In My Kitchen – April 2016

Lately we have had various ‘firsts’ in our new garden, now two years old. Starting from scratch, our fruit trees have a long way to go before we have excess amounts of fruit.

We managed to get a good first crop of figs. We are growing Brown Genoa and Brown Turkey.20160308_214259.jpgWe enjoyed them straight from the tree, caramelized with custard (as above) and our favourite, with goats cheese.

Our friends shared their white Adriatic figs with us.

20160403_204031-1.jpgQuite a different flavour but total perfection. Mmm, must plant one of these.

We had our first dragonfruit from our garden.

20160324_174033-1.jpgYes, it has grown 3 hours south of Sydney! We weren’t sure when to pick it, probably left it a fraction too long, but it was incredibly sweet.

20160324_174626-1.jpgWe are now picking our first tamarillos.

20160408_181907.jpgAfter  pureeing some to make a sauce, I’m sure there will be enough left for some type of preserve. Any suggestions?

In my kitchen was …

a Blissburger!!

20160324_124528-2.jpgAfter being here two years, I decided it was time to try the Blissburger from Pilgrims in Milton, a very popular vegetarian cafe. It is packed with tastiness with its grain patty, onion, avocado, tabbouleh and peanut sauce for starters. Yes, I am hooked.

I have disocvered a wonderful pasta on a recent trip to Sydney.


Yes, it is imported, but worth it. When it is cooked, it has the texture of silk. I topped up with some supermarket pasta recently, you could certainly noticed the difference. It is carefully packaged and presented.

20160408_184027.jpgI found it at Forestway Fresh at Terry Hills. Highly recommended.

On a trip to Melbourne, a discovered a gorgeous shop at the Queen Victoria  Market.

Gewurzhaus sells herbs and spices and many other cooking needs.

20160410_100348.jpgI bought this spice for my Hot Cross Buns, a lovely product. You can buy as little as you need, for one recipe if you like. I can’t wait to visit their store in the Strand Arcade in Sydney.

Note: Has anyone travelled on the Victorian rail system from Bairnsdale to Melbourne? I wish I had taken a photo of their archaic seating, upright foam seats with metal piping frames. NOT a comfortable trip for 41/2 hours!

Thanks to Maureen who hosts In My Kitchen on her blog The Orgasmic Chef. Read her blog and many more.



In My Kitchen – January 2016

What a great month January is! There is such an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables available, including what is growing in the backyard. It is a more relaxing month than December but a pressure looms to quickly deal with  any over abundance of backyard produce or that tray of plums that needs to be made into sauce.

In my kitchen this month, is a heap of green walnuts.

green walnutsThese were collected from a walnut farm, located across the ranges. What beautiful trees walnut trees are. Unfortunately, I don’t think they like a coastal climate. These walnuts have, since this photo, been sitting in a brine solution, where they have turned black! Next step is to put them in a pickling solution.

Another field trip involving self harvesting, was to a berry farm, The Clyde River Berry Farm, to collect these beautiful blueberries.

Clyde River blueberriesThe taste of these blueberries is amazing and a fun experience picking them. No more sour supermarket berries for me.

I made this blueberry and almond tart

blueberry tartand these yummy blueberry flapjacks.

blueberry flapjacksOf course, the berries are beautiful as is. You can actually take two bites of these berries!

Our tomatoes have suddenly started to ripen, so I will be busy making sauces, trying to use them all up. The varieties we are growing this year vary considerably in size, and colour.

tomatoes 2015This picture shows the difference in size. The Russian cherry tomato is the normal cherry size but the smaller ones are really tiny, red currant size and very sweet. They look beautiful as a garnish.

Whenever we have a trip to Canberra, I love to bring back something different for the kitchen. The latest trip resulted in this amazing Angel Hair chilli.

Angel Hair chilliThese are dried chilli threads, used mainly as a garnish, also adding a slight touch of chilli heat to a dish.

Canberra’s cafe and restaurant scene seems to be growing with many focusing on ‘healthy’ dishes. I came across these wheat berries in a couple of dishes we had.

wheat berriesI look forward to experimenting with these in salads. I’m sure in one dish I had, the grains had been puffed from roasting or deep frying.

So, January certainly is a busy month!

