In My Kitchen. June 2014

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I am attempting to clean up my Kitchen Chaos so that semi- resident family members and friends may find a user friendly kitchen while I am away.  Unfortunately, this does not extend to the pantry, which is far too small and has a secret life of its own.  I am attempting to use up all perishables, but the following items are always present in my kitchen:

  • good olive oil. I only use Australian extra virgin cold pressed oil, and for everyday use, I buy Cobram. It wins many prizes internationally, it isn’t doctored with crap – (imported Italian products are generally guilty of this and often have imprecise labelling).  Cobram oil is fruity, young and delicious. The date of harvest is mentioned on the bottle or large can. It is what it claims to be. I buy this in 3 litre containers and decant it  as needed.
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  • good parmesan cheese. Unlike my approach to olive oil, I only buy imported Parmigiano. Grana Padano or Reggiano Parmigiano is an essential pantry/fridge item and one that my offspring/grand offspring expect to find. I usually find a good ‘stagionato’ parmesan at the Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick.
  • Pasta varieties. Here again I feel compelled to buy the imported product as I love De Cecco pasta and keep lots of pasta shapes on hand.

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  • Cans of tuna ( check labels for ethical fishing methods), cans of tomatoes, large cans of anchovies, cans of ceci, borlotti beans and so on for whipping up some minestrone.
  • bread making flour and yeast. All my kids make Pizza. Renato, who will also visit, doesn’t use any of these products, earning himself the title of “Plastic Luigi”.
  • Plenty of home grown garlic.

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With these basic supplies,and abundant herbs, lettuces and veggies from the garden,  plus the eggs that my girls lay, my family can make lots of good things. All they need to bring along is a hunk of cheese or some good bread. But hands off my good wine!!

You can find other inspiring kitchens at Celia’s ‘Fig Jam and Lime Cordial’ this month.

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47 thoughts on “In My Kitchen. June 2014”

  1. G’day Francesca! I love Cobram Estate oils too!
    I admire anyone who grows their own garlic and veggies; agree with you re the imported cheese mentioned and and thank you for this month’s Kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne

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    1. yes, they like to invade the house and have pizza parties- a chance for all the adult children to get together in our absence. Hence the warning about the good wine!

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  2. What a great panty full of good things! I’m also a fan of De Cecco pasta – lots of great shapes. And, you can’t bet good cold pressed, fruity, greeny olive oil straight from the press. Hope you have a great holiday.

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  3. Thankyou, I am enjoying Bangkok immensely, and even though it’s my seventh visit, there’s always more to enjoy. Today I discovered some wonderful hand dyed indigo treasure at a market. I cannot tell you how much I love Indigo so may have to do a little post on it when the weather is too hot to be outside. And as for the food- heaven!

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  4. Hi Francesa, Thanks for a look in your kitchen, it all looks wonderful! I love Cobram estate oil but like the more expensive 2 liter cardboard box as it is much easier for me to pour.

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    1. Yes, that cardboard box is easier and also fruitier too. I just vane a little funnel on hand for the tins making decanting easy enough. Thank Goodness for cobram.

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  5. Loved the bottles with all the pasta, with the dark lids, super cool….. and the “girls”, what a wonderful situation to be able to have fresh laid eggs and interact with them on a daily basis!

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  6. Gorgeous pantry essentials and I love the way that you see the herbs and produce from your garden as an extension to the pantry. Happy hols!

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  7. Have a wonderful trip, it sounds very exciting! Our pantry items are very similar, and like you, I’m keen to support local growers and manufacturers when I can – and will pay a premium for it – BUT the quality has to be up to scratch. Which is why, also like you, I buy Italian pasta and parmesan. Homegrown garlic looks fantastic! I hope the family leave some for you when you get back – maybe you need to hide some of it? 🙂

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    1. I grow so much garlic each year, a few raiders won’t make too much of a dent Every year I tell them they MUST pick the brocolli otherwise it will go into flower and every year they don’t quite pick enough! . It’s the wine that needs protection!

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  8. Francesca, enjoy your trip (sounds as though you are)… loved the peek into your pantry. Cobram oils are so fresh and good. I love them too, and you just can’t beat home-grown garlic!

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    1. It seems that we are all united in our love of Cobram olive oil. Hard to go past it really. and then they have that fancy little bottle for $20.00 which I buy for dipping in summer. We are quite lucky!

