In My Kitchen, December 2014

The last few weeks have been rather hectic in my kitchen. I’m taking it easy in December, especially now that I know my niece will host Christmas Day Lunch. Hooray, I’m off the hook. Now I can safely sneak away to my favourite beach and pretend that the festive season is not happening.

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I am picking around 500 grams of berries every day. Raspberries, boysenberries, youngberries and strawberries are having a wonderful season. It’s time to think about using some in an alcoholic concoction.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe have consumed many berries with small meringue nests which I store away in tins for a week or so. These meringues had the addition of finely zested lemon peel. Limoncello cream filled the cavities, then raspberries. We also had cinnamon meringue with cherry.

Dolmades rolled and laid snugly in a pot.
Dolmades rolled and laid snugly in a pot.

One of the big sultana vines lost a branch when Mt Tranquillo was pruning.  I wasn’t going to waste these lovely fresh vine leaves.  A big batch of dolmades lasted only one week in my kitchen.

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My daughter- in- law has done some ironing for me. It is so nice when all the tablecloths are ready for the season ahead. This is the blue and white stash. Yes, slightly anal, I know.

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I found this old gelataio in an Op shop (thrift shop) in 2009. It was only $15.00 and had just been serviced. It’s little churning wings broke the other day as I was making some berry ice cream. It has served me very well so I might ask Santa for a new one, unless a spare part turns up soon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe beautiful blue plates, a set of 12, seem to be unused and cost $3.00 in total. They were made by Johnson in Australia in the 1950s. Another lucky find in the second hand world of Melbourne. Perfect for a morning tea of mini muffins with white chocolate, amond meal and fresh raspberry.

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Why does everyone always crowd around in the kitchen? Here are a couple of party animals, a reminder to always have fun in the kitchen. Put your finger in the cream, steal a morsel off that platter, help roll out the pizza dough or dance like a crazy spider.

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Thankyou Celia, at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, for a wonderful year of IMK.

                                     Season’s Greetings to Celia and to you all. 

 

 

 

63 thoughts on “In My Kitchen, December 2014”

  1. Beautiful and fun, the perfect combo! The berries, the meringues, those lovely blue plates! The dolmades look perfect as well. Funnneeee photos of the lads playing up, too. I can’t believe you aren’t going to cross your arms and pout that you can’t sweat and work yourself to a frazzle making Christmas lunch for everyone, though!! Me either!!! Season’s best to you too.

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    1. Season’s Greetings to you too Ardys, although I am sure our blog paths will meet again before then. Lucky you, lucky me, we are both off the hook. No pouting, just a merry dance.

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  2. what a fun post – love the tablecloths (and ironed is nice… ha!) also your little nests are cool – and the berries – mmm and mmm 🙂 oh and the sunglasses – thanks for the laugh

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  3. Looks like high jinks in your kitchen Francesca! I hope you can find parts for your churn, that old one is much much better than the similar new model. Lucky you having berries for the picking, I’d be making a pig of myself, especially id it was in a meringue nest with lemon cream! I gave up using table cloths because of the ironing, the naked timber table makes a gorgeous backdrop,though I love the pile of textures patterns in blue and white…

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    1. I collect linen and these get used outside when dining in the garden. We rarely use them inside and also like the naked timber table look. I guess that’s why they all turn up for a song. I have many more embroidered linen cloths. I see myself as a preserver of women’s work. I had hundreds before the 2009 fire and swore I wouldn’t go down that path again, but when someone’s work turns up for a song, I need to not only buy it, but restore it, iron it and tuck it away. I have heaps of room here so can do it, and my DIL really likes ironing which is a bonus.
      I just love textiles- the tablecloths are the tip of the iceberg- I missed my calling in life.
      That old model is an Italian Simac which Breville was licensed to distribute back then.

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      1. One of my trips to India was to visit traditional textile workers in the remote area of Gujerat, I’m also a textile freak though my collection is limited by little space. I do have a few interesting pieces though. I had that exact same old churn, one of my daughters now has it. I regretted passing it on so bought a new one. It’s not nearly as efficient

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        1. Oh no, I was considering getting one like your new one. Mr T is looking for parts.
          Indian and asian textiles are wonderful. I can imagine your pieces from Gujerat. My mind conjres up their texture and colour. I lashed out out eaarlier this year in Sumatra and then later in Flores…. Nice to meet another textile freak.

