In My Kitchen – January 2017

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Happy New Year, everyone!

I haven’t written an “In My Kitchen” post for a while as I haven’t had anything new but I do now!

In my kitchen:

Are cherries.  As I mentioned in my previous post, we harvested cherries this year for only the second time in 20 years.  Clearly, the weather was just right for them as the trees produced their crop despite total neglect.

These cherries actually saved the trees’ lives.

When we bought the block, we were like everyone else – eager beavers.  We planted two or three of every fruit and nut tree that was suited to our climate.  But, of course, if they all survived and produced fruit (and the birds didn’t eat it), we would have had enough fruit to feed the whole town.

Alas, since we bought the block our water supply has collapsed.  Originally, we had a fantastic bore.  Unfortunately, that silted up so we had another put in – it only lasted one year and we are now totally reliant on our rainwater tanks.  As a consequence, we are being ruthless with the amount of water each tree gets.  Only if they are performing exceptionally well do they get to stay on the irrigation system.  The cherry trees were destined to be cut off.  No fruit in 20 years does not count as performing well.  As a consequence of this bounty, all three trees escaped the chop.

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We netted one tree as we figured that would be enough cherries for us.  As with all our fruit, every cherry ripened on the same day.  We ate cherries until our tummies ached and then I decided to bottle some for later use.

  • Make a syrup of one cup of sugar to two cups of water and bring it to the boil.  (You will need about 2 cups of syrup for each kilo of fruit. If, when you are bottling the fruit, you find you don’t have enough, just make a bit more.)
  • Add the cherries to the pot.  Bring back to the boil.
  • Place the hot cherries in sterilised jars. Top up with the syrup.  Leave ½ inch head space.  Secure the lid.
  • Process in boiling water for 15 minutes.  If you are not sure how to process the jars in boiling water, check out this post.

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In my kitchen:

Is this beautiful Wedgewood bowl.  It was a gift from my sister, Juanita.  The design is by Jasper Conran.

Jasper Conran, OBE, is a British designer. He started off in womenswear but has diversified into menswear, fragrance, accessories, luggage, collections for the home, interiors and the performing arts. Here is Wedgewood’s spiel on the design:

This innovative interpretation of the 18th Century British trend for patterns from the East features an exquisite pattern of exotic flowers, foliage and birds set against a richly toned backdrop edged in platinum.

p1010210copyIn my kitchen:

Is pressure canned red onion (ironically, the onion on the left), brown onion (in the middle) and leeks (on the right).  I had onions and leeks galore and knew we would not be able to eat them all before they started shooting or going rotten.  I had the idea of making caramelised onion and freezing it but then wondered whether I could preserve caramelised onion in jars to avoid clogging up the freezer (I am still not sure on that one).  That led me to consider pressure canning onions.  Eventually, I found this site and I followed the instructions exactly, except that because I have a dial gauge pressure canner, I processed my onions at 11 pounds pressure rather than ten.

I could not find any information on pressure canning leeks but I did find quite a few sites on pressure canning potato and leek soup and sites for pressure canning soup with no specification as to which vegetables to use.  Therefore, I concluded I could pressure can leeks.  The only question then was, “For how long do I process them?”   Not knowing the answer to that question, I went with the longest time recommended from all the sites I looked at – I processed them for one hour at 11 pounds pressure.  With that amount of cooking, they will only be useful in recipes where the vegetables need to be softened first.  No matter, ’tis a small price to pay.  There was no way we could have otherwise used all the leeks we harvested.

p1000969copy1p1000446copyIn my kitchen:

Is garlic.  Remember the photo to the left?  When I posted that photo, I was not sure whether the garlic would dry out because the soil was so wet at the time.  In no time, though, the temperatures started to rise, the sun started to shine and the garlic dried out. The garlic cloves in the top photo are from those crowns.

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But there was more.  Last winter, I found a pile of little plants that looked like onions growing in the vegie patch.  I ignored them for some time. Then, one day, because I felt sorry for them, I separated them and planted them out.  For ages, I had not idea what they were.  As it turns out, they were garlic plants.  Clearly, I had missed a crown when I harvested last year’s crop.

