Happy New Year, everyone!
I haven’t written an “In My Kitchen” post for a while as I haven’t had anything new but I do now!
In my kitchen:
Are cherries. As I mentioned in my previous post, we harvested cherries this year for only the second time in 20 years. Clearly, the weather was just right for them as the trees produced their crop despite total neglect.
These cherries actually saved the trees’ lives.
When we bought the block, we were like everyone else – eager beavers. We planted two or three of every fruit and nut tree that was suited to our climate. But, of course, if they all survived and produced fruit (and the birds didn’t eat it), we would have had enough fruit to feed the whole town.
Alas, since we bought the block our water supply has collapsed. Originally, we had a fantastic bore. Unfortunately, that silted up so we had another put in – it only lasted one year and we are now totally reliant on our rainwater tanks. As a consequence, we are being ruthless with the amount of water each tree gets. Only if they are performing exceptionally well do they get to stay on the irrigation system. The cherry trees were destined to be cut off. No fruit in 20 years does not count as performing well. As a consequence of this bounty, all three trees escaped the chop.
We netted one tree as we figured that would be enough cherries for us. As with all our fruit, every cherry ripened on the same day. We ate cherries until our tummies ached and then I decided to bottle some for later use.
- Make a syrup of one cup of sugar to two cups of water and bring it to the boil. (You will need about 2 cups of syrup for each kilo of fruit. If, when you are bottling the fruit, you find you don’t have enough, just make a bit more.)
- Add the cherries to the pot. Bring back to the boil.
- Place the hot cherries in sterilised jars. Top up with the syrup. Leave ½ inch head space. Secure the lid.
- Process in boiling water for 15 minutes. If you are not sure how to process the jars in boiling water, check out this post.
In my kitchen:
Is this beautiful Wedgewood bowl. It was a gift from my sister, Juanita. The design is by Jasper Conran.
Jasper Conran, OBE, is a British designer. He started off in womenswear but has diversified into menswear, fragrance, accessories, luggage, collections for the home, interiors and the performing arts. Here is Wedgewood’s spiel on the design:
This innovative interpretation of the 18th Century British trend for patterns from the East features an exquisite pattern of exotic flowers, foliage and birds set against a richly toned backdrop edged in platinum.
Is pressure canned red onion (ironically, the onion on the left), brown onion (in the middle) and leeks (on the right). I had onions and leeks galore and knew we would not be able to eat them all before they started shooting or going rotten. I had the idea of making caramelised onion and freezing it but then wondered whether I could preserve caramelised onion in jars to avoid clogging up the freezer (I am still not sure on that one). That led me to consider pressure canning onions. Eventually, I found this site and I followed the instructions exactly, except that because I have a dial gauge pressure canner, I processed my onions at 11 pounds pressure rather than ten.
I could not find any information on pressure canning leeks but I did find quite a few sites on pressure canning potato and leek soup and sites for pressure canning soup with no specification as to which vegetables to use. Therefore, I concluded I could pressure can leeks. The only question then was, “For how long do I process them?” Not knowing the answer to that question, I went with the longest time recommended from all the sites I looked at – I processed them for one hour at 11 pounds pressure. With that amount of cooking, they will only be useful in recipes where the vegetables need to be softened first. No matter, ’tis a small price to pay. There was no way we could have otherwise used all the leeks we harvested.
Is garlic. Remember the photo to the left? When I posted that photo, I was not sure whether the garlic would dry out because the soil was so wet at the time. In no time, though, the temperatures started to rise, the sun started to shine and the garlic dried out. The garlic cloves in the top photo are from those crowns.
But there was more. Last winter, I found a pile of little plants that looked like onions growing in the vegie patch. I ignored them for some time. Then, one day, because I felt sorry for them, I separated them and planted them out. For ages, I had not idea what they were. As it turns out, they were garlic plants. Clearly, I had missed a crown when I harvested last year’s crop.
This is what that one wayward crown produced. The heads are huge, much bigger than the ones I planted. Now we have way too much garlic. Oh, well, better too much than not enough.
The thought of having too much garlic made me think of toum (Lebanese garlic sauce). I made it once before using this recipe. We really enjoyed it so I decided to make it again. If you love the idea of grilled meat oozing garlicy goodness and aren’t expecting any New Year kisses, do make this sauce. It is perfect for any barbequed meat.
I feel the necessity to now go on a rant. I only found this source of the recipe a couple of days ago. When I made toum before, I used the recipe from a post that was written 3 years later. The later post gave no credit to the original author.
Recipes are not subject to copyright law but it is only courtesy to give credit if you are using someone else’s recipe. And copying text is plagiarism. It is very naughty, to say the least. If you can’t write something original, don’t write … If you make someone else’s recipe, say so. OK, I am glad that is off my chest.
Is my new rolling pin. I know I do not need another rolling pin – I now have four – but who could resist this beauty? It is so adorable. The wood is sheoak from the tree Allocasuarina Fraseriana, which is endemic to Western Australia. It occurs near the coast in the south west corner of the State, from Jurien Bay to Albany. All of the interior (built-in) furniture in our house utilises sheoak. It is my favourite wood.
This rolling pin is for rolling out flat breads, exactly what every household needs! It was hand made in Albany, a town on our south coast. I bought it on a recent trip there.
In my kitchen:
Is a new Madame grater. It is made by Pylones, a leading designer gift brand established in France in 1985.
Nana or Madame of Pylones combines design with function. It has three different grating surfaces: fine, medium and coarse. With the grater, nutmeg, lemon peel, chocolate, cheese or raw vegetables can be grated.
Very flash indeed!!