Salted butter caramel sauce might just be back on the menu now that I've treated myself to some Fleur de Sel from Carmargue near Provence in France. When it comes to salt, this 'flower of salt' is apparently the pièce de résistance, harvested by hand and is, subsequently, expensive. Brings whole new meaning to the term 'just a pinch', no?
My lovely friend, Celia, (who hosts a monthly round up titled In My Kitchen), is a cook and food blogger who lives in Sydney. During a flying visit to the big smoke recently, Celia and Pete invited us to lunch at their place, where we we privileged to meet their elderly Hungarian neighbour, June (regular readers of Celia's blog will know who I'm referring to). Further, Celia prepared a delicious feast that included an antipasto platter served with her burrato flour sourdough, Pete's quince jelly, some fresh ricotta from her local deli, rocky road and a Hungarian cottage cheese cake. When I spread some quince jelly onto a slice of bread and topped it with ricotta, everybody stared at me wondering why. Then my Peter tasted a piece and nodded in agreement, before preparing one for himself. Can I tell you, it's a lovely combination! Before we left, Celia presented me with a jar of the jelly (among other things, thanks love xox) and so this morning I made some fresh ricotta and served it with some freshly baked (store bought) artisan sour dough. Bliss!
If you'd like to try making ricotta, you don't need fancy equipment, just some cheesecloth (or unused Chux kitchen cloth), a small colander and a pyrex bowl. Heat two litres of low fat milk in a large saucepan and stir until the milk is simmering. As soon as it begins to boil, take it off the heat and stir in the juice of two fresh lemons. Pop the pan back onto the stove, lower the heat and, keep stirring. The milk will separate into soft curds and green-tinged whey. Now, using a slotted spoon or mesh strainer, gather up the curds and carefully transfer them to the colander which you have lined with cheesecloth and placed over a pyrex bowl. Bring the cheesecloth together and squeeze out a little of the moisture from the wrapped curds, but not too much as the ricotta will be too dry. Serve while warm, either as I have shown you above, or perhaps with my breakfast hotcakes and fresh strawberries, or with this exquisite minted blueberry sauce.
There are pears in my kitchen. Pear tarte tatin is one my favourite Autumn desserts, but I also love to make compote with saffron and vanilla. I'll be eating plenty of pears throughout the season, bought fresh from our local farmer's market.
Also in my kitchen are several baby golden nugget pumpkins in my kitchen, which were given to me by my friend, Charlie Costelloe from Pialligo Estate. Tell me, what's the best way to cook these little beauties?
In my kitchen I have some smoked garlic from Eden Smoke House, kindly given to me by owner Stan Soroka during visit to the Sapphire Coast recently. I think this smoked garlic will be used to enhance all kinds of cool weather dishes.
There's some Bionade in my kitchen, a brewed non alcoholic drink from Germany. It's organic, free from chemicals and preservatives, and is available in Lychee, Elderberry, Herbs, and Orange and Ginger flavours. Interesting and refreshing.
Plum dumplings have been on the menu at our place and in my kitchen are these tiny plums which are the last of the fruit from orchards at Pialligo. They're sweet and succulent, and are excellent eaten fresh from the hand (with a cloth to catch all the spills), and also lovely made into desserts and sauces.
And finally, in my kitchen is this Italian carnaroli rice spotted in the supermarket at Haberfield in Sydney. It will be wonderful in my risotto dishes, including this quick and easy mushroom risotto which I make in my rice cooker. I like to cook risotto in the traditional way, of course, but developed this method when I was still working full time. It's great for midweek meals and, truly, it tastes superb!
Tell me dear readers, what good things do you have in your kitchen this month? And what's the most popular ingredient or dish on your menu right now?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.