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.

In My Kitchen-Be warned, Red everywhere!

What’s in my kitchen this month? Tomatoes, tomatoes and yes, more tomatoes. Thanks again Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for giving us this opportunity to share and have a glimpse into kitchens all around the world. Yep, with tomatoes, you cruise along for a few weeks harvesting at leisure and using beautiful tomatoes one by one for your salads and breakfasts and then bang! Glut time. All at once you become overloaded with these beautiful ruby red, purple, black and pinky orange delights.

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I usually start by sorting them into 3 separate piles, those that I can leave to ripen a bit longer, those nice now and over the next few days and those that must be used now or they will be destined for the chooks! The nice now and for a few more day ones are going onto my pretty new blue plate/bowl.

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I spent this morning making some tomato pickles.

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This pickles is great with meat, eggs and anywhere you would use tomato sauce.

I knocked up a ‘tart au tomato’. I just used some puff pastry as the base, spread some Dijon mustard over and topped with sliced tomatoes, olive oil and thyme. Smells pretty good,  might be lunch this week I think.

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I also made a tomato ‘quichey’ pie dish. First up, a pastry base into which I spread the bit of tomato pickles that didn’t fit into the jars, then came pan-fried tomatoes, zucchini, onion and capsicum with some olive oil, thyme and oregano. IIMG_0181 grated the zest of our first kaffir lime into the mix  too. Gee I love the smell of kaffir lime, it is so heady and aromatic. Oh, there was some chorizo I found in the fridge when I cleaned it out, so that went in as well!

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I dug out my favourite rolling pin to roll out the pastry. I bought this in an op-shop in Tassie about 20 years ago. Kauri pine and beautiful to use. The ‘quichey’ pie looks good and today’s white sourdough loaf  have kept my ‘toy oven‘ jam packed. Two loaves of 50% rye yet to go in today!

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On an exciting note, I have a new sourdough starter, Phoenicia. Celia graciously offered me some of her starter saved from “Priscilla”. How could I refuse? The starter arrived last week and it was only this morning before I’ve had a chance to give it the kiss of life. I’ve named her Phoenicia in honour of the great Phoenician bakers, apparently unrivalled. So now I have Phoenicia, Vessie (after Vesuvius) which are both a white starter and ‘100% rye’ (must think of a name for that! Only a couple of hours in and already signs of life.

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In my kitchen is a very handy bucket. When we were camping our trusty old bucket came to grief and I refused to pay $4.00 for one that looked about as good quality as a chinese food container.  I went into the local bakery and asked if they had any spare fondant buckets. $5.00 later we came out with 2 large 10 litre buckets and this handy little one which is ideal for doing my preferment of bread dough in.

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Well, that’s about all that’s going on In My Kitchen this month. I now have to go and find my passata making equipment as I think that will definitely be a job that needs to be done in the next week or so. But first, some sourdough french toast with a dollop of tomato pickles for lunch.

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Grilled chicken sausage and cabbage toastie.

Mr ATMT rang just after 6.00 to say he was on his way home and I had been busily engrossed in doing some cello practice and completely forgotten about dinner (as always the perfect wife!). Not to worry, luckily I had taken some of Mirboo Pastured Poultry’s chicken sausages out of the freezer at the weekend with a plan to do something with them this week. Just hadn’t planned what! I had in the back of my mind that a sauerkraut style cabbage would go with them so I went ahead and made a toastie from what we had to hand. Sausages, sour dough bread, cabbage Belinda’s Tomato Pickles and to add a bit  of depth Annabel Langbein’s Chilli Jam. I’ve jotted down the recipe as it was a really good easy tea that we enjoyed in front of the fire along with a glass of wine. Link for how I did this below. Does look like it needs bait of salad or greenery, but it was a fireside easy meal!

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