Hello there friends, how are you spending your holidays? Are you tackling all those unfinished chores at home - or lounging by a poolside somewhere in the world? Perhaps you are back at work already - refreshed and ready to face the challenges that 2016 will bring?
Whatever you're doing, I hope that you're taking time out to catch your breath and enjoy yourself. Go for a walk outside, and stop and smell the proverbial roses, darlings. It's important that you do so, particularly in this era when so many of us focus on other stuff. One's health and wellbeing are more important than any job, methinks! I know, it's easy for me to say, given that I have retired. But remember, I have spent the last 24 months getting myself back on track after being terribly unwell as I wound down to retirement. All those years of working my butt off (like a crazy woman) came back to bite me. Anyhoo, I shall stop nagging you now. Just please know that I have your best interests at heart.
Me? I'm still technically in 'holiday' mode, which is a little bit hilarious given that I no longer work full time. I've just celebrated my 57th birthday (on Boxing Day) and am looking forward to taking things a little bit slower.
Incidentally, the Phalaenopsis orchid at the top of this post was my sister's surprise birthday gift to me. We don't get to see much of each other these days, so it meant a great deal to me to receive this gift from my sibling. Isn't it lovely?
A new month means it's time to take a peek at what good things I have in my kitchen. Let's start with some books.
Being a bibliophile, I feel blessed to have so many books in my library. I love going to the shelves and finding treasures that I haven't read (or seen) for years. My holiday reading pile includes these delicious titles:
Apricots on the Nile, a memoir by Colette Rossant; Just Enough French, a travel journal by my friend Sally Hammond; The Discovery of Chocolate by James Runcie; and The Breadmaker's Carnival by Andrew Lindsay.
Peter surprised me on my birthday with this vintage magnifying glass. What a gem he is! We were browsing in an antique store when he saw me admiring it. It's been a wonderful asset the family history research I'm undertaking for the memoir with recipes that I am working on.
I can never say 'no' to these dark chocolate enrobed figs from Willabrand in South Australia. If you see them in your travels, make sure you treat yourself.
My little faux vintage radio sits next to the kitchen table, enabling me to listen to my favourite programs on ABC Radio National. There are so many fascinating things one can learn. For instance, did you know that Beatrix Potter was an amateur pioneer mycologist?!
My niece thought we might enjoy these sea salt caramel chocolates from Lindt. She was correct. They did not last too long.
This shabby chic wooden duck on my kitchen window sill was the only souvenir I bought for myself in Stockholm. I think he's rather cute. I have yet to give him a name. Any thoughts?
A few of the birthday cards I received, including the one with the blue birds which was hand made for me by my daughter.
My long time friend, Christine, knows that I adore Fairy wrens. This pretty pot holder was in a surprise parcel that arrived before Christmas. I'm reluctant to use it, lest it becomes stained with oil.
A jar of Hollandaise was included in the parcel of goodies that I received from Maille recently. Peter loves eggs Benedict, so I suspect he will enjoy this.
I'm excited to bring you news from my friends at Solidteknics, who have launched the new AUS-ION range on Kickstarter. It's the only commercial cookware made from one seamless piece of iron, providing far greater durability and hygiene. The carefully designed handle shape reduces fatigue, no matter your grip style. And the vented neck on the handle reduces heat transfer. I recommend you consider investing in these pans, fellow cooks, and get rid of your synthetic imported non-stick pans. The AUS-ION 28cm Sauteuse Bombée/Wok is pictured below. There is also a 24cm Griddle/Crêpe pan. The Kickstarter campaign is live until Australia Day, 26 January 2016.
My friend Maureen a.k.a Orgasmic Chef is now hosting the In my Kitchen series. Do pop in at her place and say hello.
Tell me, how have you been spending your holiday. What's on the agenda for 2016? And what good things do you have in your kitchen this month? Thank you for taking the time to pop in and comment. I really appreciate hearing from you, my friends.
Join me as I share with you recipes for all seasons, postcards and morsels from my travels, conversations with cookery writers
and chefs, and news on food and cooking.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.