This is what that one wayward crown produced.  The heads are huge, much bigger than the ones I planted.  Now we have way too much garlic. Oh, well, better too much than not enough.

p1000977copyIMG_7023copyThe thought of having too much garlic made me think of toum (Lebanese garlic sauce).  I made it once before using this recipe.  We really enjoyed it so I decided to make it again.  If you love the idea of grilled meat oozing garlicy goodness and aren’t expecting any New Year kisses, do make this sauce.  It is perfect for any barbequed meat.

p1010237copyI feel the necessity to now go on a rant.  I only found this source of the recipe a couple of days ago.  When I made toum before, I used the recipe from a post that was written 3 years later.  The later post gave no credit to the original author.

Recipes are not subject to copyright law but it is only courtesy to give credit if you are using someone else’s recipe.  And copying text is plagiarism.  It is very naughty, to say the least.  If you can’t write something original, don’t write …  If you make someone else’s recipe, say so.  OK, I am glad that is off my chest.

p1000988copyIn my  kitchen:

Is my new rolling pin.  I know I do not need another rolling pin – I now have four – but who could resist this beauty?  It is so adorable. The wood is sheoak from the tree Allocasuarina Fraseriana, which is endemic to Western Australia.  It occurs near the coast in the south west corner of the State, from Jurien Bay to Albany.  All of the interior (built-in) furniture in our house utilises sheoak.  It is my favourite wood.

This rolling pin is for rolling out flat breads, exactly what every household needs!  It was hand made in Albany, a town on our south coast.  I bought it on a recent trip there.

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In my kitchen:

Is a new Madame grater.  It is made by Pylones, a leading designer gift brand established in France in 1985.

Nana or Madame of Pylones combines design with function. It has three different grating surfaces: fine, medium and coarse. With the grater, nutmeg, lemon peel, chocolate, cheese or raw vegetables can be grated. 

Very flash indeed!!

p1010056copyI am acquiring a family of them.  Aren’t they the cutest kitchen ornament around?  Madame Grater was a gift from Maus’ brother, Trevor.

Christmas is all around …

p1010164copyChristmas time can be a bit weird.  Those of faith, I presume, can ignore all the commercial hype and concentrate on the original meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ.  But for those of us without faith, it has come to mean a time to decorate a tree, play carols, be with family and friends, exchange gifts and be merry.  All of which sounds rather jolly.  To help us achieve this dream, and in the name of commercialism,  we are flooded with images of the ideal Christmas, an ideal, I am sure, most cannot achieve. Continue reading

Merry Christmas and something for the BBQ

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Thanks, Al, for our lovely reindeers

I would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas.

I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow, a wonderful week and a healthy and prosperous new year. For those who work, have a big rest and to those who don’t, thank your blessings.  I know I do, everyday.

I have had lots and lots of new followers lately.  To them, I would like to say “Hello” and “Welcome”.  I hope you stick around and enjoy what you see.

To the old faithfuls, “I love you lots.”

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Calling all pressure cooker owners

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The whole point of today’s post is to implore all owners of a pressure cooker to use it to make risotto.  I know it isn’t traditional but risotto cooked in a pressure cooker is both good and quick.  I have a pressure cooker and the only thing I have ever cooked in it is risotto.  That maybe a slight exaggeration but, most certainly, the only thing in the last one hundred years. Continue reading

Spaghetti with slow-cooked cauliflower & broccoli

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We are eating broccoli, snow peas, asparagus and avocados at the moment and lots of them.  The other day, Maus even said that she was sick of avocados.  Now that is a problem.  We have two trees laden with the buggers.  It is near the end of the season, though.  Soon she will be spared.  It will be tomatoes with this and cucumbers with that.

The broccoli situation, as I predicted, is serious.  As with everything you grow, it came all at once.  In one week, I picked seven broccoli heads.  Luckily, I saw enough people to find homes for them all.

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Veilchenblau

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Veilchenblau was introduced in 1909 with claims that here, at last, was the blue rose.  Alas, it is not blue: rather, the flowers open purple and pass through shades of lilac and mauve and then to pale lilac grey – but, in that last stage, it is as close to blue as any rose gets.  I am assured you can, sometimes, see the odd old flower that could be described as blue without bending the truth too far.  I am yet to see it.

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