It’s once again time for In My Kitchen and as per usual this is a collection of things from the past month — as seen over on Instagram — in loosely interpreted categories and no particular order, although full of holiday cheer. As always I’m linking up with Celia for IMK.
Kitchen Shenanigans & Other People’s Food
I used to make five kinds of cookies each Christmas — but while a combination of working right up to the holidays and stifling summer heat has seen it drop over the past few years, I simply won’t do Christmas without gingerbread.
The good thing about this recipe is that if you cut the cookies small you can fit tons on a sheet and each pan only takes 6 minutes to bake, seriously limiting oven-on time.
Of course I couldn’t stop at cookies…
I said I’d bring dessert and stuffing for Christmas day, the mother-in-law said not to go to too much trouble. What she doesn’t realise is that cooking my grandmother’s recipes makes me feel a bit less far away, and it just wouldn’t be the holidays without pumpkin pie, stuffing and rolls.
When Pepe (of Pepe Saya fame) points to the next stall and tells you to go try the Thoroughbread Bakery stollen you do it. Then you buy a loaf of pumpkin sourdough and a spicy fruit mince tart with pastry more akin to a cookie than a pie, because Christmas.
The pumpkin sourdough from aforementioned bakery was so good we brought some home… then I ate it with a thick schmear of Pepe’s creme fraiche (seriously best thing ever to put on bread) as I flicked through the first issue of Alphabet Journal.
We headed up to The Beaches Market for their special holiday market and stuffed my own stocking with my first Assembly Home spoon and an enamel saucepan from The Lost and Found Department.
Then we stuffed our faces with cherries from Orange, an unreal Reuben Republic sandwich and a cup of gorgeous Soul Food Tea. Now that’s a successful Saturday morning.
How gorgeous are the wrapping ideas on these goodies I brought home from a holiday cookie swap?! Both cookies involved chocolate and salted caramel stuffed inside each other, because Christmas.
We’ve been back in Sydney since late 2007 and have been in our current apartment since 2009 or so… the other day I found this leaking in the fridge. Seven years people, seven years and at least one move. This is real life, with flowers to soften the blow.
Foodie Secret Santa gifts including Chivda (An Indian Street Snack) from Deepa, a savoury apple sauce from Taryn, and Cranberry Sauce and Cherry Chutney from Charlie Louie graced the table at Christmas (well the sauces did, the Chivda was all mine). Little jars of Holiday Mixed Spice and Maple Orange Spice Macadamia Nuts were sent out to my three recipients.
Pretty Things & Feeding the Prop Addiction
Picked up this gorgeous handmade tree decoration at a market last month. Posted it in mid-December to my mom via 7 to 10 day delivery, she got it earlier this week. Good job US Postal Service, ahem.
It’s almost like the universe rewarded me for not going into opp shops lately… the English ironstone jug was the most expensive at $6, the tray is Armetale and the enamel plates were $1 each. If #propaddiction was a sport I think I won Wednesday.
but wait, there’s more… a glass cake stand also discovered during the same stop. Jug, linens and ornament from home-store-type-shop.
Opened drawer at mother-in-law’s kitchen during Christmas and discovered this. Turns out she hasn’t used it in years, how terribly convenient (coveting the pastel Pyrex next). In other news I think I may need a neutral linen intervention…
The other day I went IKEAing. For fabric.
I’m not sure how this happened but there is a direct correlation between RJ staying in the car and the amount of stuff I come out with. In other news I want a whole set of these green glasses for everyday use, they are delightful.
Santa was paying attention to my Facebook feed — you should have seen my face on Christmas morning when I unwrapped the newest book from What Katie Ate. For anyone who knows RJ’s feelings about my cookbook collection (about the same as his feelings on my prop collection) this says a lot.
Photography & Styling
I had the good fortune to borrow an OM-D E-M10 point and shoot from Olympus and it has been a joy to play with. Between the body and lens of my primary camera it’s a beast to carry around so I find myself shooing with my phone when out and about.
The images that come from the straight auto setting are brilliant (samples below, light adjusted but no other post editing) and it has full manual function too. There is touch-screen focal point selection and it’s small enough to throw in any bag.
The E-M10 also uses a camera-to-phone wifi link to synch photos to your phone — crazy simple once I worked out that I had to download the app, ha!
There is a sensor that changes the image from on-screen to in-viewfinder (the one you put your eye up to) when it senses an eye approaching… however I’ve found that if your finger gets too close to the eyepiece when touching the screen to focus it blanks out thinking an eye is headed for the viewfinder. The zoom on the lens is also a bit counter-intuitive to me — to zoom in you turn it opposite to other lenses.
I didn’t intend that to turn into a review of sorts, but slight quirks aside I will definitely be purchasing one when I return the loaner.
After watching Jen’s 7 Vignettes challenge each month I finally pushed aside the everyone-is-so-good-I’m-not-good-enough fear and jumped in head first. I’m pretty proud of my first go!
