In My Kitchen

Thanks again to Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial for hosting this series. Last month was my first post to IMK and it was lovely getting feedback about my kitchen and also seeing so many valuable stories from others who are part of this feed. Lots of friendly banter too about some of us contending for having the worst kitchen! This month I’m showing a few jobs I’ve got on the boil (bad pun I know) while the weather is miserable and making it ideal to be inside.

The wood fired stove:

This wood fired oven that is in the old kitchen space was apparently a necessity just in case of power failure. Because this house was the original Dr’s residence, it was imperative to have the ability to boil water at the drop of a hat (or a baby). Because it takes nearly all day to get it up to heat and uses a massive amount of wood, I don’t fire it up regularly. It also acts as valuable storage space for baking trays and tins in my limited available space. Today I did the annual clean and polish. There is no seal to the chimney so lots of water enters causing rust to build up. No drama, some wire brushing, vacuuming and stove black polish and its as good as new. This oven works beautifully and if I wasn’t at work most of the time it would be going most of winter.

Before the scrub begins-IMG_5054 Scrubbed, stove black applied and fired up-IMG_5058Good as new-IMG_5061Can’t waste this great source of heat energy, so on went a pot of potato and leek soup, which we had for tonight’s dinner. Chicken Stock, some osso bucco and a loaf of bread prepared to cook after the other food was done.IMG_5121 Osso bucco in the pan browning, thanks again Wayne from Trafalgar Butcher Shop!IMG_5079In my kitchen there are about 10 bottles of opened tomato sauce due to poor management of my labelling system. I bottle my passata in 500 ml cider bottled and 375 ml beer stubbies, spicy tomato sauce usually gets stored in Grolsch swing top beer bottles. Last season I forgot to label the excess spicy tomato sauce I put into cider bottles, so every time we pick what we think is passata it is often spicy sauce. Make a note for next season!IMG_5085We found many old surgical items and equipment here when we moved in, some have been repurposed for jobs that are purely practical. These tongs (I’m sure there is a correct surgical name) are used for opening the stove lids and the fuel box grate. Work beautifully!IMG_5093In my kitchen is a note that was found amongst some old books. It was obviously left for the house-keepers when ‘Sheila’ (the Dr’s wife) was not going to be in residence for a while. I’m hoping to post a page in each IMK over the next few months. It’s makes delightful reading and shows just how organised things were around here. Anyone know when milk was 10 or 11c a pint? I estimate mid 60’s. Sounds like grandfather was an interesting soul.IMG_5115 In my kitchen is a basket of freshly picked oranges that we are making juice from daily. The large one on the left is a pink grapefruit that fell during the big wind gusts last week.IMG_5109 In my kitchen is an assortment of used coffee cups that I ask people to collect rather than binning. I use them for seed raising and they are serve the purpose brilliantly. IMG_5098   In my kitchen are the best knives I have ever had the fortune to use. I used to spend a fortune on specialist knife-ware and these babies cost between $1.50 and $10.00 each at the asian grocers in Springvale. Range goes from paring knives to big cleavers. I still can’t believe how good they are. Light, super sharp and they re-sharpen brilliantly. Kiwi brand from Thailand. I put a few in our pay-and-stay place at Fish Creek because it gives me the poops when I stay somewhere and the knives are crap. Don’t have to worry about them walking at this price!IMG_5082 Think I’ll close every IMK post with a pic of this oak tree that I can see from the kitchen. Shows the seasons of change. Almost completely bare of leaves now, but new ones are ready to burst at any time.IMG_5080      Looking forward to seeing the other IMK posts this month. Thanks Celia

33 Replies to “In My Kitchen”

  1. Maree, you are such a trooper – I took a look at that first photo and thought “ooh that’s going to be a bugger to clean” and there it was in the next two pics, looking like brand new!! Your soup looks divine, as does your bread! And I’m astonished – they had electric toothbrushes in the 60s? Loved seeing that old note! I’ve had other friends tell me that the cleavers from the Asian stores are amazingly sharp – I think I might need to take another look! 🙂


    1. Thanks Celia, was a fairly quick and easy job due to the wire brush drill attachment I found. Very dirty though! Soup was beautiful and so was the bread which I grilled then rubbed with olive oil and garlic. I thought finding that note was gold!


  2. Me too with the stove but it looks wonderful once it’s cleaned up and the food cooked on it looks delicious. What a treasure the notes must be, though I notice it’s all very calmly written – whenever I leave notes for when I’m away, there’s lots of underlining and capital letters. Looking forward to the next installment.


    1. I can thank the handy little drill attachment that is like a wire brush for making the stove a fairly easy job. Sheila was a lady, very calm but there is no way known you wouldn’t do as she requested. She just had that knack. Wish I’d known we were related before she died and certainly before we bought his house! That’s another amazing story!


  3. OMG – I am in love with your wood burning stove! The image of your knife is similar to one I inherited from my mother-in-law who got it while living in Singapore in the early 1950s. They are really great knives. I also like that you repurpose all those coffee cups.


  4. I wish I lived somewhere where wood burning stoves were practical! Although I agree, I thought the same as the others, that it would be a pain to clean! Loved the before/after comparison!

    The coffee cup idea is fabulous, I’m going to see if I can collect some in time for my Spring planting. Thank you for the tour this month!


  5. The cleaning of that stove must take some energy but wow doesn’t it look amazing. Love the note. Things like that really make you wonder don’t they?


  6. A simply delightful post. Sheila sounds like a bit of a control freak if you ask me (must be white king for Poppa’s soiled hankies) but I really enjoyed reading the page so can’t wait to read the next instalment in September. As for me, I’d never put anything in the freezer unlabelled. Never, ever…. Cheers xx


    1. LOL, think she had to be a control freak. But she would have done it in such a ladylike manner! I did wonder what on earth he must do with his hankies to warrant that! Cheers.


  7. What a fabulous IMK post! I just love the old letter although I didn’t realise there were electric toothbrushes then and look forward to you sharing more and seeing your oak tree come back to life with Spring.
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo


  8. I adore your stove. What a beauty. I’ve had those same knives before and they are excellent.

    PS: I think I live just up the road from you.


  9. Oh I wish I had a cosy wood stove but don’t envy you the cleaning. My parents (in a 1920s house) have a wood stove that is only on occasionally in winter – my mum said she lit hers a few days back and I wished I could have gone around. Though I do remember burning a cake quite badly in the wood stove because it is harder to regulate the temperature.

    Love how you have found some of the historic remains in the house and your reusing of the coffee cups is a great creative way of recycling them.


  10. I have the same knife (cleaver) – it’s one of my favourites and not that expensive at the shops, even though I got mine as a gift. Loving the cleaning job on your stove – it looks amazing! Well done! Bottling your own sauces/passatas is awesome. I bottle one or two a month when I find tomatoes on special. I’m sure you’ll get your bottling system in order soon. Thanks for a look inside IMK


    1. Hi, bottling system is great, its the forgetting to label that has caused some issues. Sorted now, I have ordered and have in hand ready and waiting a white glass suitable marker pen. Should prevent any future failure to label (in theory that is). 🙂


  11. What a wonderful post this month… I look forward to reading more notes! Wow I had never thought of using takeaway cups for seed raising… I have always used toilet rolls 🙂 so now another useful tip instead of throwing them away! Thanks for sharing! Liz x


    1. Hi, thanks for the visit! Cups work so well and are very resilient. Because I sell most of the seedlings at a stall in spring the loo rolls just don’t cut the mustard! OK for my own use but for sharing not great. 🙂


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