'If you plant it, they will come'. Well, at least that's what I told my niece when I explained to her that I love urban foraging. And if there's a plentiful supply of flowers on a nature strip, then I can't help but take a sprig or two to brighten my kitchen.
In my kitchen this month are sprays of Bottle Brush or Callistemon, picked on my early morning walks. These are said to be amongst the hardiest of Australian native plants, and bushes are flowering en masse in my local area right now. I am a big fan of urban foraging and my purse-sized secateurs really come in handy sometimes!
Also in my kitchen is this parcel of goodies which arrived in the post from my lovely friend and fellow blogger, Fiona, who many of you will know as TIFFIN Bitesized. Fiona had been to Western Australia for EDB2013 and was so kind to have sent me a 'pre-Christmas pick me up and taste of the West'. Yahava coffee is from the Margaret River, and the Mendolia sardines are produced in Fremantle. I loved this gift, Fiona, thank you so much. The envelope, you will note, is a recipe for Christmas pudding. How fun is that!
My beloved Peter presented me with this chocolate mould the other day, saying he had planned to surprise me by making me chocolates one day while I was at work. Unfortunately, I'm at home on extended leave at the moment on doctor's orders, so his plans were quashed. I told him that he can still make me chocolates, it just won't be quite as big a surprise.
In my kitchen is this Pillivuyt eared gratin, picked up in a thrift store for $1.00 (!) recently. I'm very fond of this French-made white porcelain and am well aware of it's true value, as we used to sell a range of Pillivuyt in the cookware store I co-owned.
Also in my kitchen is this sweet picture frame, another $1.00 bargain found at the same thrift store. It's in perfect condition and matches a vase and a couple of other decorator items in my home.
There are pomegranates in my kitchen, which is the only imported fruit I will buy, particularly out of season. When it comes to pomegranates, the antioxidant benefits are too important for my health right now to concern myself with 'eat local'.
These two books are in my kitchen thanks to a Twitter colleague, Louise, who contacted me to see if I would like a pile of cookbooks that had belonged to her friend's mother who had sadly passed away. Having welcomed Di Holuigue to my cooking school on many occasions, I was delighted to finally get my hands on a copy of her bible, The French Kitchen, which is out of print. I'm loving the recipes in the Ice Creams and Candies book too! Louise and I agreed that I would pay the kindness forward by making a donation to the ACT Down Syndrome Association, which I was more than happy to do.
I've been saving these pretty liners for something special, but have not yet worked out what to bake in them. Any ideas?
This baby stem ginger in syrup from Buderim Ginger is a favourite in my kitchen and I re-stocked recently when I saw the product in an independent supermarket. It can be used in sweet and savoury cooking. I also eat it just as it is!
With the strange weather this season, my tomatoes have not yet ripened, so I bought a bagful of these small Romas at the Capital Region Farmer's Market. They are perfect for snacks and in salads for lunch.
Slightly bruised by a big downpour of rain, this beautiful rose nonetheless brightens up my kitchen bench.
I'm looking forward to taste-testing Lotus Peak White Tea, which was sent to me by the brand manager to sample. Research indicates that white tea has greater health properties than green tea and, due to minimal processing, has high concentrations of polyphenols which are believed to reduce or eliminate cancer causing free radicals, as well as helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. White tea is produced almost entirely in the high mountains of the Fujian Province in China and has a higher proportion of buds to leaves. The tea is only picked once a year during the Spring and the buds are picked before the leaves have fully opened, when the plant has a silver-white appearance. Hence the name, White Tea.
With a bountiful supply of mint in the kitchen garden, I made some lime and mint jelly. It has a subtle flavour and is much better than the bright green store-bought version. However, I have yet to streamline the recipe so I won't be sharing it yet.
And lastly, in my kitchen there is a good supply of Panettone. Christmas simply isn't Christmas without it as far as I'm concerned and I enjoy it with my morning macchiato. But it also makes THE BEST bread and butter pudding! Watch this space on Good Things for my recipe, coming soon.
Celia's In My Kitchen (IMK) initiative has grown tremendously over the last year or so, and at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial the lady of the house now hosts almost fifty links to IMK posts from bloggers around the world. From what I can gather, the IMK series started under that title in early 2010, when Celia posted photographs of a collection of things in her kitchen that put a smile on her face. Celia's posts have a way of putting a smile on many people's faces, don't you agree? Thank you, Celia, for being such a lovely friend to many xoxox.
Now tell me, dear readers, what's happening in your kitchen this month? Are Christmas preparations underway? And do you enjoy urban foraging as much as I do?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
Join me as I share with you my favourite recipes, postcards and morsels from my adventures, conversations with cookery writers
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.