In my kitchen – March 2015

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In my kitchen:

Is a prune and walnut roll.  I love “Rolada” brand fruit rolls and have prunes galore so I thought I would try and make one.  I searched the web and collected all the recipes for prune and walnut rolls I could find.  I then chose the one which sounded the most promising.  It was good – it went in one day – but not quite as good as Rolada.  I found it hard to make mine as firm as the commercial ones.  I made the log, lined some poly pipe with baking paper and then put the log into the poly pipe.  I then pressed down as hard as I could to make it as compact as possible.  I then dried it in the dehydrator.  Like I said, it was good but not perfect.  I have ideas for improvement.

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Is this magnificent Wedgewood (Butterfly Bloom) tea caddy.  It was a birthday present from my sister, Sandra.  It arrived from Peter’s of Kensington a bit late so it didn’t make it into February’s post.  I have been wanting one for ages.  I was a bit cheeky and actually asked Maus if she wanted one for her birthday since she is the tea drinker in the household.  She looked at me as if I was mad.  I guess not. :)  So now I have a gorgeous tea caddy to store Maus’ tea in :)

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In my kitchen:

Are my new Le Creuset coffee mugs. They were a birthday present from ME.  I have noticed them on other bloggers’ IMK posts.  I liked the shape and the casualness of them but not the colour.   Most people tend to go for the red and orange ones.   Then, when I was searching Peter’s of Kensington’s site during the annual sale, I noticed this lovely ‘coastal blue’ shade.  I was sold.  I now have six.  I love them.  They are just the right size (350 mils) and a lovely shape.  I have earmarked six old mugs to go to the Op Shop so as not to accumulate any more stuff.  My sister, Juanita, worries about all the stuff I have and what is going to happen to it when I pop off :).

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As you can see, I am partial to a blue mug.  I bought these years ago because I thought they were magnificent, lovely colour and perfect shape (which they are).  They are ‘Aegean Sky’ by Noritake.  I liked them so much I bought six for me and six for my sister, Sandra (who also likes blue).  Now, I don’t like them so much (sorry, Sis). They are too big – they are nearly 500 mils.  I don’t like a big mug.  I know, I know, but like I have said before, China matters.  Maus doesn’t mind a big mug.

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Is this lovely tea pot (Juanita, close your eyes).  I have had it for ages.  It was a gift from an old friend.  It is by Sadler and was made in Staffordshire, England, and depicts a sporting scene from the 18th Century.

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Now for something a little more practical…

In my kitchen:

Are passionfruit… and lots of them.  I went around and picked up these the day we arrived in Bridgetown, thinking it was all there was.  Maus came in a while later with another 10.  Since then, we have been picking up about a dozen every day. The lovely yellow urn in the background is new, too.  It was another birthday gift.  It is not, literally, in my kitchen.  It lives on our outdoor table but I thought it deserved a photo.

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In my kitchen:

Is the pulp from the passionfruit.  The above passionfruit, plus about 10 more, produced nearly four cups of pulp.

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In my kitchen:

Are three bottles of passionfruit syrup made with the said pulp.  A recipe for passionfruit syrup was the very first post I did for this blog (3 years ago today, yahoo!!) and is, by far, my most popular post.  At the time, I remember searching the web for a recipe but all the recipes had loads of sugar and not much pulp and, consequently, not much taste.  I decided to just keep adding pulp until it tasted good.  I have made the recipe, with exactly the same quantities, numerous times since.  It works a treat.

What I find interesting is the colour of this year’s syrup.  I have, previously, only ever made the syrup with Nellie Kelly passionfruit.  I have no idea what variety of passionfruit I have.  A reader, Deborah, gave me some cuttings which I planted and I ended up with two vines.  But look how different the colour of the syrup is to some syrup I made from Nelly Kelly passionfruit.

If anyone (maybe Deborah if you still read) knows what variety I have, I would love to know.

Life is full of little intrigues.

 

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In my kitchen:

At last, are tomatoes.  I have been picking tomatoes for about two weeks now.  They were very slow to start.  I was going to say, “At least, I am not inundated with tomatoes”, but I am now picking about one kilogram every day so I am on the verge of “being inundated”.  I am definitely not going to preserve any this year.  I have vowed to empty my pantry of tomatoes before I add any more.  I intend to dry some and slow roast and freeze some but that is it.  I have already made one jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil.  Another is scheduled for tomorrow.

These tomates are really weird.  They were supposed to be Roma tomatoes but they are not like the Roma tomatoes I know.  These are bell shaped, rather than oval.  They are not particularly tasty, either, but they are perfect for drying because they don’t have many seeds or much juice.

