Just checking the blog still works!

I think my last post was our annual gingerbread house demolition, so it’s been a while! The easiest way to bring things up to date was to randomly select a range of photos and tell the story of each. It has been incredibly busy day-to-day, add a long harsh summer with bizarre weather conditions, virtually no rain and loads happening in my world of sourdough. As I keep saying, this retirement gig is hard work! So here’s the update in pics.

Our daughter and grandsons designed these gorgeous little signs as part of our Christmas gift to put in our lane. I thought they were beautiful decorative additions and the bonus is that I think they have really made people slow down a bit (well some anyway).  We had our annual Baw Baw Sustainability Network open food gardens day in January which was an absolute cracker of a weekend. Over 160 people came through our garden who we got to share stories with, offer and receive some tips and celebrate growing your own food. I run a Facebook support group for Australian Sourdough Bakers where the focus is geared on giving advice and support, in particular to new bakers. I also encourage people share leads for supplies of local bread making supplies. This group is just about to hit 2500 members and I think many have gained valuable information from it. I negotiated a deal for members to purchase beautiful handcrafted lames at a highly discounted price than if purchasing from USA. One thing led to another and I found myself being the official Australian reseller……

This pushed me into finally setting up an online store which was an interesting challenge…. I eventually managed to navigate my way around this and am very proud of my Simply Sourdough site. It is a good way of selling everything in one space and I am amazed at how it is going. On the reno front, we have just about completed the main bathroom. Some fittings, filling and painting of trim and it will be done. Of course these last-minute things will take longer than the whole build did! My little right hand man in the kitchen just loves doing anything with creating food. He told me the Canele custard (pre the rum addition) was just like making milkshakes! Loves donning his Celia apron too! The finishing touch on the Canele. This was about the best pick from our crappy tomato season. Wasn’t worth planting this year. Something that came totally out of the blue was being approached by Gippsland Magazine to see if we were willing to have an article about my little bread business and our home run in it. I was nearly beside myself thinking they’d not find enough to talk about, but all went well and we featured on the front cover! That’s a bit special and testimony to all the hard work we have done. The magazines a great way to learn more about our region. As well as my weekly community bread bakes, I’ve had a few special event bakes and did a presentation to a large group at the ‘Women on Farms‘ event held at Gippsland Community college about baking sourdough. I quite enjoy doing these presentations, especially when I receive thank you gifts such as this lovely tea towel designed by Rachel Flynn at Red Tractor Designs. I love this but Mr ATMT doesn’t have the same level of appreciation for it as I. I’ve been playing around working on a 100% sourdough baguette and I am getting close to being satisfied with it. Nothing I Googled really resembled a classic baguette which is what I am aiming for. These were for a special order on a grazing table and they kindly sent me a crumb shot. Nearly there with this formula!Getting my creative side on with this arrangement of  cotoneaster, spent agapanthus heads and coprosma cuttings. So basically its a bucket of weeds!  Quite pretty if I say so myself.Lastly for the Catch up snippets, team Dad ‘N Dave have returned from their trip to Nepal as part of the Habitat Australia earthquake victims home rebuilding project and feel their contribution  to the cause was valuable. Such trying conditions and extreme levels of hardship on these people make you wonder how they maintain the happy dispositions they have. A huge thank you to all those who supported Geoff and David in this project.

Let’s see if I can get another post in before Christmas!

In My Kitchen

Well another month has disappeared and I’ve yet again been a slack old thing and missed doing the couple of blog posts that did flutter around in my head. Oh well, thank goodness Sherry over at Sherry’s Pickings keeps us motivated by hosting In My Kitchen where we can both share and have a sticky beak at whats going on in all the kitchens out there.

