I managed to only miss one month this time in linking up with Celia for an In My Kitchen post, yet it still seems to be a big one. Here it goes…
A few years back I stopped buying tomatoes in tins. Tins are lined with BPA (bad chemical, google it if you want to know more) and the acid in tomatoes leaches it out worse than most foods. However no tins meant my cooking was limited to smooth sauce rather than lovely, textural crushed tomatoes (yeah, yeah, first world problems and all).
Needless to say I was so very pleased when I found this Passata Rustica from Global Organics. Their straight Passata puree is pretty good too.
A few cups of pure cream, left in the back of my fridge after a photo shoot, were about to go off. We really don’t use cream in anything so I figured I’d have a go at making butter. By hand. Because why not.
A few minutes and two tired arms later, voila! The buttermilk was drained off and used for pie (recipe yet to make it to a post) and the butter was rinsed, then formed, then wrapped in paper, then frozen — because we don’t use much butter and it keeps far longer in the freezer.
I decided to feed a portion of leftover flatbread dough and see what would happen. This happened. That was back in January and Ray, as I call him, is still alive and kicking.
I’m still yet to tackle a proper loaf recipe but between rye crackers and steamed buns we’re getting along just fine.
I could eat dumplings, steamed buns and wontons for every meal. Really. These little babies were the result of the following process…
- grate or chop all things about to die in crisper.
- sautée all the things and fill wonton skins.
- use wire spoon prop thingy for actual cooking.
Autumn is here and a lovely media famil to Bilpin to pick apples resulted in lots of apples and pears* in my kitchen. Stay tuned for the post soon!
While in Bilpin I was also introduced to the brilliant Hillbilly Cider*. This stuff is seriously good — dry with a really fine, almost Prosecco-style, bubble it is almost too drinkable. There is a non-alcoholic version as well which has taken up regular residence in our fridge for a special treat.
Pizza is a pretty regular staple round these parts. On busy weeknights it’s usually made with wholemeal flatbreads (Lebanese bread) but when there is a bit more time I make dough. The toppings on this one were so fabulous I had to share
Sunday Night Pizza — an almost recipe
- shredded kale; thinly sliced purple and pink potato; sliced brown onion; rosemary; smoked cod poached in milk and flaked
- brush base with garlic oil or leftover pesto
- top with cheese
- bake, eat, sigh.
We had a few really really hot days in Sydney. The bananas decided it was too hot for clothes. Smart bananas.
Know that lunch I had at Alpha*? Well I won a goodie bag with all sorts of things from their shop.
There’s a new water in town and it’s a bit cheeky. From The Bay of Plenty in New Zealand, available in both still and sparkling. The sparkling was lovely with a fine bubble.*
A bag of kaffir limes in the discount bin at my local organic shop looked at me with sad eyes and I had to adopt them. The insides are almost like finger lime caviar and the juice smells exactly like the leaves. You know I stuck the seeds into some soil on my window sill because, why not.
End of the day at Eveleigh Markets means the selection isn’t quite as big but you do manage to pickup a few deals. Winner of the day was a 6kg organic watermelon for $12.
I had to laugh when the farmer said it would keep in the fridge for ages… it will be cut like this and will probably be gone by Wednesday. Ahem.
The dessert diaries (aka Chocolate, always)
A little gift from little bro, all the way from America-land.
I don’t usually share stuff for IMK that has already appeared as a post but for these brownies I’m making an exception because roughly every two weeks I manage to find another excuse to make them. Oops.
Kind of in love with this ice cream I discovered recently at my local IGA. Yes, it has sugar and dairy but there are no preservatives or emulsifiers (ie no chemical numbers or soy) and a list of only real ingredients you would use at home. Also, delicious.
Instagram went a little nuts when I shared pics from the Zumbo Tim Tam range* launch so I figured it was only fitting to share these here too. It would be an understatement to say RJ’s work mates were quite well fed for afternoon tea the next day.
Props and plates and processors oh my (aka #oppshopobsession)
We recently took an old stereo to Vinnies, it went something like this…
J: you stay here while I check to see if the alley door is still open or if we have to bring the stereo through the front.
R: fine but you can’t buy anything on your way through.
J: how would I even be able to buy anything that quickly?
1 minute later on the phone…
J: door is open, come around and I’ll meet you out back.
Distinct possibility I didn’t mention that the aluminium pourer I just bought for $1 was tucked away in my purse. Shhhhhh. It’s an addiction, but I don’t do alcohol or cigarettes or caffeine, so as vices go I’m ok with this one. Ha!
Have you heard about my kettle aversion? They creep me out, probably because most of the ones I’ve come across are in offices and are disgusting. There is one I’ve seen lately that is not only glass but has a concealed element, however I’ve always just used a pan. I may have recently burnt up my pan after forgetting I was boiling water in it. Oops. Then this happened…
J: Look what I found today to replace that pan I burnt up – a vintage Corning Ware percolator. It’s as close to a kettle as I’ll probably ever get.
R: Oh that is nice, where did you find it?
J: At my favourite Vinnies.
R: That is not “finding” that is “buying”.
J: I had to find it to buy it. I win.
R: … *shakes head*
60 cents. Total.
Junky home store rather than opp shop but seriously, these were too cute to pass up for $3.50. Now to cut all the things into letters and numbers.
Roughly one week after the popsicle SABH closed I found these, and had to get them just in case. The tops don’t do it for me but I do love the shape of the moulds.
