In My Kitchen – August 2015

 

027copyIn my kitchen:

Is this lovely Hebron glass plate.

I was wiping this plate the other day and I said to Maus, “This is my most precious possession.”  Not in the monetary sense but in the sentimental sense.  My mum bought it for me in the early 70’s.  It was the first item in my glory box.  For those too young to know what a glory box is: it is a collection of household items gathered by young unmarried women in anticipation of married life.   I don’t know if one has a glory box these days, but you sure did in the 70’s.

I remember this plate being purchased.  I was with my mum in David Jones (an Australian department store) and I saw a stand with this glassware on it.  It was all in shades of pink and purple, my favourite colours then and today.  I could not believe how beautiful they were.  I  pulled mum over to show her.  I don’t think she concurred with my enthusiasm.  She was more of a china girl than a glass girl, but she did ask me which was my favourite.  I chose this plate.  She later went back and bought it for me.

I have only ever known that it was Israeli glass (originally, it had a Made in Israel sticker on it) but, because I decided to show case it today, I have been doing a bit of research.  I have found that it is actually Hebron Glass which takes its name from the city in which it was made.  Hebron is in the West Bank and glass is made by the local Palestinian families.  According to Wikipedia, the glass industry in Hebron was established during Roman rule in Palestine (63BC to 330 AD) and has been flourishing ever since.  Today, however, due to ongoing export problems, the decline in tourism, and restrictions on Palestinians freedom of movement, industry production has suffered.  Under these circumstances, the survival of the Hebron glass industry is in question.

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This month has been a lot like Christmas.  My mate, Colette, and my sisters, Vickie and Juanita, have all been on holidays and returned with presents for me.

I mentioned in my previous post that Colette brought back a haul of gifts, including the single “Y” customisable cookie stamper, with which I have had fun.

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In my kitchen:

Is this wonderful brush that Colette also bought me.  I suspect you are looking at it and thinking,  “Why would a friend bring their mate back a scrubbing brush?”.  In fact, that is the very question Colette’s mum asked Colette.   But look again.  This brush is different.

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This brush is a bread proving basket cleaning brush.  According to the label, it removes “residual flour and debris from basket grooves prior to washing.”  How cool is that?  I have a dishwashing brush kept, exclusively, for that purpose.  That can now be relegated to washing dishes.  “As far as I know, I am the only one in the blogosphere with such a brush,” she thought, smugly :D

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Are two ravioli cutters. When she was away, Colette was on a mission to find  kitchenware items I didn’t have.  A ravioli cutter was her only double up.  But it doesn’t matter because the one I already had is smaller than the one she bought.

I was just thinking…  I could also make square wafers or biscuits with these.  What a great idea.

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Are some new tea towels, again, from the lovely Colette.

As you can see, the first one is all about the gorgeous Bichon.  None of the puppies on the tea towel is as pretty as Maggie, Lily or Jules but it is the thought that counts :)

138copyThis tea towel was designed to commemorate the work of Emmeline Pankhurst and the suffragette movement. The colour palette of green and purple was inspired by the original ‘VOTES FOR WOMEN’ handbills and posters and, as we all know, are international women’s colours.

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In my kitchen:

Is some Fleur de Sel de Camargue, again a gift from Colette.  Fleur de sel is the cluster of crystals that forms on the surface of seawater.  It is hand raked and harvested. Fleur de salt is the crème de la crème of salt. 

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In my kitchen:

Is some flor de sal which I bought in Aveiro, Portugal.  According to their website, the salt flower contains only minerals and nutrients, as well as microcrystals which facilitate digestion and has the advantage of being absolutely natural, not being subject to any manufacturing process, including washing, which removes very important nutritional components such as plankton and small debris skeletons of tiny marine animals, major sources of calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, among others.

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Are more gifts, but this time from Colette’s mum.  Colette mentioned that her mum had scored a box of Blackpool Rock on their latest trip.  I must have “oohed” a little too enthusiastically because the next time I saw Colette, she had extracted from her mum, three sticks for me.  (One didn’t last long enough to be photographed. Alas, now all have gone – Maus likes it as much as I do.)

When I was a kid, if anyone went to England, they would return with Blackpool Rock for everyone.  Whenever you eat the sweets you had as a child, they, invariably, disappoint.  I am glad to say that was not the case with this Rock.  This still tastes great.  The peppermint and aniseed flavours are very strong.  The only thing I noticed was it is not as has hard as I recall.  I don’t know whether this batch is a bit old or whether it is just me remembering it to be harder than it actually was.

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Are two Koziol graters.  I have had the larger one for some years (a gift from my cousin when he came back from Europe) and the smaller one was a gift from my sister, Vickie.   I don’t use them as graters – they are too pretty.  They are great kitchen ornaments.

Koziol creates fun designs for the home. The company’s directive is to make desirable designs responsibly, which means they only use thermoplastics that are 100% recyclable with non-toxic pigments and any waste created during manufacturing is  recycled.

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Is a Delfware tile, a lovely gift from my sister, Juanita.  It came with its own Certificate of Authenticity which I am sure contains lots of other interesting information but, alas, the tile is in Bridgetown and I am in Perth.  I do know, at least, that the tile is part of the “Work and Play” series.  I just love the simplicity of the design. If the tile can take heat (I am yet to check that out), I will get Maus to make me a wooden frame for it and use it as a trivet.  If not, it is destined to be an ornament.

