Friday 1 March 2024

In My Kitchen - March 2024

Yay, Autumn is finally here, though they say it will be a truly hot one.  I am in the wars again, my friends.  After my cataract ops on both eyes, I got new spectacles but sadly my eyes are still in a mess.  I can no longer read well without glasses, and I get awful aches in my eyeballs at the end of the day.  So annoying after spending all that money and time and discomfort!  And my auntie actually had to have the new lens in her eye replaced as they had put in a scratched one.  What the?!  Back to the eye guy I go!  

Completely off topic - I don't know if any of you have a similar quirk, but Mr P. and I love going to cemeteries on our country drives, especially reeeaaaallly ancient ones with lots of falling down tombstones and creepy bits of old grave vases.  We visited a couple on our recent break, 'cos country cemeteries are the best!


the ancient cemetery in Clunes, NSW

This is a cemetery where you have to unlock a gate, close it after you, drive down a gravel lane, then do the reverse on the way out.  Such fun!!  And funnily enough, we met two other cars coming in, as we were leaving.  So out I jumped to open and shut the gate again.

Rightio, enough of that.  Join in everybody; bring on your IMK posts.  We want to see you all here!  And we want to know everything! - as my old library boss used to say.  Well, she actually used to say: "Come and sit in the pink pouffy chair and tell me everything!"  So go ahead ...


In My Kitchen:


so here's some of my actual kitchen

and here's Mr P. hiding behind the fridge door

I bought a Dusk tumbler from Emi Ceramics

and I was given this butter to try by our mate Lucy from the local provedore Mumbleberry

I told Lucy that I am not a fan of Pepe Saya cultured butter (which everyone else seems to rave about), so she gave me this one to try!


and I bought a jar of local tomato relish on our trip to Northern Rivers

and a couple of Donna Sharam tea towels

We stayed at a B&B down in the Byron hinterland, which is owned by local artist Donna.  She and her hubby live upstairs, and guests stay downstairs with the pool, and the macadamia plantations for the view.  The Northern Rivers area of New South Wales and the Byron hinterland are the home of native macadamias and finger limes.  How lucky are we!  I love that you never know what colour the tiny citrus-y bursts of flavour will be till you cut open the dark-skinned finger limes.


I picked up a few goodies on our travels

including this mixing bowl

I can't resist Mason and Cash (you know what I mean, Sammie!), so I had to buy this ochre bowl with bears on it!  I mean, who wouldn't?  And it goes well with my green bowl with the hedgehogs.


I bought Goosey paper napkins and tiny Falconware bowls

Okay so what else do I love?  Yep, pretty paper napkins and anything Falconware.  I am lucky enough to have found some orange 1960s enamel baking dishes in an op shop a few years ago.  Mmm yes I must take a photo for the next IMK post :=)


pretty pink jug and a beautiful blue tumbler

The wee jug is by Ruby and Frank, and the blue one? - nope can't remember.


I made sour cherry and peppercorn syrup

these are Christmas gifts and a ring-in

The cuz gave me the cream vintage vessel, the blue pot was from my niece and the marbled tumbler is by Milly Dent, a Sydney potter.


I chopped up capsicum for the freezer

After our long weekend away, we came back to a crisper with some veg. that was going to be a bit dubious in the not too distant future.  So I chopped up capsicum for the freezer, pickled a cucumber and gave the crows some dodgy spring onions!  Yep, I know - capsicum and cukes are botanically both fruits!


and here's my curveball!

Our mate Christian's beautiful blue Indian Ringneck Parakeet.  He is a charming fella - yes, both Christian and the bird :=)

Well, I think I have swamped you with my stuff this month, so enough said!  Please join in my friends.  We would all love to see what's been happening in your kitchen.  Be a part of our friendly IMK community by adding your post here too - everybody welcome!  We'd love to have you visit.  Tell us about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg. in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  And one curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related.  

The link is open from the first of the month to midnight on the thirteenth of the month, every month.

