In my kitchen – March 2015

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In my kitchen:

Is a prune and walnut roll.  I love “Rolada” brand fruit rolls and have prunes galore so I thought I would try and make one.  I searched the web and collected all the recipes for prune and walnut rolls I could find.  I then chose the one which sounded the most promising.  It was good – it went in one day – but not quite as good as Rolada.  I found it hard to make mine as firm as the commercial ones.  I made the log, lined some poly pipe with baking paper and then put the log into the poly pipe.  I then pressed down as hard as I could to make it as compact as possible.  I then dried it in the dehydrator.  Like I said, it was good but not perfect.  I have ideas for improvement.

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Is this magnificent Wedgewood (Butterfly Bloom) tea caddy.  It was a birthday present from my sister, Sandra.  It arrived from Peter’s of Kensington a bit late so it didn’t make it into February’s post.  I have been wanting one for ages.  I was a bit cheeky and actually asked Maus if she wanted one for her birthday since she is the tea drinker in the household.  She looked at me as if I was mad.  I guess not. 🙂  So now I have a gorgeous tea caddy to store Maus’ tea in 🙂

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In my kitchen:

Are my new Le Creuset coffee mugs. They were a birthday present from ME.  I have noticed them on other bloggers’ IMK posts.  I liked the shape and the casualness of them but not the colour.   Most people tend to go for the red and orange ones.   Then, when I was searching Peter’s of Kensington’s site during the annual sale, I noticed this lovely ‘coastal blue’ shade.  I was sold.  I now have six.  I love them.  They are just the right size (350 mils) and a lovely shape.  I have earmarked six old mugs to go to the Op Shop so as not to accumulate any more stuff.  My sister, Juanita, worries about all the stuff I have and what is going to happen to it when I pop off :).

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As you can see, I am partial to a blue mug.  I bought these years ago because I thought they were magnificent, lovely colour and perfect shape (which they are).  They are ‘Aegean Sky’ by Noritake.  I liked them so much I bought six for me and six for my sister, Sandra (who also likes blue).  Now, I don’t like them so much (sorry, Sis). They are too big – they are nearly 500 mils.  I don’t like a big mug.  I know, I know, but like I have said before, China matters.  Maus doesn’t mind a big mug.

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Is this lovely tea pot (Juanita, close your eyes).  I have had it for ages.  It was a gift from an old friend.  It is by Sadler and was made in Staffordshire, England, and depicts a sporting scene from the 18th Century.

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Now for something a little more practical…

In my kitchen:

Are passionfruit… and lots of them.  I went around and picked up these the day we arrived in Bridgetown, thinking it was all there was.  Maus came in a while later with another 10.  Since then, we have been picking up about a dozen every day. The lovely yellow urn in the background is new, too.  It was another birthday gift.  It is not, literally, in my kitchen.  It lives on our outdoor table but I thought it deserved a photo.

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In my kitchen:

Is the pulp from the passionfruit.  The above passionfruit, plus about 10 more, produced nearly four cups of pulp.

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In my kitchen:

Are three bottles of passionfruit syrup made with the said pulp.  A recipe for passionfruit syrup was the very first post I did for this blog (3 years ago today, yahoo!!) and is, by far, my most popular post.  At the time, I remember searching the web for a recipe but all the recipes had loads of sugar and not much pulp and, consequently, not much taste.  I decided to just keep adding pulp until it tasted good.  I have made the recipe, with exactly the same quantities, numerous times since.  It works a treat.

What I find interesting is the colour of this year’s syrup.  I have, previously, only ever made the syrup with Nellie Kelly passionfruit.  I have no idea what variety of passionfruit I have.  A reader, Deborah, gave me some cuttings which I planted and I ended up with two vines.  But look how different the colour of the syrup is to some syrup I made from Nelly Kelly passionfruit.

If anyone (maybe Deborah if you still read) knows what variety I have, I would love to know.

Life is full of little intrigues.

 

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In my kitchen:

At last, are tomatoes.  I have been picking tomatoes for about two weeks now.  They were very slow to start.  I was going to say, “At least, I am not inundated with tomatoes”, but I am now picking about one kilogram every day so I am on the verge of “being inundated”.  I am definitely not going to preserve any this year.  I have vowed to empty my pantry of tomatoes before I add any more.  I intend to dry some and slow roast and freeze some but that is it.  I have already made one jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil.  Another is scheduled for tomorrow.

These tomates are really weird.  They were supposed to be Roma tomatoes but they are not like the Roma tomatoes I know.  These are bell shaped, rather than oval.  They are not particularly tasty, either, but they are perfect for drying because they don’t have many seeds or much juice.

