and short lived season of the Feijoa. You know the drill, as the autumn season approaches we are welcomed with small supermarket batches at sky high prices. But if we wait, our patience is rewarded with significant price drops or bucket–load deliveries from aunties, cousins, neighbours and friends. I'm sure all you feijoa lovers can agree, it's truly a fabulous time of year.

Birds/Bees eye view.

The ultimate feijoa connoisseur in my eyes was my Poppa Lionel. He was a great man, hardworking, humble and very resourceful. And boy did he know his feijoas. I can still picture him standing in his kitchen, peeling the skin off each individual green gem ever so carefully, with a very sharp knife, as to not waste a millimetre of that sweet, tarty goodness. Into the pot they would go, with a dash of water and brown sugar to be softened and stewed. He loved having a big dollop atop his creamy morning porridge or warmed weetbix, with an extra bowl for his grateful grand daughter.  Lionel the feijoa legend. It’s rather humbling to know that my feijoa passion is genetic.

Straight from the tree. 

In true R.T.M. fashion when there is food to be enjoyed – cake is not far from the equation. First off was a spin on a favourite recipe, using the base cake from the trusty Raspberry-Coconut Slice here. I combined fresh feijoas, roasted rhubarb, coconut, vanilla and white chocolate. A simple, moist and special cake, allowing each of the flavours to sing in harmony. I jazzed it up a little with a jug of coconut custard – using coconut milk as the base, heilala vanilla bean paste and sweetened with maple syrup. My role was to play the middle-man in this cake journey. Sent from one thoughtful Dunedin based lady to her Auckland friend! Secret squirrel cake deliveries are surely becoming a thing.

Feijoa. Rhubarb. Coconut. White Chocolate. Cake.

The next cake was crafted out of a combination of late-night boredom, leftover salted caramel and a feijoa frenzy in the fruit bowl. A fragrant cinnamon vanilla cake dotted with juicy scooped feijoa halves, drizzled with salted caramel and wrapped completely in a white chocolate and salted caramel buttercream.  I had some fun with the piping bag on this baby. And word on the street was sweet, sweet satisfaction.

A Salted Caramel Feijoa encasement.

As the months get cooler, incorporating the healthful benefits of fresh ginger becomes a priority and a pleasure. I love the spicy depth that ginger brings and how it is so versatile in both sweet and savoury dishes. I retreated to my trusty Ripe Deli bible to consult another stunning recipe – this Feijoa and Ginger Layer Cake. Using both fresh and ground ginger in the cake base it was filled with layers of ginger-stewed feijoas and a few walnuts for crunch. All brought together by a fresh ginger spiked cream cheese icing. Feijoa and Ginger are old souls and this cake provided the perfect recipe to welcome a special friend for her big city visit.

Gingery Feijoa Layers.

With all those feijoas on hand I was determined to incorporate some into a savoury dish or dinner of some sort. Success came in the way of a Grilled Salmon Fillet with a Feijoa Salsa. Combined with red onion, chopped radish, mint, lemon juice and a handful of baby spinach leaves. With two of my favourites on one plate this intriguing combination was destined for greatness and thoughtfully devoured. 

Salmon & Salsa.

With fruit bowls still overflowing these lean, mean and green feijoa-laden breakfast options were going down a treat. First, a blended 'one bowl wonder' featuring feijoas, frozen banana, spinach, celery, rocket, mint, vanilla, cinnamon, maca and coconut water topped with chia seeds and toasted hazelnuts. Phew. So refreshing, so filling and so packed full of goodness. The kind of breakfast that after consumption you feel just about as good as Lara Bingle looks. 

Lean, green & mean. 

Finally an invention test, wait for it…Green Oats! Pureed/blended spinach, water, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, honey to sweeten, oats and feijoa pulp - embraced together by boiling on the stove. Served with natural yoghurt and a few slices of fresh feijoas. Nutritious AND delicious. I empathise that the thought of ‘green porridge’ may sound horrifying to some people. But if you close your eyes I promise you won’t know any different.
The Green Goblin of Porridge.

So with just a trace of their existence remaining, we embrace their fleeting visit. And anticipate the fine Feijoa's return in 2015. X