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Friday 23 February 2024

Sour Cherry Sorbet With Peppercorn Syrup

Love a tangy, savoury-sweet dessert?  Me too!  This recipe is from Delicious magazine.  Matt Preston, former Masterchef judge, cookbook writer, food critic and cook has whipped up this sweet treat for us.  And then there's that surprise of the peppercorn syrup to go with.  This sorbet and syrup are actually accompaniments for his gingerbread pavlova recipe, which I didn't make.  

I have fond childhood memories of Mum making them though.  She had one of those (retro now) Sunbeam Mixmasters, which last forever.  It whizzed up those egg whites like a charm!  The closest I get to making a pav is a quick roulade.

Now for the hilarious bit of this recipe: I usually make a recipe, and take notes and photos as I go.  And I make sure I have a copy of the original recipe (which I usually adapt a bit).  I made this (very) late last year, and to my dismay hadn't kept a copy of the recipe.  I'd given the magazine away to a friend already.  So I asked her if she still had it?  Nope, she'd given it to her niece, but she would ask her for me.  Said-niece was giving the baby dinner so I had to wait till she could answer.  Nope, no longer with the niece. 

I checked through my photos, and notes, and the Delicious mag. website.  Sure, they had the recipe but only full instructions for the pav bit!  So then I asked on the Facebook page Chat 10 Looks 3, and yes a kind Chatter (as we/they are known) put up a photo of the recipe for me.  Phew!!  So now it's the next morning ... !  18 hours later, as they say on YouTube :=)


whizz away till smooth 


Start this recipe very early in the day, and the day before you need it!!

Serves 6 (or so):

ingredients:

1 x 680g./24 oz jar of sour/Morello cherries in syrup, drained - liquid reserved for the peppercorn syrup

2 tsp caster sugar (use more if you like it sweeter)

1-2 Tbs lemon juice

1 Tbs cherry liqueur (optional - my idea)

1 large egg white    see Notes

2 Tbs whole black peppercorns


Method:

Get up early and prepare the cherries (tee hee) by draining them, (don't lose the syrup!), placing them in a large freezer bag, and laying them down flat in your freezer for 4 hours or till firm

Now tip them into your food processor (yes, you do need one for this), along with the sugar and lemon juice (and cherry liqueur), and whizz till kinda looking like snow (that's what Matt says)

Add the egg white and blitz a bit more (scrape the bowl down once or twice) till looking smooth and beautiful and very pink

Spoon it into a container with a lid, and freeze overnight

Meanwhile make the syrup by pouring the reserved cherry liquid into a medium saucepan, and throwing in the peppercorns

Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, and let it do its thing for 10 minutes or so, till you have reduced it till thick and syrupy (and about half a cup)

Let it cool, then pour into a small jug or bottle and leave overnight in the fridge, so the sorbet doesn't feel lonely

So the next day, you will strain the syrup and pour over scoops of the bright and beautiful sorbet


Notes:

Matt says you can use 60 mL/2 big oz of aquafaba (bean water from a tin) instead of the egg whites but I feel a bit conflicted about that.  We were always told to drain and rinse tinned beans or chickpeas very well to get rid of this exact same liquid!  So what the??!


I added a few strawberries I had lurking in the fridge

and blitzed 'em!

into the freezer overnight it goes

syrup and peppercorns bubbling away for 10 minutes or so

and look at how little is left :=)  And so many peppercorns!

straining it the next day before eating with the sorbet

sweet and somewhat savoury syrup!

I forgot to take a photo of the finished dessert!  It was delicious.

c. Sherry M.

c. Sherry M.

Friday 16 February 2024

Roast Capsicum Dip - And A Tasty Snack

Sadly, the Cookbook Club I've been attending at our local bookshop has ceased, so this was my final recipe from the monthly choice in November - Garlic, Olive Oil and everything else by Daen Lia.  She has millions of followers on social media apparently (but I have to admit that I've never heard of her!).  She is an Aussie cook with Spanish and Italian heritage, known for her modern Mediterranean dishes (but not by me - hehehe).

Her recipe includes instructions on how to roast the capsicums yourself, but I happily went out and bought a couple of jars.  You can check out how to roast them on the Net, if you're keen.  Daen basically says to roast them on a lined tray at 220C/430F for an hour.  You can also buy them from your local deli. 

