The loganberry wasn’t named after the Jimmy Logan from down Logan way. The hybrid loganberry was named after a certain workhorse lawyer/horticulturist James Logan who toiled like a Trojan – in his garden, at least. A slogan definitely states he was neither a bogan from Logan, nor was he from the Shire of Bogan.
Loganberries were actually the result of a blooper made by our fumbling lawyer Logan, probably after a long night arguing his case with a bottle of whisky. In his hungover state, Logan unintentionally crossed a raspberry and a blackberry. Rather than the two berries giving legal-eagle James the raspberry for his blunder, they gave him a loganberry in lieu. (I made up the bit about him being hungover...but you never know....)
I’ve not eaten a loganberry, but I am wondering if I simultaneously toss a raspberry and blackberry into my gob would I be eating a loganberry? I’ll give it a go, then I’ll let you know the fruits of my laborious experiment.
It’s long gone since I’ve enjoyed a longan. Sweet, succulent longans are closely related to the equally luscious lychees.
When I loitered around tropical north Queensland, not only did I terrorise the locals, but I also lavishly indulged in loads of lychees, as well as lots of lush longans I legally purchased from the local farmers’ stalls along the lanes and roadsides. And, of course, I couldn't ignore the rambutans rambunctiously begging to be purchased in boxes next to their cousins.
Longans and lychees originate from southern China. In the late 1800s the Chinese gold-miners who lobbed on the northern gold fields of tropical Far North Queensland in search of the mother lode, all arrived laden with longans and lychees. Lucky for us!
By the way, we should gobble up lots of lychees; they are considered to be a symbol of love and romance.
For me, I'll forego the love and romance nonsense - I’m searching for a mother lode of a Lotto win. I’m eating every variety of fresh fruits I can lay my hands on - in abundance! Something will work. I’ll strike it lucky one day – and be healthy at the same time!
Loquats also originally landed from China. The elusive loquat is difficult to locate these days. Does anyone local have a loquat tree in their yard? I long to know - why have loquats lost their lustre?
The last time I lingered at length beside a loquat tree was when I lived and worked in Glenden, 165kms west of Mackay - when I was the chef at “Lorikeets’ Restaurant” back in 1991/92.
Long before my Glenden loquat feast I’d not eaten loquats since I was a little girl leaping around the hills and dales of Gympie. We had a very healthy tree growing at one corner of our front yard. Year after year it produces bucketfuls of fruit...not that we gave the tree’s bounty much time to fill the buckets. My brother and I, along with our mates usually devoured the oval yellow fruit directly from the tree, pelting each other with the seeds (and some of the over-ripe fruit) in the meanwhile.
On many occasions our Nana managed beat us to the tree. She’d gather some of the fruit when we were at school and magically turn it into jam, or delicious chutney. Throughout the years of our childhood and beyond our healthy loquat tree generously produced fruit, enough to suit and feed our needs.
Blimey! Let’s not forget limes!
Delicious, lush limes are grown in tropical climes year round. With limes readily available it’d be a crime not to enjoy limes at all times.
From finger limes to round/dooja limes; to desert limes and mountain white limes to Kaffir, Kakadu or Humpty Doo limes; as well as blood, wild and sunrise limes – there is no limit on the largesse of the sublime lime. Limes are always in their prime.
Here’s a lulu for you…have you ever eaten a lulo? Better still, have you ever heard of a lulo? It’s a small fruit native to the Andes in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Lulo flesh tastes like a blend of pineapple and lemon.
And then, on top of that, to confuse us even further, there’s the lúcuma aka lucmo. The subtropical fruit lucmo is also known as “Gold of the Incas”. Native to Peru’s Andean valleys, it’s an ancient super-food that can be traced back 8000 BC. I wasn’t around in those days so I can’t verify if this is true, but thousands of lucid Peruvians who are prepared to lay their word on the line, have proven it to be so.
A lúcuma is like a little pawpaw (papaya to those of you in the Northern Hemisphere). The lúcuma is loaded with health benefits. If you’re looking for a cane sugar substitute the powder made from lúcuma is supposed to do the trick.
In Peru they queue for lucmo; maybe they do in Yokomo, too. Adding lúcuma powder to drinks and shakes livens up the brew.
Lastly, while on the subject of fruits beginning with the letter “L” – you’ve no doubt noticed the leitmotif of my literary treatise (my leeway allows me the liberty of latitude) - I can’t leave out the leader of the bunch - the ever loyal lemon. I have to squeeze in lemons; jam them in.
