In My Kitchen – May 2013

In my kitchen:

Are tomatoes, cucumbers and a chilli!!!

I decided to take some photos this month in case you didn’t believe me.  It is now May and this is how many cherry tomatoes I picked yesterday!!  The plants are amazing.  OK, they are looking a bit sick in the middle but the outsides of the plants are green and healthy and they have flowers on them!  More bloody tomatoes!

When we first started picking, we would search in the vine jungle to get everyone we could find.  Now, if one jumps out at us and demands to be picked, we bother; otherwise, we just keep walking.  We are still picking much more than we can eat and I am making a grand effort to think of ways to use them.  This plateful is more than 2 kilos and, at $2.50 a punnet (250g), this plate is $20+ worth.  Considering how easy they are to grow, it is a disgrace how expensive they are.

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One reason, I believe, for the continual growth of my plants and the prolific cropping is the strange weather we are having.  Perth’s mean temperature in April was 2°C to 3°C above average.  We also had the hottest April day on record.    Here are a few quotes from the Burea of Meteorology for those who do not believe in climate change.

Perth Metro’s mean daily maximum temperature in April 2013 was 28.4 °C which was the warmest April since records commenced in 1897, breaking the previous record of 28.2 °C set in 1978 and 1999. Perth Metro recorded four days with a maximum temperature of 36 ° or higher during April 2013, breaking the previous record of one day of 36 °C which has during five other Aprils (1937, 1971, 1978, 2001 and 2007).  Interestingly, the mean maximum temperature in April 2013 of 28.3 °C was warmer than 28.0 °C observed in March. …

Perth Metro’s mean daily maximum temperature for the year to date (January to April) was 30.6 °C, which was the equal 3rd hottest start to the year on record, equal with the first four months of 2012.

Anyway, back to the job at hand…

I also picked 5 cucumbers (we ate one last night).  They, at least, are slowing down.  We may even be able to eat all five before we need to pick again.

I should be able to find a use for one wee chilli with stretchmarks.

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The Romas are beginning to look a little bedraggled.  This is all I picked yesterday.  Notice the one on the right has a virus that stops them ripening.  Overall, they have done very well, indeed.

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In my kitchen:

Are these gorgeous spoon rests.  I noticed them in the local kitchen shop, Blackwood Kitchen (named after the mighty Blackwood River that flows through town).  When I saw them, I didn’t buy them because I already have two spoon rests, albeit both black and boring.  But when Maus went to town one day, she came back with the pink and purple ones.  “Fantastic, but what about the blue and green ones?”  I asked.  And soon there were four!!  There are other colours but these are my favourites.  They are Zeal brand.

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In my kitchen:

Is my new heat pad which Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial assures me is the secret to tempering chocolate.  Celia rang one day and told me (something they don’t tell you in the books) that when you are coating fruit, etc, with tempered chocolate, you need to keep the chocolate warm, otherwise, it goes out of temper.  I am going to try again, one day soon …

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In my kitchen:

Are these two fabulous glass plates.  When I do IMK posts, l like to include something with a story, and these plates sure have a story to tell.

It was 2007 and I had just quit my job.  I hated it and had had enough.

Long before I quit, we had booked a weekend in Sydney to go and see the musical, Billy Elliott.

The story starts, in Sydney, outside a Maggie T store.  (For the non-Australians out there, Maggie T is a brand of clothes especially for tall women (I am 182cm tall).  The brand is named after a very successful model from the 1960’s, Maggie Tabberer.).  Whenever we go to Sydney or Melbourne, we go shopping because there is much more variety than in Perth.  Anyway, there I was outside Maggie T’s and I started crying.  I was unemployed, unemployable and, therefore, couldn’t spend any money. Boo hoo!!  Maus, the eternal optimist, told me it would be OK.  Of course, I could buy something.  So I went in and bought an outfit!!

We then went to Myers.  I felt bad because I had an outfit and Maus didn’t.  Maus likes Sportcraft clothes so I insisted she get an outfit.

We then headed for the china and glasswear section of David Jones, something only employed people should do.  I think by this time, I must have forgotten I was unemployed.  We saw these two beautiful plates in International Women’s colours and  were hooked.  Which one would we buy? Bugger it!  We got both!!  Luckily I wasn’t unemployed for too long.