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  9. That’s my Grandma’s old front gate that leads into your chook pen! Beware the flavoured Cobram oil, when the garlic variety goes rancid it’s beyond hideous! But I agree, the EVO is top quality and good price. Do you have a trick to stop the garlic sprouting?

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    1. My trick, which seems to be working so far, is to store it in a coolish place, and stop the light coming in, but still with air circulating. So, I have it in my south facing, dark laundry in a large basket, draped with hessian. It usually stays shoot free until around September.

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  10. I could live in your house, your pantry staples echo mine but goes a little further… a few areas I’ll have to look into – De Cecco pasta in particular. We only use Australian, mainly Cobram EV, olive oil but sometimes I buy small producer brands from the farmers markets, and we use a lot of cold press macadamia oil that we buy locally from MacNuts at Macksville when we are at Taylors Arm.
    Similar to your last IMK post, I love your platters.

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  11. There is nothing better than good Parmesan and olive oil. I’ve never seen that brand of pasta before, I’ll have to seek it out. Thanks for the kitchen tour Francesca and I’m sure you will eat plenty of fantastic food on your travels 🙂

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  12. Im another Cobram Estate fan….not to mention we live just up the river from it. Great products! Your garlic looks amazing…..Im feeling inspired. I also love the gate to your chook pen….very cute! Loved seeing what you have in your australian/italian kitchen!!!xx thanks Francesca x

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  13. We have a lot in common. I use Cobram oil too and I have chickens and grown my own garlic. Can’t beat good oil, fresh eggs and home grown garlic. Thanks for the tour of your kitchen.

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  14. I go through olive oil fairly quickly and yet I only ever buy it in the bottle and wonder who buys the tins – but I do love the cobram brand – nice to hear that your kitchen is still full of life and laughter while you are away

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  15. I love your platters Francesca and love what you keep your pantry stocked with! How wonderful that your family are pizza makers….Have a wonderful trip and thank you for this lovely IMK post!

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  16. Francesca, I LOVED your IMK list of goodies — and I did NOT know that about ‘imported Italian olive oil.’ (And I’m a die-hard label reader… remind me to be more discerning and less trusting!) Just told my sister the other day that I need to buy EVOO in bulk for as often as I use it… hmmmm… your Australian olive oils sound clean and honest… wonder if they ship to the U.S? Oh drat, another storm is brewing. There goes my satellite internet signal… will catch up w/u soon!

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    1. Forgive me for writing this here Francesca but I can’t find a place to comment. Love that you have to organise your kitchen before leaving it to someone else that would happen to me too.
      NOW I am afraid I just can’t shut up and I should but I want to tell you that not all imported oil or Italian oils are substandard or labelled incorrectly. I work importing oils from Italy. All oils are tested randomly by customs when entering the country, they must be certified to be offloaded from the containers for additives. Labeling is stringently checked and oils are not allowed to be sold with incorrect size, nutritionals. The most notable difference between Aust oils and SOME Euro oils is the age and often the blend of old and new nothing else. This is however still a problem for us in Australia because our oils are pressed so quickly and sold as quickly. HOWEVER not all imported oils are old or mixed. We ( at my company) bring in from very small family style producers who have the same ethical standards as our Australian producers. You just need to make sure you buy bottles with the year dates on them just as you would with Australian oils ( and not all Australian oils are pure or have harvest dates. Beware of homebrand olive oils and ” italian sounding ” supermarket oils.
      Sorry I just dont want people to think that all oils from Italy or Spain or France are bad. Tx

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      1. I just caught up with your lovely comment after a month in China with no access to google. yes, Italian oils in Italy are fabulous when you can buy them from the source.. When I am in Italy, I just love the oil.
        The dates on the bottles are not my problem – its the post mixing that occurs with many ‘Italian’ oils that worries me. good oil can be mixed with non cold pressed oils, old oils and turkish oils and so on, then repackaged in fancy ‘Italian’ looking bottles and tins. This practice is still occurring, despite our strong labelling laws here.

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  17. Ciao Francesca, your garlic looks wonderful and your kitchen seems ready to create an endless array of delights, especially with those 7(I think) hard working girls on site.
    I tried my hand at garlic but my hardworking girls decided to jump into the garden and redecorate once I had planted it, lucky I love them!
    cheers
    Jason

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    1. ah thanks jason, a belated reply from bali as I now have internet after a month in China. Love the way girls like to redecorate the garden. Mulch being the main attraction.

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