In my kitchen

In my kitchen in February was produce from the garden. Of course, being home grown, there is an abundance of the same ingredient. While it is lovely to have, you do have to be inventive to come up with different ideas!

Firstly there has been corn. I am amazed at how easy it was to grow. My vegetables grow in the front yard and I planted the corn by the side fence. It must have been the perfect spot ~ that and the Fella, who loves to make sure the area is well watered. (We call him the Undergardener, but lately he has been the one keeping everything going!)

Of course, when you have super fresh corn you only have to boil it for a few minutes, add butter and a sprinkling of salt and enjoy. A favourite of children as well!

 

I have made chicken and corn soup, which would have been better with proper stock, and corn fritters. These worked well. I cut the corn off the cob, added some finely chopped capsicum and chopped roquette, which is also growing well in the garden. Then I mixed in flour and an egg to bind, and fried lightly.

 

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I am going to try a herbed corn soup tonight with the last few cobs.

After they have been pulled out the corn plants go on giving. They make great compost and I have used a couple of the stalks to stake the begonia. Gotta love a plant that gives so much!

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There is an abundance of beans, super tasty when young and fresh and a treat as I picked them. Now they are becoming more fibrous. So I have been shelling them like peas, instead of cooking the pods. I have been tossing them into lots of things. I am thinking of making a dip. Any thoughts on how I would go about it?

Some of the pods are drying on the plants and I am collecting those seeds for dried beans in soups and stews.

There are eggplants too. One bush is rich, glossy and purple and the other is a heirloom variety that produces sensational stripy fruit.

Eggplant = ratatouille, of course. It’s a great dish, because it includes so many of the vegetables currently in season. I cooked up the eggplant, onion, garlic, a potato, capsicum, beans (of course!) with a tin of tomatoes and extra tomato paste. It was delicious just with a piece of toast.

Then I used the mixture the next night mixed with some cooked mince meat, added to a halved eggplant and roasted in the oven for a while. I do love these sorts of dishes, where I can just throw in a bit of this and an extra bit of that; no precision required!

Yesterday a little pot of sunshine was given to me. EllaDee, Kate and I (and the G.O. too. of course!) met up at the Botanic Gardens. We had such a lovely natter, and it was as delightful to meet these interesting, vivacious women as I hoped. EllaDee gave me a pot of honey that came from the area of NSW where she now lives. Doesn’t honey just sum up warmth and sweetness? Just like these wonderful bloggers ~ and the G.O. 🙂

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I am going to leave you with photos of the rampant beans and sweet potatoes. If the bean plants had been able to reach the sky I am sure that Jack, followed by a giant, would have come skidding down. Th plants had to be satisfied with wandering here on earth. The sweet potato is growing from remnants of last year’s crop. It will be interesting to see how many tubers, if any, are being produced. The strawberry plants have stopped producing, but are still flourishing.

A big thank you to Maureen from Orgasmic Chef. She has had a horror time lately, and yet still hosts the In My Kitchen series with such dedication. I wish her all good things over the next while.

What’s happening in your kitchen this month ~ or indeed in your garden?

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!