It's mid January already and here we are in the midst of a searingly hot Australian summer. Since December, the days, weeks and months have flown by so quickly. Many of you (myself included) will have enjoyed a short and refreshing holiday. I'll soon be back to my Monday to Friday office job and, while I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into the new challenges that 2013 will deliver, I'm also looking forward to winding down towards the end of this year, as Peter and I plan for our retirement from full time work. While I would normally not wish for the time to pass swiftly, I can honestly say that at this point in time I'm already looking forward to December!
One of the delights of being at home for the holidays (and I imagine in retirement, too) is that I have had the opportunity to spend much more time on the things I love: cooking, cycling, gardening, reading, visiting friends, taking photographs, writing and generally pottering around the house. The garden is much happier and the folk at our local garden centre have almost come to know Peter and myself on first name basis... we've been popping in so often! Speaking of time (well, actually, thyme), in my kitchen (garden) is a pot of very healthy-looking Thyme that I couldn't resist buying during one of our hardware store visits. I love to sprinkle these fragrant leaves on roasted vegetables and salads.
Also in my kitchen this month, there's...
Lovage, with its delicate foliage and celery flavour. A perennial that will, hopefully, survive our bitter winter frosts.
Beautifully aromatic basil is flourishing in the kitchen garden, ready for a variety of sweet and savoury dishes
Ripe tomatoes, fresh from the local farmer's market. Ours in the garden are not doing so well this season!
Hearts of Palm that I found in a Sydney store. Will follow up on a Twitter message from my food hero, Luke Nguyen, suggesting I try this Heart of Palm salad recipe from one of his books.
A trio of honeys from my friends, Carmen and Todd from Honey Delight. Thanks!
An assortment of birthday cards received from loved ones for my Boxing Day birthday
The Oz Harvest Coobook, a Christmas gift from my Peter
White enamelware and some crisp vintage linen found in a secondhand store in Robertson
Sweet jars with their faux gingham lids, perfect for my preserves
Chestnut puree... now I can make that layered chestnut torte for Peter!!
Mangoes.... mmmmmmmm, so GOOD this season!
My mango relish, the recipe appears on my blog
A Lebanese cucumber and tiny capsicum fresh from the kitchen garden
And finally, a container gardening book from my dear friend, Christine.
In closing, a note of thanks to all those who take the time to read this little blog. I'm delighted to be able to share my passion for fresh produce and cooking with so many friends. So, thanks for your support, kind words and feedback. One of my friends and fellow cook, Celia, at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
, brings together cooks, bloggers and food enthusiasts from across the globe with her In My Kitchen posts. Make sure you pop in and say hi!
Now, tell me, what good things have you on the agenda for 2013? And what's happening in your kitchen this month?