IMK September! ……

Ah, the Winter freeze is thawing somewhat and Spring is technically here, but it’s still cool enough to enjoy comfort food from the slow cooker. With the state we are in with this house, I just don’t know what I’d do without this trusty appliance. I had a pork shoulder going begging and was a little tired of the asian or mexican style pulled pork, so I went random and threw in to the pot, the pork, some celery, carrot, onion, juniper berries, apple, ginger, cloves, a little apricot jam and a stubby of beer. Before serving I added some peas and reduced the sauce on the stove till it was rich and sleek. Served with some mash, topped with chopped spring onion and some toasted baguette. One if those ugly but really tasty meals!


The sourdough baguettes served with it  were a short, chubby version due to my oven size limitations. Autolyse of about 10 hours (accidental) and overnight bulk ferment in the fridge. These were cooked in the gas pizza oven and even though I dropped the tray as they went in I was happy with the result. Beautiful crust and crumb and tasted really good.


I recently attended a cooking class at Relish Mama in Cheltenham. The theme was Middle Eastern Vegetarian and although I didn’t learn a great deal about the food, I was really impressed with the format and structure of the day. There were several assorted dishes cooked which we all tasted, I certainly didn’t have to cook dinner that night! A beautiful set up and I got some wonderful kitchen design tips and had lots of laughs. One of the dishes made was a beautiful Freekah salad, not being able to source Freekah locally it was on my list for when I next visited Dandenong. That was Saturday (becoming more frequent), so along with the freekah,


I picked up some glutinous rice flour to make stuffed Indonesian Pancake (Dadar Gulung). Green batter, coloured with pandan and filled with a sweet, coconut filling it makes a lovely tasty and visual dessert.  I am wanting to have a go at making some Turkish style ice cream but need 2 ingredients I can’t find locally. One is mastic and the other is Salep or Sahlab. I found the mastic in Dandy but not the Salep, doesn’t appear to be too much online either. Happy for someone to steer me in the right direction or even advise if it is necessary to have a success with ice cream or if it can be left out.


For those who get my regular posts, you are most likely aware of my demolition Monday’s in removing the old kitchen. We have 12 foot ceilings and I’ve been up the ladder with my trusty wrecking bar, sledge-hammer and renovator tool removing the old cupboards. Finally the last of them are gone. Wish I could say I was sorry and how much I’d miss them!

We can now start marking out some of the new kitchen’s concepts to get a feel as to if it will work or not. The brown wall on the right will be going and the room extended about another 5 metres creating a kitchen/eating/living space.

IMG_2295 I’ve also started sprouting some sweet potatoes. Simply just cut in half and sitting in water that gets changed regularly. I keep the container over one of the hydronic heating vents and should have sprouts appear in a few weeks. The soil in the greenhouse will be quite a bit warmer warm by then so I will be able to plant these out. WARNING, the photo is a bit loud!


That’s my lot for this months IMK. Thanks Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial for linking us all up. Oh, if anyone has some tips or recommendations for a trip we are planning to Turkey & Italy next year I’d love to hear them. So much to choose from, so ideas from like minded people are always invaluable. 🙂



50 Replies to “IMK September! ……”

  1. How wonderful to have a new kitchen! I look forward to seeing pictures as things develop.

    I’ve never thought of sprouting sweet potatoes for the garden. How much space do you allow each? Do you treat them like regular potatoes and cover the new growth with soil or straw?

    Your bread is lovely. Slow cooker and a pizza oven and you are in business!


    1. Hi Liz, I plant the tubers into wicking beds in the greenhouse as they need very warm conditions. Plant about 500mm apart and they just take off. The green tops can be used in stir fry too which is a bonus. I haven’t added a lot of extra mulch as you do with normal spuds as they don’t tend to surface but stay under the soil. Cheers, Maree.


  2. Hi Maree. I will be very surprised if you can get pure salep. I have a recipe that I have been meaning to try for ages. It has mastic and salep flavoured powder in it. The salep flavoured powder is used to flavour and thicken milk much like custard powder. The main ingredient is corn flour rather than pure salep. You will be able to get this from a Middle Eastern grocery store. I have show cased a packet on one of my IMK posts I will go back and find it for you.


  3. I’m liking the sound of your baguettes and their look. And the sound of your trips – can’t make any recommendations though as I am yet to visit them myself. Happy September!


  4. Amazing that you should mention Dadar!!! Today I opened Facebook, as you do, for news of home and there is a recipe for green Dadar from my Indo friend/chef, Banardi. Then I open your IMK post, and VOILA, another green Dadar fan. What’s going on?
    I enjoyed your ugly but nice photo of things you threw i the slow cooker- your list of ingredients includded some unusual items so I knew that it would be rather tasty.
    Looks like it’s a;; happening in the kitchen, the most important room of the house.