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In my kitchen:

Is a pussy cat mould.  Have you seen these guys before?  If you follow other bloggers’ IMK series, you would have seen this mould on Mandy’s (from The Complete Cookbook) post.  I commented that I could make kitty soaps with her mould.  Before I knew it, Mandy had offered to post it to me.  In anyone’s language, that is very generous. Thanks, Mandy.  I intend to imbed some little pussy cats into bars of soap.  Stay tuned.

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Are tomatoes :D Well, not any more.  I pulled out my pumpkin plants late last month.  In amongst the pumpkins was a tomato plant.  We didn’t get around to picking up the debris until a couple of weeks later.  When Maus was bagging the rubbish, she called out,  “Do you want the tomatoes?”  At first I thought she was joking but, no, in the couple of weeks the rubbish had been lying around, a number of tomatoes had ripened so we had fresh tomatoes as late as mid-July.

It is all about broccoli and snow peas at the moment.  I picked a huge bowl of snow peas and three broccoli heads today.

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Is this lovely, very elegant little cream jug.

We were at the local tip the other day and I spied some kitchen items in the recycle shed.  You can take whatever you want from the recycling shed for a gold coin.  I zoomed in on this little beauty.

I laughed at myself when I turned it over and was pleased to note it was made in Japan. I thought, as such, it would be a cut above a similar item made in China.  In my mum’s day, if something was made in Japan, it would have been considered rubbish.  How times change.  I have checked this guy out and found a couple for sale in ebays around the world.  It appears I got a bargain with my gold coin jug.

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Is my new soup bowl/ramekin.  It is a find from the local op shop.  I have, previously, bought three very ugly op shop soup bowls/ramekins for photo shoots and have been surprised that we use them.  They are  just the right size for a bowl of soup at lunch time.  This guy is a cut above those bowls.  If I find another nice bowl like this one, I will throw the others out.  They have had their moment of glory in a post photo. This guy was made in Korea.  I don’t know how that ranks in the Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan stoneware heirarchy.  :)

If you would like to see what is in other bloggers’ kitchens this month, visit Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Celia hosts In My Kitchen each month.

Customised cookies or … the case of the second Y

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My mate, Colette, has just been on holiday to the Motherland and came back bearing a haul of gifts for me (more in this month’s IMK post).  Thanks, Colette.  One of my gifts was this customisable cookie stamp.  I thought it was a hoot.  I immediately got all the letters out and started playing.  It’s Maus’ birthday in a couple of days so I decided to construct “Happy birthday”.  You can imagine my anguish when I got to “day” only to find there was not a second “Y”.  I was pretty pissed off – “pathetic,” I thought.  I was especially grumpy since the packaging showed a stamp bearing the message, ” Happy 5th Bday!” which, as you can see, needs two “Ys”.  Because I couldn’t make “Happy Birthday”, I went for the above sycophantic message.

Continue reading

Fried parmesan polenta

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Polenta is not big in Australia but should be.  It is cheap and nutritious and best of all, tastes great.

Last year I decided to make creamy polenta as a change from mash potato to accompany a winter stew.  I went on-line for a recipe and was overwhelmed with conflicting instructions.  It was hard to settle on a recipe.  Also, I found it was difficult to incorporate into a dinner party meal as it needed to be made just before serving.  To add insult to injury, when the left over polenta went cold, it set.  It didn’t reheat well so I decided to fry it, which was a disaster.  It went to mush in the frying pan. Continue reading

Pane Accavallato di Altamura

 

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Not bad except for the shaping.

The above photo is my sixth attempt at Pane Accavallato di Altamura (overlapped bread from Altamura) and, I am glad to say, it is my best to date.  The worst thing about this loaf is the shaping and I blame Carol Field for that.  I blame her for a lot of other things but that will come later.

This month, The Cookbook Guru is showcasing the book, The Italian Baker, by Carol Field.  As I didn’t have the book, I put it on my birthday list and my sister, Vickie, bought it for me.  Thanks Vick. Continue reading

What we’ve been cooking … July 2015

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First cab off the rack for this month’s round up of What we’ve been cooking is pumpkin, cashew & coriander soup.   No wonder pumpkin soup has made an appearance with all those pumpkins under the house. Continue reading

Simple apple, pecan and cinnamon crumble cake

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I got a text from my mate Deb, the virtual cook, last week.  It read:

I have a really nice dessert recipe for you.  I will email it sometime this week.  I didn’t make it but had the pleasure of eating it.

Later in the week, the pre-empted email arrived.  I read the first line (Whenever I bake this cake I think of my mum, Cooee, …) and was immediately interested.  There is only one cookbook writer with a mum called “Cooee” – Belinda Jeffery, of course. :)  I went to my cookbooks and searched for the recipe.  “Strange,” I thought.  “I don’t have it!!!!”  I found a very similar recipe in Mix & Bake called Apple & Pecan Crumble Cake but it wasn’t exactly the same. Continue reading

Pumpkin sourdough loaf

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I showcased this loaf in my latest IMK post.  As I mentioned in that post, I always make the same recipe (this one) but, the other day, decided to make an effort and try something new.  And with all those pumpkins lying around, a pumpkin loaf seemed logical.

I must say, I was pretty happy with the loaf when I took it out of the oven but, at the time of writing my IMK post, I hadn’t cut the bread and tasted it.  The loaf was well risen and a delightful colour.  It verged on warranting the description, ‘beautiful’. Continue reading