Sunday, 16 March 2014

Lilli Pilli Jelly and such.

I love saying Lilli Pilli, it just skips off the tongue! I also love seeing the bright purple bunches of fruit in the trees all through Sydney.
My mum used to make Lilli Pilli jelly when I was little, and as I couldn't eat tomato sauce (too acidic) we used it as a substitute, Whilst not tasting anything like tomato sauce it was yummy all the same, and I remember being particularly fond of it on sausages.... weird perhaps!
<For those overseas, Lilli pilli's are from a tree of the same name, scientifically called Syzgium australe, they are a pretty popular tree and are even used for hedges, they have nice glossy leaves, and the berries grow in a range of colours depending on the variety and the climate, the berries are edible - if a little boring- they have a crisp texture texture, and taste watery and a little peppery/piney> 

Lovely Lilli Pillies - all washed and ready for jelly
I bullied my boyfriend into going foraging with me, as I had found a nice patch on my ride home, and we brought back a good haul!
I started making some Jelly (as its really easy!), interestingly I found that the colour must be sensitive to temperature - I came back to my fruit and water as it came to the boil and ALAS it was all a boring light pink colour - gone was that vibrant purple!  I thought "oh well" and kept going, but as it was hanging in the jelly bag the colour slowly come back, finishing at a dark rose colour, while there were purple streaks all up the jelly bag!  It didn't gell within the first 5 mins of a rapid boil - so I popped some jamsetta in (musn't have been enough pectin in there) and it was happy after that!
What a clever food styling, label making and photo taking boyfriend I have :)
I also found some inspiration at this blog on making a salsa! I thought the crunchy texture would go quite well in a fresh salsa, so I created one using a recipe I made up (pretty similar for any salsa really!)

1/2 cup of washed, and deseeded lilli pillies
1/2 small onions diced finely
Dash of Mirin (or add some sugar!)
Juice of a lemon
2 small sprigs of mint
1 low heat chilli (or 1/4 capscicum)

I like to soak the onion in warm water with a generous pinch of salt for ~1hr, before straining and rinsing as this removes the bite from it - alternatively you could use red onion (we didnt have any!)
Other than that- dice everything up- and mix them together! Simples!
We had it with home-made sausages that I made back in Meat Week - a grown-up version of old times.

The lilli pillies are used just for their pretty colour and crunch!

Have you ever wondered what you could make with this stunning coloured fruit?

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