Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rosella Jam (again)

disolved sugar. Rosella Jam
(The first Batch)

I'm quickly typing this while some more Rosellas bubble away on the stove! This is my third and final Batch. Enough's enough!
I'm talking about Rosella jam and if you've never tasted it man you're missing something special! The plant Rosellas come from grows in the tropics so it's quite likely if you live in a temporate climate you've never heard of this jam.

Rosellas harvested from Ubud Botanic Garden
(Rosella calixes. Jam aficionado behind, Ubud Botanic Gardens)

While in Bali we visited the botanic gardens in Ubud. I noticed there were some familiar Hibiscus bushes scattered through the garden. They were Hibiscus Sabdariffa (Rosella bushes). Back at reception on our way out I stopped to talk to the lady at the counter who had a basket full of very large Rosella calixes. On the counter were bags of Rosella tea and when she opened the door to the fridge it was full of jam jars.

Rosella Jam

Rosella tea

Inevitably we got talking about rosella jam and I came away with a jar of some very delicious jam made right there at the Ubud botanic gardens. Great products!

Rosellas, full fruit including calix
(Complete fruits)

A couple of weeks after getting back to Darwin I headed out to a spot where I can usually find Rosellas at this time of year (Between the end of April and early June). There were heaps there but picking Rosellas takes a fair bit of time so I only took one shopping bag full. This was enough for me to cook up 6 jars of jam, twice the number I made last year!

Rosella Jam, 6 jars of the best
(First Batch of jam)

The jam turned out fantastically! I don't like to cook it too long and use as little sugar as possible. Fortunately I had enough pectin for it to set just right.

After this great success I went back out there and picked another bag full which I soon converted into another 5 jars worth. This time I used less sugar and cooked for only 10-15 minutes. The result was thinner and much more tart but great on toast!

This is the most I've ever made and I've been distributing the jam to friends all over the place. Finally I went back out one more time and collected another bag full which converted down to 1kg of calixes. They are bubbling away on the stove right now and I can smell them cooking. I thought I'd blog about them while they cook as a means of distracting myself so I don't interupt the process before time. I just want to give them a bit more time than the last batch.

I expect after having cooked this batch I would have created about 4 litres of jam! That's so cool.
If you've never tasted it you've gotta try it. I suppose the closest flavour that matches it might be rhubarb. It has the same tartyness and is red but doesn't quite match the special flavour.

Get some if you can. It's awesome!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

What's been happening?

It's been a pretty busy couple of weeks since we got back from Bali...
The routine of work, school etc...,

Ordination and Induction

We had a weekend in Jabiru where we experienced some rock art, a lovely swimming pool, the very real prospect of running out of fuel at dusk on the way back from Ubirr... (We had the air con off, and our fingers crossed as we and held our breath and traveled at a speed of 70-80 kmh for the last 20km), the Ordination of a Uniting Church Minister, and a couple of very friendly Red-tailed Black Cockatoos.

Red-tailed black cockatoo
(Red-tailed Black Cockatoo)

A kid's party on a Friday night followed by the Sea Breeze festival on Saturday where we got to see some fantastic dancing including a traditional dance group from Lombok, a Pacific Island group whose lead dancer was absolutely mesmerizing and the local belly dancing troupe a member of which, I realized at some stage through the show, was my old library Cataloging teacher! It was a Great day and the kids loved it!

Rraywala memorial plaque
(Rraywala memorial plaque)

Last Sunday was a very special event. There was a long overdue memorial service in honour of a Yolngu man called Rraywala who was instrumental to the work of Anthropologist Donald Thompson and served Australia during WWII. However he was never given the recognition he deserved... It's no mystery why!
It was a very moving ceremony which was brought about primarily due to the work of researchers from the Museum of Victoria. Rraywala and Thompson became very close friends, brothers and the families of both men came together at the service as a symbol of the connection that continues to exist brought about by two extraordinary men.
It was an honour to be there and to hear the story of Rraywala's valour and the two men's commitment. I felt sad to think of this man who's own family may have been persecuted by white pastoralists, and had the grace to forgive and even assist them, had been neglected and treated so poorly.
I would like to learn more about this man and I hope that his story does become more prominent in the recorded history of this country.

There must have been about 100 people there. Heaps came from Ramingining, Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak, as well as the Thompson family, researchers and invited guests. A large proportion of the people came back to Nightcliff Uniting Church for lunch. There was a great feeling in the air and it felt like a celebration. I guess it was! Some of the stories might have taken us Balanda by surprise but the hard truth has been with these people ever since white settlement. Betrayal and disappointment seem to be fairly common events in our history.

I don't know what else I can say about the day. I don't really have authority to speak about it anyway . I can't say it made me proud to be an Australian but it did give me a little more insight into the capacity Yolngu have for patience and forgiveness. I don't envy Thompson who appeared to have humbly received their gifts of knowledge and help, but be powerless to afford Rraywala the equal level of respect from Balanda society!
I noticed someone else has written about the service why don't you check out the 'Two Worlds' blog if you want to read another person's impression of the day.

May Day March 04.04.09
(Marching against the Marina)

Monday was the May Day March. There were quite a few of us marching against the proposed East Point Marina! I can't believe that crappy proposal! It's such a ridiculous proposition people are starting to think it's a decoy for what might be proposed as a less offensive development project later down the line. It is that unbelievable!

Tiles lifted
(Tiles.. bubbled and busted!)

Oh and finally one day this week... can't remember which one... The tiles in our lounge room exploded up off the concrete! Unbelievable!