To be honest, what is in my kitchen this month are cucumbers and tomatoes. But since I have already bored everyone with my dilemma, I decided not to take any more photos of mountains of cucumbers or tomatoes or, if I bothered to pick anymore, silverbeet. I just have to move on!
My Maus is a good sort. All who know her would agree. But for those who don’t, I need to tell a short story.
We arrived in Bridgetown last week to 19, yes, 19 cucumbers. The next evening, we drove (it is not like the city, you need to drive to your neighbours’ houses) around to all the neighbours in our vicinity offering cucumbers. We got rid of six.
The next day, Maus had to go into town to buy some milk. Here is the bit that proves, beyond doubt, that my Maus is a good sort. She said to me, “You know that nice man with the ute who always waves to us? I wonder whether he would like some cucumbers.” (The proof is in the pudding!!) I looked at her, dubiously, and said, “Maybe, I will put some in a bag and you can ask him.”
She came back all puffed up and chuffed. He took the lot. They like cucumbers at his house. As it turns out, he has two teenage sons and they eat a lot of cucumbers. He also likes SILVERBEET!!
I need not say more.
So, when I was whinging to Maus the other night about the lack of items for my IMK post this month and she retorted, in a not so very nice way, “In my kitchen are my boots and dirty socks”, I let it ride.
In my kitchen:
are my boots and dirty socks!
While we are on the topic of Maus, I may as well tell you one of her idiosyncrasies. My Maus likes to hoard things in a big way. We have 2 sheds and 2 garages, none of which house cars as they are full of things that are going to come in handy one day! Every now and again, I go on a rampage. I storm into one of the sheds, proclaim it is full of rubbish and, arbitrarily, pick out items for the tip. I pile the items up near the entrance to the shed ready for their trip to the tip. I then retreat indoors. On cue, Maus picks up the items and puts them back into the shed in less obvious positions.
Such was our charade the other evening. Then, an hour or two later (after Maus had time to retrieve all her items), she came into the house and sweetly asked whether I would like a pencil holder for my pens and pencils in the kitchen. I knew it was a trap but I accepted my fate. A few minutes later, she presented me with a pencil holder made out of a wine bottle tube. Not bad, really.
In my kitchen:
is my new pencil holder that Maus made.
are five cucumbers!!
I know it doesn’t look like 5 cucumbers but it, actually, is. It is a 200mil jar so this would be about 100mils.
As I may have mentioned, I have a cucumber glut. In search of things to do with a million cucumbers, I went onto the web for ideas. It turns out that you can dry cucumbers and make cucumber chips!
The sites suggest slicing the cucumbers and then spicing them. I decided to peel and seed my cucumbers, and chose salt, chilli and garlic powder to spice them (I will tell you why later). The strategy is to dry the cucumber with the flavourings and then eat the chips with dips, etc.
I think I must have cut my pieces too thinly because they were much too brittle to use as a chip. Luckily, I had also read that you can make powder out of the chips which, in the circumstances, I decided to do.
Ok, I don’t think it is going to be a big seller:) The only culinary use I can find for it is to stir into sour cream or yoghurt for a dip (that is why I chose salt, chilli and garlic. We eat a lot of tzatziki). The most popular use for cucumber powder appears to be as an ingredient in a face mask but I don’t think a garlic, salt and chilli face mask would appeal.
In my kitchen:
are some nectarines. The tree is very sick and not very happy from lack of water but, notwithstanding that, we noticed that there were some fruit on the tree that the birds had missed. One day when I was in Perth and Maus was in Bridgetown, she netted the tree. We now have a bowl full of nectarines. You don’t know how empowering it is to say “a bowl full” and not “a box or crate full”. There is just enough to have one or two a day. And they are absolutely fantastic. Not dry and tasteless like the ones you get at the shop but juicy, full flavoured and luscious, just as I remember fruit to be when I was a child.
When I was considering what to include in this post, I came across this photo I had taken some time ago of a ‘Lotte’ milk and cream jug. ‘Lotte’ is china that was made in Norway. I have tried to find, on the net, when Lotte was released but all I can discover is that it was in existence in 1971. I just love it. The design is so whimsical and cheery. It reminds me of the hippy era.
The photo got me thinking because they were my mum’s.
My mum had a lot of Lotte. I knew there was a lot of Lotte in the house but I never really turned my mind to it. You see, my mum didn’t have much spare money. My dad died when I was 13 and, upon his death, my mum, who didn’t have any vocational skills, had to go out to work to support us. And yet, in such circumstances, there was Lotte galore in our house.
Mum had a set of 12 dinner plates, bread plates and sweet bowls. I will never know why she chose a set of 12. She didn’t entertain. The only gatherings I can remember were when my sisters and their husbands came to dinner. Maybe she bought the Lotte for these occasions.
and a coffee pot. My mum drank tea. I don’t think I ever saw her drink coffee. I can’t imagine the coffee pot has ever been used. Maybe the teapot hasn’t either, for tea bags were all the rage in the 70’s. Note the design. The lady on the coffee pot is different from the one on the teapot.
It is hard to believe she had so much of it. I am the proud owner of 3 sets of salt and pepper shakers. In mum’s defence, one set was a gift from my cousin, Gerrie (of Speculaas fame). I don’t know how Gerrie came by a set but he gifted his set to me. Note, again, the different design.
Now, I have no idea why she would have bought two souffle dishes. I definitely don’t remember any souffles being made. I have used the large souffle dish. Check out my souffle post for a photo of the dish in action.
What a collection for a lady who lost her husband at an early age and had to go out to work, in an unskilled job, to support her youngest children. She must have really, really, loved it. I love it, too.
When I tried to find out some history about Lotte, I discovered that there are a lot of people who collect Lotte. I can understand why. It is such a lovely, joyful design. You can’t but smile when it is on the table. Maybe that is the secret to mum’s obsession with it. It simply made her happy.
In my kitchen is:
lots and lots of Lotte!!
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.