In My Kitchen – March

As  another month rolls over (far too quickly), I wonder if there is anything I can share with the other IMK’ers over at Sherry’s Pickings that isn’t just a rehash of previous posts. Sherry has links from lots of fellow bloggers who are generous and let us have a peek into what’s going on their kitchens each month. Amazing what you can learn and share! Thanks Sherry!

Good old Bangers & Mash

Mr ATMT is rather partial to a feed of bangers and mash. Instead of doing a heavy, flour based gravy, we usually make a sauce by frying off onions and adding a bottle of tomato passata to the pan and let it simmer away to thicken and flavour up. We had so many lovely fresh tomatoes, I just added some of them to the pan to slowly cook down and thicken. Yes, I did burn the container!

The mash had a face lift too by adding the dregs of the bottle of infused garlic oil which also had the macerated garlic cloves in it. It was time to start a fresh batch of garlic oil so these from the existing bottle didn’t go to waste!

Rich, fluffy mash with delicious tomato and onion gravy on the snags and good old frozen peas on the side. Mr ATMT was very happy!  I have been making a lot of sourdough crackers using the King Arthur Flour recipe  and I admit was getting bit sick of parmesan and dried rosemary as the flavouring. I had run out of dried rosemary so chilli parmesan twists were created instead. Same basic recipe, but I added 2 frozen chilli cubes and a ‘splodge’ of sweet chilli sauce along with some grated parmesan. Instead of cutting into cracker shapes, I cut long strips then twisted them and baked. Big hit! The long sticks on the right of this platter is the baked result, served with some roast tomato and garlic focaccia and baguettes. There was also a sourdough fruit slab here. I’ve been playing with different formulas and the baguette on the left is a normal sourdough baguette but the chia and saffron ciabatta on the right is made using fermented fruit water instead of a traditional starter. Recipe credit for the ciabatta with saffron recipe (in part) to Sylvain from Gourmetier which I adapted somewhat! Sylvain’s food photography and styling is spectacular! Wonder what he could have done with this lot? I initially found this concept of using fermented fruit water a bit bizarre, but I really like the outcome and the theatre of fermenting the fruit is pretty good fun too. Who remembers their mum’s ginger beer exploding?  Shades of that with the fermenting fruit if you are not careful.

Removing the bone from my leg of lamb.

Of course along with every other most other Aussies, I have tomatoes in my kitchen. This year I cut back on how many I planted and it’s been a nice steady supply with just enough for eating and a few extras to make tomato pickles with. Couldn’t wait to top these sourdough loaves with a few slabs of tomato, cracked pepper and labne cheese. One of the joys of growing your own produce is the ability to cook meals based on what you have to hand. For a recent family dinner I butterflied (de-boned) a leg of lamb I’d had in the freezer and coated it with pesto made using basil, parmesan, garlic, macadamia nuts, mint and lemon juice. I then cooked it in a pan on the bbq and served it with a salad from Sandra’s blog, Please Pass the Recipe. What a delight this Na’ama’s Fattoush dish was, a great way to use some excess tomatoes, old bread, cucumbers and herbs. Will repeat this recently I think! Thanks Sandra! I served the lamb and Na’ama’s Fattoush with extra pesto, some pumpkin roasted with black and white sesame and pumpkin seed oil, freshly picked beans and flatbread. I added some boiled potatoes to stretch the ability to feed everyone. Can’t do better than that!So that’s about it for In My Kitchen this month, what’s going on in yours? Would love to peek, so go and link your story in to Sherry’s blog and share.

Zero waste wayside stops.

Today as I was sewing the handle back on this bag, I thought it might be nice to share how we are always ready and able to stop and have a cuppa anywhere we feel like it. Well, anywhere when we are on the road driving, can’t say this would be ideal on a tram or a bus! Zero waste,  always at the ready for road trips. We keep this little bag (that was a token gift to Mr ATMT at some function) packed with a little butane gas stove, a windshield for the stove, a billy, tea, sugar, a set of cutlery, plates, scissors, a first aid kit, sunscreen, a wine bottle full of water and a small bottle that we fill with milk and wrap in a chill pack before leaving. The mugs were being washed when I took this but we do pack those too. There is also a very old plastic bag we first got in Tassie about 5 years ago incase we need it for some reason. Sometimes we will add a nibble or two such as nuts, dried fruit, lollies or bickies as well.We usually find it easy to refill the water bottle along the way as well as rinsing out the cups ready for the next stop. The bag has a compartment at the bottom which has two little folding stools stowed inside it so we don’t even need a table and chairs available for our refreshment stops.The whole bag is quite compact and we leave it in the boot just making sure we have fresh water and milk packed before we leave home.It really doesn’t take much to think a little bit ahead to avoid visiting those horrible service centres that rob you of seeing the landscape and usually make you leave loaded up with waste.

PS. I should have taken the needle out from my mending job before trying to zip it up. Did a nice slice through my thumb which added a few decorations to the bag!

What do you do to minimise waste and to make your road trips enjoyable?