In My Kitchen – February 2016

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In my kitchen:

Are cherry tomatoes…  Of course, it was inevitable.  Initially, I let one self-seed and all these tomatoes are from that plant.

I planted two Roma tomato seeds and, when they didn’t sprout, I planted another three but they didn’t sprout either so it’s just cherry tomatoes this year.

I was determined to have only one cherry tomato plant but a seedling came up where I had planted a Roma tomato seed and I had high hopes it would be a Roma – I let it live.  By the time I worked out it wasn’t, it was too late.  It was already huge.  Soon, this guy will be producing, too.

I am doing my best to control them but, geez, it’s hard.  When the one I had decided could live was young, I pruned all the shoots to about 30 cm from the ground and tied all the lateral shoots to the meshing.  You wouldn’t know now.  It is just a tangled mess like last year.

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In my kitchen:

Well, under the house, are bundles of onions.  Actually, I have three bundles but I couldn’t get good photos of the other two.  The bundles were accompanied by a background of buckets, piping, wheelbarrows, etc. so one photo will have to suffice.  As you can see from this bundle, I have a mixture of red, white and brown onions.  My favourite thing about growing onions is that you don’t have to eat them all at once.  It is such a good feeling to go downstairs and pick an onion from the bunch whenever I need one.

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In my kitchen:

Is most of this year’s crop of garlic.  It was not the best year for garlic.  The birds ate about two thirds of the cloves I put in and then what was left did not develop into very large heads.  Still, along with what is in the freezer, this lot may just last us the year.

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In my kitchen:

Is rhubarb and loads of it.  This photo doesn’t really indicate how big the pile was.  Believe me, it was huge.  I stored it over night in a large bin bag.

I asked a friend earlier in the season whether she would want rhubarb when it went mad later in the season.  She indicated that she loved rhubarb and would really like some.  So where was she when I picked this bin bag full of the stuff?  On holidays in bloody New Zealand, that’s where. :(

As a consequence, I had to give Maus a talking to.  I reminded her that I planted the rhubarb for her and I reminded her that, before I bought the crowns, I made her promise she would eat all that I grew.  So now she must follow through with her promises.  He! He!

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Is a beetroot.  There were three, in fact, but this guy was the most photogenic.  I only took a photo of him so I could talk about two beetroot I picked a couple of weeks ago.  They were huge. One was pretty close to 3 kilos!!.  I should have taken a photo of them.  I didn’t because I was sure they would be all woody and disgusting and big is not often beautiful.  But, when I cut into the big one, I was surprised.  It was all nice and red and juicy.  I used 900g of it to make some of Rick Stein’s infamous beetroot chutney.  I put the balance into a big pot of dog food.  The other one I gave to Maus’ brother to juice.  He drinks lots of raw vegetable juices.  I  haven’t heard whether that one was as good.

The beetroot I am picking is covered by the tomatoes.  That is why some are huge.  I have just missed them.

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In my kitchen:

Are 12 jars of preserved rhubarb.  This is the result of that huge pile of rhubarb.

Also, in my kitchen:

Are 4 jars of passata.  They are the product of some of the tomatoes in the top photo.   I also made a huge pot of Bolognaise with them.

Cherry tomatoes are great for passata.  I throw a handful, at a time, into a food processor and process until their skins are broken.  Next, I put them into a large pot and simmer them for a while.  Then into an electric mouli they go (you must get one, they are fab.).  I re-boil the resultant juice until it is the consistency I like.

Finally, I put the passata into 500 mil jars with ½ tsp salt and a 15 mil tablespoon of lemon juice and then process the jars in boiling water for 35 minutes.  I will be doing this a lot in the coming months.

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In my kitchen:

Are 6 jars of beetroot chutney I made with part of that huge beetroot I was telling you about.  The recipe actually made 12 jars – the other 6 are in Perth.  This is our favourite chutney recipe.  If you have some spare beetroot, I highly recommend it.

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In my kitchen:

Is some corn relish.  As with everything else in the vegie patch, the corn ripened all at once.    I made seven jars – the other three are also in Perth.

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Is this great chocolate mould tray.  My sister, Juanita, gave it to me.  I think it was a re-gift.  Someone gave it to her and she doesn’t make chocolates.  I haven’t done much  tempering lately.  I think Maus’ observation that she did not think it was the hobby for me (I make way too much mess for her liking) has put me off.  In any event, I am trying to eat less chocolate.  I do still have a big bag of chocolate challets in the pantry so, maybe, when it gets a bit cooler, I will give tempering another bash.  If I can’t make nice chocolates with such a great mould, I never will.

