In My Kitchen, April 2014

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Asian themes are the inspiration for ‘In My Kitchen’ this month. It forms part of the monthly round-up of inspiring kitchens from around the world, hosted by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

Indonesia is our nearest Northern Neighbour and is only a short flight away from Australia. Last January, we found this Uleg in a little market in Cipanas, West Java.  Barnadi and I obtained one each: not the easiest hand luggage to cart back. It resides permanently on my bench and has had a serious workout in my kitchen since then, and has turned a little yellow from the fresh tumeric root I have been using.  The Uleg below.

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It has some other friends, the big Thai mortar and pestle, good for pesto and curry pastes, and the little one, great for smashing together a few garlic cloves and ginger for curries, or a herbal butters. I rarely use my food processor these days. Mortar and Pestles are therapeutic and fast.

ImageChopsticks in a teapot. My young visitors like to learn to use them. And on occasion I do a good impersonation of Mr Miyagi from Karate Kid ( the original one of course!) and pretend to catch flies!!ImageThis season, dragon fruit have been appearing in the markets. I fell in love with dragon fruit smoothies in Indonesia and have attempted to replicate them.  Along with the magenta coloured dragon fruit, I mix in shaved ice, banana, and any other fruits that need whizzing up.

ImageThese yellow eggplants are an Asian variety. I purchased the seedlings from Vittorio, thinking that they were the long purple variety. I am not sure that I like these ones much, but they are very decorative.ImageIn a corner of one kitchen cupboard reside an assortment of Asian Crockery. All purchased from Savers  ( one huge recycling store) very cheaply. I should mention that most things in my home come from Savers!

ImageSome calligraphy done by my friend Brian; I am not sure what it says but it brings good luck to my kitchen.ImageAnd last but not least is a jar of Jimmy’s Sate sauce, purchased recently after Celia wrote about this last year. I am about to try her recipe which you can find here.Image

43 thoughts on “In My Kitchen, April 2014”

  1. I’ve never had dragon fruit before and you’ve piqued my curiosity. I’ll have to go hunting for it in our Asian shops! The yellow eggplants are at least very pretty. I envy you the really lovely uleg. I’m sure it weighed a ton getting it home.

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    1. Yes, the Uleg has great action, more of a circular grind. As my friend B travels to Indonesia every year, I have conned him into buying one for me on each trip.. I just like the look of them. I am a little worried that this one is not volcanic stone. So the next one , coming from Jakarta, will be purchased by cooks in his family who can guarantee the real thing.

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  2. Stunningly beautiful and inspiring photos! Love, love those green bowls, the uleg, the colours, everything. Thank you for such a lovely start to the day, Francesca!

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  3. What gorgeous colour you have in your kitchen! And I love your range of pestle & mortars – far more pleasing to the eye than a food processor and I can see your point re the therapeutic benefits.

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  4. Fran, you LUGGED all those mortar and pestles home in your hand luggage? I am seriously impressed. I’ve gone the other way actually, I barely use mine now – it’s all too heavy on my hands and wrists, and I’m never sure whether to wash them or wipe them out – what do you do with yours? I’ve never seen yellow eggplants, and have fun with the Jimmy’s sauce (eggplant and Jimmy’s goes very well together!). xx

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    1. No, I just lugged the Indonesian one back,as they are hard to find here and expensive when found. This one cost $3.00. I just love bashing up things in the mortars. If I put oil or butter in them, I tend to wash them. Sometimes I wipe them with kitchen towel. I cleaned the Indo one with course salt. This got rid of all the original grit and works on tumeric too. I am a little worried that the Uleg is not real volcanic stone, and so my friend will be sent on a mission in Jakarta this October to look for another ( bigger) one. Can’t have too many! Yes, Jimmy’s with eggplant could be the go.

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  5. Love the visual of you fly catching with your chopstick and I love your collection of grinders, I only have a small one I use for spices. It definitely needs a big brother. After giving those eggplants space, it’s disappointing they’re not up to scratch. Thanks for the peek into your kitchen Francesca

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    1. Yes, they are odd little eggplants- a bit too seedy. They were originally pale green, which I used in an eggplant kasundi. The flat Uleg is great when you have a load of shallots, ginger, tumeric, garlic and chilli. It grinds through these big chunks quite easily.

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      1. A friend dropped some small eggplants off to me yesterday which I stuffed for dinner last night. They too were very seedy, but in the finished dish was good, it was hard to distinguish them from the grains of rice. I made baba ghanouj with the flesh from the middle and the seeds broke down easily in the processor. Are your seeds tough?

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  6. Nice post, Francesca, and so many lovely things in your kitchen and garden. Those eggplants are interesting!

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  7. I’ve never seen yellow eggplants. I thought I was the only strange person because some years ago I carried a large pestle and mortar back from Thailand

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  8. An Uleg is a new one to me but it looks wonderfully exotic and rustic at the same time. Whats the deal with it not being volcanic? I love your Chinese teapot with chopsticks.

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    1. I’m not sure. My friend just mentioned that when he returns to Jakarta, the cooks that work for his sister will buy more in the market and make sure they are authentic.

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  9. Francesca that Uleg is very impressive, I have never seen one before. I don’t use my mortar and pestle much. I use my coffee grinder a lot. I think I am just lazy. I love the colour of the smoothies, all the better they taste good too.

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  10. those dragonfruit smoothies look amazing – I am never quite sure exactly what to do with dragonfruit but I loved some dried dragonfruit I bought a few years back – the colour is so brilliant! Lovely asian crockery – those top bowls appeal with their calming green colour.

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  11. I love mortar and pestles- I have a collection and feel kind of like an alchemist whenever I use them. I have nothing like your Indonesian Uleg, however.
    And I love your stash of Asian bowls and plates- I have a smaller stash that I purchased in Chinatown in NYC- it wasn’t too expensive- but getting it all home on the plane was a bit of a pain.
    Thanks for sharing- I enjoyed your view of your kitchen!

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  12. I have a Uleg that I carted back from Bali, but I didn’t know that was what it was called so thanks for that. I am 100% certain that it is not stone so I just use it for decorative purposes. I would love a volcanic stone one at some stage. I do have a large mortar and pestle that I carted back from Thailand in my backpack though 🙂 Love all the dishes in your kitchen. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Love the colour of that dragon fruit smoothie – never thought of using the fruit this way. My largest thing carted back in the cabin luggage was a tagine from Libya so understand completely the urge to bring a pestle and mortar.

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  14. Ah yes…the Jimmy’s. I thought ‘what’s the big deal?’ and then I tried it. It’s a winner huh? I like the idea of savers – I’m all for recycling and upcycling. Our cereal bowls are some classic brown stoneware from the 70’s but, they do the job. A really great tour this time round. See you soon!

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