Early in the season, I pulled out every self-sown cherry tomato plant I found but then, suddenly, there were cherry tomato plants everywhere, all tangled up with the Romas so I couldn’t pull them up.  Soon, I really will be inundated.  I can’t win when it comes to tomatoes.  Every year, I try not to plant too many and not too close and not too this and not too that and still I end up with a jungle of tomato plants that could feed an army.

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In my kitchen:

Are beans.  Now, I have been inundated with beans this year.  I have been picking them for ages.  I think the first lot has self-seeded (I must have missed some beans when I was picking them) so now I have another burst.  I picked about three kilos the day we arrived.  I gave a kilo to a neighbour who doesn’t have a vegie patch and put two in the fridge.  Yesterday, I picked another kilo and today, another.093copy

When I picked this lot and knew I had to find a home for them, I rang our neighbour, Renate.  I was so happy when Renate said her beans were finished and she would like them.  Maus dropped these (and a cucumber) off within half an hour of them being picked.  When Maus returned, she had these lovely eggs, freshly laid by Renate and Horst’s well-looked-after hens.

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In my kitchen:

Is this very cute pear.  We have taken to calling into one of the Donnybrook orchards on the way back to Perth because I like the idea of buying freshly picked fruit.  We have been pleasantly surprised to find that they have different varieties to what is offered in the supermarkets.  Earlier in the month, Maus went to buy some fruit on strict instructions only to buy stone fruit (because it is in season).  My very words were “Don’t buy pears.  They will be from cold storage.”  Out she comes with a small box of pears!!!  Oh dear, dear, me.  Before I could say anything, she said,  “These were picked today!

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And they were the best pears I have ever tasted. They were Precose, an Italian variety.  Maus looked them up.  They ripen in the last week of January and the first week of February and have a very limited shelf life.  I should have taken a photo of one but it was the beginning of the month and I only think about this post a couple of days before it is due.

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This week, Maus came out with these little beauties.  The Precose were finished.  These guys don’t taste as good but they are still very nice and they are so cute.  They are only 6 cm tall.  They are Paradise.  They would be perfect for a dessert.

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Diane, from Photographs and Recipes, recently posted some photos of all the snow she is experiencing.  Check out her photos – they are amazing.  For contrast, and since it is the end of summer, I thought I would show you the view from my kitchen.  It is four photos stitched together so the perspective is a bit skewed (the balustrade which you can see on the sides and which looked to be at right angles is, actually, straight) but it gives you an idea of how dry and barren it is here.  We certainly live in a sunburnt country.  Bring on the rain, I say.

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.

More about soap …

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I have been making soap again and, slowly, I am getting better at it.  After my disaster with Bramble Berry lilac fragrance oil, I have decided to only make very small batches until I really know what I am doing.  That way, if my plan goes astray, I only have a small batch of wayward soap to use. Continue reading

Struan bread

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Anyone who is into bread baking will have heard of Peter Reinhart.  He is the author of seven very popular bread baking books.  His first, Brother Juniper’s Bread Book, was published in 1991.

When the first edition of Brother Juniper’s Bread Book was published, Peter Reinhart was living in a semi-monastic community of Eastern Orthodox Christians running a restaurant and bakery called Brother Juniper’s Cafe.  The most popular item at the café was this Struan bread. Continue reading

Pandemonium – in more ways than one

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I have started this post three times and each time it has been titled something different.  The first version was Orange Silk (which is what this rose is labelled in my garden) but Orange Silk is not a variegated rose and this rose most certainly is.    Continue reading

Sweet coconut tartlets

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Some foods go in and out of fashion.  A cooked avocado entrée is a good example.  As I mentioned in my last post, they were very exotic and glam in the early eighties but haven’t been seen on fashionable tables since.  And some food will always please …  I have been making this recipe for 25 years and it is as good today, and as well received, as it was 25 years ago. Continue reading

A blast from the past … if ever there was one.

 

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It has been ages since I made a dish like this.  In fact, I am pretty confident it has been, at least, 30 years.

That means these avocado bowls have been sitting in my cupboard, unused, for 30 years.  I can hardly believe it.  They were a Christmas gift from my sister, Juanita, when avocado entrées were all the rage.  They were used regularly, at the time, but had long since been forgotten. Continue reading

Broccoli Salad

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Maus and I have decided we don’t like frozen broccoli which is a bit of a problem because there are several bags of it in the freezer – Oh well, more dog food. :)

As a consequence, when I picked two huge broccoli heads last week, I was determined to find a use for it.  We made penne with broccoli and chorizo which lasted us two nights and then I found this salad.  It is from a great little ABC publication I use more than I thought I would, Homecooked Favourite Recipes from Australian Kitchens.   It was out and about because I was making one of my favourite biscuit recipes, gingernuts, from it.  I started flicking through its pages (as you do) and came across this recipe. Continue reading