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In my kitchen:

Is my chopping board.  This is this month’s recycled item.  In Perth, we have an 87 year old house which has not been remodelled in any way except for the addition of French doors on the old back verandah.  My chopping block is the original jarrah doorstep.  Check out how deep it is.  You don’t get steps like that these days.  There is a slight dip on the top where it has worn from being stepped on so many times.

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In my kitchen:

Are these lovely bowls.  The big one is a salad bowl.  The middle one is for dips etc and the very small one is for condiments.  We bought them in Palermo, Sicily.  They are hand painted.  If you look carefully you will notice each one is different

2013 04 30_0118 copyTalking of Italy ….

In my kitchen (or it was until I took it outside for a photo because the light was so much better):

Is my hanging garlic and chillies.  Alas, when I tried to clean it a few years back, the paint started peeling off the chillies!  We think we bought it in Positano on the Amalfi Coast.  Whenever we go on holidays, we always buy some small things to remind us of the trip.  They are not usually expensive.  When you see 1,000 items all the same in a tourist shop, you have to remind yourself that when you get home, there will only be one.  It will not seem so tacky then.

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In my kitchen:

Is another Positano purchase.  A little wine jug.  Don’t you just love it in Italy when you can buy the house wine by the litre or half litre?  We use this little guy mainly for water or milk.  Our wine comes out of a bottle:)

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In my kitchen;

Are these magnificent mugs.  You can tell how much I like them by the fact that I didn’t make a pyramid out of them for the photo.  I wasn’t willing to risk one falling.  I bought two or three of these mugs years and years ago at a very expensive shop in Perth.  I later discovered one of the artists lives in my suburb.  I bought the rest for much less.  The artists are Sharon Peterkin and Russell Deane, Black Purple Betty Designs.

2013 04 30_0147 copyI have lots of their stuff.  These two little bowls are the perfect size for nibblies.

2013 04 30_0156 copyThey are lovely and it is so good to have handmade items.

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In my kitchen:

Are lots and lots of fridge magnets.  I have decided to include a couple in each of my IMK posts as all have their own little story,.

The first one off the rank is this Oxford Dictionaries fridge magnet.  Maus and I can’t remember how long we have had it but we do remember its acquisition.  I have long held a secret ambition to own a set of the Oxford Dictionary (all 23 volumes of it).  I am afraid that if I ever see it at auction one day ridiculously cheap, I am just as likely to buy it.  (I have had the 2-volume Shorter Oxford for more than 30 years but it just isn’t the same!)

We were in Paris and passed a bookshop with a window display advertising Oxford Dictionaries.  Included in the display were these fridge magnets.

I made Maus go into the shop to buy one.  As it turns out, they were not for sale but the lady took one off the display and gave it to Maus. Yeh!!

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In my kitchen:

Is my Sydney 2000 fridge magnet.  I think I bought it about 1998 on another trip to Sydney.  I love the Olympics.

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In my kitchen:

Is Vicki!!!  Who can forget the wonderful series Little Britain and Vicki?  I can’t.  I loved it!  I bought this one in Dunedin, New Zealand.

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I won’t be doing an IMK post for June or July because we will be away.  Come back in August for a peep at what we bought.  There is sure to be lots.  Hopefully, I won’t be able to control myself.

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.


35 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – May 2013

  1. Hi Sharon Peterkin here. I was delghted to see your collection of mugs that Russell and I made all those years ago (BTW…Purple Betty Designs). I laughed when you had written Black Betty as there is a story behind that. We had a lovely girl work for us at one time and one of her jobs was to write our logo on the bottom of all the wares. One day she came out singing the song “whoa Black Betty bamba lam” (something like that) and just kept singing. Russell and I just looked at each other and wondered what the…Any way she said she’d been writing Black Betty on the bottom rather than Purple Betty for the last 2 hours. I said, Oh well that will be funny when they turn up one day and I’ll remember Rosanne singing away.I figured they might be worth more one day. So I wondered if you did in fact have Black Betty written on the bottom or maybe it was just a mistake with the name? Thanks for the memory!

    • Hi Sharon – Maus and I regularly walk past your house with our three Bichons. I am not certain whether writing Black Betty was a mistake or not. I know very well it should be Purple Betty. I am in Bridgetown at the moment so I can’t check the bottom of my mugs. When we get home (in a week or so), I will check and let you know. It would be amazing if one mug does actually say ‘Black Betty’ :).

