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 – 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 – 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.



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!


How to Catch a Sydney Funnel-web Spider

Warning: Do not read  this post if you suffer from Arachnophobia.

(The publishing of this post is well overdue as the spider was encountered last December and it is now Autumn here. Hopefully we won’t find these in our new environment.)

The weather in Sydney has been hot and humid with the occasional overnight shower of rain. These are perfect conditions for the Sydney funnel-web spider.

To my horror, I discovered one in the bathtub! It must have come in overnight through the open window.

 Funnel web Spider

This particular spider is very aggressive and its venom is highly toxic. So, what do we do? Do we spray it and risk it becoming aggressive? Do we stamp on it and risk missing it?

We decided the safest method was to try to capture the spider ALIVE! A large jar was quickly found and a recent Christmas card, to cover the opening. The jar was inverted over the spider, very carefully.

spider jar(Sorry about the dirty jar but there was no time to be choosey.)

The Christmas card was placed under the open jar, making sure the spider stays inside the jar. The jar is carefully turned upright.

Tape was then used to secure the card as an escape-proof lid.

sealed jarSo, what can be done with a live funnel web spider?

We took it to the local hospital where the spiders are accepted.

Hornsby HospitalThe spiders are collected by The Australian Reptile Park where they are then ‘milked’ for their venom to make an anti-venom.

Aah, what a relief!

There have been other encounters with stingers in our garden.

Saint Andrew's Cross SpiderThis attractive St Andrew’s Cross spider is very common and unlikely to cause any trouble but can give you a nasty sting.

paper wasp nest Don’t do any gardening near this paper wasp nest.

scorpionThis scorpion could give you a nasty sting so I wouldn’t try to pick it up.

Although these ‘nasties’ may cause you pain or even death, they rarely cause problems. We have managed to live quite happily with them and find no reason to harm them. Avoidance is the secret.



Christmas Bells

It is a bit late to be posting about Christmas Bells, but these bells haven’t finished yet.

Blandifordia grandiflora is an Australian native plant which flowers appropriately around Christmas time. The plant looks grass-like with the magnificent flowers at the end of a tall straight stem, around 70cms. I was lucky enough to receive some potted plants at the end of last year.

Even the buds are beautiful.

Christmas Bell budsThis plant obliged and opened its flowers for Christmas. The flowers feel like velvety latex. The colours are so brilliant. Isn’t nature clever?

Christmas BellsAnother plant turned out to be a different colour.

yellow Christmas Bells

As a child I remember seeing them growing in the bush. Their striking colours made them easily visible to those who fancied them in vases or to sell by the roadside. Unfortunately now it is very rare to see them ‘in the wild’ so we have been thrilled to be able to grow these in our garden.

We have one more plant with buds  forming. It will be interesting to see which colour it is.