It’s citrus season, but as for all farmers, the Big Wet has made life more challenging for Jane and Jose. After all these years it’s still just those two running the whole show. Forty acres of organic limes and mandarins, cumquats and mulberries, elderflowers and custard apples, yet Jane says there are days when their slopy terrain is too slippery for them to work on. The rain’s brought everything on early, but that’s included a lot of fruit flies (they sting and eventually rot the fruit) as well as small snails.  ‘You just have to wear it as an organic farmer,’ she tells me.

And yet they carry on, their vibrantly green lime cordial, award-winner, still selling strongly alongside the elderflower and the mandarin-lime ones, everything squeezed by hand, pressed through muslin. Jane’s been cooking with custard apples, lately muffins but she says they’re great in curries. Mostly, of course, they’re eaten raw, the creamy white flesh scooped out with a spoon, an instant dessert. They freeze beautifully, she continues: just remove seeds and skins and pop the flesh in the freezer where it remains beautifully white. They’re great in smoothies and ice creams, full of calcium and Vitamin C.

Normally she has a copy of the famous flourless orange cake recipe at the markets but not today This eternally popular use of citrus is still one of her most faithful, and favourite cakes.  For decades I’ve been making a variation on this, a gorgeously moist, tangy and dairy-free Spanish Citrus Cake.  (find the recipe on our website:

But I’m keen on making those custard apple muffins! (recipe also on our website)


boiling a whole lemon and whole orange until very soft. Of the lemon, you only use the skin, very finely chopped together with the whole orange, ends trimmed and pips discarded. This pulp is drained then mixed with 185g ground almonds and set aside. Beat four eggs with 1 ¼ cups caster sugar and a pinch of salt till very pale and thick, sift ½ cup plain flour and ½ cup SR flour and 1tsp baking powder over the top, stir through the eggs and finally fold through ½ cup olive oil and the citrus-almond mixture. Bake in a lined tin at 180C for about an hour. Hazelnuts are a lovely substitute for almonds.


If you’d like to add a syrup, add 1/2 cup of caster sugar to a saucepan with a cup of orange juice and a tbsp of lemon juice and heat until the sugar dissolves.  Make lots of little pricks all over the warm cake and pour over the syrup. You could double up on the syrup and put the excess in a jug to pour over the cake and perhaps a scoop of ice cream!

But I’m keen on making those custard apple muffins!

Victoria Cosford