"Gee you're a hard one to pin down," said a lovely friend, who has been trying to secure a lunch date with me for the last few months. "I know, I'm truly sorry. I'd really like to get together, but it's been crazy busy ever since we got back from Budapest," I replied with a sigh.
I can't help but feel a little guilty whenever I turn down an invitation, but I just love being at home, spending time with Peter and our nearest and dearest. I relish this opportunity to catch my breath, as well as catch up on all the things that need doing around the house.
The decluttering continues, with guidance and inspiration from Joshua Becker and his blog. It's amazing how much two people can accumulate over a lifetime. And even more amazing how much less we can live with! Note, I plan to write more on this topic in an upcoming post.
For now, let's take a moment to see what's been happening in my kitchen this month:
On a recent holiday to Noosa, we tasted this Cuban Turquino Lavado coffee at Clandestino Roasters. Just as the label says, it tastes of brown butter, tobacco, leather and cacao. Yum! And not a hint of bitterness. Needless to say, we stocked up. The little cups were an op-shop find. Not bad for $1.00.
Tomatoes are coming in to season and I'm happy to see a few self-sown plants springing up in the kitchen garden. These are from my local greengrocer. The plate was another op-shop bargain. (I'm clearing out almost all of my white china and replacing it with just a few colourful secondhand pieces).
My Christmas shopping is sorted thanks to Cicada Chocolate, a bean-to-bar artisan producer. The company sources ethically-grown cacao beans from plantations around the world; then roasts, cracks, winnows and refines the beans into chocolate with no nasty ingredients. It's ever so good! Buy online or look for Cicada Chocolate at the Rocks Markets or Bondi Farmers Markets in Sydney.
These fruit-free muesli bars from Aldi are Low-FODMAP certified and perfect for an afternoon snack.
The fifth cookbook from acclaimed Australian chef and restaurateur, Matt Moran (published by Murdoch Books), Matt Moran's Australian Food is now available from leading booksellers. Watch this space for my upcoming review.
Every time I visit the greengrocer or my local supermarket, I pop a few red capsicums (bell peppers) into my basket. I enjoy them sliced, crisp and fresh, topped with some low fat cheese. Great as a snack.
You know how the label on a teabag always falls into the cup just as you pour in the hot water? Annoying, I know. Tea Creatures snail teabag holders to the rescue. Simply slide the snail onto the side of your mug or cup, and wrap the string around its neck. As a bonus, they're made from high quality BPA-free silicone. I bought a bundle of these online, as I thought they'd make great little gifts.
Another op-shop treasure (if I can call it that) is this brand new microwave rice cooker. It's the perfect size for quick-cooking one or two small servings of pasta or rice. At fifty cents, it was another bargain.
We're harvesting strawberries twice daily from the patch in our kitchen garden at present. Sometimes I bundle them up in my apron as I pick (above). Fortunately, Peter's hands-down favourite dessert is fresh strawberries with a dollop of cream. To keep them super-fresh, I store them in a Pyrex dish, in between layers of kitchen towelling, and seal them with a silicone cover from Charles Viancin (below). They come in a range of colours, sizes and styles, and are a must-have, IMHO.
My son "babysat" my SCOBY hotel while we were on holidays, and took great care to burp it as needed. The layers of SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) stayed perfectly fresh, ready for the next batch of Kombucha tea. I've been making it using a recipe from Virginia Edwards (Good Gut Food), and with the guidance of a book titled Probiotic Drinks at Home by Felicity Evans (Murdoch Books). In the fullness of time, I'll share my Kombucha-making experiences with you here on the blog.
Australian blueberries are plump, tasty and particularly good this season. A handful of them go on top of my morning oatmeal. I also use them (with spearmint leaves) when bottling the Kombucha.
Peter and I try not to eat too much sugar these days, but I do like to keep a stock of it in the larder. This three-kilo bag of Australian-grown raw sugar was just $3.00 at Costco. Bargain.
Another of the fabulous cookbook titles awaiting my review is Made in Vietnam by Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl (Murdoch Books). I'll showcase it here soon, and will also share one of my favourite recipes from the book.
Peter surprised me with with an enormous bunch of pink lilies recently. That afternoon, our neighbour, Caroline, popped in for a farewell drink before she left Canberra on her to move to Brisbane. She presented me with a bunch of deep pink roses. The two bunches smell exquisite and look so showy together.
Lastly, my dear friend CC is quite the expert on gin and has an enviable collection of the spirit, gathered from her travels around the globe. Every so often she invites us over for a G&T afternoon; an event we very much look forward to. Peter decided we should start our gin stash, and came home from the liquor store with this Ink Gin. It's organic infused Australian craft gin produced by Husk Distillers at Tumbulgum in the Tweed Valley on the North Coast of New South Wales. 'Tis exquisite.
I'm linking up with my friend and fellow blogger, Sherry from Sherry's Pickings, who is now hosting the In My Kitchen (IMK) series (thank you, Sherry!). Pop in and say hi; and take a peek into Sherry's kitchen, as well as the kitchen of our blogger friends from around the world.
Tell me now dear readers, what good things do you have in your kitchen. And does the knowledge that it's November already make you feel overwhelmed, or have you got it all under control?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
Join me as I share with you my favourite recipes; postcards and morsels from my travels; conversations with cookery writers
and chefs; and news on food, cookbooks
- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.