It was time to process some more pickled onions so I purchased a large bag of pickling onions that appeared Ok on the outside, but much to my chagrin as I started peeling them it was obvious the majority were rotten in the centre. I was left with about a quarter of the bag and started the brining process using the lovely little weight I brought home from Turkey to keep the onions immersed. After a day of soaking, these onions went into the compost too. I was thrilled (not), it really hurts preparing onions, even more so with no result to be had. The clay weight worked a tree though! I can’t remember where I spotted this Disney cake to give credit, but I think it’s a ripper! My daughter didn’t accept the challenge to make it, wonder why? My last post was about how we were going to have our garden open as part of the Baw Baw Sustainability Network’s Creative Harvest event. We had a sensational weekend, talking all things food gardens with 117 people, had some lovely artists working in our space promoting the Arts side of the event and lots of laughing. This platter I served while they worked away under the mulberry tree. Every now and again they got ‘plopped on’ by falling mulberries! Here we are in between visitors coming  through. After the 40 degree day the day before, it was a bit of a struggle on so we welcomed these little gaps! I made some mulberry jam for the first time since we took over this place. Other years we have not been able to compete with the birds but the tree has been absolutely loaded so there has been enough to share.  I have also frozen many berries whole to be used as needed throughout the year. This is a great way to be able to throw some food to the little fella without filling him up on sugar. They can be thrown into pancakes, tarts and pies and slowly cooked until they make a lovely natural syrup. A couple of jars of jam is enough for us for the year. I made a couple of hundred dumplings for my son’s birthday and because pleating so many  would take ages as well as hurting my fingers,  I invested $1.50 in this dumpling press. I also used bought wrappers which fitted the press perfectly and I have to say I was very impressed with the result. Glad about that, didn’t want it to only be used as a play dough tool. I had a lovely Instagram friend come to collect a grapevine cutting I had started for her and she rewarded me with this lovely little lot.  In front are some Luisa Plums and I am smitten. They change from this colour to deep red as they ripen and the taste is unbelievable. I think one of these will be finding a spot here next season.The beans and cucumbers went into a salad along with some of my tomatoes, spring onions, with an Asian style dressing, fresh mango on the side and pork rolls in rice paper that I made after I ran out of dumpling wrappers and still had filling. Had to do quality control for the party food of course!So that’s it for In My Kitchen this month. Thanks Sherry for the opportunity of sharing.

I had decided not to pick any more mulberries this season but then I thought I should make the most of every opportunity, albeit small, as you never know if you’ll be around for the next season. An important reminder by a lovely man who sadly won’t be able to pick mulberries next season.  R.I.P. Shane.

Christmas Wrap-In My Kitchen & of course, the Gingerbread House.

Well I’d have to say this has been the loveliest and most ‘Christmassey’ Christmas in quite a long time. We held our now traditional backyard Christmas Eve gathering of friends and family, it was a little cool but not so bad that we couldn’t stay outside. Such a relaxing evening and I get a kick out of planning and preparing food for the night.

I try to make things that are simple but have just a little wow factor when served. This year we had potato and pea samosa from the lovely Sandra’s blog Please Pass The Recipe. They are made using spelt flour for the pastry and were an absolute hit. Didn’t remember to get a pic of the inside, but trust me, they were delicious!

We also had the “If I don’t make them the family will kill me” Annabel Langbein Pakora. For the recipe click here. These are also vegetarian and are made with besan (chick pea) flour and beer batter, for the filling I used cauliflower, peas, pumpkin and zucchini then served with a simple Indian style mint dipping sauce. Once a year I bring out my little el-cheapo deep fryer for these, it then goes back into to cupboard for another year.

Then there were the mussels with nam prik (Thai chilli dipping sauce) and topped with  cucumber salsa. Last year I made Turkish Stuffed Mussels and my poor dodgy hands took weeks to recover from the pain of opening the mussels. These were easy peasy, the recipe is from Annabel Langbein’s Simple Pleasures cook book.There was a couple of huge platters of assorted breads, dukkah, antipasto, dried fruits and cheeses. This is some of the breads including  potato and roasted garlic focaccia, pizza filled baguettes, plain baguettes and an olive parmesan batard.I made yet again Celia’s Tupperware Meatballs. These are from the River Cottage Cookbook and I love the seasoning and spices, served purely with greek yoghurt sprinkled over. Winner! By the time I got back from grabbing my camera, they were gone. These are great as they can be made ahead then frozen and just reheated in the oven. This pic is from a previous time I made them but they were cooked in a tomato sauce as a main meal then.I had planned to serve chicken tikka kebabs too, but the food intake had slowed down so I left these and we had them Boxing Day along with some left over pakora mix that I cooked on the  griddle. No where near as nice as the deep fried version but ok.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Day was lovely, beautiful weather, very relaxed and all but my daughter in law were there for lunch. She joined us soon after lunch so the whole family were together which is a first for a while. Lunch was hosted by my son and his partner and they did a great job. I did take a bit of a contribution to lunch………….he lives only 10 minutes away so no problem  transporting, put it down as meat resting time.

