If you've been following my adventures on Instagram at all, you will be aware that Peter and I have only just arrived back home, after a whirlwind month of travelling in and around the New South Wales Southern Highlands, as well as the townships of Kiama, Gerroa and Gerringong in the Illawarra on the South Coast.
It can be said that both regions are distinctly beautiful parts of the world, and if one was looking to make a sea change or tree change, or take a short break from the world, then the Southern Highlands and the Illawarra should most certainly be at the top of the list of places for consideration.
Kiama has been my favourite seaside destination for a good part of my life, so I was honoured and delighted to have been invited to visit recently as a guest of the Kiama Municipal Council (more on this in an upcoming feature). On our last evening there, I was presented a copy of Peter Izzard and Phil Winterton's stunning photo journal, Home - Kiama through our eyes (pictured top). The book is a feast for the eyes and will take pride of place on the coffee table in the library at The Blue House. Whenever I feel like spending time in Kiama, I shall leaf through its pages. Thank you ♥.
While in Kiama, I bought myself a copy of The Southern Highlands Cookbook by Stefan Posthuma-Grbic (with some of the photography by Tess Godkin) from the Flour, Water, Salt Bakery in Shoalhaven Street. Having just visited several of the Southern Highlands restaurants, farmers and food producers showcased in the publication (including Maugers Meats, Yelverton Truffles, Peppers Manor House, and Rockabellas Roadside Diner), I felt compelled to add this one to my bookshelf. There are gorgeous photographs and many great recipes accompanying the stories on each producer or destination.
Let's take a peek at what else is in my kitchen this month...
My son happens to be a fudge aficionado, so I bought some of this award-winning product from Fine Taste Bowral, spotted on the shelves in the gourmet section of Ashcroft's SUPA IGA in Moss Vale. My son swears it is THE BEST, the tastiest, the creamiest he has ever tried... and he begged me to look for some more on our latest visit. He is a lucky man, I bought two packs of it for him yesterday.
One of my dearest friends, the British-born CC, has just come home after an epic two month adventure to the UK and Europe. Like me, she loves photographing bees, and said that when she saw this tea towel and brooch at London's Kew Gardens, she bought a couple of them immediately... one as a special gift for me. Thank you, CC. ♥
Peter spotted this Apple Sauce from Beerenberg Farm at Maugers Meats butcher shop in Moss Vale yesterday, while we were there stocking up on smoked pork hocks and locally raised grass-fed beef. I had best put a pork roast on my next shopping list.
This season's avocados have taken centre stage on the fruit platter on the kitchen bench. When neither of us feels like a heavy evening meal, we make a simple avocado smash for dinner, using either Sesame Vita Weet biscuits or Rye bread as the base. Yummy!
I feel truly blessed to be spending my retirement as a food and travel writer. Sitting around a riverside fire pit on an autumn evening, drinking good wine with like-minded industry professionals is a tough job but, as they say, 'someone has to do it'. This Crooked River chardonnay and red were among those tasted last week in the Gerringong region. It was a pleasure to meet the winemakers too.
Wonderful news. I think I might have just found my favourite in decaf coffee beans, after enjoying several decaf macchiatos at The Blue Swimmer restaurant at Seahaven in Gerroa, NSW. Owners, Daniel and Paul Dewhurst, offer coffee (and sell the beans) from Single Origin Roasters in Sydney's Surry Hills. I love the sweet aftertaste from this particular coffee. More on The Blue Swimmer in an upcoming feature. It has become a favourite Good Things destination.
When it comes to beef steak, I don't think you can go past grass-fed T-bone. And this one from Maugers Meats butchers in Moss Vale and Burrawang was a cracker. The animals are pasture-raised on the farm in the Southern Highlands. More about Maugers in an upcoming interview and feature.
In my kitchen (IMK) news...
Many of you will know my lovely friends and fellow bloggers, Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and Maureen, from Orgasmic Chef. Celia started the In My Kitchen series many years ago. In fact, she wrote the first IMK post in February 2010 and began hosting the IMK gathering the following year. Celia, being the warm hearted and wonderful person that she is (not to mention a fabulous cook), built a strong community of like minded bloggers from around the globe that has seen lasting friendships develop in and around the world of food.
Life's circumstances change. At the start of 2016, Celia handed over the reins of IMK to our friend, Maureen, who hit the ground running with it - generously sharing her stories and photographs of life on the Sunshine Coast with her husband John and her pooch, Charlie. While doing all that, and caring for her elderly in-laws (Rob and Joan), who are now in a nursing home, the big hearted Maureen was also managing life with an extremely painful condition that her (then) doctor seemed to ignore. Finally, she has found a doctor who has diagnosed the problem, but now she needs to rest and focus on getting back to a balanced life.
When Maureen and Celia approached me at the end of August to ask if I would like to take over hosting IMK, I was interstate on a famil. When Maureen's message came through, we were in the car, taking Peter's elderly mother for hot chocolate and cake. My new iPhone didn't recognise Maureen's number and I had no idea who it was that wanting me to take over their kitchen. I thought it was a chef asking me to come and work in the kitchen of their restaurant!
Anyhoo, eventually I called the number and realised it was my darling friend, Maureen, who needed my help. Of course, I said YES to both Maureen and Celia.
I look forward to hosting IMK as from the first of October 2016, and will do my utmost to continue to build on the community of wonderful IMK cooks from around the world. Do pop in and say hello when you get the chance. xxxx
That wraps up the September 2016 edition of In My Kitchen. Now it's your turn, dear readers and fellow foodies. Tell me, what good things are in your kitchen lately?
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
and chefs, and news on food and cooking.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.