In My Kitchen March 2012
Cook, blogger and baker extraordinaire, Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, features a monthly segment titled 'In My Kitchen', where cooks from across the miles invite readers into their kitchens. It's delicious... a little What's Cooking, What's Eating, What's Reading, What's Shopping and What's Happening at the hearth. I love participating and wish to thank Celia for this initiative. It's such a good thing!
Canberrans usually applaud the arrival of March. With an array of exotic tree plantings, our city is picturesque in Autumn, the weather is usually perfect and at this time we celebrate Canberra's birthday with the Canberra Festival. Emphasis was placed on the word 'usually' in my reference to the weather, because we have had no Summer to speak of and the rain has been tumbling down for what seems like several weeks!
While I am concerned about the kitchen garden suffering with way too much water, this wet weather augers well for more time spent in the kitchen. In my kitchen this month are:
These beautiful flowers (above), which were given to me by some of our dearest friends, Diana and Bryant, when we caught up over coffee and cake one Sunday just recently. in Essays, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote 'Flowers and fruits are always fit presents ... because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all of the utilities of the world'.
In my kitchen is this delightful honeycomb heart, which Carmen Pearce-Brown ever so kindly gave to Peter and I as a Valentine's Day gift. It is really pretty and we just don't have the heart (no pun intended) to eat it! Carmen and her husband, Todd, are regulars at the Capital Region Farmer's Market selling their Honey Delight honey.
In my kitchen is Lorenza de Medici's A Passion for Vegetables, a recent acquisition from the UK Book Depository and companion to A Passion for Fruit, one of my most favourite books on the subject. I simply cannot seem to contain my fetish for adding new/old cookery titles to my collection.
In my kitchen is this divine Baby Stem Ginger in Syrup from Buderim Ginger. Delicious to nibble on as a snack, I recently added it to my marinated chicken wings with Tamari and Sweet Chilli sauce, garlic, orange zest and orange juice. The results were delicious! I am considering dipping some in good quality chocolate. It will be superb! Much experimenting is about to take place with the ginger as well as the nectar like syrup! Watch this space.
In my kitchen and growing outside my kitchen in a pot are Isabella grapes, one of my favourite varieties. My father had about a dozen grapevines in his garden, which he nurtured, sprayed with white oil and pruned with precision just at the right time. Waltham Cross and Isabella were among them and they were so good, that even our family's pet dog would walk along nibbling grapes from the low growing bunches on the vines! LOL. We knew never to eat any from that area, as most likely Alice had been licking those bunches!
In my kitchen are plump bell peppers or capsicums. I'm really fond of capsicums and love the crispness of these as a snack, especially when they're sliced into quarters and topped with flavoursome cheese.
Another favourite way with capsicums is a confiture or stew with tomatoes and onions known as Lecsó (pronounced 'LATCH-oh'). A dish that my mother taught me, I liken this to the Sicilian Peperonata, minus the Balsamic vinegar and herbs. I have come to know it as my Hungarian peperonata ... which is a little cheeky of me, but I think that that name sounds sexier than lecsó.
Also in my kitchen is this stunning camphor laurel chopping board, which we picked up at the Gorman House markets recently. Hard to believe that this beautiful piece has been crafted in Broadwater NSW from a weed!
A scrumptious store bought treat in my kitchen is Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti made by Mother Meg's. I first discovered it at the Campbell Grocer, one of our favourite 'pop in on the way home' stores. Peter and I race to see who gets to eat the last one!
Also from the Campbell Grocer, in my kitchen is Careme handmade pastry from the Barossa Valley. This is a very handy staple to keep in the freezer for those days when life is too short to make pastry from scratch.
In my kitchen are the spoils from the kitchen garden. The strawberry patch has provided us with such a bounty of beautiful fruit, including this beauty which was almost as big as my hand! I have picked several this size and the flavour is outstanding.
In my kitchen are two more batches of peach and passionfruit jam. I barter this jam with my friend, The Dog, who provides me with fresh, free range eggs from his chooks, Bellatrix, Nymphadora, Minerva and Poppy. The Dog swears it's the best jam he's tasted. I swear the whites in his chooky's eggs are like jelly. So fresh!
There are always lots of good things happening in my kitchen and I never seem to sit down, which is probably why people call me Bizzy Lizzy. Please pop in and stay for a cuppa! Thanks to Celia for hosting In My Kitchen. Say hello to Celia and her friends and see what's happening in their kitchens.
Tell me, dear readers, what's cooking, eating, reading, shopping and happening around your hearth this month?
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.