Thanks to Maureen, who now hosts In My Kitchen. Go to her site to read about many more January kitchens.

In My Kitchen – June 2015

In my kitchen are . . .

some Bocconcini all’ Amarena.

almond biscuitsg

I finally cracked open my huge tin of Fabbri Amarena cherries. My favourite treat of all times are these delights. They are little almond biscuits with an Amarena cherry in the centre.This is my first attempt at replicating the ones in my memory. I was very pleased with the first result. The recipe  requires just the smallest amount of tweaking. I used a recipe by Ottolenghi. If you search for Sour Cherry Amaretti, you will find the method on various sites. Stand by for any further attempts.

Cherrytime capsicumThis capsicum was picked on June1! I waited all summer for one. It was worth it. It looked beautiful and tasted very sweet. Unfortunately it was the only one to reach maturity. We will have to try again next season. The variety is Cherrytime.

wpid-20150528_191333-1.jpgI made Nargisi Kofta, eggs in meatballs. This is a Charmaine Solomon recipe. Yummo!  I used the bantam eggs which are smaller than the standard eggs, although it is hard to tell in this picture.

wpid-20150609_215526-1indigo tea towelI am a sucker for tea towels and when I came across this indigo one, I couldn’t resist. It is from Bind/Fold.

Keeping in the blue theme,

Boulabaise potI received this beautiful Staub bouillabaisse  pot for my birthday from my family. I love it!  It is not as heavy as I expected, much easier to handle than some pots. It heats up quickly and has a sloped bowl, a little like a wok, not just for bouillabaisse. Of course, I love the little fish handle.

Thanks again to Celia who organises IMK each month. Head over to her blog for many more IMK posts.



In My Kitchen – April 2015

In my kitchen is . . .

some home grown turmeric. It is probably not the best time to harvest, but a splitting pot made it essential.TurmericIt looks a bit dry here but it is fine. I have been using it by grating it. This gives the best colour to dishes. I have used it to make an Asian marinade for pork ribs and turmeric roasted potatoes are always a hit.


For turmeric potatoes, pre boil the potatoes with some grated fresh turmeric or powdered can be used, until just starting to go soft. Drain well and dry on paper towels. Roast in the oven with your choice of oil. Sprinkle over some nigella seeds  a few minutes before serving.

I was lucky to receive two new books for my birthday.

birthday books

The new River Cottage cookbook by Paul West is packed full of recipes, useful for when you need recipes for your own produce. Looking forward to trying some.

‘Coastal Chef’,  which has been produced locally,  has recipes from a collection of chefs using seaweed. It looks like a very interesting read.

This beautiful arrangement was given to me by a friend who made the arrangement herself using proteas from her own garden. I am impressed with her gardening and arrangement skills.


These flowers were delivered by a new florist in the district, also impressive. I love dahlias.

Willow & FleurIt is now April but we are still picking bucketfuls of tomatoes and loads of Japanese eggplant. The eggplant is more difficult to  use than the large eggplant but I came up with a tasty recipe.

eggplant and tomato sauce.jpgI peel some strips off the thin eggplant then cut them in half lengthways. After I have pan fried them in olive oil until softened, I pour over a tomato sauce. I have found the roasted tomato sauce from Stephanie Alexander works well.

Recently, a Sunday excursion saw us head off over the Escarpment to Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands. We spent an enjoyable time at the Grow, Cook, Eat Festival held at Bundanoon Community Garden. This is where I  found this lovely presented Seville marmalade and locally grown saffron.

marmalade and saffrongThe saffron is from Bungendore and smells amazing. I can’t wait to use it.

Visit many other entries in the monthly event of In My Kitchen at Celia’s Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.


“The Return of the Killer Grapes”

Watch out if you are shopping in Woolworths, you might come across a loose green grape! These little aliens are clever at escaping from their enclosure and like to lurk about the floor, waiting for some unexpecting customers.

Killer Grapes

Killer Grapes

They can inflict pain and longtime suffering if they manage to conquer a customer by bringing them to the ground.

So, do as you are told and secure those critters.


Otherwise, we could have their friends arrive.

In My Kitchen – February 2015

We have been enjoying the produce from our new veggie gardens. It is all experimental so far, so we are pleased with any successes.