I got a little stir-crazy a few weeks ago and so the laptop and I walked down to Balmoral for the afternoon. Yeah, I could get used to working with this view.
Another baby blanket order for one of RJ’s work mates. I make stuff. Can’t wait to show you what I sent to my new niece but I’ll have to wait until it arrives there first!
Remember how I said I love a shoot? Such long days but watching it all come together is brilliant every time. Can’t wait to share more about this soon.
How does your garden grow
My chilli plant I grew from seeds last year made chillies! They came from the plant I put in a large pot on the balcony, are itty-bitty, and may be the cutest things ever.
If you’ve been following the ginger journey you’ll remember that I planted a sprouting piece of ginger ages ago. Well after months of green shoots growing and then snapping off as another shot up I decided it was time to dig it up and see what was happening under the soil.
Look at that I grew ginger! In a pot! On my windowsill!
Part of it was cut off to use and the bit with sprouts was split then re-planted. The original piece is the little tiny foot-looking bit on the right edge of the cut-off piece below.
Growing currently — the chilli pot on the windowsill is all of a sudden flowering, fingers crossed for more itty bitty chillies; the finger lime (from seed) is fairing well; the re-potted ginger has new shoots and I’ve planted another budding piece…
…and in another experiment a head of read lettuce had sprouting leaves so I stuck it in a little dish of water — it grew immediately then within about 12 hours of this pic it disintegrated. Oh well!
We had an opportunity to get out of town and head down the coast after Christmas and stayed at the most gorgeous property. On an evening walk we discovered orange and mandarin (?) trees and a few pieces of fruit came back for breakfast.
I’ve said before there is nothing like eating a pear straight off a tree and let me tell you, the same goes for oranges. Unbelievable.
Apparently the guy who does the maintenance and landscaping on our unit block has planted a garden around the back. One afternoon while I was out on the balcony trying to catch the last of the afternoon light he brought me some tomatoes.
Books and General miscellany
How cute is this invite? I can’t wait to see what they have planned (keep an eye on Instagram on Tuesday eve for a peek)
The ex-MKR Bondi trainers have released their second book, Luke and Scott: Clean Living Cookbook and I was lucky enough to get a preview*. As with the recipes in their first book the overall theme is simple, quick meals that nourish your body. Scott and Luke eat Paleo and, as such, the book is pretty meat focused — there are however plenty of fish options and a Vegetarian recipe or two scattered throughout the pages.
All meal-times are covered with organisation by Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner / Sweets / Sides, Salads and Smoothies but you could cook up any of the recipes at any time of day.
I’ve made the Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoked Salmon and am eyeing off the Grilled Sardines with Fennel Slaw and Quinoa, Kale Pesto and Roasted Tomato Salad. Published by Hachette, available in Australia now.
In what you’d think was the total opposite of a Paleo cookbook, a preview copy* of Manu Feidel’s newest cookbook, French for Everyone has also taken up residence on my desk. The funny thing is, many of the recipes wouldn’t be out of place in a clean eating meal plan.
There are of course a few requisite rich desserts and sauces finished with butter and cream — but overall the focus is simple, rustic dishes that are honest and easy to prepare. Surprisingly enough many don’t contain any butter or cream or bread either. This is food from French homes, not necessarily French restaurants, and is a lovely book for techniques and simple yet impressive meals.
I must say that the Baked bream with fennel and thyme is calling my name as is the Spring vegetable soup with pesto and a gorgeous Eggplant caviar spread — but if you want to go all out there is always Vol au vents with mussels and tarragon beurre blanc (pastry filled with seafood and butter sauce) and insanely decadent-looking Little chocolate pots. Published by Penguin/Lantern, available in Australia from 1 April.
That’s all folks
Well that does it for the time being and (I think) I’m all caught up again. Don’t forget to pop over and check out the other kitchens linked up at Celia’s.
* Asterisked items were gifted to me in accordance with my editorial policy. Nothing here is a paid sponsorship. All opinions are fully my own. Supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus. Beam me up Scotty.
Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas says
You need to start canning whole tomatoes JJ to fill in the gap left by the tins. You have the canning tongs now 🙂 So many interesting things going on in your kitchen as always. Thanks for sharing.
I know I know! I think they are actually bbq tongs but very good point… Thanks for popping by! xx
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
Wow JJ! I think the thing I’m most impressed by is your finger limes! I need to hunt down those tomatoes too!
I was shocked when the little shiny leaves poked through the soil – out of about 6 seeds and after the soil being repotted at least three times it decided to sprout – tough little bugger ;D
Hi JJ, love the fact that you have ginger growing, how amazing is that. Looks like there is a lot going on in your space. Happy Monday to you.
Your kitchen is stock full of delight!
Love the limes, and the growing ginger- and the gifted tomatoes- and well- everything else as well!
Thanks so much for sharing- I thoroughly enjoyed visiting in your kitchen!
Mel @ The cook's notebook says
sooo much gorgeousness! I love all your op shop stories and finds – my hubby also rolls his eyes 🙂
Jo / thedesertecho says
Wow I’m going to try growing ginger, that looks amazing!
Caramelised fig ice cream? Heaven. I’m off to the IGA.
JJ, your baby blankets are the cutest thing! We’re a bit dumpling obsessed at the moment as well, and I can’t believe you grew ginger in a pot in SYDNEY! And apple picking in Bilpin – haven’t done that in forever. Great fun! x
Sara | Belly Rumbles says
And you make things too! Love the blanket, colours are so wonderful.