  2. Pingback: I did it! | Passion Fruit Garden

  3. Hi Glenda, nice to meet you through IMK, it is so fun. There is no way I could have walked away from those plates, stunning colors! And your garden harvest is so very lovely to those of us who just had snow here in Colorado on May 1st, thankful to have sunshine today. 🙂

  4. Glenda, how am I going to cope if you don’t do an IMK in June or July? Thank goodness you did a mammoth one this time to keep me going. I read every word with glee, and I didn’t laugh (much) at your mountain of tomatoes…well, ok, yes I did, but I promise I was laughing with you, darling. I can just imagine you coming back from Lebanon to a garden full of fat beetroots.. 🙂

    I hope you have fun with the heatpad – we use ours all the time! I tempered two batches yesterday, and they both came out perfectly. And I was intrigued to read that you haven’t remodelled your Perth house – not even the kitchen? Surely you’re not still using an 87 year old kitchen? I love your little jug, and your mugs even more – I can see why they’re precious! xx

    • Hey Celia, I didn’t say we hadn’t remodelled the kitchen and bathroom we just haven’t extended the house. Most houses that era in Perth have had walls pulled down and been extended and extended. I don’t know why we never did it years and years ago (probably because I am too cautious with money) but it got to a stage where we were proud to have a house with the original walls and dimensions so we will never do it. Of course, because of that, the house is tiny and unpractical but … dems are the brakes:)

      I haven’t grown my beetroot yet, as I haven’t pulled out the tomatoes. They are going to have to wait until we come home. I am afraid.

      I have taken so long to get around to try and temper chocolate again I have taken to eating the chocolate I bought to temper, how sad is that??

      I made tomato sauce with this lot and some I still had in the fridge but how many bottles of tomato sauce will we eat in a year … oh me oh my ….

  5. Thanks for the glimpse into your kitchen, Glenda. Love the pieces you brought back from Positano and Palermo and that chopping block is really something.

  6. Hi Glenda, your garden produce looks amazing! It is unusually warm here too and feels more like summer than autumn. What is happening with climate change I wonder?

    I love your spoons rests too. I don’t own any but I continually use little plates and plastic lids. I think I need some real rests! Enjoy your trip away, where ever you are off to!

    • Hi Jane, Climate change is very bad in the SW of WA. I could write a book on the difference 25 years has made. We have gone from never being able to go without a jumper in the evening to still being able to wear T-shirts on April evenings. The first rains are inevitably in May now not March. Most bores have dried up, it is all very sad…

  7. A great IMK post, and I am really enjoying your blog. Here in Ireland we are getting the opposite effects of global warming. Its cooold…. 1st of May today, I am dressed in long sleeves, jeggings & knee boots. We are still lighting fires & there is very little spring growth in the garden. Enjoy your holiday:-) Kay

    • Hi Kay, Thanks for commenting. I have noticed you popping up in the ‘likes’ section and have tried to access your blog but it comes up ‘private’. Climate change is a real problem the world over. Here in WA it means hotter and drier. In the East, it is more floods.

      Thanks for the holiday wishes. We are off to Lebanon and Portugal. I am watching the Syria situation very carefully at the moment.

      • Hi Glenda, I don’t actually have a blog. I signed up to read other peoples & have learned loads of interesting stuff. I would love to blog someday if I had more time & courage. Dont know if it would be a book or food blog (or a bit of both). 🙂

  8. Such a full kitchen Glenda! The cherry tomatoes look so beautiful, I love your wonderful door step chopping block and I always love a chubby jug – but Vicki, I just loved Vicki, no buts about it.

    • Hey Jan, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Vicki was sooooo cool wasn’t she? I think it is very important to recycle wood, especially Jarrah which is fantastic and takes so long to grow.

  9. I love those spoon rests. I actually froze a heap of cherry tomatoes when our plants were abundant. I shallow froze them then vacuumed packed them. I used some in a curry the other night, just threw them in frozen. They worked fantastically.

  10. Wow, wow, wow… I thought my little self sown tomatoes were prolific, but yours are amazing! So many good, beautiful things in your kitchen this month. And your photographs are wonderful ; )

      • Glenda, thank you… am bedridden again today, unfortunately, seeing the doctor this afternoon, tests next week. Wish they could get to the bottom of this illness.

        • Liz, I hope you don’t have one of those lingering viruses that make you tired all the time. A friend of mine had it and it took him ages to fully recover.

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