In My Kitchen – February 2013

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!

IMG_1863 copyWhile 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.

IMG_1865 copyIn my kitchen:

are five cucumbers!!

IMG_1919 copy

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.

IMG_1894 copyNow I did this just because I could.  I will try it stirred into plain yoghurt but, if all else fails, into the big doggy pot it will go.

IMG_1901 copy

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.

IMG_1757 copyWhen 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.

IMG_5352 copyMy 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.

IMG_1814 copyShe had a teapot …

IMG_1816 copyand 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.

IMG_1821 1822 1824 1827My mum had tea cups and coffee cups.  Note the differences in size in the cups and sauces and the appearance of a man on the scene.

IMG_1873 copyShe also had a sugar bowl…  (This is a different guy.)

IMG_1870 copyand a salt crock which, along with the sugar bowl, is permanently on my bench.

IMG_1911 copyIt 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.

IMG_1906 copyMy mum also had a butter container.  Did she use it?  I don’t really know, but I do.    Again, the design is different.  We haven’t seen this couple before.

IMG_1874 copyAnd an egg cup.  Why would she buy an expensive china egg cup when money was so tight?  I can’t remember her ever having boiled eggs for breakfast.  Maybe she did.

IMG_1884 copyNow, 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.

IMG_1878 copyThis is a cake stand with a new man on the scene…IMG_1879 copyand a sandwich tray.

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.

34 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – February 2013

  1. Who knew that you could turn cucumbers into powder?! I’ve never seen that before. I adore nectarines too. You are so lucky to have a tree in your backyard! Thanks for sharing Glenda, even the sock & boots 😉

  2. Glenda, I can just imagine your mum collecting her Lotte pieces – it must have given her so much joy! And for you to love them so much as well – that’s icing on the cake to a mother, I reckon! I adore your Maus and loved reading about her. She really IS a good sort. 🙂

    Darling, who on earth makes cucumber powder? Maybe you can rehydrate it into shaped discs, a bit like they do with Pringles? 😉 Thanks for the smiles, your post made me grin from ear to ear.. xx

  3. Hi Glenda, do notknow how you are keeping the cucumbers alive as it is continuing to bake in our back yard at the moment and we are working our bore and hose quite hard to keep the roses alive.
    I recently spent two weeks with Shona in Dubai, London and Munich and showed her your blog so hope you will get some messages from her and it would be great if she were able to pass your details onto someone in Lebanon. On a totally separate subject I remember your mum’s kitchen and was always very impressed by the Lotte china. China also makes me happy…we also had a nectarine tree near the back verandah in my mum’s house and I can remember Mum and Dad being very impressed by the fruit- as an adolescent I could not understand their pleasure at their crop..times have changed haven’t they.. Alyson

    • Hi Aly. It is hot in Bridgetown but still the cucumbers come. We picked 10 yesterday and there were plenty more I could have picked. Maus did the rounds of the neighbours and gave 5 away. We went out for lunch today and gave each guest a cucumber: novel but that got rid of another 4. They are absolutely perfect but there is just so many of them.
      We are off to Lebanon in June. It would be great to meet someone there. As we are travelling Emirates, we will also be going to Dubai.
      Aly, china makes me very happy too. It is obviously hereditary.

  4. I love the egg cups, and the cucumber seasoning! I’m sure it will find lots of uses! Now I’m off to see how my cucumber plants are faring 🙂

  5. Love your blog the nectarines look amazing. We bought some from Woolworths they were so hard left them out to ripen, the weather has been so hot they were disgusting threw them out. I must start buying market fruit & veges the supermarkets are so tasteless.

    • Hi Gail, I think nectarines are the worst. They are usually hard and tasteless. It is amazing how different ones that have ripened on the tree taste. See ya next week.

  6. Dear Glenda, I have not heard of Lotte before, but it is so whimsical and pretty… I can see why your mum and you love it! Interesting ideas with the cucumbers. We found the BIGGEST cucumber in the patch tonight, I tweeted a pic… how on earth he hid from us… I am looking forward to slicing it and seeing if it is still tender!

  7. I’d never heard of Lotte before – you’ve certainly got a good collection. Your nectarines look wonderful and I’m so glad that somebody else trawls the net in a desperate attempt to do something with a glut and ends up with something a little off centre! Hope you enjoy your cucumber powder.

  8. Hi Glenda, Hope you and M are well. Andrew and I had a fab holiday; but back in the swing of things with work. Up until reading your blog; i had never heard of lotte china; I adore the designs they are really sweet.I went online to google it and came across an American website selling all sorts of lotte products. So here it is:-
    http://www.thefind.com/kitchen/browse-lotte-china
    Happy browsing and possibly shopping!!
    Luv
    Sharmila x

    • Hi Sharmila. Welcome home. I hear Zim’s bank balance is not too good. I hope yours is better:)
      Thanks for the link. I am going to check it out now.

  9. Wonderful IMK post, Glenda. You needn’t worry of me ever tiring of reading about your cucumber or silver-beet harvests. Our current temp today is 2˚F (-17˚C) with a wind chill of -15˚F (-26˚C). Any news of gardens flourishing is welcome! You Lotte china collection is beautiful, especially being so much of it was your Mum’s. I know you cherish it all.
    Thanks for taking us on today’s tour of your kitchen.

    • Hi John, -17˚! Holy shit, Batman!! Our coldest winter’s night would be about -3˚. It sure is cold where you are.
      All the Lotte is my mum’s (except one set of salt and pepper shakers) and I do treasure it. Thanks for not being bored about the cucumber and silverbeet overload. You are very generous.

  10. Dear Glenda I am sitting in my small sitting room next to my kitchen (where i knit and chat and read and drink coffee… and of course wine) I feel compelled to write and tell you once again how much I love reading your blog and the fascinating stories you tell. They always bring a smile to my face. Thank you and Hi to the lovely Maureen (I cannot call her Maus :))

  11. Hello Glenda, I love your Lotte collection, my mum had a sugar bowl and I can remember it vividly on our kitchen table as a child. I saw some pieces in an op-shop just last week and I am kind-of wishing now I had bought them! Your nectarines looks magnificent too…they are one of my favourite fruits; the fragrance is amazing isn’t it? Happy weekend to you!

    • Hiya Jane. You should have bought it!! Lotte is really collectable and is lovely. We use it all the time. I don’t really think it looks that retro.

  12. Glenda, I was fascinated by your cucumber powder but then I saw the Lotte! How I love Lotte china. I received two gratin dishes, one small, 1 large, as wedding presents (quite some years ago) which I cherish and use frequently.

    • Hi Carmen, thanks for visiting and commenting. Do you have any ideas for using the cucumber powder? There are lots of people selling it on the web but it is mainly as a cosmetic and I have put the chilli, garlic and salt in mine so I can’t use it for that. I think it should work stirred into natural yoghurt but, apart from that, I am at a loss to think what to do with it:)

      I love Lotte. I wonder why mum never bought the gratin dishes. She had everything else:)

  13. I would love fresh cucumbers right now. I have never had a glut of cucumbers- I’m always watching to see if the one or two has gotten big enough to pick on my vines. And dried cucumber?
    That is cool in a dip or on the face. I like your cucumber stories, Glenda!
    I don’t know a lot about Lotte dishes- but they sure are pretty. We also had blue and white dinnerware growing up- most of it came from gas station give aways of Currier and Ives scenes. Every garage sale has some of this stuff over here- my mother gave hers away to the Goodwill store so I don’t have any of hers. My mother was the opposite of a hoarder- she was a pitch-er. Once she didn’t need something she tossed it.
    Thanks for sharing, Glenda- even the shoes and socks!

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