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It was my birthday in January so you’d think I’d be flush with new cookbooks and kitchen paraphernalia.  Alas, no!!  I think all my friends and sisters think I have enough (or too much) stuff In My Kitchen.  But Maus, the darling that she is, did not let me down.  She saw these cute silicon trivets and bought them as a gift from one of my gorgeous Bichons.  I am sure she bought them just because they are my colours but they are turning out to be very useful.   They are great because they are not very bulky so they can be left on the bench without being intrusive.  Then, when you want to put a pot down, one is sure to be near by.  I think she got them from Woolworths – they come in other colours.

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My sister, Juanita, who has sworn she won’t buy me anything more for my kitchen, inadvertently bought me two kitchen items for my birthday.  I mentioned to her that I needed pouring bowls in which to make my soap.  Juanita bought me this gorgeous Chasseur bowl/jug.  But it is way too nice to be out in the shed with all my soap paraphernalia so I have it in the kitchen.

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Juanita also bought me this bowl for my soap making.  It came with the whisk, spatula and the silicon brush.  I did use this bowl ONCE for soap making but, when I checked on the oil in the microwave, I noticed the bowl was hotter than the oil.  I put the oil into another bowl and checked out the bottom of this bowl.  It is not suitable for microwave so its no good for soaping.  Yippee!  Another bowl for my kitchen.

The bowl is a  Rosti Mepal.  The Danish company Rosti and the Dutch company Mepal merged in 1993 to form Rosti Mepal.  I have had several Rosti bowls for about thirty five years and they look as good as new. If this bowl is as good as those, it will see me out in bowls.  It won’t be going in the microwave again.  

If you would like to see what is happening in other bloggers’ kitchens this month, visit Maureen at Orgasmic Chef.  Maureen hosts  In My Kitchen each month.

 

 

A French chicken curry

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I bet the title has got you smiling.  It certainly made me smile.  What next?  I guess each country puts its stamp on cuisine from other nations.

Sometimes, inspiration for dinner is hard to come by.  I had just flicked through Madhur Jaffrey’s A Taste of India (a great book, BTW) and had not been inspired.  I was thinking “chicken” but I was in one of those moods where everything sounded like too much effort.  I decided to pass the “What’s for dinner?” baton to Maus.

Continue reading

Baked chicken drumstick Jamoncitos & dried figs with potato galette

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I got the most delightful email from a reader the other day (Clare, I hope you don’t mind me quoting you.)  Clare’s email came just at a time when I was pondering this blog.  Clearly, the recipes I post represent the type of food I like and associate with.  Of late, I have been wondering whether there is anyone out there who has similar tastes to me and enjoys a similar style of food.  Well, it appears Clare does :)  Here is an excerpt from Clare’s email: Continue reading

In My Kitchen – March 2014

The most exciting thing in my kitchen this month is a French chef named Pierre.  Pierre is young, tall and handsome.  I really wanted to take his photo but thought it was a bit presumptuous, even for me.  Pierre is cooking rabbit for dinner tonight which will be exciting.  Pierre speaks only a little English and we speak no French so we are surviving on broken English and sign language.

Postscript:  We just had dinner and our rabbit was divine. It was pan fried and then baked with a cream and mustard sauce, served with a savoury carrot cake.  We are very lucky indeed.

Everything in my kitchen this month pales into insignificance compared to Pierre and his cooking, but I will do my best.

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In my kitchen:

Is a fabulous loaf of bread.  Sometimes, my bread turns our really, really well and I can’t make out what I do differently to make it so.  This is a loaf of crusty semolina  sourdough that I baked in my cast iron pot.  It is a beauty. I wish I knew what I did right :)  The oven spring was magnificent. Continue reading

Tomato Sauce

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I started off my post on preserving tomatoes, in February, by saying,

It’s nearing the end of summer and still the tomatoes are coming.

I then when on to say,

If, after you have made relish and salsa and have dried, pickled and roasted your tomatoes, you are still picking them by the bucket load, it is time for some serious preserving.

Well… it’s nearly winter and still the tomatoes keep coming.  I have preserved so many tomatoes, I seriously doubt my cupboard will ever be free of them. It is time for something different. Continue reading

Best Chorizo and Tomato Salad in the World

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I was flipping through Jamie Oliver’s jamie does ….. the other day, looking for our favourite meatball recipe.  I should do a post on them but they wouldn’t be particularly photogenic – they look just like meatballs.  They taste great, though.  If you have the book, make them.  They are on page 196.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was flipping through jamie does … and it fell open at page 22, Best Chorizo and Tomato Salad in the World.  Now, there is a big call!  The recipe called for both cherry tomatoes and normal sized tomatoes.  I was instantly interested.  We had it for lunch that day and, I must say, as promised by Jamie, it was very, very tasty. Continue reading