In My Kitchen – September 2013

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In my kitchen:

Is my new meat slicer.  Maus and I are gradually falling apart (in more ways than one) and are finding it more and more difficult to slice things.  As a result, I began to consider buying a slicer.

Renate, our neighbour, has been telling me for ages that she uses her slicer everyday and what a great asset it is in her kitchen. I wasn’t convinced.  Then, when we went to Portugal, Gerlinde had one in her kitchen and she did use it everyday.

I was still in two minds.  I checked them out and they are pretty expensive.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on one but I didn’t want a crappy cheap one either.  I came across a site on ebay selling Chinese no brand products.  I spied this slicer which was about 50% cheaper than branded models and looked suspiciously like the branded models.  I decided I would risk it.

I think it is amazing value for money.  I have sliced cold meat and it does a fabulous job.  Luckily, because it is a meat slicer when all said and done.  I sliced beef liver for dog treats – again, it was fabulous but, I have to admit, I spent a lot of time getting blood out of all the nooks and crannies.

I also bought two whole pieces of porterhouse.  I sliced one into steaks and the other into thin strips for stir frying.  By this stage, I had got smart and decided to slice some more liver.  If I was going to spend half an hour cleaning it, it may as well be very dirty.

We have tried slicing bread with it – it didn’t like stale bread at all.  It easily slices fresh bread, although the last bit of the slice seems to get stuck.  I am not certain whether it is the appliance or the operator.  All in all, I am very happy with it and would recommend this no brand.

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In my kitchen:

Are more purchases from Portugal that I forgot about last month.  We bought so much.

Maus purchased these lovely salad servers in Braga.  They have bent handles allowing them to “sit” on the side of the bowl – very flash.

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In my kitchen:

Is another of Maus’ purchases (with my reflection and the tripod in the centre of it).  I am not certain what it is.  It is about 15cm in diameter.  As you can see, it hooks onto something.  My guess is that you fill it with herbs and hang it in a very large pot.  Does anyone know what it is actually for?

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In my kitchen:

Is a filhos mould (in need of a good clean before use!).  Filhos is a Portuguese deep fried sweet.

I bought this beauty at Feira da Ladra (the Thieves’ Market) in Lisbon and paid 3.5 Euros for it.  I later found brand new ones for 3 Euros 😦  Clearly, I was ripped off.

When I was in Portugal, I was shown a site that explained what to do with it but now I can’t find the site (it was in Portuguese which makes it a wee bit difficult to locate).

Anyway, as I remember it, you have two pans of hot oil going.  You dip the mould into one and then into the batter.  You then (somehow) plonk the batter into the second pan of oil (there was a twist involved) and you get deep fried sweets in this shape.  I don’t know whether I will ever use it but I sure like having it.

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In my kitchen:

Is this funnel and cutter.  They are hand-made by Antonio Jesus Carvalho.  I bought them from his shop in Viseu.  It is not very often you see hand-made kitchen gadgets.  I could have bought the whole shop.

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The cutter fascinates me.  I don’t know what to use it for.  Normally, when you make little moon shaped pastries, the straight side is folded.  This guy cuts all sides.  Again, any suggestions, please?

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In my kitchen:

Are these (and more) dried mushrooms.  We have so many mushrooms growing on our block we can’t keep up with them so I decided to dry some.  I have never used dried mushrooms so I hope they come in handy when it is not mushroom season.

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In my kitchen:

Was some beef stroganoff.  I made it the other day to use some of the mushrooms .  As I was munching away, thinking how good it was and hoping the photo turned out so I could do a post, I said to Maus,  “It must be thirty years since I had beef stroganoff,” to which she replied, ” I wouldn’t mind if it was thirty years ’til I had it, again.”  I decided against doing a post 😀

2013 08 28_0790 copyIn my kitchen:

Are 10 kilos of chocolate challets.  After my one success at tempering chocolate, I wanted to try again.  I needed couverture chocolate and I needed it urgently.  I was soon to find out that it isn’t that easy to find couverture chocolate in Perth.  After many telephone calls (and chats with Celia), I found Springer Foods in Myaree.  They are a food wholesaler (available to the public) and they sell deZann couverture chocolate challets in 5 kilo bags.  I bought 58% and 35% bags.   I have never heard of the brand so I hope I like it.  If this is a passing fad, I have a lot of chocolate to eat. It comes in 54%, 56%, 58% and 72% dark chocolate, 35% milk chocolate and 30% white chocolate, if anyone is interested.

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In my kitchen:

Are four loaves of Celia’s Ciabatta con Semola Rimacinata di Grano Duro.  Mine never look as good as Celia’s but they still taste good.  I certainly got the holes: now all I need is some height.