Roast turkey, roast pork, roast potatoes, plum pudding, tomato and onion layered bake, gingerbread house, gravy, brandy sauce.

The turkey was stuffed with crumbs made from my bread, capsicum, thyme, 2 eggs & salt and pepper. So easy, so delicious, we cooked the turkey and pork in the Weber at home. I’d made gravy from roasted bones and veg a few days before, stored it in a milk bottle and reheated it at Cameron & Graham’s place.We sat outside under the shade of the trees, ate, drank too much and of course there was the gingerbread house to demolish (see below). My mind had been tossing a couple of ideas around as to its demise and it went reasonably well. We probably could have gotten a bit more mileage and a few more cracks but it is what it is.I received a pack of these beautiful beeswax wraps from my D.I.L as my Kris Kringle gift. They work really well and as a bonus they are made by a local business. Little Bumbles have a range of plastic free shopping and storage items and they are beautifully presented. Love their catchphrase! Another local item I have In My Kitchen is a jar of Grandmas Delights Tomato Chutney. I cannot believe I actually ran out of both my sauce and tomato relish. I cannot remember how many years it would be since I bought sauce, but its been a long, long time. I refuse to buy that crappy, plastic bottle, mega factory made stuff, so was thrilled that our local IGA stock this. Was good, not as good as mine of course, but definitely good.

And now we close the year, the post and In My Kitchen for 2017 with the now famous annual demolition of the Gingerbread house. Very “straaylan’ to use the iconic Hills hoist as the  moving mechanism and the weapon my son used to ‘hack’ the house is his Japanese Samurai sword (demo only) which he bought back from Japan when he was an exchange student. Once again it proved a little upsetting for little Charlie, but I imagine in a few years he’ll be coming up with his own ideas on how to do the demo. There are views from 2 different angles here just to make sure you don’t miss a thing! Thanks to Sherry from over at Sherry’s Picking for her linking up of bloggers and thanks to everyone who shares their posts or takes the time to read ours. Happy New Year everyone.

 

In My Kitchen-For the first time in a while!

I was having a look around my kitchen to see if there may be anything of interest to post and realised it is exactly one year since I moved from the temporary kitchen into our new lovely space. I posted about having a new oven installed at the end of July last year. Twelve months on and I can honestly say I am thrilled with my Falcon oven. Not too thrilled though that it threw a door seal the other night, will have to get that sorted pretty quickly. There has not been one moment when I haven’t been thrilled with this oven and its performance. So back to what’s to share In My Kitchen this month. We now have Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings doing the linking up of fellow IMKer’s, thanks Sherry!

Here I have some sourdough croissants that look suspiciously like crumbed chicken. I finely chopped hazelnuts and almonds to sprinkle over the top and it makes them look crumbed. Glazed with a rosewater glaze they were a great success with the kids arguing over who got how many and some whinging that they “always” miss out. The recipe for these completely sourdough croissants is from Shipton Mill, I have made it a few times and it always goes well. I made these smaller as a mini croissants which were cut to about 7cm wide X 15cm long. They should have proofed another couple of hours but it had already been 24hours and I got impatient! Here are definitely the last tomatoes for this season. I picked these from the greenhouse today and to be honest I was quite surprised to see them. Mr ATMT has been working his ‘not quite as young as he used to be’ body out laying brick paving in the area outside the kitchen. These bricks are reclaimed from a local demolition company and look really great. The orange tree we moved is coping really well so far and the overnight temperatures that have been down to -4 haven’t knocked it much at all.  Now to get some fence screen planting in. I think lots of citrus will do very nicely.I love fruit cake but we never have it as I am the only one who eats it. My sister gave me this boiled fruit cake and I am looking forward to working my way through it with my cup of tea each day. My girlfriend brought me back these napkins from her overseas trip. I hope they don’t say anything offensive, feel free to translate for me! I have a new bread knife In My Kitchen, crusty sourdough bread can be a challenge for cutting and I love this Opinel bread knife. I have 2 new books. I bought the Bien Cuit bread book because I love the pictures and it is a nice book to have on the coffee table (which we don’t have!) and the Culinary Adventures  of Marakesh was kindly given to me by a neighbour. I have only started delving into this and I think it will be quite an enjoyable read. Is anyone else familiar with this book? Lastly for this months’s IMK post is a picture of our classic winter Saturday or Sunday wake up snack. A cup of tea with some toasted sourdough, here it is fruit loaf with raspberry jam on one and quince jelly on the other. Bloody lovely! Now off to have a look at the other “In My Kitchen” posts.

