Is my Weihnachtsmann Räuchermänner.
Räuchermänners (smoking men) are carved, wooden figures from the Erzgebirge, Germany. They are hollow and come apart in the middle so that an incense cone can be placed in the lower half of the body and lit. Smoke then billows from the mouth, as though the figure is actually smoking.
My little guy was a gift from Gerlinde, a friend from Berlin. I was thinking of Gerlinde the other day (we are going to visit her and her family next year in Portugal) and I decided to get the old fellow out early so I could include him in this post. I love this shot showing Weihnachtsmann blowing a smoke ring.
Is a copper kettle. My sister came to visit a couple of weeks ago, asked whether I would like a copper kettle and proceeded to pull this little number (coincidently, it was made in Portugal) out of her bag. Would I ever! I was so excited! I must tell you why I was so excited. It is not that I am short of kettles!!
As I may have mentioned before, I don’t like to waste money and, as time passed, it appeared the cost of my visit to the clairvoyant may have been a waste, for no copper kettle was forthcoming. (I know I could have just gone out and bought a copper kettle, ensuring the clairvoyant correct but … even to me, that seemed a bit pointless.)
Is my Thermalux Gourmet Cooker. For years, I was intoxicated with the idea of having a wood oven IMK so when we built our country home, we bought one. It sits in its little enclave, waiting patiently to be used. I have used it once to bake bread and I will use it again soon …
Is this bottle of ridgy didge vintage port from Porto, Portugal. It was a gift from Gerlinde’s (of Weihnachtsmann Räuchermänner fame) husband, Alex. Alex is Portuguese and he gave us this bottle when he came to stay with us a few years back. We haven’t opened it yet, but we will. (It will not suffer the same fate as my balsamic vinegar which is destined never to be opened).
The drop in the glass is also special. It is a family reserve Semillon that was bottled especially for Maus’s nephew’s (Damian) wedding earlier this year. Damian’s wife’s family have Liebichwein Winery at Rowland Flat, Barossa, SA. It is absolutely delicious.
In my kitchen:
Are piles and piles of silverbeet, rainbow chard, Swiss chard or whatever else you like to call it. This is just one day’s pickings. I have mountains of it. I have cooked and frozen so much, the freezer is at bursting point. My poor dogs get silverbeet and something for dinner each night:) No, I am not that cruel but… I have been adding silverbeet to their big pot when I do a cook-up for them.
Here is a pic of the silverbeet, all washed and ready for blanching.
Is a jar of cumquat syrup I made. It is ready to pour over yoghurt, icecream or panna cotta. I haven’t made much cumquat stuff this year. I have been too busy in the garden. Renate, my neighbour, keeps saying, “Help yourself to the cumquats,” and I want to but… I usually glazé them and then coat them in chocolate. They are so good. Maybe next week.
Is my baguette tray. Maus made it. It is a piece of zinc alume cut to just the right size for my oven. I coated it in olive oil and then seasoned it before using. It is perfect for proofing the baguettes and then plonking them straight into the oven. It makes lovely long, skinny baguettes.
Is my chopping board which I really, really love. This chopping board has a history.
About 12 years ago, Maus and I noticed, on our way to work each day, a hunk of wood resting against a lamp post at a busy intersection. One of us noted (I am sure it was me) that it would make a good chopping board.
Each morning as we drove past it, one would say to the other, “It is still there.”
Now, this is where our recollections differ. My version of the story is: one day, whilst Maus was stopped at the lights, I jumped out of the car, grabbed it and then jumped back in just as the lights turned green. Maus’ version (which is infinitely more likely to be true) is: one day when I wasn’t with her, she parked the car, enquired at a few shops in the vicinity whether anyone owned it and, when the answer was “No”, picked it up and brought it home.
Anyway, when we examined it we found it to be much more battered than it looked from the car. It was two bits of splintered wood held together by two old rusty bolts. The wood was very dry and cracked.
Maus took the bolts out, sanded them and painted them black. She then glued the two pieces of wood together and reinserted the bolts. I filled all the holes in the wood with woodstop, sanded it all down and then oiled and oiled and oiled it. It is still being used years later. Maus obviously did a good job gluing it together.
In my kitchen:
Is this beautiful Christmas plate. Last month, I showcased a plate that an old friend (with whom I have since lost touch) gave me on her return from a trip to Africa and the Middle East.
Sheryl also bought me this wonderful plate. It is from the Utsuwakan Collection and is made by Maebata. Each year, I take it out of its box and then, at the end of the festive season, I wrap it up again for next year.
It looks like someone thinks it is already Christmas; they have helped themselves to the chocolates.
Merry Christmas, everyone!!!
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.