We live in what was an Italian migrant enclave for many years after the Second World War.  So happily for us when we moved here, there were Italian delis and bakeries and cafés.  One of the local shops still had their Italian mamas and nonnas roasting the vegetables and chickens, and making all sorts of goodies.  Sadly, that generation has passed on, so there are few such shops around these days.  So make your own, my friends, or grab a jar or two from the supermarket.


off to Cookbook Club


Serves half a dozen (maybe more):

ingredients:

2 jars of roasted capsicum (c. 300g./10 oz each) = c. 600g./20 oz

200g./7 oz fetta, cut into large chunks

1-2 garlic cloves, sliced in half

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

20-25 mL/1 biiig Tbs of lemon juice

herbs of your choice - I used dried chives, parsley and oregano

1 Tbs EV olive oil 

1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

handful of walnuts - maybe 30g./1 big ounce

1 tsp sumac (optional)

For serving:

a long ciabatta stick or French baguette, cut into slices

100g./3.5 oz prosciutto, cut or torn into chunks or strips

100g./3.5 oz green, pitted olives - sliced 


Method:

First drain the capsicums and pat them dry

Into the oven they go, on a baking-paper lined tray for 10-12 minutes at 160C/320F

Let them cool for a few minutes, then throw them into your food processor, along with the fetta, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice

Give them a blitz till nicely combined, then add the herbs, olive oil, sugar and walnuts and blitz again till you have a vibrant, mostly smooth, not-quite-blitzed to death dip

Spoon out into a serving bowl, and throw on the sumac if using

You can eat this as is, with crackers or bread, or turn it into tasty bites by smearing over the slices of ciabatta or baguette, then topping with the prosciutto and sliced olives  


Notes:

You can serve the dip with crudités if you like



grab yourself some roasted capsicums in a jar

and blitz 'em!

into this

taste 10/looks 3

slice up the bread

slather on the dip, and add prosciutto and olives

boxed up for Cookbook Club


(Joining up with Min from Write of the Middle for #WWWhimsy - Wednesday Words and Whimsy)



c. Sherry M.

Friday 9 February 2024

Creamy Cauliflower Galette

Here's a fabulous vegetarian dish from Alison Roman's book Sweet Enough.  You guessed it!  Another recipe for Lambs' Ears Cookbook Club.  I confess now: I did not use her pastry recipe.  She says she includes it in all her cookbooks.  Sorry, Alison.  I go for an easier method, and chuck it in the food processor, à la Maggie Beer.  I adapted Maggie's recipe slightly to include vodka, lemon juice and salt to the dough.

Speaking of vodka - I don't drink anymore but I had to buy a bottle of vodka on the weekend for my vanilla extract.  Did vodka always smell like methylated spirits, I wonder?  I have a jar of vanilla beans in vodka lurking on my pantry shelf; I realised the other day that it must be about eight years old!  I feed the "mother" a couple of times a year with more beans and more vodka, but clearly I've been doing a lot of baking 'cos I had to feed her again the other day.  That vodka bottle is going to sit there for another six months I guess ...


golden-brown, crunchy, savoury ...

    

Makes 1 large pizza-tray size (about 25cm./10 inch)

ingredients:

For the pastry:

250g. plain flour

200g. butter, chilled and diced

125 mL sour cream/yoghurt

1 tsp vodka

1-2 tsp lemon juice

a big pinch of sea salt flakes


For the filling:

approx. 350-380g. (12.5 oz to 13.5 oz) cauliflower - trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 6 mm/¼ inch thickness, through the core

1 medium leek or one bunch of spring onions, sliced thinly

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

115g./4 oz parmesan, grated (or cheese of your choice)

2 Tbs EV olive oil

120 mL/4 oz thickened cream (35% fat)

2 Tbs cream or milk, for brushing the pastry   see Notes

more black pepper

herbs - your choice, but I used parsley and chives


Method:

Pastry:

Chuck the flour and butter into your food processor, and blitz till you have fine breadcrumbs

Spoon in the sour cream/yoghurt and blitz some more till you just start to get a ball forming, then add the vodka, lemon juice and salt and blitz a wee bit more to incorporate them

Take the dough out of the processor, shape into a ball, grab some plastic wrap, swaddle it and put into the fridge for 20 minutes to restore its calm