What would life be like without lemons to liven it up? Lemons add zest!
Loganberry Cake (or any berry): Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Base-line and grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Blitz 140g ground almonds, 140g softened butter, 140g golden caster sugar, 140g S.R. flour, 2 eggs and 1tsp vanilla in processor until well combined. Spread half the batter over cake tin; smooth top; scatter the loganberries or whatever other berries you use over the batter; then dollop remaining cake mixture on top and roughly spread; easier to do using your fingers. Scatter with flaked almonds (about 2tbs); bake 50mins until golden; cool; remove from cake tin; dust with icing sugar to serve.
Lychee (or Longan) Chicken Curry: Heat 2tsp oil in saucepan; add 1 sliced red onion, 1 sliced red capsicum and 200g quartered button mushrooms; cook 3-5mins; add 1tsp each crushed ginger and garlic, 2tbs red curry paste and 1tsp turmeric; cook 1-2mins; add 1c chick stock and 1c coconut milk; boil; add 520g chicken, cut into 3cm pieces; simmer 4mins. Add 200g green beans, cut into 3cm lengths, 100g sugar snap peas; simmer 3-4mins; add 16 fresh peeled, pitted lychees (or longans); cook 1min.
Lychee Lime Sorbet: Puree 4 generous cups peeled, pitted fresh lychees; add 1c water, juice and zest of 1 large lime, 2/3rd cup agave syrup or other preferred sweetener and 2 to 4tbs fresh basil leaves (or mint); puree until smooth; perhaps in 2 batches. Chill; process in ice cream maker 20-25mins; or make it without using maker. Freeze 2-3hrs.
Lúcuma Slice: Whizz until chunky 1c medjool dates and 1c almonds; press into bottom of slice tray or moulds; freeze while whizzing together 3tbs cashew or coconut butter, 3tbs lúcuma powder, 3tbs cacao butter or coconut oil, 2tbs maple syrup, 1tsp vanilla bean paste and ½ to 1tsp Himalayan salt. Spread finger-width thick on top of base; chill. Combine 3tbs cacao powder, 2tbs maple syrup, 3tbs melted cacao butter or coconut butter and 1/2tsp sea or Himalayan salt; spread evenly over top; chill until completely cool. Cut into squares if set in slice tray.
Lemon-Lime Bars: Line 8-inch square pan with foil; extend over 2 ends. Melt 6tbs butter; stir in 1c plain flour, 1tbs sugar and pinch of salt until crumbly; press into base of pan. Bake in 190C oven 15-20mins. Whisk 1/3c each lemon and lime juice, 1 can condensed milk and 2 large eggs; pour over crust; bake 20-25mins. When cool remove from pan; cut into squares.
Loquat Jam: Wash, de-seed and quarter enough loquats to make 8 cupfuls; add lemon juice to prevent them from browning; the lemon juice is also necessary for the jam to thicken. Put loquats, 6c sugar and loquats (including the lemon juice) in large pot over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cut 1 vanilla bean in half; add to fruit; bring to bpil while stirring constantly; then reduce to a low simmer. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Cook for approximately 1 hour. At 30 minute mark, remove vanilla from the jam. Using a stick blender, blend loquats; leave some texture, if preferred; or you can make it smooth, but lumpy is good! Add the vanilla bean again; continue to cook for another 30mins, until jam is thick, stirring frequently. Ladle into sterilized jars; seal. Finish off the sterilization process in a boiling water bath. If you don’t do the latter step, store the jam in the fridge. (And always store in fridge after opening).
Loquat Chutney: Trim stem and flower ends of loquats; remove stones and membrane; ending up with 650g fruit; no need to peel the loquats. Peel and cube 4 large Granny Smith apples; cut 300g dried apricots into strips. Peel 80g fresh ginger, and then julienne. Grab 4tbs mustard seeds; crush some to release flavour, but leave majority whole. Put all ingredients together with 500g raw sugar, 750ml cider vinegar, 2tsp salt and 2tsp crushed chillies into large pot; bring to boil. Simmer about 90mins, until apple is cooked to a pulp; stir occasionally to stop sticking to bottom of pot. Heat some clean jars in hot oven to sterilise them. Pour hot chutney into hot jar; put lids on jars while still hot. Finish off in water bath. Store in cool, dry place for up to 9 months; open jars should be kept in fridge.