 

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In My Kitchen-April

As the seasons change so does what goes on in my kitchen. We have had a couple of days cool enough to run the heating and we’ve had a couple of days hot enough to sit outside under the trees for their cooling relief. Alas, I do think the warmer days are over, snow today on Mt Baw Baw.

In my Kitchen this month is my entire onion harvest for the season, save the drum roll, no need whatsoever. Also in my kitchen is something quite dear to me. About 23 years ago we were meant to go camping, but all three kids had the chicken pox and that was too testing even for me to endure in a tent. I managed to find a farmer who had an old farmhouse that he let people stay in (usually backpackers) and he said it was available. It was a wonderful old house on a beautiful farm in Leongatha and it had a wood fired stove, fireplaces in the main bedroom and lounge, a fig tree out the back and lots of chooks. He was thrilled that he had someone stay who actually knew how to use the stove and the next day he turned up saying his mum used to bake bread with yeast she had made herself so he had taken the time to dig out the recipe for the yeast or as we would now call it ‘starter’. It looks like it came from an old PWMU cook book but I’m not sure. I’m really pleased I still have this and I may even attempt to make the yeast from hops one day. I picked most of the fruit from the rocoto chilli bush and decided to see how it goes freezing it. I have read this works well, we will find out. I have put small quantities into ice block trays and frozen them then put into a container for easy access. A bit left of field with this one. I found this fur jacket at the op-shop in Warragul and just had to bring it home. It is like brand new, has no smell and has the most beautifully detailed buttons. It came from the Myer emporium furriers and it has made me question the whole concept of why shouldn’t we use fur. I’m not sure what is worse, polluting us and the environment with all the synthetics or if done in a responsible and humane way using animals. Whole big can of worms in that question, one I’m not ready to ponder too deeply on yet. Not sure how, but this is the last pickled onion in my kitchen. I usually make sure I have a good supply on hand but somehow I slipped up. Better make sure I do a batch next week! This is a sandwich of my freshly milled barley and whole wheat bread with ham, pickled onions and cheese. Haven’t indulged myself in something like that for a long time. We are  very excited that it is now cool enough to have fired up this little Nectre bakers oven/wood fire. This replaces the wood fired stove that was in the chimney, it was very inefficient, offered no ambience and took about 4 hours to preheat. I am thrilled with this unit, just right for sitting in front of on a miserable day while at the same time you can use the heat to cook. Tonight we are having Moroccan style meatballs with roast veggies. I put some eggplant and a head of garlic in to roast earlier which I will make a little side dish with. I see lots of enjoyment coming from this little fire.  And finally in my kitchen this month is this little cutie who has decided he LOVES grapes. I picked a bunch from the berry house and we sat on the back lawn doing the suck, spit swallow which he worked out very quickly. These are the grapes that taste like passionfruit and even though they have fairly thick skin and large pips it didn’t stop him working his way through almost an entire bunch. Got quite a good rhythm going after the first couple!Thanks to Liz over at BizzyLizzysGoodThings for being the conduit for linking those who share a peek into their kitchens each month.

In My Kitchen-March

I really should try to get my blogging mojo back I think! I miss the time focussing about what to write, planning ahead for what needs to happen and putting the ideas together to string some form of ‘story’ together. I’m finding that I’ve fallen a little into the trap of using Instagram (IG) or as I am now renaming it “Instant Gratification”. This is OK but it doesn’t really give me the same satisfaction as writing a post. Thank goodness for ‘In My Kitchen’, a forum where bloggers put up some snippets of what is in their kitchens each month. All of these blogs are linked to a common point by the wonderful Liz over at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things. Go and have a look at some of the great things going on.

