Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Finger lime defoliating

4 weeks since I brought the red finger lime tree back to Melbourne and the tree is not doing well. The leaves started falling even though I brought it indoors due to the the cold weather at night. It must be stressed due to the change in environment or maybe the soil is not appropriate. I am unsure the reasons but am hoping it survives.

I bought some seasol and mixed it with water per instructions and will add this to the plant every week for the first 2-3 weeks. Then maybe every fortnight till the leaves appear again. I also added a little epsom salt to the soil.

There are some reddish dots on the branches, not sure if they are new bubs. 

Anyone with tips to get this plant back with leaves would be much appreciated.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A&W Root Beer Pork Ribs on a Weber Q

Here's a great recipe I recently tried out and adapted from several recipe's I read re Cola Pork Ribs. I did this low and slow for about 4.5 hours on the Weber Q220.

Marinade 2 racks of American style pork ribs for about 2-4 hours. For the marinade I used the below:
    • 1 can of A&W root beer (or Cola if you don't have root beer)
    • 1/2 cup or 1 cup tomato sauce or tomato paste. (depending on your taste)
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 tbs salt
    • 1 tbs pepper
    • 1 tbs mustard powder
    • refrigerate in fridge
After 2-4 hours in the marinade, remove and pat dry with paper towel (save the marinade for later). Add mustard and dry rub on the 2 racks of ribs. Rubs can be what you like. I used a rub for which contained your normal salt, various peppers, paprika, and a few other spices. I also added some freshly chopped rosemary. It is important to add mustard in the rub as it helps bind and crust the ribs in the first stage of cooking. You will not taste the mustard in the end product.

Ribs marinated and dry rubbed

I used a baking tray under the ribs and added water, apple juice, and if you have some wood chips to add some smoke to the cooking process. The water helps to prevent dryness in the ribs and they should come out a little moist.
Set up your Weber Q with double layer foil and the trivet on top of it and preheat at low for 10mins. Then I added the baking tray with another trivet on top of it to hold the ribs away from the water. So it should be foil, trivet, baking tray, trivet then meat. Set the Weber to the lowest setting and try to maintain the temperature around 130-135C (or 275F). Cook for about 3 hours or until the bark forms and the meat starts pulling away from the bone.

Ribs on the trivet starting to cook


Maintain temp at 135'C (275F)

Ribs after about 2.5 hours

 While the ribs are cooking, prepare the sauce for the ribs. Use the earlier marinade left after marinating the ribs and bring it to boil. Add more brown sugar and salt/pepper to taste.  Remove 1 cup or more to use as a basting sauce to coat the ribs while cooking. I added more sugar to this to give the ribs a good glaze and charr the ribs a little more.

1 rack foiled with apple juice and 1 rack unfoiled

After 3 hours, I wanted to try foiling one of the racks and added apple juice in the foil to "steam" the ribs and make them moist and tender. Foil it for 1 hour and remove it to baste sauce on it for the final 30mins. For the unfoiled rack, I started basting with the basting sauce every 20 mins or so.

After 1 hour foiling, remove the foiled rack and started basting with sauce. This will start to brown up the ribs and give it a good glaze and charring. After about 25mins, I increased the heat in the last 10mins to give it more charring
Basting ribs in the sauce

Ribs - using foil

Ribs - unfoiled

There was a difference in taste for both racks even though the basting sauce was the same. The foiling made a difference. We both liked the unfoiled version. However, I think the foiled rib rack probably needed another 30mins or so more time to charr. That will be an experiment the next time I cook these yummy ribs up. Both were tender and juicy and not dry at all. Keep the sauce thin, you want to taste the meat. You can have the left over sauce on the side if anyone wants extra sauce for their ribs.

Some bbq tips:

  • BBQ is ready when it’s ready (no need to hurry - have more beer) 
  • Less is more (less smoke, less rub, less add-ons) 
  • Too tender is good! 
  • Foiling is good! 
  • Grilling is NOT barbequing; BBQ is low-and-slow 
  • Always have FUN when you BBQ even if results are otherwise!

Red Finger Lime - Australian native

During my research on citrus I came across the finger lime plant which I had not heard of before. The finger lime or Citrus Australasica (Microcitrus Australasica) is native to Australia and found wild as an under-storey shrub in the Australian rainforests of Queensland and northern New South Wales. It grows naturally in heavy shade in areas of high rainfall, but also appears at the edge of cleared forest where there is more sunlight.
The fruit is cylindrical, up to 12cms long and can be green, yellow, red, purple or black when ripe. The pulp is usually greenish yellow. There is also a naturally occurring pink-red fleshed form of finger lime known as Citrus australasica var. sanguinea. The pulp of the fruit is unique with separate juice vesicles that resemble caviar. The individual juice vesicles (sometimes referred to as crystals) are compressed inside the fruit and burst out when the fruit is opened. Great for gourmet foods, dressings, salads and cocktails and very sought after by gourmet restauranteurs ...  the Caviar Lime.

During a recent family holiday to the Gold Coast it was the perfect time to search for a Finger Lime tree. A few family members liked the markets so off we went to several Gold Coast markets during the week. At our 3rd market, I finally found the finger lime plant, it was a grafted red finger lime (probably Citrus Australasica Sanguinea) Still a young plant and small enough that I could take it back to Melbourne with me. The seller told me it might fruit maybe in a year's time, maybe two years. I'll wait for the first flowers to see if they are 3 petals or 5 petals. Most finger limes are 3 petals and the red fleshed finger lime is suppose to have 5 petals on their flowers.

Below are some pictures of the my red finger lime. Hoping it will survive in Melbourne and not die of frost. I've brought it indoors on colder nights. The plant has loss quite a fair bit of leaves since being moved from the Gold Coast to its new home. Probably due to all stress and change in environment.

I've put in a new plastic self watering pot from Bunnings and potting mix which were for roses. It had blood and bone mixed in. Being careful not to fertilize it yet till spring which is round the corner.

Grafted Red Finger Lime - Aug 2012

Grafted Red Finger Lime - Aug 2012

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Citrus - dwarf lemon, cumquat and orange

I was first introduced to citrus when I was a child with a couple of cumquat plants in the garden and remember always loving a good cumquat drink after a hot day at school. This blog is to track my success and learning's on growing citrus at home in Melbourne Australia.

In May 2012 I ventured into getting some citrus plants for our small backyard. Searched online and finally went into ebay to purchased 5 plants which I thought were cheap. After more research and reading about cuttings and grafted plants, I realised I had made a mistake by purchasing the 5 citrus plants which were cutting grown. Cutting grown plants will take many more years to start producing fruit (if ever) and are more prone to disease. So the search continued.

After more reading, I settled on getting a dwarfed lemon tree due to space constraints in the backyard. I found a nursery in Monbulk, and purchased a dwarfed lemon meyer tree, a dwarfed orange valencia and a cumquat. These were all grafted plants and there were some fruits on the lemon tree and the cumquat.

Dwarf Lemon Meyer - May 2012
Cumquat - May 2012

Dwarf Orange Valencia - May 2012
I re-potted them using Debco Premium Potting Mix with Osmocote slow release citrus fertilizer. My journey is just starting and being winter in Melbourne, Australia, I'm hoping they don't suffer due to frost on a particularly cold night.