In My Kitchen

It is months since I have posted an In My Kitchen update. These are hosted by the fabulous Celia on Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Jump over to take a peek in kitchens all around the world.

As months have gone by it is going to be a post about what’s been happening this Winter. It has been a cold one, with the heater going most days. So, in my kitchen this Winter has been clothes drying in the heat.

Drying towels (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
Drying towels (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)

It has been too cold to work in my studio (aka The Playroom!). The little heater there just couldn’t combat the cold. So I decamped into the kitchen area, setting up a working table. More clutter in the room, but warm. 😉

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(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)

There were more kitcheny things happening too.

After reading of a simmer plate in EllaDee’s blog I had to get one too. My stove is old and cranky, and doesn’t like to have very gentle heat. I am hoping that this simmer plate will help to stop food sticking when I am slow cooking.

I also bought a new drinking bottle from Aldi. I left my last one on Flinders Island and have been looking for a metal one ever since. Mine is the mint green one.

 (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)

I have done some baking over Winter. Like these….the cake is a little one that I made for a friend who lives alone. We ate the other one! The recipe came from Kate, Tall tales from Chiconia. It uses apple sauce and hers had the most luscious looking fudge icing. I had to draw the line at that much sugar, but it was still delicious. The choc chip biscuits were soon eaten by the Fella and me!

And there was some serious food in my kitchen too! The sweet potatoes were ones that I grew. So easy to grow.

Lastly, a recipe I made up for a quick, easy and tasty one-pot-dish.

Salute some onions or leeks and garlic. Add in sliced potatoes and any other veggie that you like. You can see that I have added sweet potato, celery, including the tops and peas. I added them towards the end. Then  I mixed up a miso soup paste with hot water and added that to the mix. You will then need to adjust the amount of liquid so that the veggies can boil.

 (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)

In my kitchen

In my kitchen there is a lot of delicious, fresh, seasonal food — avocados and mangoes, crunchy cucumbers and peppery rocket. We have fresh fruit every morning and the peaches and nectarines have been juicy and delicious. I am picking little tomatoes and green beans from the garden. And yes, more silver beet!

In my kitchen there has been a lot of baking and roasting this month. That’s because our normally hot, summery January has been chilly and grey. More oven work, less salads and BBQs.

In my kitchen I have been trying out new recipes and really enjoyed this one ~ oatmeal, spinach [or, in my case, silver beet 🙂 ] tomato and feta cheese tart. It came from the kitchen of the Lady with Red Specs and can highly recommend both her blog and the tart.

You can see that I managed to save a portion for my lunch.

In my kitchen I made a similar dish, one that I call That Eggy Pie Thing ~ so similar I almost mixed up the photos! It doesn’t have pastry. Instead the flour seems to fall towards the bottom to create a firmer base. I don’t know if that is what is meant to happen, but it does, and I like it. It’s great because you can add anything you like to it. The original recipe included chopped ham, but I don’t usually have any. Bacon would be good to.

2 cups milk

4 eggs

1 cup grated cheese

3/4 cup plain flour

1 onion (I cook the onion before I put it into the mixture)

2 bunches of asparagus (but this time I used tomatoes)

You can also add capsicums, mushrooms, or whatever you would like to experiment with.

Preheat the oven to 200 C or 180 fan forced. Grease a 6 cup ovenproof dish. Whisk together the milk, eggs, cheese and flour until well combined. Pour into prepared dish and arrange the asparagus on the top. Bake for about 35 minutes or until set. [In my crummy oven that is longer than 35 minutes 😦 ]

Can’t get much easier than that!

Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015
Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015

In my kitchen were some helpers. Miss C and Miss B came over for lunch. While the Fella BBQed the chicken thighs we got the inside things ready. Miss C is 10 and did a great job of cutting up the capsicums and carrots for the salad. Meanwhile Miss B set the table, arranging everything just so. They both love vegetables and were dying to eat the little tomatoes we had picked from the garden just before.

In my kitchen were other guest who came over for dinner. Denise brought a delicious salad made with oranges and I made a roast vegetable one.

Chop up a range of vegetables. In my mix were capsicums, sweet potato, zucchini, a leek and potatoes. Put them in a bowl, add olive oil, salt and pepper and mix to coat the veggies. Roast. When they are soft and the edges beginning to brown, take them from the oven, place onto a pile of rocket and pour over a dressing of balsamic vinegar and oil.

For dessert I made Celia’s ricotta slice. I have spoken about this before, and just love it. So did everyone else!

Lastly, In my kitchen was a roasted eggplant for tonight’s dinner. Again super easy, and surprisingly quick.