Not a lot this month In My Kitchen as we went camping for nearly 2 weeks. I did manage to still bake bread while we were away but this time I cheated somewhat and used the oven in the camp kitchen. I baked in a pasta pot we have in the camping kitchen and it was a great success.

img_2012We brought some great bacon back from the butcher at Merimbula. This bacon is beautiful, they also had some nitrate free bacon which really appeals to me so I got some of that too. Down side is that it is packed in cryovac plastic packaging. This is a shame, but sometimes when weighing up the options an outcome that is not ideal is the result. My delight in getting good quality over what is available at home that would still be in plastic won over.img_2117Also In My Kitchen is some sourdough starter I am dehydrating. I have shared quite a bit so needed to replenish my stock. This is my original ‘Vesuvius’ starter that I began about 10 years ago.img_2112 I have been making some potholders. I am using an old woollen blanket that is beyond its useful life as the thermal filling in these. I am also using up scrap cotton I had in my cupboard for the covering but I have bought a couple of extra pieces. Next week I’ll scout the op shops for suitable garments I can re-purpose.img_2113 This years glut! NOT! Nowhere near any previous seasons harvests, very disappointing. I’ll be buying a couple of boxes for making passata I think. Not a lot, but the flavour is really good this year. My experiment of having half the tomatoes staked and laterals pruned and the other half just doing their thing without attention has bombed. I have not had one tomato that hasn’t been eaten even when very green in the free range plants. img_2118 Finally In My Kitchen this month is a pic of todays wholemeal bread I made and tested out a couple of different baking methods. The top 2 loaves were cooked in the cast iron dutch oven, the pumpkin seed shaped loaf was baked in a clay cloche and the bottom one was baked in my Falcon enamel roasting pan. All work well but I prefer the cast iron.img_2136So that’s the little peek into my kitchen this month. Are we going to get a peek in yours?

In My Kitchen February 2017

Well we are back and rearing to go! A shout out to Liz over at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things for taking the time to hook us all up. Head on over and have a peek at some amazing kitchen happenings from around the world.

So what have we got going on this month? Bread, bread and lots more bread I’m afraid. I have become quite obsessed with trying as many different grains, methods and styles as I can. I have set up a Facebook Page too hoping to get more ‘local’ sourdough lovers to share their stories, learn more about making sour dough and offering tips for local suppliers of baking supplies like flour and equipment. If you are interested or have a friend who is interested tell them to come and join in. Sourdough Baking Australia & New Zealand is a closed group so people need to ask to join or be invited by Members. Some of my recent baking highlights have been; barley bread,barley breadSome home milled wholewheat blend.bestand I’ve been working on mastering the making of sourdough croissants. sweet-starter-croissantsThe finished croissant.Sourdough croissantsWhile doing some research on dough lamination, I stumbled across this youtube video  where the chef uses what he calls a ‘tarp’ for rolling his pastry. I had never heard of this concept so off to the Google Research Centre and I discovered some really interesting information about the benefits of using a pastry cloth to toll pastry on. Seemed too good to be true, so off to Spotlight for fabric and using these basic instructions I made a couple of pastry cloths. I found them to be everything they were touted to be and I love the fact many mentioned that they had their family ‘hand-me-downs’ from mothers and grandmothers tucked away in their drawers. I made a double layered large one and 2 smaller single layer ones, but after using them I think the double is much better, so I’ll just fold the smaller ones when I use them. I only dusted flour twice while rolling out these croissants. No sticking whatever. pastry-clothOf course I had to have croissant for breakfast didn’t I? Here are a couple of the finished items along with a cup of tea made in the delightful cup with a china infuser and hat that I was given for my birthday. The spotty pots are a couple of my favourites too.tea-croissants The little cap on the infuser acts as a drip tray when you remove the leaves from the cup and as a lid for the cup when not in use. I love it.infuser-cupWe have finally been able to hang some pictures that were stored and this photo is one my nephew (who is a very talented photographer) had at his exhibition. She is a peanut-seller at the market in Vietnam and he really captured the essence so well it came home with us. Unfortunately my photo doesn’t do it justice at all!peanut-lady When I left work our Parents & Friends Association very kindly gave me a voucher for my favourite shop in Warragul, String & Salt.  String & Salt  have an excellent selection of quality homewares and cooking equipment, they run some incredible cooking classes and they also sell Falcon Ovens which is where we bought ours. The key factor to being a delight to deal with, is their level of service, not easy to find these days and they shine. Anyway, I used my voucher to get this gorgeous little Burgon & Ball Trug. We are starting to get a run of tomatoes coming in, not much else I must say, I know I’ve not been as attentive this season but things just seem sparse. Neighbours and friends are all saying the same so I’m glad it isn’t just my neglect.Burton Ball TrugThen finally In My Kitchen this month is something a bit different. I’m finding undoing the car seat, high chair and pram clips are causing excruciating pain to my dodgy fingers so I went back to the Google Research Centre and found this little thing called a buckle bopper.  You rest it in the palm of your hand and the knobby bit pushes in the clip and releases it.buckle-bopper It was ridiculously expensive for what it is and there are no Australian sellers so postage was also up there but if it reduces pain levels it’s not too bad.