Putting the galette together:

On goes your oven to 190C/375F

Line your baking tray with baking paper

Take your calm, rested dough and roll it out on a lightly-floured bench/surface till you have a 35cm/14 in. circle then carefully place it onto the lined tray   see Notes

Now leave a 5cm/2 in. border, scatter the sliced cauliflower and leek/spring onions over the dough, adding plenty of salt and pepper as you go

Then you add the cheese and olive oil over the veg., and fold up the edges of the pastry so it forms a lovely little border  see Photos

Now you pour the cream over the whole shebang, plus you drizzle a wee bit more olive oil too

Grab your pastry brush and give the pastry a good swish all over with the extra cream or milk

Add more black pepper if you wish

Bake for 55-65 minutes, turning the tray around halfway thru the baking

It will be golden-brown and beautiful! with tender cauliflower

Throw on some chopped herbs if you fancy, to serve

Eat with salad or veg., or cold the next day - great picnic food


Notes:

The easiest way to get the pastry onto the baking tray is to place the tray upside down over the rolled-out pastry which is sitting on a piece of baking paper (and has already been rolled out on a cutting board), then flip it over so the baking paper and pastry are now facing the right way up    see Photo 

Alison suggests brushing the pastry edges with an egg wash, but I've never seen the need to waste an egg for this purpose


blitz that dough in the processor

pat into a circle of dough, and roll out on the board

place the tray upside-down over the rolled-out dough and baking paper, then flip!

cauli and spring onions scattered over

ready for the oven at 190C/375F for about an hour

looking crispy and delicious



c. Sherry M.

Thursday 1 February 2024

In My Kitchen - February 2024

Did you all have a good January?  Ours has been a mixed bag - still! waiting for my new spectacles; we've had heatwaves and pouring rain, another trip to the dentist, a dear friend's dad died and it was the first anniversary of our friend Rob's death, and the second anniversary of my brother's death.  January is not my fave month!

Still deciding what to do with my brother's and my sister-in-law's ashes.  Any suggestions?  We're thinking we might go out bush and bury them somewhere.  Or throw them into a river or creek.  Don't tell anyone!:=)  Heheheh - not quite legal, I suspect.  Oh for the good old days when you could bury your loved ones in your backyard!  


Get Digging!  (c. G. McKinnon)


In My Kitchen:


friends gave us New Zealand cookies/biscuits after their Christmas break

I bought a beautiful ceramic cup from Rainforest Ceramics

and I made more pickled cucumbers

I bought these - love the Green Goddess; tossed the Chilli & Lime

bought a few things from Oppy's Fruit and Veges in Boonah

This old-fashioned fruit and veg. shop sits inside the old railway station in Boonah in the Scenic Rim area, about an hour from Brisbane.  It's an amazing building, which appears as one storey from the ground but actually has one above and two more below.  Sadly the owner is allowing it to fall into ruin.  I guess the land is worth more to a developer than the building.


this is the "all-year" book for Cookbook Club

We have a monthly cookbook which we all cook from, and a yearly one that we can also use.  So we can make and share photos from this one all year round!  I've already made the most delicious mandarin syrup from it.  See below.


Christmas pressies!

I bought Queensland olive oils on our Murgon trip

my cuz gave me this gorgeous prawn-y platter

and our friend Ms. Atee gave us these

a fishy tea towel from my cuz

mandarin syrup - super delicious

the Worcester!

the curveball - Disco Bob

I added Disco Bob to my collection of Bobs recently.  Our mate Christian (Chainsaw) Newton is the creator of these cute little fellas!


c. Sherry M.


Be a part of our friendly IMK community by adding your post here too - everybody welcome!  We'd love to have you visit.  Tell us about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg. in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  And one curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related.  

The link is open from the first of the month to midnight on the thirteenth of the month, every month.

Options for adding your post to IMK:

1. Add via the Add Link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page, under the Add your IMK link OR:

2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it manually to the list below OR:

3. Email me: sherrym1au@gmail.com, with your link or any queries about the link process, or if you would like it to be added after the 13th ('cos I'm happy to add it for you later)


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter