In My Kitchen - May 2012
The year is whizzing by and at the beginning of every month we pay a visit to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, the website and blog of talented baker and cook Celia, who features a segment titled 'In My Kitchen'. Celia posts links from cooks from around the world, who generously invite readers into their kitchens to share What's Cooking, What's Eating, What's Reading, What's Shopping and What's Happening at the hearth.
In my kitchen this month...
There is something old and something new. The old wooden spoon in the photograph above belonged to my mother and I have not been able to part with it. I love seeing how the edges have worn down from stirring many a pot over the decades. The cookery book on the left also belonged to my mother. It was posted to her by her mother (my grandmother), who remained in Hungary after my parents made the ocean voyage to Australia in 1956. It must have been devastating for the family to be separated in that way. I cannot begin to imagine the bittersweet journey.
This treasured volume titled Az Inyesmester Nagy Szakacskonyve (orThe Great Cookbook aka The Art of Hungarian Cooking) was published in 1955 and, before posting it, my grandmother had beautifully inscribed the first page with her own name and address, as the sender, together with my mother's name and street address in a now heritage listed area in Acton, Canberra. There is also an inscription from my father, dated 1955. Looking at this book and knowing how much my mum loved to cook from it brings a tear to my eyes.
The cover on the spine has sadly deteriorated with time, but I found it interesting when the covering fell away to see shredded newsprint packed into the space underneath. The image on the left shows the book as it is today, the image on the right (from an antiquarian bookstore) shows an intact original. After seeing this, I have firmly decided to take the book to a reputable bookbinder to see if it can be restored.
Also in my kitchen is Nigel Slater's Ripe, my latest acquisition from the UK Book Depository (pictured top right). It's a big, delicious, beautifully written hardcover gem, subtitled A Cook in the Orchard and I have flagged numerous recipes which will soon be added to my repertoire! Watch my Books for Cooks pages in coming weeks for a review.
There are Hachiya persimmons in my kitchen. The heart-shaped Hachiya can be fully relished only when the skin is wrinkled and the sweet flesh inside is soft, translucent and deliciously over-ripe. The persimmon is one of autumn’s offerings, in its peak in Australia from March through to May. Fruiting persimmon trees with a blaze of burnt orange foliage can be spotted now at local nurseries.
In my kitchen is some amazingly flavoursome Carrot and Cardamom Jam, created by Ken Fuz of Black Horse Fine Foods. Ever the gentleman, Ken very kindly gave me a jar of this jam and suggested I try it as a glaze for roast meat. I did and it is delicious! I will post a snippet with the recipe in coming weeks.
In my kitchen are orchard fresh feijoas from Jonathan Banks at Pialligo. Not dissimilar to a guava, feijoas can be made into ice cream and jam, but once I have cut one in half and scooped out the succulent, exotic flesh, I can't stop eating them! Therefore I would never have sufficient quantities to use. They are easy to grow too!
In my kitchen is a pile of cookbooks by Claudia Roden, one of my favourite cookery writers. I couldn't resist The Food of Spain when I spotted it in a local bookstore recently (you understand these things, don't you!?). There is an excellent article about Roden, her life, her cooking and her books here.
In my kitchen is a pomegranate. It is so beautiful, almost perfect. Every morning on my drive into the office, I see a fully laden pomegranate tree in the front garden of a house. You cannot miss the brilliant hue of the fruit. I would love to have a pomegranate tree someday.
In my kitchen (well, in my bathroom actually, is a mushroom kit. Peter has never been to a mushroom farm, nor has he seen how quickly mushrooms grow! I can't wait to show him the results.
Also in my kitchen is a paella pan (a bargain at Aldi), together with Herbie's paella spice blend with saffron and Essential Ingredient paella rice... just waiting to be used. I plan to cook a BIG serving of seafood paella for my daughter, Lauren, and her man, Kale. What's your favourite main ingredient in paella?
And finally, in my kitchen are Golden Delicious and Jazz apples. The Golden Delicious is lovely eaten fresh from the hand and also perfect for cooking. Try eating slices of Golden Delicious with fresh ricotta for a sublime snack! We're buying ours from the Capital Region Farmer's Markets and also from Jonathan and Robyn Banks at Pialligo.
Jazz apples are a natural cross between a Royal Gala and a Braeburn apple. A new variety, Jazz apples are seriously crunchy, so make a delicious eating apple, but we have also used them for juice. Delicious! There's more loads more info on Jazz apples here. Thank you to the team at Media Moguls, who sent me some Jazz apples.
Tell me, what's been happening in your kitchen and what good things are you cooking and eating during May? And are the months whizzing by ever so quickly 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.