Early in the season, I pulled out every self-sown cherry tomato plant I found but then, suddenly, there were cherry tomato plants everywhere, all tangled up with the Romas so I couldn’t pull them up.  Soon, I really will be inundated.  I can’t win when it comes to tomatoes.  Every year, I try not to plant too many and not too close and not too this and not too that and still I end up with a jungle of tomato plants that could feed an army.

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In my kitchen:

Are beans.  Now, I have been inundated with beans this year.  I have been picking them for ages.  I think the first lot has self-seeded (I must have missed some beans when I was picking them) so now I have another burst.  I picked about three kilos the day we arrived.  I gave a kilo to a neighbour who doesn’t have a vegie patch and put two in the fridge.  Yesterday, I picked another kilo and today, another.093copy

When I picked this lot and knew I had to find a home for them, I rang our neighbour, Renate.  I was so happy when Renate said her beans were finished and she would like them.  Maus dropped these (and a cucumber) off within half an hour of them being picked.  When Maus returned, she had these lovely eggs, freshly laid by Renate and Horst’s well-looked-after hens.

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In my kitchen:

Is this very cute pear.  We have taken to calling into one of the Donnybrook orchards on the way back to Perth because I like the idea of buying freshly picked fruit.  We have been pleasantly surprised to find that they have different varieties to what is offered in the supermarkets.  Earlier in the month, Maus went to buy some fruit on strict instructions only to buy stone fruit (because it is in season).  My very words were “Don’t buy pears.  They will be from cold storage.”  Out she comes with a small box of pears!!!  Oh dear, dear, me.  Before I could say anything, she said,  “These were picked today!

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And they were the best pears I have ever tasted. They were Precose, an Italian variety.  Maus looked them up.  They ripen in the last week of January and the first week of February and have a very limited shelf life.  I should have taken a photo of one but it was the beginning of the month and I only think about this post a couple of days before it is due.

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This week, Maus came out with these little beauties.  The Precose were finished.  These guys don’t taste as good but they are still very nice and they are so cute.  They are only 6 cm tall.  They are Paradise.  They would be perfect for a dessert.

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Diane, from Photographs and Recipes, recently posted some photos of all the snow she is experiencing.  Check out her photos – they are amazing.  For contrast, and since it is the end of summer, I thought I would show you the view from my kitchen.  It is four photos stitched together so the perspective is a bit skewed (the balustrade which you can see on the sides and which looked to be at right angles is, actually, straight) but it gives you an idea of how dry and barren it is here.  We certainly live in a sunburnt country.  Bring on the rain, I say.

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.

76 thoughts on “In my kitchen – March 2015

  1. I just came across your blog as I have desperately been trying to find a set of Noritake Aegean Sky Mugs. That is my wife and I’s wedding pattern, and when we were married 12 years ago, couldn’t afford some of the pieces that we wanted to get. The fact we haven’t been able to find the mugs has troubled us for years. I came across your blog as I was once again trying to search for any that may have come up for sale. If you ever decide you don’t have the room for them any longer, I would gladly purchase them from you. I didn’t mean to intrude on your blog like this, but didn’t see a way to send an email and I thought it was worth the chance.
    Thanks!

  2. Hi Glenda – I love all the new china in your kitchen but that yellow urn really is a stunner. I am afraid that I am one of those who loves a big mug of tea (no milk for me thanks!) because I don’t mind sipping it as it gets cold – weird right? It’s a habit that I got from work – not being able to drink my tea because I was too busy and then being so parched that I drank it cool! Lots of delicious fresh produce and what an eggcellent (groan) exchange for the beans. I thought that San Marzanos were revered in Italy for making the best canned tomatoes? They cost a bomb in the shops…and that panorama is just stunning. I think you should do one every month to ring in the changes. Thanks for the look around your kitchen!

  3. I love all your beautiful produce this month… Our passionfruit vine got a bit pattered in the storm and we lost most of it, but when next year comes around, I can’t wait the make that passionfruit syrup, I can see why it is so popular! What a beautiful present, love Le Creuset (anything)Thanks for sharing!

  4. You always have one of my favourite IMK posts every month Glenda. I love the blue of your le Creuset mugs. I always give old things away when I bring in new things into the kitchen, mainly because I have a small kitchen. 😀
    Have a wonderful day. 🙂 xo

  5. The Rolada brand is unknown to me, but your prune and walnut roll sounds delicious. Just the thing to nibble on while you enjoy your beautiful tea things. I must admit to serious envy issues over your tea caddy and tea pot (and gorgeous produce!).