So that’s my lot for “In My Kitchen” this month, I’m popping over to Liz’s now

for a peek into some of the others.

In My Kitchen December.

Well the month started with a landmark birthday for me so to celebrate we headed to Echuca on the Murray River to take charge of a houseboat for 7 nights. Myself, Mr ATMT, my 3 sisters, brother-in-law, our 2 closest friends and our 2 sons (interchanged throughout the week) spent some lovely hours doing absolutely nothing apart from eating, swimming, drinking, dozing and playing games. Unfortunately our daughter couldn’t make it as they were in Hawaii and were delayed getting back.

Brittania on The MurraySunset starting to roll in.img_3539 Most nights we just ate, played games, had a few drinks and did lots of laughing while the cockies squawked loudly around us.img_1243

In My Houseboat Kitchen.

We ate like kings! Unfortunately I seem to have waylaid a few photos but I can share the Finnish Flaxseed Sourdough load that was made from the recipe Francesca over at Almost Italian had posted, this loaf was delicious and I have been requested to make more and more and more. The recipe was spot on which always makes me happy!

Finnish Flaxseed Sourdough

I had packed some basic supplies and ran a mini ‘how to’ session for making sourdough. The house boat had a gas oven that wasn’t all that good at keeping in the heat so it needed some assistance. You do what you have to do!oven-doorThe loaf actually turned out pretty well considering, but I have had a bit of experience cooking in a dodgy or even without an oven.bread-on-boatWe had a butterflied lamb leg that my sisters purchased at the sensational butcher in Yae. The meat from there was some the best I’ve had in a very long time, roast BBQ’d lamb, lovely fresh asparagus and salad and we were happy campers on a boat.

roast-on-houseboatI was blown away by this lemon & ginger cheesecake that my niece made and was brought along by my sister as a surprise birthday celebration. It was delicious and I kept sneaking a piece every day when no one was around.img_0131-001 I took a batch of Glenda’s orange muffins as these have become somewhat addictive for us. I had made and frozen them to take, they really last the distance very well. Not sure what made me place it on the BBQ to take a picture of, but here it is, looking back at the Murray River before it gets gobbled up.img_0184-001 Before we left I made a batch of sourdough croissants with the intention of taking them with us.img_1161They didn’t make it away and they were delicious!Sourdough croissants Finally In My Kitchen back at home was the making of the Christmas pudding. As is tradition at our place, whoever is around has to have a stir for luck. Look who I found! I’m loving having our grandson around, you turn into complete idiots entertaining him and I love every minute of it!

Pudding stirring
Pudding stirring

Thanks to Liz over at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things who takes the time to link us all together for these peeks into what goes on in other kitchens.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas and holiday season. I’m pretty excited about having a kitchen to entertain and cook in this year! 🙂 

 

In My Kitchen November-

Might need a cuppa for this, I’ve rambled on a bit!

It is really Spring, but we keep going back to winter and then back to Spring repeatedly. I was going to start this post saying I think Spring is well and truly here but it’s currently 11 degrees with 30km per hour wind and it feels like it could snow up on the hills. I have deferred planting my tomatoes for a week or two, hoping to see some improvement. The tomatoes in the greenhouse are doing well, but everything else in the veggie patch is way behind its normal schedule so I don’t have the space for tomatoes free quite  yet.

In My Kitchen  is all I have left from last years garlic harvest.