A quick behind the scenes shot of number 97 of 97 recipes photographed over 6 weeks of November and December. In spite of shooting another 20 for a book over the holidays, I managed to take a couple days off before the next project kicked in earlier this week. It’s been a crazy busy few months, but the kind of busy I can’t complain about.
…and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
It’s been a while since my window-sill gardening has featured here but look at my chilli plant all festive for the holiday season.
This is the one I planted from a seed couple of years ago, harvested a handful of properly spicy little ball chillies last year and cut waaaaay back to only a couple barely-there buds this winter. Needless to say it appreciated the trim — doubling in size and breaking into bloom the moment summer hit. Go little chilli go.
Finally this isn’t remotely food related but I can see it from the kitchen and it’s fabulously festive. Per usual the tree didn’t go up until Christmas Eve and will most likely stay up until some time around Easter, because that’s how I roll.
That’s all folks
Make sure to pop over to check out the other IMK posts listed in the sidebar of Celia’s site — there is always great stuff to be found.
Jen@ Interiors Addict says
And you should be proud, they were great!
The Life of Clare says
So much beauty in you kitchen! The props are stunning! The sourdough sounds divine! And I’m so impressed with your number of shoots!
Selma | Selma's Table says
I have prop envy! That milk bottle is gorgeous as is the ice cream scoop. Your photography is just stunning. If you are on instagram, I am stalking you! Thanks for the look into your very stylish kitchen!
Wow, what a plethora of Christmas desserty goodness. What is the term for a collection of tasty treats anyway? I’m going with plethora 🙂
I adore your collection of props. I too have a ‘prop bug’ lurking inside me. First thing I think when glancing a ‘doo-hicky’ at the markets, or a beautiful glass on a shelf is ‘hmmm.. how will that photograph?’. Your photos are gorgeous and your set up looks amazing.
Coveting Pyrex … HA! cheers, Kirsty
Napoli Restaurant Alert says
Why haven’t I seen your lovely site before! Thanks goodness for Celia, through her IMK series I’ve discovered so many lovely ones. Gorgeous photos.
Jane @ Shady Baker says
I am always so impressed with the variety of good things in your kitchen JJ. I especially love your props. That little chilli looks like a work of art…and so festive too x
Miss Food Fairy says
Happy 2015 JJ. WOW! So many amazing new props they’re just amazing. I will have to keep Pepe’s creme fraiche in mind for some amazing sourdough I’ll make. Lots of inspiration, thank you for sharing.
What a fun collection of new props. One can never really have enough, that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it! The cookies, pie, stuffing and rolls all look delicious as well. What a wonderful feast.
I love all your props but especially the stuff from the op shops. Oh, how I love op shops, especially in January when people de-clutter. Beautiful linens and styling. F
Fiona @Tiffin bite sized food adventures says
The props, the props! Always with the props. Actually, I love the props and look forward to dropping by every month to see what you have smuggled in to the house. Coincidentally, that’s the second set of those little pink IKEA glasses I have seen on IMK this month. Those chillis are explosive aren’t they? Thanks for the festive tour. Cheers Fiona
Mel @ The cook's notebook says
I really need to get a proper photography set up. And more props (well, maybe not more props, maybe just use the boxes and boxes worth that I have…). Happy 2015 JJ. Look forward to catching up again in the hopefully near future xx
Tania @My Kitchen Stories says
Gorgeous vignettes indeed JJ. and so many wonderful props.
Priscilla @ foodpornnation.com says
I love these series and of course all of your photos and food styling. RJ is a good man for getting you that book! Hope you too are both well 🙂
I do love that wifi feature on cameras!
Wonderful photography and styling. And I love the ornament, too bad it didn’t arrive in time for Christmas though.
Prop shopping…like I need another excuse to shop! I like it. Those green glasses from IKEA are great.
JJ, you really do take such lovely photos – that first one is just gorgeous! And you make me laugh every month with your growing prop collection – where oh where does it all get stored? 🙂 Loved your little chilli bush – I thought they were Christmas ornaments! x
sherry from sherrys pickings says
so many glorious things in your kitchen i don’t know where to begin. you are the second person i see with Ikea glasses this month. I don’t care what they have at Ikea, i can’t make myself go there! it is my idea of hell. oops sorry got carried away there. yes i love props too and cookbooks- i am still struggling to find places to store the stuff i got at xmas. oh dear I said to hubby- i need my own special blogging kitchen. he nearly fell over!
Sherry, I’m so with you on Ikea. Last time I had a panic attack and got into big trouble when I tried to get out by going back the way you came in! I did it though 🙂
I’m with you about gingerbread as being an essential at Christmas! I must try pumpkin pie one day, just doesn’t seem right to me. Does that chilli plant have black seeds? If so it would be a rocoto vairty which is perennial and will grow for years. Thanks for sharing.