In my kitchen this month is a big pile of these (pictured above) — I wonder if you can guess what they are?
There's a striking ceramic trivet in my kitchen, too — a treasured gift from the lovely Celia, fellow cooking enthusiast and friend who blogs at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and hosts a monthly In my Kitchen round up. With this gift from Celia came a plateful of exquisite hand made chocolates, but Peter and I gobbled them down before I had the chance to take photographs! What can I tell you, Celia is the Queen of good chocolate. Thank you Celia (and Pete) for these gifts.
Also in my kitchen this month...
After months of illness and subsequent slothfulness (not to mention significant weight gain) last year, I've joined a local gym and signed up for a month with a personal trainer. I have also pulled these old friends down from the bookshelf. Not only are the recipes in these books tasty, they're also helping me with portion control. You see, I've finally come to terms with the fact that I'm still cooking for four — despite the fact that there's only Peter and myself. Our appetites and mealtime servings need serious downsizing.
There's a good supply of fresh home-grown spinach in my kitchen — one of only a few plants in the garden that haven't literally fried in the 40 degree C temperatures of late. Tonight I'm cooking lean steak with a side of spinach, mushrooms, tomato and eschalot. It's so very good that I'm already salivating.
We managed to rescue a handful of teardrop tomatoes and a bowlful of Grosse Lisse, and these are slowly ripening on the kitchen bench. They'll be used in Luke Nguyen's sublime Green Tomato Salad.
There are Calypso mangoes and limes on the fruit platter in my kitchen, together with a steady supply of chillies from the garden. Mango and chilli salsa with coriander and lime is a summertime favourite that sits perfectly with dishes such as poached salmon, Tandoori chicken or Thai beef salad.
These tiny chillies pack some punch! I'll soon be planting some Bishop's Crown chilli seeds that were kindly posted to me by Linda, who blogs about life, food, cooking and gardening at The Witches Kitchen. Thank you, Linda xox
We found this liquid smoke in a Surry Hills grocery store recently and will be experimenting with it in coming weeks. Do you use liquid smoke in your cooking, dear readers? Recipe suggestions and hints are most welcome.
My cedar wood spice box (hand crafted by my son) is spilling over. Having watched Rick Stein's India, I thought I'd best stock up on Herbie's Spices. Once the weather turns cooler, I feel certain that curries will be back on the menu!
Now that we've retired, Peter and I plan to travel more and we're keen to meet farmers, food producers and providores — who are the salt of the earth as far as I'm concerned! We'll be dipping into The Field Guide to New South Wales Produce, purchased from The Locavore Edition. Several of my Twitter 'friends' are listed in this informative and interesting little book.
Crisp and juicy Granny Smith apples have filled the fruit platter in my kitchen. I cut them into matchsticks for my Bircher muesli, and they're perfect as a snack with low fat ricotta to satisfy those 3.00pm sweet cravings.
Also in my kitchen are these 'tasty' coconut chips, which add texture and a nutty flavour to muesli and vanilla junket. They're also a good accompaniment to mango.
On Twitter, I recently shared a tweet from the people at My Gungahlin, an organisation in my local community who were giving away coffee mugs. Little did I realise I would be one of the lucky winners! Thank you My Gungahlin.
And finally, in my kitchen is an old and battered egg timer or hour glass, that I bought in an op shop. As Macdonald Carey said (over and over again), 'Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.' Well, this is certainly true in retirement. If you're still working full time and think you're busy now, my friends, just wait until you retire. What with going to the gym, researching Peter's family tree, reading, resting, cooking to our heart's content, gardening, de-cluttering the house, honing our photography skills, catching up with family and friends, spending quality time together (and did I mention resting?) — the days are absolutely flying by. Honestly, Peter and I are still wondering how we ever found time to go to work!
So, dear readers have you managed to figure out what the items in the first picture are? Cake boards en masse. It seems that Celia bought a pallet of them (for a bargain, I might add) and since then she's been sharing them with her friends. When she asked me if I'd like some, my response was just one or two, please. Ha! Need I say more? I will be sharing a few of the load with my friends and fellow cooks in Canberra.
Now tell me, what good things do you have in your kitchen this month? And is time flying for you too?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.