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In my kitchen:

Is my bread mould.  It was a gift from the lovely Celia.  When she gave it to me, I politely asked her what it was for.  She didn’t know but indicated I was sure to find a use for it.  I searched the web for ages but didn’t find anything like it.

The other day, I was reading Sawsan’s fantastic blog, Chef in Disguise, going through old posts, as you do, and I came across a post entitled Seeds and Olive Oil Bread.  Then I saw it … Sawsan was showcasing her hand-made wooden mould but, behind it in the picture, I spied a mould exactly like mine.  It is, in her words, a plastic mass produced version of the traditional hand-made wooden mould used to impress traditional patterns on flat breads.  Fantastic!  Now I have something else to play with.

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In my kitchen:

Are the first of my asparagus.  We are allowed to pick it this year. Last year was their first year and you have to leave the spears so the crowns develop.   We had these two for dinner the other night (with other things).  It was very exciting.  Thankfully, I don’t think I am going to have the same kind of glut as we had with tomatoes.

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And finally… a better view than last month from my kitchen window.  This one was taken at 8:00am when the mist hadn’t cleared in the valley and the lighting was delightful.  If you look to the right, you will see a tree in blossom.  Spring has sprung!

BridgetownIf 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.


57 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – September 2013

  1. Pingback: In My Kitchen – December 2013 | Passion Fruit Garden

  2. WHAT a fun post. A lovely chance to have a nosey about in your kitchen the other side of the world! I particularly love your meat slicer. My boyfriend will be in awe! He’d love one….though he did once spend several months working on the meat counter at Fortnum & Masons, and almost cut his thumb off with one! Be careful (I’m sure you are!) X

    • Hi That funnel is seriously good. I bought one for preserving but the opening is so big I can only use it for litre jars, which I never use. This one is a much better size.

  3. Glenda, your misty valley is breathtakingly lovely. I enjoyed your kitchen gadgets — had no clue what the “ball” was either, but I see the mystery has been solved in your comment section. The handmade funnel and cutter are wonderful! Pasta is my guess on the cutter — maybe?

  4. Are you a shroomer, my dear? What are those mushrooms you have there? To my novice eye, they look a bit like shitake, but over here shitake do not grow wild.

      • Not meaning to scare you, but A.arvensis is quite similar to one of the poisonous members of the Agaricus family, A.xanthodermus (which when cut or bruised on the stem, will stain yellow – A.arvensis will not) – so there’s an easy way to tell that difference. But A.arvensis is also very similar to the deadly poisonous Amanita ocreata (and sev other white Amanitas, also poisonous). There are ways to tell the difference between them, but the best practice is to NEVER eat or taste a questionable mushroom until you have checked it out with an expert.

        We novice mushroom gatherers live by (and continue to live) a tried and true rule – “When in doubt, throw it out!” Please do not eat those until you have checked them out.

          • Good! You are not then ‘a babe in the woods’, as they say. Ha. Every part of the world has its common edibles and common ‘baddies’. Although the Pacific Northwest is a treasure trove of mushrooms in general, Agaricus are sadly not common – but I also don’t often go looking in the areas where they would be found either.

            We are very well, thanks – Sandee has a bad knee (torn meniscus) which is scheduled for an upcoming replacement – she’s looking forward to being able to walk w/o pain again! And we are planning to once again escape the gloom and rain of the Oregon winter and venture south into the desert of southern California – and we’re looking forward to that as well.

            Thanks for Morrie’s interesting link – he’s a brave blogger!

  5. Hi Glenda, I think we bought the same meat slicer, such a great price and I love mine. I’m just a bit OTT on the cleaning. The holes in your ciabatta are spectacular!

  6. Obviously the silver ball is a tea diffuser, herb holder and incense burner. For a giant. Mystery solved!!!! How lovely to be able to grow such beautiful fat asparagus – I bet they taste as delicious as they look!

  7. No idea about your ball- but I would fill it full of lavender and hang it in my linen closet.
    You have great stuff in your kitchen- but I’m a little afraid of slicers- a friend gave me one a couple of years ago- I tried it and decided it was just too fast and sharp for me to trust.

  8. I have serious view envy Glenda. I love all your gadgets, especially the ones you pick up without knowing what to do with them! I must admit to thinking it was a Tea Ball until I read that it was 15cm. You could always fill it with incense and whirl it around the room. Or not. I don’t think I’ve eaten Stroganof for 30 years, but remember it as being rather tasty. Have tasted changed or is my memory playing tricks? There must be a reason why I haven’t eaten it for so long.

    • Hi Anne. I thought the Stroganoff was bloody good, it was just fussy Maus who didn’t like it. Though, I do think tastes have changed … The lighting was so lovely the morning I took the photo I had to include the shot. You wait until summer and it is all brown. I will be the envious one then 🙂 I really don’t know what that ball is for. Logically you would put herbs or spices in it when making stock but it is very big, there wouldn’t be room for much else in the pot.