Garlic sproutingIt has lasted really well but there are signs of sprouting so I went through the remaining bulbs and discarded any that were soft and had sprouts showing. The remainder I have placed in the fridge to delay shooting (theoretically) hoping that this years harvest will soon be ready.

In My Kitchen this month are a few goodies I bought while in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago. Last year I bought some smaller clay dishes after Celia wrote about them and I love them but they are a little too small for a whole serving per person. I bought these at Chef’s Hat in Melbourne. I love this store, they have an amazing array of cooking gear for both commercial and domestic purposes.

img_9966 I grabbed a bottle of this gorgeous smelling Turkish Rosewater from Sonsa Foods in Collingwood. It is a freshener and smells just like when you used to make rose-water from pulling the precious heads from your mums best roses and mixing them with water in a jar. The description vaguely translates as “A Turkish toilet waters (Kolonya), as it should be. Pleasantly refreshing, not too pushy and a fragrance that makes happy. the EST Kolonya “Hatiralar” smells fine and gently green leaves, rose, water flowers, Indian grass, sandalwood and some sweet fragrances. The refreshments for the start of the day and also in between for the face, neck or hands”.  I broke the rule of not buying plastic but I just couldn’t resist it.img_9968 I love this little find I had at the Turkish Suppliers in Campbellfield. This is a Guvec, a Turkish clay pot that is glazed inside and is used for cooking stews and casseroles. It can be used in the oven and on the stove top. I just love its simplicity and rustic look.img_9970 Then there is the Sucuk. This is a spicy beef cured sausage and will be going into gozleme, on top of pizza and just for nibbling on. It is often served in Turkey as part of the breakfast dishes. img_9974 and I couldn’t resist a couple of bottles of Sulcer Biba, or pepper paste. I find I am using this more and more as you would tomato paste. It really adds a delicious depth and zing to dishes. This one is a mild version but I also got a hotter one.img_9976I stocked up on chicken feet and chicken pieces at the Footscray market. I bag these up, freeze them and make fresh stock when needed. Our older son was suffering with a good dose of tonsillitis so I made up a care kit package for him. I made chicken stock, turned this into some chicken soup loaded with vegies, made some sourdough bread and a couple of rolls. This along with some freshly squeezed orange juice and I felt like a ‘real mum’ again.

Chicken Soup Care KitI had a few things that needed to be used up in the fridge so we ended up with a roast capsicum, broccoli, broad bean, bacon and greek yogurt quiche. I made the shortcrust pastry using a recipe Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella had  posted and it is beautiful. I did cook this a little too hot, still tweaking with the oven.Red pepper quicheThis was accompanied with a salad I made using coarse bulgur rather than the smaller variety. It is basically a tabouleh but using red capsicum instead of tomato (no decent tomatoes around yet). Soak 1/2 cup of burgul  into hot water until fluffy, add a good splash of olive oil, juice of a lemon plus another half (maybe) S&P, fry off a red capsicum and an onion until slightly soft. Chop a very generous handful of mint, parsley and mix all together. Adjust tang to your liking by adding either more lemon or oil. Top 10 list for us!Capsicum TaboulehI finally got the chance to use my ‘Big Bertha’ (almost 3 wine bottles long) rolling-pin when making the pastry.  It is impressive I must say and did a great job in a flash.img_9946 I got to add a few treasures to the sideboard, still have to do the door and drawer knobs, they are on the list…..img_9934 Nearly finished, hang in there!

In my kitchen is some Oolong tea or as we have now named it, Rabbit Poo Tea. We drink a lot of tea and this is a good way of going through the ceremony without consuming the added sugar we have with our strong black tea.  This is a sample pack and I have arranged for Tea Leaves to now fill my BYO container at the store. Tea Leaves  is an incredible tea shop that really needs to be seen to be believed.img_9952There are a couple of loaves of sourdough, these are sesame seed loaves. I simply toasted a cup of sesame seed and added to the dough and rolled a few on the surface before baking, it smells wonderful. Sesame Seed sourdoughI have been crocheting some shopping bags. I bought some 8 ply cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills and am really thrilled with how they have turned out. These, along with some dish cloths, might make up some Christmas gifts I think. The pattern for the red one can be found here. The pattern for the green one, here.

