Drum roll and round of applause, if you will please for our artisan, hand made Camembert-style cheese, just one of the many seriously good things Peter and I learned to make at the fabulous cheese making workshop we were invited to attend in mid November. 'It looks real' commented a couple of friends via social media. Well, that's because it IS real. Another friend asked about the process involved and, after I'd explained it to her, she said that she now had a much greater appreciation for this kind of cheese. I'm looking forward to making some more!
For those readers who are new to this little journal, I'm showcasing a few bits and pieces that are in my kitchen as part of a monthly round up hosted by my lovely Sydney-based friend, Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. The community of bloggers that participates each month has grown, just like one of Celia's huge trombocinos! On a personal note, the initiative given me the chance to meet and befriend a wide range of like minded and rather delightful fellow cooks and bloggers from across the globe, some of whom I have already met, others I look forward to meeting in the fullness of time.
So now let's take a peek into my own kitchen and larder. In my kitchen this month is some home grown basil, plucked fresh from a flourishing potful growing in the courtyard. This will be made into basil butter; pesto; served with chargrilled eggplant; or churned with lemon and passionfruit into an exquisite tasting ice cream.
In my kitchen there's fresh butter, hand made with smoked sea salt. There's also real buttermilk, perfect for making a pile of my light and fluffy breakfast pancakes. More on making butter in an upcoming post.
In my kitchen are these home grown bird's eye chillies, which pack a fiery punch in my Korean style beef dish. They grow so prolifically that I freeze them, thus giving us a year-round supply.
In my kitchen is a packet of very more-ish nibbles from the good folks at Duck Creek Macadamias. Peter and I visited the farm in the Byron Bay hinterland during a road trip north last year. I have yet to share our adventure with you.
In my kitchen are some market-fresh vine ripened tomatoes. Our home grown tomatoes are mere babies at this stage, but the plants are looking quite healthy, so fingers crossed for a good crop this season. I'll team these with some of that basil and make some bruschetta for brunch.
In my kitchen is the dough to make a herbed, cheesy pullapart loaf of bread. I'm still working on the recipe and will share it with you as soon as I have perfected it. My bread-loving Peter is enjoying his role as the chief taste tester on this one.
In my kitchen is home grown garlic. This bulb was a gift from Ali (This Blooming Life), a dear friend of Celia's, who has a farm not too far from my home. Our garlic crop wasn't quite as successful this year. That said, even though the bulbs are small, I won't need to source any Australian grown garlic for the next several months.
In my kitchen is this A1 Instant Curry Sauce mix, one of the gifts that Celia presented me with when we caught up recently. Celia (and Ali) swear that this is delicious. I'll report back as soon as we have tried it. Can't wait! Thank you Celia.
In my kitchen is a vial of single origin vanilla extract with seeds from Queen Fine Foods. It was part of a parcel of goodies that included the soft sugar pearls I used to decorate my choc-dipped cherries on New Year's Eve. I love vanilla, don't you?
In my kitchen is my treasured copy of the Hungarian cookery book that my grandmother posted from Hungary to my mother who had migrated to Australia way back in 1957. Over the years, the book had fallen apart with age, so I entrusted it to the hands of a local bookbinder, who skilfully re-bound it for the sum of $85, well worthwhile methinks. The bookbinder seemed very surprised when I asked her not to replace the original cover, though I must admit I didn't ask what she had planned to replace it with.
In my kitchen is a set of these vintage (methinks?) compote or dessert dishes, found on one of my op-shopping outings. I had planned to load them with cherries, wrap them in cellophane tied with festive ribbons, and give them away as Christmas gifts, but found that I liked them too much to let them go. To my delight, I did see a set in another second hand store, so after the holiday break, I must pop back to get them.
In my kitchen is a bottle of Chai Syrup, handmade by my clever friend Susan, from Susan's Sumptuous Suppers. If you haven't yet seen her blog, do make sure you pop in and say hello, for Susan is a talented cook. She also loves to forage!
And finally, in my kitchen, or rather front and centre on my kitchen bench, are the 5:2 books, which I had tucked away a few weeks ago to make room for bread and cheese making. Normally we don't like to 'diet', but the truth is that as we get older we do need to take better care of our physical fitness. Peter and I did manage to stick to the eating plan, which sees us eating normally five days per week and reducing our calorie/kilojoule intake for just two days a week. The books provide me with the guidance I need to tailor our meals on the low cal days, but there are also some great recipes in the cookbooks.
Tell me dear readers, what's happening in your kitchen this month? And what good things are on your agenda for 2015?
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.