I halved the glossy, firm eggplant [aubergine], scored the flesh and salted it. Leaving that to one side, I opened a tin of tomatoes [but use chopped fresh ones if you like], added finely chopped spring onions, capsicum [must win Ingredient of the Month for January!], zucchini, salt and pepper. It was way more mixture than I needed, but will be handy for other meals this week.

After washing the salt from the eggplant I fried both halves for a couple of minutes. While that was doing I thinned down some soya bean paste with hot water. This is my secret ingredient. I love the Japanese dish nasu dengaku ~ eggplant and miso paste ~ and though why not combine the miso with the tomato mixture? So I painted the cut side of the eggplant with the paste.

Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015
Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015

Spooned on the tomato mixture

Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015
Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015

Added cheese, of course!

Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015
Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015

Into the oven for about 20 minutes ~ could be even quicker in non-crummy ovens. And there it is. You can probably tell I am not a food stylist 😉 but boy did it taste good!

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Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015

 

So, what’s been happening in your kitchen this month? Head over to Celia’s blog at Fig Lime and Jam Cordial. Each month she hosts In My Kitchen, and it’s almost as popular as My Kitchen Rules!

In My Kitchen ~ December

In my kitchen in December were way too many delicious things. So in my kitchen, without photos, were….

chocolates from my niece who works in Koko Black. Heaven!

delicious rumballs made by another niece and beautifully bagged and tagged. I even managed to taste a few, because nothing sweet is safe from the Fella!

the Christmas ham that kept us in sandwiches and salads for quite a few days.

In my kitchen, with photos, were…..

biscuits that I baked for gifts

mince pies. I did mean to bake my own this year, but we all know about good intentions!

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

cute little Christmas puddings. So easy! I have included the recipe below, and many thanks to Denise for showing me. File it away for next Christmas and impress everyone. They make an excellent finger food dessert.

Buy a ready made pudding or cake from the supermarket. Cheap is fine.

Mash up the pudding with orange juice so that it clumps together. Brandy would be pretty good too. Roll into balls about the size of your palm.

Melt white chocolate and dribble that onto the top of the pudding balls. You can see in the photos that some of my attempts were more successful than others.

Add little bits of chopped jube-like lollies. I used red and green snakes. They were a great size, but use whatever you have. My advice is to have them chopped before you melt the chocolate. In my second batch I put three holy berries with two leaves. That appealed to me more than just one berry. 🙂

Then all you have to do is pop them into the fridge for a little while.

And the first of my home-grown strawberries, only a little eaten by snails.

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Lastly, in my kitchen there were big messes! Luckily I have my very own washer-upperer. My Fella does all the dishes at all times, and only grumbles occasionally about the mess I make. 🙂

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What deliciousness was in your kitchen this month? The In My Kitchen series is hosted by Celia. Jump over to her blog to take a peek into kitchens around the world.

In my kitchen, at the beginning of June

Celia, over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, hosts a monthly get together. It means that we can take a seek peak into kitchens around the world. It is good fun, and everyone is welcome to drop by. Celia’s own post this month is about teas she has recently bought, and they sound exquisite.

In my kitchen this month is some fresh produce from the Victoria Market.

As we walked into the market I found this persimmon on the road. It was like a shining jewel and I could not resist it. I think I will paint it.

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We also bought some shanks, because it is Winter now, and time for stews and shanks and soups. So there is also chicken stock on the go, made with a couple of frozen chicken carcasses, celery that was lurking in the fridge, a carrot, garlic of course, chilli and ginger, pepper and quite a bit of salt. It cooks in the pressure cooker for a good while. I keep any flesh still on the bones and give the vegetables to the compost. Then I am going to use some of the stock to make cauliflower and bacon soup.

Because it is Winter there are lemons from a friend’s tree. (Thank you Billy!)

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Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

Also this week I am going to cook a cabbage galette from Joanna Harris’ cookbook. You  will know her as the author of Chocolat, and her cookbook is a delight for any Francophiles. I have found her recipes to be very reliable (but can’t comment on their authenticity).