  6. Glenda, congratulations on your 3rd “blog-iversary.” Neat to learn that you started out with a passion fruit recipe! Your pears and beans and funny-shaped Roma’s made me anxious for Spring and Summer here. (Wish I could send you some of our moisture!) When tomato plants “appear” here they’re called “volunteers” — and I’ve been hoping I’ll have a few show up. Maybe not as many as yours! Thanks for the lovely read and photos.

  7. Gosh I just adore all of your china!!! I might have to check out the Peters of Kensington site but I’m scared of how much I will adore…and I have enough! That walnut and prune roll looks ah-mazing!!! How do you do that in the dehydrator I wonder? I’m just new to dehydrating and mine doesn’t have a temp gauge just 6 racks and low and high settings….Warm regards Jan x

    • Hi Jan, I cooked the prunes with some lemon juice and honey (I think- I don’t have the recipe with me), added the walnuts, made the roll then left if in the dehydrator for about 12 hours to dry out

  8. Glenda you always have fabulous fresh produce in your kitchen which I am totally envious off. Love your mugs and gorgeous tea caddy. I don’t like big mugs too 🙂

  9. I love all the tea paraphernalia in your kitchen this month Glenda. And am very jealous of your fresh produce. I have my fingers crossed that the new passion fruit vine finally starts to produce next year. And our bean crop was dismal this year so I am hoping for better things next year. You can also completely dry your tomatoes, then whiz them into powder in the food processor, and just add spoonfuls to anything you feel requires a slight flavour kick.

  10. I am quite intrigued by the prune roll. I have never heard of a fruit roll before and must look into this! The boys recently discovered prunes and LOVE them. All that fresh produce looks fantastic. I am looking forward to my garden soon enough, though like you I hope not to be overrun with tomatoes. In our garden it is the ground cherries that pop all over, so frustrating!

  11. You guys eat so well – and all from your land too. You made me laugh about your ‘stuff’ – Rich went through the sideboard the other day for the first time and I had to walk out of the room because his language was terrible 🙂 He found my stash of white plates and water jugs……
    I love your Sadler teapot btw – it very classy.

  12. What a busy kitchen you have this month! I love the yellow ceramic jar and of course hearing about your crops (well apart from the tomato tangle that is). I’m on a similar theme of using up what is in the store cupboard before I add anything more – so definitely no beetroot pickles or gherkins this year! Hope you have a great week

  13. Glenda, what a view! I am seriously envious of your passionfruit though I’m on Juanita’s side with all your kitchen paraphernalia.
    My roma tomatoes looked just like yours and were a very disappointing flavour. Thanks for reminding me that I need to throw those last few seeds away and not sow them this year.

    • Hi Anne, Isn’t it annoying re the seeds? They were supposed to be Roma tomatoes. Maree tells me they are San Marzanos – very annoying indeed. Luckily they are good for drying and making tomato paste.

  14. amazing amount of produce and it all looks so lovely – I particularly love the passionfruits – my mum used to have a vine but it is gone and I miss it – passionfruits are so lovely and obviously you love them given the name of your blog – enjoy the syrup – maybe if I find myself with lots of them I could give it a go. I also love all your stuff – I bought a set of new glasses recently and had to find a set to go out as we are full as a state school in my kitchen. And good luck with the prune and walnut log – seems a worthy project

  15. oh such lovely things in your kitchen:) I just love those noritake mugs and the le creuset ones. and the tea pots. so gorgeous. and i am jealous of your passionfruit. how marvellous to have fresh fruit like that. we have problems with scrub turkeys etc! so it is hard to grow anything here. your syrup looks delightful. interesting about the different colours. i find that with my mango chutney each year. sometimes pale and sometimes not. love the funny shaped toms too. enough adjectives for one comment i think:)

  16. Everything about your IMK post is beautiful & colourful as usual. I love the soft blue of the cups but it’s the yellow of the passionfruit and its products that fed my eyes wonderfully. I’m just back from a weekend driving around the country around Canberra and the view from your kitchen window is similar, and I so enjoyed seeing the vistas and space. We commented it’s truly iconic type of Australian countryside.
    I must tell you, that in the front window of an alpaca yarn store in Braidwood I was amazed to see an avocado set. Nothing to do with alpacas! but they were selling off a few odds and ends. The set was complete (also had 6 flat plates to go beneath the bowls) and it looked [professionally] handmade. But it wasn’t wonderfully retro like the set you featured previously, so I wasn’t tempted to spend the $44!