In my kitchen are . . .rock melonssome of our crop of rockmelons, sweet and juicy! We are pleased with our first attempt and will try them again next Summer. I made some ice cream with some of the riper ones They seem to ripen all at once!

Our tomatoes have been great. tomatoespgThey have had to battle strong winds and storms but are holding in there.

My favourite tomatoes are this deep pink variety with a tapered shape.

rosy tomatoesNot sure of its name, the wind must have blown the label away!

In my kitchen are . . .

1st-barnie-eggssome Barnevelder eggs. Finally, after a long time waiting, one of our three Barnevelders has started to lay. How frustrating is it, looking in the hen house everyday for that first egg? A second hen seems to be getting closer with her comb and wattles reddening up, so hopefully it won’t be much longer.

We recently took a flight from Canberra airport, much easier than struggling with the traffic to Sydney airport. Before our return drive back to the coast, we called in to Fyshwick Markets. Although we have access to all the major supermarkets where we live, there is no independent greengrocer!! So, I was in summer fruit heaven at the markets with 5 different shops to choose from. Also, at the markets I found some Pialligo Farm bacon.

wpid-pialligo-farm-bacon.jpg.jpegIt certainly lives up to its reputation, beautiful! Looks like there will be more regular trips to Canberra.

Thanks to Celia who continues to host In My Kitchen worldwide. Take a look at other posts at figjamandlimecordial.



International Scone Week 2014

My favourite scones are the basic plain scone with jam and cream.

This year I chose to make date scones. I had forgotten how good they were. I expect I will be making them more often.

date scones with a view

date scones with a view

I always use a fresh packet of self raising flour when I make scones. This time I sifted the flour twice that seemed to make the scones extra light. We had butter with our date scones, no need for jam or cream. Yum!

Date Scones

1/2 cup chopped dates

2cups SR flour

pinch salt

60gms butter

3tbs sugar

1 egg

2/3 cup milk

Sift flour and salt.

Rub in butter lightly with tips of fingers.

Add sugar and dates.

Beat egg and add milk to it.

Pour into dry ingredients, nearly all at once, keeping some aside for glazing.

Turn onto a floured board and knead lightly.

Cut scones, place on floured slide, glaze with milk wash.

Bake in hot oven, 220c for 12 minutes.

If you are keen to try some new scone recipes, go to Celia’s blog and you will be in scone heaven!





Another plus for moving to the country is that you get to see the night sky and the moon. Previously we would have to peer between tree branches to see any stars. Any special event such as an eclipse meant a drive out of our valley to a higher viewing area. Now, such times as a supermoon or blue moon are easily seen.

supermoonThe  stars can be seen from my pillow which is indeed a novelty. Sometimes during a full moon we have thought that we have left some lights on due to the moonlight flooding in.

We have been experimenting with ipad astronomical apps that name the stars and planets when you hold the ipad up to the night sky. There are many free apps to choose from, such as:

Star Chart, Sky Map, Planets, Sky View and Moon Finder.

These apps are great, they will amaze you.




Plover Season

Two new birds arrived on our front lawn today. They are Masked Lapwings, commonly known as plovers. They are a common bird mostly found in open lands such as parkland, sporting ovals, and yards.

This is a pair I snapped previously. Their chick is on the far left.

a plover family

They can be aggressive this time of the year during their breeding season. They lay their eggs directly on the ground and that is what happened today.

plover eggWe thought they had abandoned the egg as they moved away after the resident magpie family didn’t approve. It is now dusk and one has returned to sit on the egg. So we will see what happens.

The magpies also are busy building nests so it could be interesting.

The Big Change

After staying in the one house for more than thirty years, we finally decided to make ‘the change’. It is not a ‘treechange’ as we have left the trees behind.

This is what we left behind.

garden view

We have moved to the South Coast of NSW, on 2.5 acres with hardly a tree in sight, yet.

new view It is not quite a sea change, although we are less than 10 minutes drive to the nearest beach. That is only the beginning as there are endless numbers of beaches here within a short drive.

Mollymook Beach With the house facing north, we wake up with the sun shinning on our faces. It stays with us all day until it sets. I can actually dry my washing!

sunriseThis is an example of the spectacular sunrises.

I guess we could say that we have made a ‘sun change’!

The locals call us Sydney refugees!