A bowl of the most plump and succulent cherries takes centre stage on my kitchen table, tantalising my taste buds every time I walk past. These were grown and picked at Cherry Hill Orchards in the Yarra Valley, and came via Farmhouse Direct, delivered fresh to my door by Australia Post. They're so good, I find myself devouring half a dozen in a matter of moments, but I really want to save them for some extra special culinary creations.
Last Christmas I purchased ten kilos of of these extra large Cherry Hill cherries and gifted them to my family and friends. I'll be doing it again this year. In the lead up to Christmas, Australia Post is encouraging shoppers like you and I to support hardworking farmers, artisans and community minded social enterprises by putting their money where their heart is. whereyourheartis.com.au is an online marketplace that links Good Spender with Farmhouse Direct, to offer a diverse range of products that directly benefit Australian families and communities in need.
Good Spender is an online marketplace where Australian social enterprises can sell goods and services to generate positive community outcomes. This includes creating jobs for marginalised or disadvantaged groups, providing services to communities in need, or redistributing their profits to charities and not-for-profit groups.
Farmhouse Direct has over 300 farmers, growers and artisan producers around Australia trading online, providing shoppers with access to 3,500+ Australian grown and made products. Buying direct means exactly that. Our money goes directly into the hands of the local producer, which has benefits for the small businesses involved in the Farmhouse Direct network. I hope you won't mind that I shared this with you, dearest readers.
Not so long ago when I was still working full time, I longed for the days when I could cook to my heart's content. Almost a year into my retirement, I am merrily living the dream. My friends and fellow cooks, such as Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, Maureen The Orgasmic Chef, Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella, and so many others, provide me with great inspiration to try new things. Celia, in particular, has taught me so much about working with chocolate, baking bread, and just generally sharing the joy of making things. Thank you Celia, and thank you friends. xox
My kitchen has been a hive of activity lately and the island bench is totally covered with good things. A pile of cookbooks, their pages flagged; my spice box; cheese making paraphernalia; a seed box with soil-filled eggshells and packets of seeds waiting to be sown; a small sack of bread making flour; and the Circolo coffee machine that I'd been asked to road test and review.
Among the goodies in my kitchen are Cheznuts Australian gourmet chestnut products, which were very kindly sent to me to play with (thank you!). I'm so delighted, I can barely wait, as I've been trying to source some chestnut flour locally for months. Now I know I can order these products online. I'll be baking Celia's gluten free chestnut brownies this week, followed by a chestnut torte that my former MIL used to bake. I've been fantasising about it for what seems like decades! Please watch this space.
Jane from Cheznuts suggested we try the Marrons glacés from Sabaton, France with a glass of bubbly. May I tell you, they were so exquisite, they didn't last long enough for us to open the bottle!
We thought the Marrons glacés might pair nicely with this Cielo Sparkling Cuvee from the multi award winning Shaw Vineyard Estate in nearby Murrumbateman. 'Cielo' means 'heaven'.
In my kitchen is the Capital Region Farmers Market Recipe Book, launched to celebrate the Markets' tenth year of operation. The Market is the shopfront for the best of food and wine produced in the region and is held every Saturday at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) and run by the Rotary Club of Hall. The Recipe Book (with one of my own recipes featured on page 51) is available for purchase at just $20 from the Market’s Rotary Help Desk until Christmas.
Several years ago my son handcrafted this spice box for me, complete with dovetailed corners and leather straps between the base and lid. It's filled to the brim with herbs and spices, and smells so aromatic. One of the most treasured pieces in my kitchen.
My Sprouts Alive kit is back out on the kitchen bench, just in time for summer salads. I'm sprouting snow pea shoots, cress and a salad blend right now. Have you tried these in your kitchen?
Fellow food enthusiast, chef and blogger, Anna from ShenANNAgans surprised me with a gift of these Honeycomb Camomile Buds when a few Canberra bloggers caught up for lunch by the lake recently. Thank you lovely Anna, this is perfect for my afternoon tea break.
After a full day of lessons at a cheesemaking course, I'll soon be making yoghurt, quark and mascarpone, along with the camembert and feta that are now in the fridge. My post on the workshop is coming soon and I'm looking forward to using this yogurt maker.
'Tis the season to be jelly' say the clever PR people on behalf of Aeroplane Jelly. They kindly sent me a bundle of jelly goodness. I love the port wine in a trifle! Should you be a fan of trifle and such, you can download a recipe book here.
And finally, this cheery little fellow is as far as I've gotten with any festive decorating thus far. Will I deck the halls this year? I'm not sure yet, but the tree will be going up at The Blue House very, very soon.
This post is part of a monthly round up featuring bloggers from around the world, hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.
Now tell me dear readers, what good things are in your kitchen this month? Are you in full swing for the festive season yet? Do please share your news. ﭢ
Join me as I share with you recipes for all seasons, postcards and morsels from my travels, conversations with cookery writers
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.