In My Kitchen- December 2017

It has been sooo long since I did an In My Kitchen post – 6 months, in fact.  To prove it, I have included this photo I took last May for my June In My Kitchen post that never happened.  Clearly, I decided to make tomato sauce out of the last of the tomatoes.  (Here is the recipe if anyone is interested.)  Before long, I will be taking photos of this year’s tomato harvest but, for now, I am buying them.  It breaks my heart to do so when I know that, in a few weeks, I will have so many I won’t know what to do with them all.  It is always the same.

There are several reasons for the lack of In My Kitchen posts but the main one is there has not been much new stuff in my kitchen.  I decided, last year, that our two kitchens were full.  Then we decided to down size our Perth residence so now my two kitchens are over full.  But this month, I do have a couple of new things.

Firstly, in my kitchen:

Is my new pitcher I bought in Esfahan, Iran.  I was looking for a plate but we didn’t have much time for shopping and I hadn’t seen one anywhere so when I saw this, I decided to buy it.  I didn’t want to leave Iran without a souvenir.  At first, I thought I would use it for olive oil but one of my fellow travellers warned me against that by saying they bought a pitcher on a previous holiday to use for oil but it was not oil proof.  And once they had determined that, it was useless for anything else.  When I came home, I did a test with water.  I left it overnight.  In the morning, there was water around the base so there goes the olive oil idea.  Maybe it will just be for decoration.  It sure is pretty.

In my kitchen:

Is my new plate.  The day after I bought the pitcher, we went for a walk in Tehran in search of an ice-cream and came across a shop that sold, amongst other things, handicrafts.  I spied this magnificent plate and, within a few seconds, it was mine.

In my kitchen:

Is asparagus.  At the moment, the vegie patch is producing asparagus and snowpeas galore.  We are keeping up with the asparagus but losing the battle with the snow peas. As with most other vegies, they mature all at once.  We have been eating chicken with cashew nuts and snow peas more than I like to admit and having salads every other night.

In my kitchen:

Are pickled snow peas.  I finally succumbed.
I picked about half a bucket the other day and we already had as many in the fridge.  I started looking at ways to preserve them.  We have, in previous years, frozen them but we decided we didn’t like frozen snow peas.  I found this recipe for pickled sugar snap peas and decided to give it a go.  I have no idea whether we will like them or even eat them but all it cost was the price of some vinegar so I thought I would give the recipe a go.  I will let you know what we think once we finish eating the fresh ones.

In my kitchen:

Are peas… well, sort of.  There have been so many snow peas we haven’t even been able to pick them in time and some have, actually, formed proper peas.  I do not eat pod peas but Maus does.  I shelled a bowl full, blanched them, and froze them.

In my kitchen:

Are avocados.  We are also getting avocados from our trees.  Avocados are my favourite thing to grow because they don’t ripen until they are picked.  We, usually, pick two every few days, giving us a continual supply of ripening avocados.  They started in September and will, probably, last another month.  That is not bad – free avocados for four months of the year.  We have had lots of salads of blanched asparagus, snow peas, avocado, salad onion and cucumber.  Soon it will be Greek salad every night.

In my kitchen:

Is this year’s garlic harvest.  I have grown garlic every year since we established the vegie patch.  In fact, garlic was the initiative for the vegie patch.  Our friend, Sue, gave me a head of sprouting garlic and said, “Here, grow this.”  I did, and haven’t stopped.   We have not bought garlic since our first harvest.

In my kitchen:

Are these magnificent strawberries.  I wish I could say I grew them but, alas, it is not true.  Strawberries have been a spectacular failure for me.  I grew them for two years.  The plants were huge and multiplied all over the place but we got very little strawberries.  The slugs got way more than us.

These strawberries come from Newy’s Vegie Patch in Kirup.  If you are driving through Kirup in summer, you must stop at the shop.  Don’t worry, you won’t miss it.  It is the only shop in Kirup.  These strawberries were picked the morning we bought them.  They are huge but, best of all, they are red all the way through.  I bought piles of them and froze them.  We have been having strawberry smoothies most mornings.  They also grow raspberries and loganberries.  Apart from the berries, the shop sells an impressive array of gourmet foods and vegetables.

In my kitchen:

Are these Boerwors.  For those who don’t know, Boerwors are a traditional South African sausage.  They are only a few of the many sausages Maus and I made one day.  We also made lamb and rosemary and hot Italian sausages.  Once I realised how to assemble the mincer, mincing the meat became a breeze but I don’t know so much about stuffing the casings.  And to be honest, our sausages aren’t the best.  I know what they are missing – fat!!  But it is so hard to actually add fat.  We bought the fattiest meat we could but still we should have added more.  Today, we made Merguez sausages because we are having Chicken roasted with 40 cloves of garlic and Merguez sausages tomorrow night.  We will give sausage making a couple more tries before we make a final assessment whether it is a goer as a hobby.  Thusfar, I have my doubts.

In my kitchen (but not for long):

Is my new toy.  It is a cheese knife.  Not the dainty sort that goes on a cheese board but a huge one that shops use to cut through big rounds of cheese.  I have been wanting one for ages.  We were in MBL (Master Butchers Limited) in Canningvale the other week buying the sausage casings and I thought to ask about one.  (They have a huge range of knives as they cater to butchers.)  I have been watching a particular soap maker’s videos and she uses one when cutting her soap freehand.  It will live in the garage with my other soap stuff.  I can’t imagine we will ever need it in the kitchen.

If you would like to see what is in other bloggers’ kitchens this month visit Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings.  Sherry now hosts In My Kitchen each month.

