Friday, 2 January 2015

In My Kitchen - January 2015

My kitchen! Well, my investment house kitchen. The 30 year old kitchen was well overdue for a makeover. Now the fun starts choosing a design, cupboard profiles and colours.


In my kitchen... I made gift baskets for neighbours and colleagues, filled with biscotti and fudge. It was my first time making biscotti, and it turned out a treat. I think my oven was too high for the first bake, hence the cracked 'loaves'. Any biscotti making tips are welcomed : ) 


It wouldn't be Christmas without a good old mince tart. I think we tried about 5 different ones this year, and these ones from the CRFM in Canberra were just lovely.


I finally cracked open my 'Christmas melon', aka a piel de sapo, about a week before Christmas. It was finally ripe, mildly sweet, and had pale green flesh. Similar taste to a honeydew, but didn't have the sweet-in-your-face punch. I wouldn't say I'd go out of my way to pick one up again, but my curiosity was satisfied!


Continuing the fresh food theme... I vow in 2015 that I will shop more at local markets, local butchers, and fruit and veg stores. The quality of the produce for sale from 'the big 2' supermarkets just doesn't cut it for me anymore. Plus I don't know where my supermarket fruit and veg comes from, nor how far it has flown, or if its been in cold storage for extended period. Here are cherries and plums we bought at the Sunday 'trash n treasure' markets in Macquarie ACT, straight from the farmer.  


In my outdoor kitchen... my fruit and veg patch is thundering along. I ignored it for a couple of weeks in December and found my tomato plants nearly doubled in height and my tiny spindly sugar snap pea seedlings had grown into a lively bush, with their tendrils outstretched and cuddling the capsicums!


In my kitchen... is locally made saffron. I couldn't believe saffron is grown and produced in Bungendore. The producer is Windview Farm


So, what's happening in your kitchen? 
Pop over to Celia's blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, to join in the In My Kitchen (IMK) series, and sneak a peek into kitchens from all over the world.  

Happy New Year everyone!
Kirsty




41 comments:

  1. How exciting to have a kitchen reno in your investment property. I think with biscotti the oven temperature needs to be lowered once you've popped the 'sticks' in... good plan to stop shopping at the two majors.... those cherries look amazing. I haven't been to Trash and Treasure in years.

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    1. Thanks Liz for the biscotti tip. I'll give another batch a whirl, maybe a chocolate/pistachio one this time.

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  2. A kitchen reno, what fun! The fresh produce all looks fantastic. Christmas melon, I'll have to look around for one of those. I haven't heard of it, of course it wouldn't be in season at Christmas in the Northern hemisphere!

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    1. The kitchen will look a treat when its done. I'll have to pop a pic in an upcoming IMK post. Hope you had a great Christmas. Thanks for stopping by Gretchen, Kirsty xx

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  3. Oh how exciting... A kitchen make over :-) my tomatoes are out of control at the moment and I didn't plant any of them, all self sown! I love shopping at markets and have been shopping at them for ages... It is so good to get seasonal fresh fruit and veggies :-) thanks for sharing! Liz xx

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    1. Self sown tomatoes, that super Liz! Enjoy your tomato glut. Maybe you could turn some into semi dried ones in the oven? I plan to do this to mine, if they get ahead of me. Cheers, Kirsty xx

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  4. This all looks great! Sadly I didn't get any mince tarts this year, I am the only one in family who eats them and I didn't see any that took my fancy. Probably should have made some! Markets are addictive once you get into the momentum. Good choice to keep clear of the big dudes! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. I think if I made mince tarts myself, they would be wee tiny ones, with a star shaped pasty top. Sometimes the normal size ones are just a little too big, when a small 'hit' of Christmassy goodness is needed. Good luck for next year! I've kept up the 'markets' buying today. Such a great vibe at the markets too. Thanks for stopping by Maree! Kirsty xx

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  5. I made nor ate a single mince tart this year. I love them so much but refrained from eating them. Sad now.... the garden looks like it has taken off. More delicious vegies to eat. happy new year

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    1. Tania, I admire your willpower. I on the other hand have probably gained 2 kilos, but hey, I can live with that! I have to decide what else to plant, as my second planter is a little scant. Happy New Year to you too, K

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  6. What fun to be undertaking a kitchen renovation! I was fortunate to do the same at our beach house this year - and found that there are so many new and exciting products to choose from! I'll look forward to your big reveal! I found our local green grocer's locally sourced fruit and vegetables to be so far superior to supermarket produce that I now buy no 'fresh' produce from the big chains at all! Your garden veggies look fabulous, and I'll look out for that saffron!

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    1. Marian, snap on the market shopping! I think I will have to invest in a 'granny trolley' though as there is only so much I can hold in bags dangling from my arms !! I will post an 'after' pic of the kitchen when its finished. I'm off to check out samples on Monday when the trades are back at work. K

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    1. Arrgghh, the above deletion was me folks. I did a new comment instead of a reply. Now it looks like I've removed something untoward.... it wasn't. Tis all good! :)

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  8. I'm so, so envious of those cherries. Quite possibly my favourite fruit. We're getting a new kitchen this year also. The builder promises a short build so fingers crossed as heading into winter, I don't want to be cooking on the camping stove in the garage! Thanks for the tour of far and wide. cheers Fiona

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    1. Definitely fingers crossed for a speedy kitchen build. What will you christen your oven and stove top with as their first dishes? Thanks for stopping by, K xx

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  9. Wow, so many wonderful things. I'm dying for summer to return. Until then I'll cope with grey, English drizzle. :(

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    1. I bet when its 40 degrees plus here Marilyn, I'll be wanting some grey drizzle myself!

