A family of wrens is darting back and forth from the old bird bath in the courtyard just off our kitchen to the Manchurian pear tree in the front garden. To our delight, there are a few bees on the lavender bushes too. They disappeared en masse last summer and I can't wait till they bring a few more friends to visit. It's a warm day and somewhere in the distance someone is using a whipper-snipper. Fortunately, the noise is carried in the other direction by a gentle breeze. After a winter that seemed to go on and on, finally there are sunny days, blue skies (and hopefully, better health) to look forward to.
In my kitchen this month is the official program for this year's Floriade, a festival that celebrates spring in the nation's capital with a mass planting of the most beautiful flowers (see above). I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Goodwin, Australia's first 'Masterchef' at Floriade last weekend. Stay tuned for my postcards and morsels from that event. Floriade is held until mid October, so there's plenty of time to plan a visit. What are you waiting for?
In my kitchen is Lyndey and Blair's Taste of Greece cookbook. Peter and I caught up with Lyndey for a long overdue cup of coffee following the Hilltops Wine dinner in Young recently. I'm keen to dip into this one during spring and summer.
In my kitchen is a jar of traditional Queensland mango chutney from Mudgeeraba Spices, a group that has a stand at Floriade every year. My tastebuds are tempted by a spoonful of this topped with a dollop of sour cream. Quite divine!
In my kitchen there is asparagus, thanks to the Australian Asparagus Council. We've been enjoying it in a range of salads and I also plan to make an asparagus soup this weekend. What's your favourite asparagus recipe?
In my kitchen there are baby aubergines or eggplants from the local market. Peter won't eat them, which is good as I get them all to myself. For a few recipes and information about aubergines or eggplant, see my posts here.
In my kitchen is a copy of Oxfam's newly released Vegetarian Cookbook, and I am delighted to have been invited to submit one of my recipes to the book. This latest edition features some 70 recipes from celebrity chefs as well as 'prominent Australian food bloggers'. The focus of the book is on using local or seasonal produce and energy efficient cooking methods in support of Oxfam's GROW campaign that aims to fight global hunger. The book is available from Oxfam stores nationally and sells for $24.95.
In my kitchen are mini baking tins that I will use to bake smaller portions of cake and pie, so that Peter and I can get back into shape ahead of Christmas this year. I will bake usual portions and freeze the rest. Sounds like a plan, no?
In my kitchen is a rather cute tea duck that I won on Facebook from Sealy Australia. Clearly they felt sorry to hear about my pneumonia!
Also in my kitchen is a brightly coloured Portugese rooster of good luck and happiness that I bought from a quirky and really lovely store in Young recently, called Annie B's Full House. In Portugal, the rooster is a symbol of faith, good luck and justice. I used to own of these in a former lifetime. It was red, white and blue. I left it behind when my life took a new direction. Perhaps this cheery little chap might keep me bolstered with good fortune in terms of my health and wellbeing. One can always hope.
And finally, in celebration of the return of the bees to our garden is my study of bees on lavender, taken this morning. I love my Olympus macro lens to pieces and plan to spend my retirement investigating it's endless photographic possibilities.
So, tell me, what good things have you in your kitchen lately? And have you visited my friend, Celia, who hosts this series each month. There are many new friends to meet around the world via the In My Kitchen Series. So, pop in and say hi.
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.