28 thoughts on “In My Kitchen- December 2017

  1. Hi Glenda and Maus, just love the jug and pitcher from your travels, really beautiful. Always in awe of your garden produce, never had pickled snow peas before but at least you are not letting much go to waste 🙂

  2. So many similarities, exquisite taste in plates and crockery even if only ornamental, no success with strawberries, don’t eat added peas and enjoy making sausages. I always keep the fat from pork shoulder if I do a pulled pork, chuck it in the freezer and add that to snags when I make them. Interested to hear how the pickled peas go, I quite like the ring to saying ‘pickled peas’ over and over! Love that knife. Wishing you and Maus a very happy Christmas and festive season. Cheers, Maree.

  3. you are so busy and productive Glenda, and so nice to see all your garden stuff, especially teh avocados How lucky to have a productive tree and ‘avos’ whenever you want. That Jug from Estafan is amazing, love it.

  4. So nice to have a virtual visit to your kitchen. I love the pitcher & plate, which also gave me a laugh as the G.O. gifted me an old beautiful purple paisley teapot which I had lasted after in a shop window… which pops and crackles and leaks like a sieve when even cold water goes in it!
    I’m in the chorus of the pickled snow pea curious. My new passion is cold pickling veges for salads… so handy & delcious. On my one-day list is sausage making. I’m always happy to avail myself of other’s experience befor embarking on a process, so far I’m noting fiddly, and fat content necessary.
    We’ve had reasonable success growing strawberries in water-well tubs, am now going to trying hanging pots also. For slugs, and most garden bugs we regularly cast our coffee grounds through the gardens on soil and foliage. It seems to deter most things.

  5. Your pitcher and plate are very beautiful – what a shame they can only be decorative. I attempted sausage making in an effort to make sausages my grandchildren would eat because they will only eat supermarket sausages which, in my mind, don’t really qualify as food. I had the most hilarious but frustrating time with the casing, it seemed to take on a life of its own.

    • Hi Jan I just don’t get it. The meat happily works its way down to the blades to be minced but when it is ready to go into the casings it won’t come out. I was pushing like mad and still it wouldn’t move. I don’t think it is a hobby for me.

  6. I love snow peas and it was very clever of you to shell some of the ones that actually formed peas. I’m sure they will freeze well even though the podded ones didn’t. Good luck with that pea pickle – hope it turns out for you. Beautiful produce in your garden and I love the pots from Iran.

  7. All your produce, both garden-grown and market-sourced, looks so delicious from way up north here!

    You aren’t alone at having nothing new in the kitchen — my kitchen is also very well equipped so that I rarely go for the new trendy gadgets. Every month I try to find some theme for writing a post, though.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  8. hi glenda
    thanks for joining in IMK this month. great to have you.:) i love all your produce. i’m very jelly! all that fabulous garlic etc. the jug and plate are just beautiful but i have found that most of those items use lead paint or glazes so are not food-safe. have a wonderful christmas break. see you in the new year – virtually speaking! cheers sherry xx

  9. I love snow peas used as stir fry with beef, shrimp or whatever or by itself. Olive oil, garlic, S/P, soy sauce, red pepper and a splash of oyster sauce. You are very fortunate as it is at a premium here if available. I usually have to go to Asian stores in nearby County ( 90 minutes away) to purchase them. They usually cost $3.99 to 5.99/ pound. If they are on sale, I stock them, run them thru the food processor, stir fry and freeze them as one of the ingredients for my spring rolls.

    During a trip to Canada 10 years ago, went to a Chinese restaurant that recommended stir fry snow peas leaves. WOW!!!It was great. However, they are even rarer here. In excellent Chinese restaurant here, they do serve them. Stir fry them with olive oil garlic, S/P, cracked red pepper and enough cider vinegar to give them a bit of lingering sour taste, same way I cook this vegetable that looks like spinach but with a stem that is hallow, with nodes. We pinch the nodes so they are softer. Here in Maryland, this vegetable is outlawed. Every once in a while, they come from Boston. It is called KANGKONG in the Filipino language, Ong Chay in Chinese and Vietnamese language . If y ou can find the seeds to grow, they grow like weeds near the water edge in the Philippines, is one of the cheapest food for the poor but here in the US, I see them now every once in a while in a Vietnamese grocery store in Va ( I do not know how they can sell it without being fined) at a premium , as high as $6.00 or up per pound. They come from NY on a Friday and by Saturday morning, they are gone! The other names for it in English as water spinach, river spinach, water morning glory, water convolvulus, or by the more ambiguous names Chinese spinach, Chinese Watercress, Chinese convolvulus, swamp cabbage or kangkong in Southeast Asia. When the leaves are small, that is when they are plucked and sold at a premium coveted by8 the Asians. Beware sometimes because other leaves ( potato etc) can deceive you.

  10. Love both the plate and the jug Glenda, even though they’re only decorative, at least you were forewarned. You can order pork back fat from the butcher for sausages. It add succulence and flavour and is free of connective tissue. It has a very high melting point so keeps your snags moist. I’m sure chef google will advise the amount to add per kilo of meat. The percentage is scarily high.

    • Hi Sandra, thanks. Every recipe adds fat and I have ignored it but my sausages are paying the price, they are not as nice as the fatty commercial ones ☹️

    • Hi Nerida. I will have to try something else. The second year I put each plant in a length of poly pipe to stop the slugs and to stop them taking over the vegie patch. It was a resounding failure. I like the idea of growing them in a length of gutter but we have to work out a way to water them when we are not here.

  11. Hi Glenda and happy December to you. Likewise, I don’t have too much (if anything) new in my kitchen. I am always in awe of your homegrown produce… so delicious and so beautifully preserved. My strawberries have been abundant, although we are fighting a blackbird now.

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