      • The set apparently came in with a lot-collection of other stuff, it looked quite new, and had no markings. It may have been something marvelous bur It didn’t have the ‘it’ feel for me so I saved myself the trouble, of finding cupboard space I left it for someone else 🙂
        I looked online but couldn’t find anything similar but there are some handmade avocado bowls out there.

  17. Hi Glenda, I had hundreds of passionfruit last year and decided to try freezing some of them whole. It worked a treat and I when I defrosted and cut them in half they were perfect.
    I made nectarine and passionfruit jam

  18. I love fine china too Glenda and would much rather enjoy two small cups of tea, then a bucketful so I understand where you’re coming from with the mugs. Passionfruit is a favourite here too. I make passionfruit curd to have as a standby dollop on pancakes, as a pav topping, on toast, the flavour is luscious. Do you make drinks with the syrup?

  19. Such lovely tea accessories. I wish cafes served tea in china not not thick coffee cups, drives me nuts! The tomatoes look like San Marzano which are a paste tomato like roma too. They do preserve very well. Must plant a passionfruit and those pears are stunning, straight from a still-life painting.

    • Hi Fergie, I just looked up San Marzano and you are right. Bloody hell, I bought the seeds as Romas. Oh well I only intend to dry them this year and they sound perfect for that. Thanks for the info. You are right, thick coffer mugs should be banned 🙂

  20. G’day Glenda and thank you for your warm and welcoming IMK post that brightened my day and LOVE your tea pots, and don’t think I could ever get enough figs!
    You had me at your prune and walnut roll! Cheers! Joanne
    I am back posting and am very excited today!

  21. And I forgot to wish you a very happy birthday! I have a little trick I do with birthdays – I bump UP my age by at least 5 years. It makes me feel so good when people say “oh you look amazing for 69!”

  22. Your beans and tomatoes could make a wonderful Lebanese dish of simmered onions, garlic, beans and tomatoes; just sweat the onions, add 3-4cloves of garlic then lots of beans and tomatoes,not exact quantities but just lots. A splash of passata for starting moisture then simmer the lot for about 30 minutes, delicious!

  23. I am extremely envious of your passionfruit supplies and the juice from them. In my previous house I had a wonderful vine and froze enough of the Ned Kelly juice for a year but in my present place the passionfruit vine gets attacked wither by frost of cockatoos- so I am giving up,I long for abundant passionfruit.
    Had a laugh about your attempts at the Rolada made with poly pipe- very ingenious. Looks pretty good to me!
    And the view from your balcony looks wonderful, like a mini Versailles-well, a sunburnt one.

    • Hi Francesca. The fruit rolls have to be really firm and I couldn’t think of a better way to compact them. Drying helps but I figured they need to be pretty compact to start with.

      • Glenda- I have also tried to make the Prune and walnut roll – very difficult to get it right- I am still trying to perfect it too- but it costs a bomb to purchase from the shops so worth the effort – when you going to publish your recipe???

  24. You definitely have a tea theme going this month & what beautiful china & mugs. That’s a gorgeous tea caddy and I love the mugs…what’s wrong with the second set of mugs though? I know what you’r saying about them being big, but they’re gorgeous & very different.
    You know I’ve tried passion fruit juice before but never eaten passion fruit – we really don’t often see it around here & I’m not sure if it’s something that you just dig in & eat the pulp or just use it for making other things?
    Thanks for the link to my wintry photos – are you ready for this? We are getting anywhere from 6″ to another FOOT of snow tomorrow night! I can’t stop staring at the view from your kitchen (which is beautiful) & I’m trying to remember what the ground even looks like – you’re picture does help with those old memories. Believe me, if I could help you out in any way by shipping even half our snow to you, I would. I can’t believe all the produce you’ve been able to get with such dry conditions (well, seems like your tomatoes have a mind of their own).

    • Diane, you can eat passionfruit pulp directly from the fruit. It is a little tart but is loved by most people. The syrup sieves out a lot of the seeds and add sweetness. It is so dry here but all my vegetables etc are on irrigation so they are nice and green. Good luck with the snow.

  25. Glenda, there are so many beautiful things in your kitchen this month, that I don’t quite know where to start… I love passionfruit… actually, I adore it, so I am in awe of your fruit… and that syrup looks amazing! And those pears, wow! A work of art!

    • Hi Connie. They also make a fig and walnut roll. I decided to make the prune and walnut roll because I have lots of prunes. You are so right, the commercial ones are very expensive.

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