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Tudor curd cakes

Last week I made the Tudor curd cakes I mentioned in this post. I made them to take to a gathering of former school-friends, and I was in a hurry and forgot to take photos. But they looked very much like the photo on the recipe page.

And though at the time I shared a link to the recipe, I made a few adjustments, so I thought I’d share them with you.  I didn’t have orange flower water or rose water (which were common in Tudor times) .  I couldn’t be bothered going out to shop for them so I zested the peel of a lemon, and added the juice of half a lemon. I also used sultanas and currants as the dried fruit. They ended up having a faint lemon flavor which was very pleasant.

My friends enjoyed them and several people asked for the recipe, which I always think is a good sign. And I would definitely make them again.

I've got worms!

And I couldn’t be happier. And no, it’s not that sort of worm — I’m talking about my worm farm, which I set up a few weeks ago.

I had a compost bin and a worm farm at my old house, but for various reasons I wasn’t able to bring them with me when I moved. My new garden is much smaller, and mostly native plants, which don’t need much fertilizer, and in fact some of the plants thrive on poor soil. But my vegie boxes do need their soil enriched.

I was also feeling rather wasteful, throwing vegetable peelings and other compostables in the rubbish bin, so I bit the bullet and ordered a worm box on line, along with a supply of compost worms. Different worms do different jobs, and these worms live just beneath the surface and process vegie scraps, waste paper and other organic material into . . . well, worm poo, and worm wee. Both of which plants just love.


I set it up just outside the laundry door. I collect my scraps in a small bucket (with a lid) that sits on the kitchen bench and every day or two I take it out to the worm farm and pop them in. I chop everything up small to make it easier for the worms to process. You can see from the photo the kind of thing I mean. 

Eggshells, which they can’t process in big chunks — they have tiny mouths and no teeth — I let dry first and then grind to a sand-like texture in my stone mortar and pestle, which my parents brought back from their time in Penang. It takes barely a minute and it provides the worms with the grit they need for health. And it’s good for the soil, when it gets there.

I’m already collecting worm wee — they like to be kept damp, and the excess liquid trickles down and is collected, and from time to time I turn on the little tap at the base and collect it in a bottle, which I then dilute to the color of weak tea before I feed the plants with it.

Funny story. Another friend of mine has a worm farm, and one evening at dinner with friends I was mentioning how much I missed my old worm farm and compost bin, and a friend said, “I could give you some worm juice if you like.” (Yes, quite the high-brow dinner party discussions we have. <g>)

Our host, who had been in the kitchen and missed the context, had just put the next delicious course on the table. He looked at her in horror. “Worm juice?” he said, appalled. “What on earth do you do with that?” Clearly thinking this was some kind of frightful heath fad and that we would drink it. We laughed and explained.

I’m very happy to have a worm farm again. There’s no bad smell, and it’s using up my organic waste and turning it into something productive for my garden and my pot-plants. It’s a win win situation.

The last leaves of Autumn


Autumn leaves are pretty special here — our native vegetation is often very beautiful, but the plants that have leaves that turn gold or orange or scarlet are almost invariably exotics, imported from the northern hemisphere. So when I spot some spectacular autumn display it’s a treat.

I spotted this in a neighbor’s front yard coming home the other afternoon. The sun was shining through the last few autumn leaves of this tree and they were lit up gorgeously, as you can see.

I drove on past, then stopped, backed up, and got out to take a few photos.

Two days later and we had rain and storms, and last time I passed it, there was just one golden leaf, hanging valiantly on. I didn’t stop to take a photo as the rain was pelting down and I was a wimp. <g>

I really miss the glorious Virginia Creeper in my old garden — one whole fence was covered in glory every autumn — but not only have I moved, the entire  back yard has been bulldozed down to mud, and the creeper, and all my other lovely plants have been replaced by bricks. All that remains of that garden are my photos.