  9. Perhaps you could use the 15cm ball to wave incense into the air like they do in Catholic Church. That’s what it reminded me of when you mentioned the size. Otherwise, I’d probably use it to infuse herbs into a wonderful bubbly bath given how large it is.
    I’ve used the bread mold for flat bread to give texture to fresh butter, rolling it gently between two paddles before.
    Great growing Asparagus! My grandmother used to grow it but for some reason there was never enough for a meal. I think she ate it all in the garden or while we were sleeping.

  10. I have never thought to get a slicer for home and I am so glad you have posted about it. All that cleaning would put me off. Your ‘herb hanger’ is what I call a spice bomb. Basically it acts like a bouquet garni would but you use that instead of muslin. So easy to remove the spice bomb when you are done cooking 🙂

  11. So many inspiring things in your kitchen! 🙂 I especially like the filhos mould. 🙂 I lived in Portugal as a nanny but wasn’t fortunate enough to try any filhos. Hopefully one day. 🙂

  12. Glenda, you ladies live in paradise – what an astonishing view from your kitchen window. I know we’ve seen it before, but it’s just so glorious that it always takes my breath away. I was once told by a chef friend that the slicer is the PERFECT thing to make almond bread – she said to freeze the logs and then slice them wafer thin on the electric slicer before baking. I’m not sure about the freezer, but would love to know if you ever give it a go.

    I loved the salad servers, and the funnel, and the pastry dipper, but have no idea what you’d do with a 15cm / 6″ tea/spice ball! Thank you (and Sawsan) so much for the headsup on the bread mould – I’ve also used the moulds for chocolate, which you might like to try when you temper your next batch. You end up with gorgeous wheels of chocolate. And your ciabatta looks absolutely perfect, not flat at all, and the holes are textbook! xx

    • Hi Celia, Almond bread is one of the reasons we bought the slicer. We are finding it very hard to slice these days. We usually refrigerate ours and then slice it. If that doesn’t work, I will try freezing it, thanks for the tip.

      That whim of Maus has baffled me. It would be much too bulky to put in a normal size pot with herbs in it. It may actually be a catering tea ball, Maus did find it in a hardware type shop. When Maus bought it, I asked the man in the shop what it was for, via Gerlinde, and rice was mentioned but buggered if I know why 🙂

      When are you coming to check out the view in person? We have a separate guest suite with your name on the door. We could go to Margaret River, to Walpole to see the Giant Tree Top Walk etc. Don’t come in summer, it is hot and there are ants. I hate ants …

    • Hi Sally, I don’t think it was one of Maus’ wisest purchases. The only real use I can think for it is when I make a very, very large pot of chicken stock I will be able to put the bouquet garni in it but then a muslin bag wouldn’t be so bulky 😀

  13. Hello Glenda,
    I love posts like this one, there is always something to learn from people’s experience with items in their kitchens. I am glad you found a use for the bread mould on my blog 🙂 Thank you kindly for the shout out
    I am fascinated by your filhos mould, it is so beautiful. and thank you for the link to Celia’s Ciabatta recipe. I have been looking for a great sourdough ciabatta recipe for some time. I can’t wait to try this

    • Hi Sawsan. I love your blog. I have been thinking of you after your post on the terrible situation in the ME. I want to go back to Lebanon but not at the moment.
      A bread mould 🙂 it is so obvious when you know. You should check out Celia’s bread posts. She is a star when it comes to sourdough (and chocolate). I would love to see a photo of your Ciabatta, when you make it.

  14. That is some view, Glenda, and what a nice expanse to see at the start of every day. My Zia gave me her meat slicer last year. Though not a nice as yours, it sure comes in handy on the days after a roast was served for dinner. Congratulations on your first asparagus. It will only get better from here, year after year. 🙂

  15. G’day Glenda! The meat slicer reminded me of the one we had when I was a child, true!
    While I have many fond memories and of the sounds and how mum used to do…won’t go near one to this day…don’t ask too!
    The gadget thingy…I thought would be like for a pastry or cookie cutter???
    Love fun things and thanks for your in your kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewed as part of ITK Sept 2013

    • Hi Joanne. I hope there wasn’t an accident with the slicer which has put you off. I could use the cutter to make semi-circular scones, couldn’t I?

  16. As always Glenda, you have so many wonderful goodies to share with us. I know your round silver balls as a tea leaf defuser although love your idea of using it for a bouquet garni.Have a lovely September.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  17. I’ve got serious gadget envy over your slicer! What a tremendous find. I seriously envy you your asparagus as well. I haven’t grown it for years and the shop bought – even when it is fairly locally produced – is just not the same.

    As for the view! How gorgeous.

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