    1. Aaah, spooky synchronicity! It is rather yummy and I wouldn’t say I have a great sweet tooth. Slowly coming up with kitchen ideas but I must admit to stressing out somewhat as to what oven/range/cooker/cooktop to go for. How can anything compare to my gas camping stove and Sunbeam Pizza Bake ‘N’ Grill that are both so efficient! Amazingly, I’m serious about that 🙂


      1. The stove question is a big one! I spent heaps on an Ilve becasue I had one at my other house (pre bushfire ): but I find my mother’s tiny and cheap gas westinghouse really efficient too.
        You can get really good results with funny little gadgets- I am always impressed with your bread.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow you must be excited – my post on our kitchen is up now too. Maree, those sourdough baguettes are just beautiful! I often substitute freeka for pearl barley, I love the sound of some feta added – thanks for that! Jan x


  6. Love seeing the kitchen reno progress! I’ll be watching your sweet potato progress avidly. While I have no problem sprouting them, my issue is in turning those sprouts into new potatoes… hoping to get some tips!

    Your baguettes look lovely 🙂


    1. Hi Lisa. Thanks! I was excited about the baguettes. I think the Sweet Potato secret is warm soil for quite a while. Whenever I tried to grow them before I didn’t get good results, but since planting them in the raised beds in the greenhouse I’ve had some pretty good wins. You watch, I hope I haven’t just painted the devil on the wall! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How exciting that you’re getting a new kitchen! I’m excited for you & can’t wait to see your new kitchen Maree. I’m just bringing back to life my sourdough starter (Riley) as you’ve inspired me to create some baguettes – they look perfect! Do you have a recipe for these amazing baguettes by any chance Maree? I’m also looking at wholemeal of wholegrain, do you have any suggestions as to where to look? Looking forward to seeing how your sweet potato goes too – for future reference 🙂 Great catching up with you Maree x


  8. I love this post… nothing like a good kitchen renovation… honestly I just need a kitchen 🙂 mine is so small! What a great way to sprout sweet potatoes… I can’t wait to try it!
    I’m just about done with my comfort food now as it is really spring here on the Gold Coast… we had 29 degree day two days ago!
    Liz xx


  9. How much better do self home grown or farmers market sweet potatoes taste than the supermarket offerings… ditto for pork. Sigh. I like the random seasoning you added to the pulled pork. Free form is wonderful 🙂


    1. I think because Sweet Potatoes are generally suited to a warmer climate I’m holding back on whether or not I think they are better. They also take up a lot of greenhouse valuable space but I must admit I get a great big kick out of seeing them sprawl knowing I’ve grown them from scratch. Also great greens for stir fries. 🙂


  10. Delicious looking baguettes – maybe I should try dropping the tray and then mine would look more like that. Happy to watch your kitchen demolition from afar – kitchen work seems twice as bad as any other building work, though it’s great when it’s finished and working.


  11. Maree, I just acquired a slow cooker last week — a giant one (far bigger than what TMOFW and I can consume in one meal, but hey, that’s what freezers are for) and your slow-cooked pork creation sounds (and looks!) wonderful to me. Thanks for your random recipe! Your kitchen renovations look amazing as well. Good work!


    1. Oooh, Kim! Even if you only ever use the slow cooker for one thing, stock making, you can’t go wrong. I keep all the offcuts from carrot, onion, celery, chook, meat etc as I cook and just keep bunging them into a zip lock bag in freezer and when the bag is full put it all (not the bag!) in the SC with some peppercorns, maybe a bay leaf or 2. Cover with water, cook overnight and voila! Oodles of lovely stock that can be stored in 250ml, 500ml lots etc. That pork was surprisingly good! Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes ma’am, Maree! (Me, too!) LOL at including “the bag” — it’s a sad but true state of having to “be specific” when blogging recipes… but not here. 🙂 I gotcha!


  12. P.S. Maree, I finally “cozied up” our guest room today (infrequent though our guests may be, lol) with the last of your treasured doilies and needlework. The rest of them are on my writing nook (aka Garden Room) bookshelves hugging my recently acquired thrift store finds. 🙂 Such a JOY to personalize again with “welcoming” results — thanks to your generosity! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You’re doing very well with a very makeshift kitchen! We renovated a couple of years ago and my entire kitchen was basically a slow cooker and electric frying pan – they actually worked really well, but I was very glad to get my oven back 🙂


    1. Isn’t it amazing how you can get by? I’m a bit worried that I will have trouble getting back into the swing of having a ‘real’ kitchen it’s been so long. I’m really most looking forward to having running water and a dishwasher 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you’ll have no trouble 🙂 The first time I pulled something out of the oven in our new kitchen I was so thrilled, and I would have used it at least a couple of times a week since….and as for the dishwasher!…


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