Market bags crochetedFinally, In My Kitchen this month is this gorgeous little fella! Now 10 months old and discovering that pasta is not only tasty but fun!CharlieThanks to Liz over at BizzyLizzyGoodThings for being the “In My Kitchen” link up host. It is a great way to see what people are up to and get some great ideas along the way. What’s happening in your kitchen this month?

In my kitchen-Finally!

For those that don’t get regular updates to my posts, for the last four years I have endured living with no real kitchen, no hot and cold water connected at the same outlets, bucketing water for dishes, no real oven, no proper storage and have been using the gas camping cooker as a range. I’m not complaining, luckily I am a very resourceful person and have managed quite well even down to baking our sourdough bread weekly in either the ‘Sunbeam Pizza Bake N grill bench top oven’ or on the gas BBQ.

This was the space when we first moved in to this house, there was no cold water to the sink, only hot. The cupboards, floor and wall were all rotten and stunk!

Kitchen 1We started our ‘exteno’ this time last year, it involved moving the existing wall out another 6 or so metres, plus there so much other work my mind starts to glaze over just thinking about it. Check out my blog for full details, I shudder at remembering it in detail! This shot shows things in early progress stage.

Kitchen layout This is what our dishwashing facilities were in February this year. That was fun, as we had ours sons wedding and houseful of guests! Kitchen sink removed This is the same corner where just today we brought in the antique dresser/sideboard that I have been working on restoring over the last few weeks. The unit had been coated with polyurethane that gave it an orange ‘glow’ and I was adamant that I wanted it back to its raw timber state. I have dressed the timber with Feast and Watsons carnauba wax which is a natural blend of beeswax, citrus oils and some other wonderful smelling goodies. This has been a labour of love, my hands hurt like hell but I don’t care, I love it! sideboardThis is the sort of project where you need to know when to stop, if you are into things being pristine and ‘neat’ then these projects would leave you disappointed. I’ve yet to put the handles on and the hinges need a tweak or two, but overall I am so happy with this project. Notice the chimney has also been stripped and that there are real benches in the middle of the room (albeit covered with bread making ‘stuff’). I now need to fill this beauty with some very special items. When I was about 16/17, I went with my then boyfriend to pick up some second hand golfing stuff his father had bought from the ‘Trading Post’ (yes, pre buy/swap/sell days) and this lovely old lady was getting rid of a beautiful Royal Doulton dinner set. Well this dinner set has moved with me, been boxed for years and only once or twice seen the light of day as I knew one day I would have an old dresser where I could display it. I have no idea why I bought it, but I thought the $8.00 she was asking wasn’t such a bad investment. Complete with soup bowls that have little handles and everything else. Don’t think it’s valuable, but I am very excited about seeing it out from the boxes and realising my dream that ‘one day’ has come .img_9508Tonight was the first night we could cook outside, ON THE NEW DECK! There are just too many things being achieved all at once now, I don’t know where to start. Hope you like the lovely stand the Weber Q is on! This pic is from the new deck looking back into the kitchen space. The boys are debating whether the light fitting over the island bench that moves in the breeze because its not tightened should stay on the angle. It’s one of those bottle of red discussions!img_9519-001I’ve been turning out some pretty impressive sourdough bread,img_0814 And because I have a real stove top, I can take my Indian Karahi out of the shed andimg_0827create meals like this beautiful Indian vegetarian matar paneer curry,img_0828 or this cumin stew which is a recipe from the Anatolia cook book. I have returned this to the library and forgot to write the recipe down, but it was lovely, strong flavour but lovely.Cumin stewI made Turkish boregi (water pastry) which is really a light style of lasagne. I needed to use up some things in the fridge so this is what it tuned into. This was really easy, I will add the recipe later this week. A great picnic, holiday dish.img_0841 img_0833I know there is so much else to report “In My Kitchen” since the necessary hiatus it has undertaken. Thanks to Liz at Bizzy Lizzie Good Things for picking up the reins and supporting us all in sharing what is ‘In My Kitchen’ every month. I never thought I’d see the day when I could actually say I had a kitchen. Still a few things to do, range hood, display shelves, splash backs behind the benches and stove, painting the windows etc but we are pretty much there. This time last year the kitchen benches were still standing as the framework of the old rooms, covered in cobwebs and all sorts of other debris. I’m happy that we have retained the feel of the old house but the working components are clean an functional.img_9523