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.


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.




In My Kitchen – July 2014

Hooray! After a long absence and a big relocation, I have finally managed to get a blog post ready. Thanks to Celia for providing this opportunity for us to join in. Check out more posts here.

In my kitchen is . . .

view from kitchen

a new view! Very different from the bush view I had previously.

Also, in my kitchen is .  . .


a different oven! I do miss my huge Ilve stove but I am becoming appreciative of this Miele oven. It cooks very evenly and heaps easy to clean.

Perfect Clean oven tray This Perfect Clean oven tray (from Miele) is excellent, great for pizzas and pies. Roast vegetables cook well, then you just wipe clean!

In my kitchen is . . .

onion glassesa pair of onion goggles that I bought for my daughter from The Monday Morning Cooking Club.

In my kitchen are . . .first leafy greens

our first leafy greens from our own brand new veggie garden. We have never been able to grow any vegetables  successfully before, due to lack of sunlight in a bush location. Now we have full sun all day so have been busy creating some garden beds.

Here is our first crop Bok choy, eaten within an hour of picking.

choy sumIn my kitchen is  . . .

Copco kettlethis Copco enameled kettle from the 70’s that seems to be fashionable again. I keep seeing it appear in magazine and newspaper pictures.

In my kitchen is . . .

slow cooked beef ribsa plate of slow cooked beef ribs. This is a Gourmet Traveller recipe and can be found here. Just the dish for a cold Winter’s night.





In My Kitchen – December 2013

Thanks to Celia who provides us bloggers with exposure through her own blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

I have been neglecting my blog recently as I prepare my house and the 30 years of acquisitions, for a big move early next year. What a job!

I have found some interesting long forgotten items such as this recipe book!

Girl Guide Biscuit recipes

It is full of recipes using Girl Guide biscuits,  guaranteed to use up all the biscuits you had to buy. Each recipe is accompanied with a handy household  hint, such as cleaning white cloth with ground rice. Also, quotes from Lord Baden-Powell, “In order to get money, you must expect to work”!

I wonder if the guides still sell the biscuits?

In my kitchen is . . .

a stack of Magimix attachments.

Magimix attachmentsMy former Magimix expired, after many years of hard work. My new Magimix came with its own attachments so these are waiting for a new home. They fit the 5100 model and maybe some others. Let me know if they could be of use to you. My email is

In my kitchen is . . .

this sugar bowl.

Barham sugar bowlIt has not  been used for a few years now as we don’t use a sugar bowl anymore, do you? Sugar is kept in the pantry for cooking uses, not on the table. This bowl was made in Barham, a small town on the Murray River, now famous for its avocadoes. I have had an idea to start using it again by filling it with my favourite salt, Murray River pink salt flakes, which is always close at hand.

In my kitchen is . . .

some rhubarb.

rhubarbMy friend gave me a huge bunch from her garden. It kept its beautiful colour when I cooked it and has the best flavour I have ever tasted in rhubarb. I can’t wait to grow some next year.

In my kitchen is . . .

an early Christmas present.

amarena cherriesThe BW came across this huge tin of Fabbri Amarena cherries on a trip to Melbourne. Knowing how much I love them, he struggled home with them on the plane. All I need now is the large container to store them in. Has anyone seen the large blue and white decorated containers anywhere? I think a cherry dessert is on the cards for Christmas. I did make some star anise meringues ( a Belinda Jeffery recipe). The cherries go wonderfully with them.

Pearl Oyster Mushroom Kit

In a previous post, I showed you a mushroom kit that we were about to activate. Here are the photos of the results.

After an overnight soak in water, the kit is ready to go.

The first sign of activity was these cute little buttons.pearl oyster mushrooms

As they grew, they reminded me of The Mushroom Dance in Walt Disney’s Fanatasia.


We were keen to inspect them regularly to see if they had grown. I love their shape at this stage.


After a few attempts at growing these mushrooms, you would get to know at which stage of growth you prefer to eat them.

The instructions say to harvest them when they start to flatten out.


We picked some the morning after the above shot.


The tops of the mushrooms felt like soft suede and tasted delicious.

This process is very easy, anyone can do it,  you don’t need a garden, only a room that gets sunlight (not direct sunlight) and a spray bottle to mist the mushrooms everyday.

All of this happened in just over a week. It was great fun and I can’t wait to see if the kit produces anymore after soaking it again.

This mushroom kit is available from Fungi Culture.

Betta check your Fetta!

We are very fortunate these days, especially in the city, to have such a wide range of foodstuffs available. We are ‘spoilt for choice’ but need to be careful when making selections.

I will be more careful now when buying feta cheese after unknowingly choosing one that contains PALM OIL!!  Palm oil plantations are responsible for the large scale destruction of orangutan habitat, bringing them closer to extinction.

fetta packet

Because of inadequate labelling laws, palm oil is often disguised as vegetable oil. If a cheese label lists vegetable oil, it could be palm oil. I don’t understand why you would need to add oil to cheese. It makes you wonder what other nasties are added. In future I will be more careful when selecting cheese or, make my own fetta. It is one of the easier cheeses to make.

I needed the fetta to make this Greek cheese and spinach pie.

cheese and spinach pie