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    2. The only time we see 40 degrees here is if I stick my head in the oven! :D

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  10. happy new year kirsty. that is amazing about the saffron. great to see local produce isn't it? i was hugely surprised when my sis-in-law told me she paid a fortune for American cherries at Xmas. It is cherry season after all in Oz and i saw some the other day for $8 a kilo. Bizarre. Have a great 2015.

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    1. Sherry the cherries have been wonderful this year. We got a crop ourselves off our baby tree (a Lapin). They are an early cropper, but were oh. so. nice.

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  11. Wow have fun with your saffron! How lucky having it growing locally. I've never used saffron in cooking, I've actually only had one dish with it in it to my knowledge, when we went out.
    Produce from markets is usually so much better than the supermarket. I'm sick and tired of our local woolies at the moment - the fruit and veggie selection is shocking.

    Happy New Year!
    Sarah x

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    1. Sarah, I did a double take at the markets. I couldn't believe the sign read Bungendore! I'm so grateful to all the local producers : )

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  12. Saffron from NSW! I've only heard of it being grown in Tassie. I've got to get my hands on some - it looks absolutely amazing! I'm heading over to check out their FB page now, thank you for sharing. I think I may have to try more FM's too, though I find them extremely over priced here in Melbourne. Congrats on your new (investment) kitchen - still exciting :) Lovely meeting you & Happy New Year. See you next IMK

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    1. Hi Nicole, yep, Bungendore which is amazing. You'll have to tell me what you make with your saffron. I've yet to crack mine open. I'll just stare at it coz its so pretty. Kirsty xx

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  13. We tried one of those melons a while back. Ours was super sweet. I tried finding them again but alas they were never to be seen again. And saffron in Bungendore-who would have thought! :)

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    1. Lorraine lovely to hear from someone who has had one of these melons. I couldn't believe I found it at Costco. Suffice to say, I've never seen it there since. Kirsty xx

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  14. Local saffron! Fantastic, I will have to look into that.

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    1. Hi Glenda, my SIL who lives in Texas read my blog and wants to get her hands on some! I'll post some over when the CRFM markets are back this weekend. Thanks for stopping by, K

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  15. Wow - I thought all saffron in Oz was imported! I love your goal for 2015, that you will shop more at local markets - I'm going to make that my goal as well as I'm finding there is a lack of flavour in fruits and vegetables purchased in big supermarkets. How exciting to be renovating your kitchen! xx

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    1. Charlie, I thought it was all imported too. Apparently it grows in Tassie too, who knew? Happy market shopping to you too, cheers K

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  16. I love the possibilities of a new kitchen! I hope you share the renovations of your investment one (I am such a stickybeak!!).

    All that fresh produce looks amazing. I'm with you, locally grown produce is so much tastier and makes my closet eco warrior proud :)

    How lovely of you to gift your friends and colleagues home made goodies. Those are the best type of presents! xx

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    1. Hi there Lisa. I will definitely post a shot when the kitchen is all done. Today I chose the cupboard colour, the rangehood, the countertop, kickboards, handles.... umm what else... oh yeah, changing the power sockets to doubles. Oh its sooo exciting! I know its only a rental, and I'm not going overboard, just fresh, modern and nice. Anything will be better than 30 year old mission brown thick counter and fake wood grain!
      I stocked up on post Christmas tins at K-Mart. $5! what a bargain. All ready for next Christmasses homemade goodies. Hubby thinks I'm mad but hey, we gals plan ahead! All the best, Kirsty

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  17. Look at your lovely sugar snap peas! I think your biscotti looks fine - did they bake up ok on the second time in the oven? And I can't believe they're growing saffron in Bungendore either! :) Thanks for the photo of the Christmas melon - we saw those at Costco, but now I'm glad we didn't bother getting one!

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  18. Hiya Celia! the biscotti baked up fine. I think I cut them quite thick, I can see why some use a mandolin (or meat slicer!) to do the job. They were tasty though. I am loving your IMK series, thanks for keeping it going : ) cheers, Kirsty

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  19. As I dyer when I see saffron I think colour on cloth first and food use second, it is just the most amazing stuff isn't it!

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    1. Annie, what an amazing colour it would make fabrics! I am still planning my Indian feast to do it justice. It apparently has great health benefits too! Thanks for stopping by my little blog, K

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  20. Saffron so close to home. Fantastic. Good to know. :)
    Looks like your kitchen is filled with all the amazing things.
    Currently sitting in a business airport lounge in Singapore, I've been adventuring in Asia this past month so Ill be heading home to a very bare kitchen. First stop, Farmers Market on Saturday morning.
    Happy New Year to you, hope ya have a cracker year.
    Cheers,
    Anna

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    1. Have fun restocking your kitchen Anna with a rainbow of loveliness from the markets. I'll have to check in on your holiday snaps and posts. K xx

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  21. Happy New Year Kirsty!
    Piel de sapo is one of my favourite melons and I always make a point of buying it when available here.
    Maybe try baking the biscotti on a slightly lower temperature? But even with the cracks, I'm sure they were scrummy!
    See you next month in IMK x

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    1. Hi there Ania, I'll try the biscotti again at a lower temp, cheers. They indeed were quite yum, and just a little moreish. Great with a coffee. Thanks for popping by. Have a great January, K.

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