It's the first week of November and the time of the year when the gears of life seem to crank into high speed as we hurtle towards the festive season. I don't know about you, but my head is almost spinning as the days and weeks go whizzing by. Not that I am complaining, mind.
Life has been truly delicious. I've been busy doing all my favourite things: writing, cooking, gardening, cycling, bushwalking and socialising with friends. I thought I'd take a short breather to take some photographs and share a few postcards from my kitchen.
The kitchen garden is flourishing, thanks to the efforts of hundreds of little workers that have been coming to visit the bee-friendly plantings. A year or more ago, Peter and I planted some miniature lavender bushes, lamb's ears and seaside daisies in amongst the beds. It paid off. Just look at the crop of strawberries harvested in one afternoon (pictured above). We grow them organically, so they're free from any bad stuff and they taste very fine too. Recipes inspired by the berries coming soon, I promise.
Solidteknics AUS-ION carbon steel pan...
Solidteknics, the makers of AUSFonte cast iron ware, have now launched AUS-ION seamless one-piece carbon steel cookware, and the creator, my long-time friend in food, Mark J. Henry, kindly sent me a skillet to road test. As you can see, this is stunning kit for chefs and home cooks alike. Craftsman designed, the handle on the AUS-ION skillet stays cool and there are no rivets, joins or coatings. Made from Australian iron, the pans are 3mm thick and can be used on any heat source: from an oven to an open fire and even induction cooktops. I'll be writing more about the AUS-ION skillet in an upcoming article on the topic of cooking steak.
Tools for cooks - Hackit...
Among the new toys in my kitchen this month is the Norwegian designed Hackit. This fun promotional video produced by the makers best demonstrates how it can be used. A good stocking-filler for young and old, methinks.
The days have been cooler lately, so my pumpkin soup medley is back on the menu. I'm going to make it in the Tefal Cuisine Companion. There's also a Middle Eastern pumpkin dessert I've been wanting to try. If the recipe works, I'll share it with you.
Favourite authors - Nigel Slater...
One of the gems I found at the Lifeline Book Fair is Eating for England by award winning food writer, Nigel Slater. Subtitled 'The Delights and Eccentricities of the British at Table', the book covers tasty topics, such as black pudding, the coffee percolator, the naked cook, rhubarb and custard, frog spawn and nosebleeds, and the tight-arse cook. Slater's writing is superb and his essays leave the reader nodding in agreement and laughing out loud.
The Essential Ingredient wooden spoon...
I was a panelist and attendee at the Eat Drink Blog conference in Canberra recently, and also coordinated and judged the writing competition. More on that in an upcoming article. This stylish wooden spoon from The Essential Ingredient was tucked into a goodie bag.
Gerberas - a splash of colour...
Life in retirement, post travel, is allowing me time to catch up with long lost friends. When I say 'long', in some instances I mean friends I haven't seen for forty plus years. It was so lovely to catch up with Margaret, an old friend from school days. We chatted for hours about life and family, and, even though there was much to share, it was as though we had only seen each other yesterday. Margie presented me with a bunch of bright Gerberas, that are still looking good a fortnight on. Thank you, love.
The good people at Australian Macadamias sent me an amazing hamper filled with all sorts of macadamia-based products, including macadamia milk, macadamia oil, roasted macadamia nuts and chocolate coated macadamias, macadamia muesli, macadamia body lotion, macadamia muesli bars, Macabella macadamia spread, and macadamia body lotion. Every single one of these products is worthy of a solid mention and I've given them a shout-out on my Instagram account over the last few weeks. This array of Australian macadamia products showcases the versatility of this indigenous Aussie nut.
A score of long-stemmed red roses...
A meeting with my dear friend and long-time writing colleague, Maureen, was long overdue and I could barely believe my eyes when I saw Maureen coming up the front path with a bucket-load of the most glorious long-stemmed roses. If only I could share the scent of those home-grown beauties with you. Maureen writes poetry and will be publishing an illustrated story book soon, too. Having had the honour of seeing it and reading it, I feel it's a title you will want to give as gift for loved ones, and keep one for your own bookshelf too. I'll share news on it when I can.
This post is my contribution to the monthly In My Kitchen round up hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Pop in and say hello to Celia and my friends in food from across the globe.
Tell me dear readers, what good things have been happening in your kitchen lately? Do you make the time to catch up with long lost friends? And are the days, weeks and months whizzing by for you too?
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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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.