In My Kitchen April 2012
Welcome to my Autumn kitchen. It seems like just a few short weeks ago that I was glazing a ham for our Christmas lunch, and here it is April already! Daylight saving ended last night, so it it really only 7.00am, which gives me an extra hour of baking and preserving on this blue-sky Sunday morning.
One of the aspects of life in Canberra, Australia, is that we (usually) have four distinct seasons; my favourites being Spring and Autumn. With the changing of the seasons, Peter and I layer up and brave the crisp chill of the morning to visit the weekend farmer's markets. After lunch, we walk or cycle by the duck ponds... and then I have 'me time' in my kitchen, baking and preparing the evening meal, before snuggling on the Chesterfield after tea. Don't you just love the delicious things that the cooler weather brings?!
The arrival of a new month means it's also time to visit Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Celia features a lovely monthly segment titled 'In My Kitchen', where cooks from across the miles invite readers into their kitchens. It's a little bit of What's Cooking, What's Eating, What's Reading, What's Shopping and What's Happening at the hearth each month. Tell me, what's been happening in your kitchen and what's on the agenda for April?
In my kitchen in April are these beautiful quinces from our orchard visit with Jonathan and Robyn Banks. I am planning to slow roast them in a vanilla syrup until they turn ruby pink; and will share the recipe with you in coming weeks. Their rose-like scent has perfumed the kitchen.
In my kitchen during Autumn, you will always see sprays of beautiful foliage, for I love bringing nature's colours indoors. These below are from our Japanese Maple and there are sprigs of Manchurian Pear among them. The sunshine streams in through the windows and French doors of our kitchen and family room during the cooler months, offering a deliciously warm place to sit and read. Perfect for proving dough too!
One of my favourite poets, Fiona Johnston, shares a poem about Autumn...
a yellow petticoat
beneath her full green skirt
now her under-skirts are
golden fragments float
to the ground
liquid amber holds
her last leaves -
a reluctant nude.
© Reproduced kind courtesy of Fiona Johnston
In my kitchen garden (below) are these pretty coriander flowers, captured on a sunny afternoon. There is a tiny butterfly or bug on one of the petals. Our flourishing basil can be seen in the background. It's time to harvest it before the bitter overnight frosts set in.
In my kitchen are the last of the season's figs from the local Capital Region Farmer's Markets. Peter and I picked up two little fig trees (a black and a green) from a reputable grower and have planted them in half wine barrels. Figs are more fruitful if their root growth is restricted, hence they are apparently suited to container gardening. Time will tell.
In my kitchen is this delightful bottle of Turkey Hill maple syrup, which my dear friend, Christine, brought back for me after her adventure in Canada. Don't you just love the little bottle?!
In my kitchen are Ginger Gold apples from Gary and Sue Armstong's Doonkuna Orchard stall at the Capital Region Farmer's Markets. These apples are particularly good for cooking, as they hold their shape and taste flavoursome.
In my kitchen are Gala apples. Peter and I always take apples to work for our morning and afternoon snacks.
In my kitchen is a collection of pre-loved cookery titles that I bought at the Lifeline Book Fair here in Canberra last month. All of these, and three more, cost a mere $32.00 AUD and are a welcome addition to my library, not to mention that all funds raised go to a wonderful charity whose mission is to 'change lives for the better'
Perhaps my favourite among those titles is The Flavour of Italy by The Chamberlains (Hastings House, 1965). Every page has a beautiful black and white image, accompanied by a recipe. The recipes are written in the old style, where ingredients are not first listed. I love this little gem and am amazed to think it cost me only $1.00. I cannot wait to share the recipes I cook from it with you.
In my kitchen are chillies from the kitchen garden. Not only are they pretty, they are packed with flavour and give you a real 'hot lips' experience! We have so many, that I'm freezing them.
In my kitchen are these freshly harvested Romeo carrots. They are so delightful, I am going to plant some more.
And finally, in my kitchen is this clever little bookmark, a gift from my friend and work companion, Fi Fi.
Thanks so much for popping in, I do enjoy your visits... please stay for a cuppa and slice of cake next time! What good things are happening in your kitchen and what are your favourite activities at this time of the year?
I'm Liz, a.k.a Bizzy Lizzy,
the writer, cook and traveller behind
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.