In my kitchen May 2017

In my kitchen:

Was a kiwano.  It is also called an African horned cucumber or melon.

Am I the only one who remembers eating these as a kid?  We used to call them prickly cucumbers and I loved them.  I have no idea where they came from but I presume Mum, or someone she knew, grew them.   I believe they are easy to grow in a climate with hot dry summers.  Perth would be ideal!

This is a typical example of a ripe fruit.  It has orange skin and lime green, jelly-like flesh, with a refreshing cucumber-like taste.  Mum treated them as she would any other cucumber – ie, she peeled and sliced them and then swamped them in vinegar.

I was in Bridgetown one day when I got a text with a photo from my mate, Colette, saying “Check out what I saw in the deli.”

Colette knew I would be excited.  A few years ago, she was at Lancelin and bought some kiwano jam.  When she told me, I was over the moon.  I wanted some seeds.  If someone was making kiwano jam in Western Australia, they must be growing kiwanos.   You can easily find the seeds on-line but, because of quarantine regulations, you cannot bring them into Western Australia.

Colette bought two.  We ate one and a half and I collected the seeds from the other half.  Next summer, I hope to be awash with kiwano.

In my kitchen:

Are two bottles of Sticky Balsamic.  The food and wine fair was on when we were in Melbourne and we happened across some stalls including one selling this sticky balsamic vinegar.  It is made in Geelong and tastes great.  They had little tasting spoons so I know it is lovely.  We opted for the Apple and the Reserve but any bottle could have found its way into my case.  I highly recommend it.

In my kitchen:

Is this fruit & nut cake by Preserved and Pickled.  We bought it at another stall.  I have never heard of the brand but it sure looked good so I thought I would give one a try.  I love these types of treats.  I am amazed it has survived this long.

Back to Western Australia…

In my kitchen:

Is some creamed honey.  Maureen’s nephew, Dale, and his partner, Ramona (named after the song), visited recently. They called in on their way back from a week in Margaret River and Pemberton.  Maus loves creamed honey.  I am not sure whether it was fortuitous luck on Dale’s behalf or whether he knew.  The honey comes from Nannup – one town on from Bridgetown.

In my kitchen:

Are tomatoes – of course.  These guys are drying in the dehydrator.  They have been sprinkled with salt, pepper and dried herbs and will be stored in olive oil.

The vegie patch has not been so prolific this year which is understandable, considering it had to fend on its own most of the summer.

We have had plenty of beans and cucumbers and now are getting tomatoes galore but  not the ridiculous quantities of previous years.  This year, I pulled up EVERY cherry tomato that reared its head and planted Siberian tomatoes.  I have no idea from where the seeds came but I had a packet so decided to give them a go.  They are only all right.  The skin is cracking quite a bit and some have Anthoracnose.  It will be back to cherry tomatoes and Romas next year.  I think I will buy seedlings so I get fruit earlier in the season.  May is a bit late.

In my kitchen:

Is a new kitchen gadget!!  I haven’t had a new gadget for ages.  This is a gift from Sue and Matt.  They brought it back from New Zealand.  It is a leaf stripper.

And it works!

I am not sure that every kitchen needs one but it will certainly come in handy in every kitchen that has a Maus.  Maus can spend ages taking leaves off a stem.

In my kitchen:

Are some new books.  I spied this book on Celia’s blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and thought it was a great idea.  I know absolutely nothing about seafood.  When I read non Australian recipes requiring fish, I have no idea what Australian variety to substitute for the one in the recipe.  We invariably buy snapper – ’cause Maus thinks it’s good and Barramundi ’cause I have heard people say it is good.  I am hoping this book will encourage me to be more adventurous.

In my kitchen:

Is a great present from Maus’ nephew, Damian, and his wife, Briony (and little Casper).  I bought our caper plants from Brian Noone many years ago.  In those days, you couldn’t buy the plants in Western Australia.  I paid just as much for the quarantine as I did for the plants.  Luckily, four out of the five plants I bought survived and are still doing very well.  The book is fabulous.  There is a lot of information about the plants and a chapter with recipes.  Love it.

Look!  It is even autographed.  I love autographed books.  I am not sure of the connection but I think Damian knows Brian’s son.  Thanks, guys.

In my garage:

Were 210 kilos of olives.  These guys took Maus and me three and a half days to pick.  Here they are ready to go to the pressers.

And here they are in the ute on their way.

The story, alas, has a sad ending.  The presser rang yesterday to tell us his machine broke down with our olives in it so no oil for us.  Shit.  Bugger.  Bitch.  Bum.  We drank a few glasses of wine after that call.  The trials and tribulations of living in the country!

The good news, if you can call it that, is we probably have the same amount of olives still on the trees.  If we can muster the enthusiasm and find another presser, we could spend three or four more days picking olives and get some oil.

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.