The story behind the book…..My Fella and I had stayed a few days at Mildura, a regional town in the northwest of Victoria. On Sunday we went to a small town nearby to find a market. While there were people wandering around the other stalls, it was the bookstall that had the most interest, seemingly caravaners like us. As I am a sucker for second hand books it soon drew me in too. What did I see……Joanna’s cookbook and for only $3. I quickly tucked it under my arm, protecting it from anyone else that might want to snatch it away! How could they ignore such a bargain? 😉

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Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014
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Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

I have decided to introduce you to some of the fixtures in my kitchen. Today I would like you to meet the teapot. We drink a lot of tea, so the pot needs to be big. A common question through the day is “Would you like a cup of tea?” and you can guess the answer. My first cup comes to me in bed, delivered by my Lovely Fella and I drink it while I read and wake up. ❤

Snug in its homemade tea cosy
Snug in its homemade tea cosy
In its naked glory. How could I not have a teapot that has a botanical theme? :)
In its naked glory. How could I not have a teapot that has a botanical theme? 🙂

In my kitchen…..

Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, has a wonderful blog that is always full of scrumptious delights. Boy, she is one talented lady! One of her regular segments is to show what is in her kitchen, and I love taking a peek at what she has.

I have just been to the Victoria Market for the weekly shop, and thought I would show you what is now in my kitchen. We try to eat as little processed food as possible, so the Vic Market is a godsend. Where we can we buy locally grown produce.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Capsciums. I am going to stuff these and then roast them. I am not sure if I will stuff them with rice or beans. I do know that it will be a garlicky/tomatoey/oniony mixture.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Beetroot. I am roasting a couple tonight and will eat them with the capsicums. I asked the stall holder to leave the tops on, as I would prefer to have them in my compost and feeding the worms than in land fill.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Mushrooms, because it is the season for them. I will nestle a cheesy mixture into the cups and gently cook them. They will be dinner later in the week.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Kransky sausage. I was inspired by Meeks’ recipe for lentil stew that included a kransky sausage. Yum!

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Rhubarb. This will be stewed with …..

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

……apples and pears and added to our breakfast fruit and yoghurt.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Bacon. I have a little kit that removes the air from the bags. It helps to keep things like bacon fresher for longer.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

3 tubs of homous, because the deli we go to has a good deal for three dips. I will freeze two to use later. (By the way, should ‘homous’ have a double m? My spell check thinks it should be ‘home’!)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Pizza bases. I will freeze them, as they are a great stand-by. You can always rustle up things to put on a pizza.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

My list for the freezer. This list, which lives on the fridge, makes me look organised. Really I have it so that things do not linger in the freezer. Despite my list, last time I defrosted the freezer I found a packet of spinach with a use by date of 2007!

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Hot cross bun. Only the remains to show you, but it was delicious!

I am very fortunate to be able to eat so well.

Pickled cherries

 

Acflory requested the recipe for these cherries — and she has waited so patiently!

Despite the photo showing half a jar of cherries, I didn’t try them before I gave them away for Christmas. It was the smallest jar I had. However, they are from a Stephanie Alexander recipe, so they should be good. You are to leave the cherries for a few weeks before eating. That’s why I didn’t try them.

  • 700g sugar
  • 850ml white wine vinegar
  • 24 black peppercorns
  • 12 cloves
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, unpeeled (optional)
  • 1kg cherries

Dissolve sugar in vinegar in a large saucepan over a gentle heat. Add all the other ingredients, except the cherries and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool.

Check the cherries and discard any that are bruised or split. Trim the stalks and pack into hot, sterilised preserving jars. Pour cold vinegar syrup over the fruit and seal. Leave for a few weeks before eating.

Apparently they are really good with pork, or maybe on a cheese platter. Enjoy!

Zucchini Pickles

 

As requested by Metan, this is the recipe for zucchini pickles (originally from Beverly Sutherland Smith). It is one of a number of zucchini recipes I have, because if you have ever grown them, you know that you need A LOT of recipes.

(I often muck around with quantities, and add or subtract ingredients, depending on what I have available. So follow the process, add what you appeals to you. Chillis would be a good addition — but not too many!!)

  • 3 medium white onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 kg zucchinis, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 2 cups of white wine vinegar (I also added malt vinegar this year)
  • 250 gms white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Put onions and zucchinis in a bowl. Add salt and cover with water. Put a plate on top to weigh down the zucchinis. Leave for 2 hours and then drain.

Put all the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and slowly bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved. Tip in zucchinis and onions. Stir, pushing the vegetables under the liquid. Heat for one minute, remove from the heat and cool completely.

Bottle into sterilized jars and leave for a few hours before eating. The pickles are best eaten within 3 months, but they are usually eaten way before that in our house. Store in the fridge. Delicious with biscuits and cheese.

I sterilize jars by boiling them in a large saucepan for about 10 minutes. It seems to work, as no one in my family has died from food poisoning. But then maybe my family have strong stomachs! It may pay you to do some of your own research on the best method.

Next recipe coming up will be the pickled cherries — I promise!