We're in the depths of winter here in Canberra and, on a minus five degree C morning, I can hear the delightful sound of frost crackling on the grass underfoot as I step outside to bring in the mail.
Apart from an inconsequential sore throat, I have managed (thankfully) to stay fit and well this season. Peter and I are still cycling and swimming several days of the week. The sore throat was banished by gargling with home made limoncello, followed by a shooter of this award-winning raw honey - a gift from my dear beekeeper friends at Canberra Urban Honey.
I have so much to tell you, dear readers, so will share my news in a series of upcoming articles. I hope you won't mind too much if I post more regularly in the next few weeks?
Being July and the start of a new month, it's time to take a peek at what's happening in my kitchen. The good people at World Kitchen kindly sent me a selection from the new Vintage Charm range by Pyrex. Inspired by Butterprint, one of the most popular vintage Pyrex patterns of all time, these bowls pay tribute to the heydays of the 1950s and depict scenes from rural America. There's a 3-cup, a 6-cup and a 10-cup in the set. I love the colour and style - a perfect addition to The Blue House. They will be appreciated and well used.
A gift from the launch of the Truffle Festival - Canberra Region, this miniature set of truffle oil, organic truffle honey and black truffle mustard, produced by Great Southern Truffles in Western Australia. I'm looking forward to using the oil with scrambled eggs, risotto or mushroom dishes.
If only you could smell my kitchen today. I'm steaming four fruit-filled, boozy Christmas puddings brought home yesterday from Kirsty's Pudding Day at Pialligo Estate. A delicious afternoon spent in a garden pavilion on the Estate, with views to the vineyard, the olive grove and the Canberra skyline. I'll be sharing postcards from the day in an upcoming article.
Peter and I very much like the grassy smell and semi sweet flavour of T2 matcha. You need only half a teaspoon of the green powder to create a warming bowl of goodness. I'm looking forward to experimenting with matcha desserts in the summer.
It was time to stock up on dry roasted hazelnuts from my friends at FourJay Farms near Orange, NSW. A quick telephone call to Jean and the freshly harvested nuts are despatched immediately. I store the nuts in a sealed bag in the freezer and they keep for months on end. Hazelnuts are among my favourite ingredients. You'll find a selection of delicious hazelnut recipes here.
Over the last few months, I've taken steps to further improve my health and wellbeing to further help with the management of LPR (silent reflux) and diverticulitis. Dairy has had to come off the 'good' list - particularly towards the end of the day, when I am not supposed to eat or drink anything at all - especially not milk, cheese and so on. I had tried soy and other 'milks', but the taste didn't really agree with me and my tummy was not happy either. Recently, I tasted unsweetened almond milk and, to my delight, I can tolerate it well. It's great in my morning macchiato, delicious as a mid-afternoon beverage, and good in shakes and smoothies too. Happy dance time.
Sadly, thanks to health issues, my fruit consumption has dropped too. I can tolerate pears in small quantities. So, these pocket sized Corella pears, in season now, are great as a snack.
There have been invitations galore lately and the Good Things team have been social butterflies. Our lovely friends, Anne and Jim, from Lerida Estate, treated us to the Opera Gala on Saturday evening.
It was spectacular! Brava to the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Opera Australia.
With the orchestra conducted by Stanley Dodds, and performances by soloists, Stacey Alleaume, Anna Yun and Simon Kim; we listened to arias from Cavaradossi's E Lucevan le Stelle from Tosca, La Fleur Que Tu M'avais Jetee from Carmen; the duet Dome Epais le Jasmin, from Lakmé; and Nessun Dorma from Turandot... among others.
There was also a range of instrumental pieces: The Merry Wives of Windsor Overture, Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila; and a little of the William Tell Overture.
It was a most memorable evening indeed and the first time I had been to an opera (other than shows such as Phantom and so on). I laughed, I cried. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. As did Peter.
Watch this space for news of the 2017 event, which is going to be even better, apparently.
My dear friend, Maureen, has been hosting the In My Kitchen (IMK) series for the last few months - but she has recently had back surgery, so she's taking things easy. Despite this, she adds a list of IMK posts published by fellow cooks and bloggers around the world. Pop in and do wish her well (and make sure she's RESTING!).
It's your turn now, dear readers. What good things are in your kitchen this month? And what's happening in your part of the world? Do please pop in and leave me a comment. I love hearing from you.
Join me as I share with you recipes for all seasons, postcards and morsels from my travels, conversations with cookery writers
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.