Here we go raiding the mulberry bush

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hear that? I swear I heard the buzz of cicadas. Sounds like summer’s on its way!

Of course, if I lived somewhere else in Australia, say the Outback or Far North Queensland, or even just a little further inland, I probably wouldn’t love summer so much. It can be ferociously hot, there’s alway the threat of bush fires, and the flies would drive me round the bend.

But we are very, very extremely lucky to live near the coast. Where summer means lazy beach days, cool evening breezes, barbecues and floaty dresses. I love this time of year, when the temperature is starting to rise, the jacarandas are in bloom and the scent of jasmine hangs heavily in the air. A simple thing like walking MC Senior to school can leave me smiling the whole day.

That’s the other lucky part about where we live. It’s pretty concentrated, so we can walk almost everywhere. And on one of these walks, I stumbled onto another happy, Sydney summer moment - a laden mulberry tree, ripe for foraging!

We’ve lived in this area for over a dozen years and this is the first time I’ve come across the tree.  When I went past, it looked as if no one else had realised it was there, but by the time I came back the next day with MC Senior and containers in tow, word must have got out.  We passed many, many, people heading away from the tree, carrying containers and bags laden with fruit. I felt like yelling, “Go away, it’s my tree, I saw it first!”. But of course, that would be immature, and of course we all know I am very much a responsible adult - ahem! But I needn’t have worried, the tree had produced enough bounty that even after the hordes of people had gone past, we still managed to pick close to a kilogram of fruit (maybe two pounds?)

Even when I returned the next day with MC Junior, who had missed out the day before, the tree still had enough to give. However, we weren’t as prepared as some of the people there. The fruit on the upper branches which received the most sun, were much sweeter. A resourceful gentleman and his daughter had come armed with a ball, which they threw at the branches to dislodges fruit. Other kids came armed with long sticks to whack the branches with. Our tactic involved the tallest person (though not by much) tugging the branches, and the two MC’s acting as “eyes” to pick the fruit that fell.

 Yes, I do realise not all the fruit is very ripe, I had very zealous helpers!

Of course we got pretty stained in the process but that’s just another quintessential Sydney moment to add to the memory box.

We ate the mulberries fresh, popped them on top of simple lemon cupcakes, and turned the rest into a simple rustic pie, very similar to the one I made with strawberries last year.

Enjoy your weekend wherever you are :)


grace said...

sigh. just as you gear up to enjoy the warmth, i've begun turning on my space heater in the mornings. woe is me. :)

Jill Colonna said...

Oh, I need to move to your part of the world. Sounds wonderful how you're so near the beach, too. Even your mulberry tree is amazing: ours just takes over the garden and the fruit is useless (except the birds would disagree.) That pie looks incredible!

Ameena said...

Looks divine! You are one talented lady.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

We're hunters gatherers at heart - the cavemen had it right! The results of your forage look wonderful...... Enjoy your weekend, and protecting your tree is FAR from childish. I would have had the same exact thoughts! LOL

Beth said...

Your pie looks just gorgeous. I'm just dying to visit Sydney. It's a long flight, but I know someday I'll make it there!

Lora said...

What could be better than the two lovely sweets you made out of those hand picked beauties. This made me smile as we hurdle towards winter in these parts.

Anh said...

how exciting!

And I am with you about Aus summer. Can be so annoying, especially the flies!

Hungry Dog said...

I love this post, although it makes me rather jealous that you are entering your summer. But I love reading about your outings with the little ones. What fun! Now, about these mullberries--they are lovely! And I'm not sure which looks more enticing, those adorable cupcakes or that simply gorgeous pie. Both have my mouth watering!

Juliana said...

Shaz, as your weather is getting warmer, we are getting colder :-)
Fresh mulberries look great.
Hope you have a great week ahead!

Fiona said...

Love the mulberry cobbler - that's what I always made with mulberries whenever I got hold of some. Bought a bag of dried mulberries in Kashgar - never saw those before!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Mulberries are such beautiful fruit. Unfortunately I've never seen them in the stores. I guess you kind of have to grow your own .
*kisses* HH

Divya Yadava said...

The pie looks divine! Lately, I'm going crazy about mulberries. Dried mulberries in my cereal, mulberry tea in the get the picture :P

shaz said...

grace - I should have known better. The weather turned this week and it's gone back to winter chills.

Jill Colonna - we are so lucky to live in our part of the world. But yours isn't too shabby either :)

Ameena - thank you

Kitchen Butterfly - indeed! I am always on the lookout for edible things I can steal, err, I mean forage.

Beth - I do hope you make it here one day, would love to meet you.

Lora - keep warm!

Anh - I know, that's one part of summer I don't look forward to.

Hungry Dog - thank you. I'm just glad the little ones had a chance to pick these as we live in an apartment and don't have much of a backyard or any trees of our own to speak of.

Juliana - thank you! Hope you have a great weekend too.

Fiona - oooh, wonder what you'll make with those dried mulberries, can't wait to see.

Heavenly Housewife - I think they don't travel well. I've seen some in stores but they were very expensive and not all that fresh looking.

Divya Yadava - mulberry tea sounds refreshing!