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  4. What beautiful food and incredible finds. We are struggling to get any raspberries off our bush, I am a little envious of your berry feast! And what a spunky spider in your kitchen!

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  5. Hi Francesca, what a beautiful collection of goodies you have here! Love those op shop bargains, you are mind kinda gal! Happy cooking and seasons eatings my friend.

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  6. What a classic ice cream maker Francesca. I hope Santa brings you something schmick and shiny, that is if you can’t get it fixed. I have an ice cream maker tucked away in a cupboard. Maybe I should pull it out this summer and experiment. Love to know some of your favourite concoctions. Kirsty

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  7. Oh My Goodness, those berries look amazing…! it must be so nice to be able to go and pick and have your fill of the beautiful freshness every day 🙂 I have just planted a grape vine so that we can have some grapes… is there a particular type of vine leave you need to use, or something that you have to do to them to make them edible? Thanks for sharing! Liz x

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    1. Hi Liz, Any variety should do. You ick them, give them a was, cover them in boiling water in a bowl for 20 seconds or so, to blanch, then drain. Now they are ready to roll.
      I can’t believe my luck with the berries this year.

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  8. Hi Francesca, I have raspberries too this year. I wonder why it is such a good season. Love your blue tablecloths and your blue plates. You are a star op shop shopper.

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    1. Thanks Terrie. The blog gets written either very early in the morning with the first cuppa, or when I am tired and need to sit down. I’m doing all this stuff anyway so it’s nothing to take the odd.pic. xx

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  9. Love the blue plates and linens. I want a daughter-in-law (who irons), but my son is not yet cooperating. So very sorry your gelataio bit the dust. Looks impressive, though. Looks like you have fun in your kitchen – love the pics!

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    1. After Madame Redspecs commented that she thought the old Simacs were better than the modern beasts, I have found a part in USA and will attempt to have it sent. Worth perservering I think.
      The DIL who irons owes me some money from airfares so everynow and then, she works a bit off and takes a bag of ironing home. She says she loves ironing. This, for me, is better than money in the bank.

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  10. That all looks beautiful. My berries for some reason don’t seem to make it from the berry house to the kitchen. I keep saying I won’t gobble them all on the way, but I just can’t help it. I’ll keep you in mind when I decide to part with a some old hand embroidered items I have from my MIL. Maybe we crossed paths in Sumatra early this year, I was there in March/April. Thanks fro sharing another lovely story from your kitchen. 🙂

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  11. What beautiful berries, I hope our garden will produce like this soon, and how can you go wring with meringues and limoncello!. And a lovely job on the dolmades, I love them but have never made them with fresh vine leaves! Great scores on the op shop finds too, I remember getting my first Kenwood Chef very cheaply in an op shop years ago…
    You’d never find it in my house, but I adore the ironed linen too 🙂
    Beck

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    1. Hi Beck, The ironed linen only tends to get used on tables under the trees on warm still days when we are feeling a little French at lunchtime. And of course some wine., and then some spilt wine on linen. Who ever invented that pink vanish spray needs a medal!

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  12. I get such a good feeling from my vicarious visits to your kitchen. I love the fresh produce, home cooking and much/pre-loved plates and linen. It’s a good thing you are a “preserver of women’s work”, I don’t have a lot of room but rescue what I can of such things and kitchenalia.
    I’m doing Christmas lunch but modest in execution & numbers, and am as pre-organized as I can be -so will have some beach time too 🙂

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  13. May I ask if you have a recipe for your meringues? I have been trying & trying over the past few weeks to make them but they go brown & fall while baking. Would love your amazing recipe (if you’d like to share, pretty please 🙂 ) I think I may have to come to your side of Melbourne to visit op-shops – I saw some green plate like that in St Kilda & they wanted $2 per plate & there was only 3! Very cute indeed. Thank you for a lovely peek in your kitchen, see you next month at IMK

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    1. I plan to post that nice lemon flavoured meringue this week. Just back from a short holiday away from fast internet service. If you like oppies, get that Melbourne and suburbs op shop list on the web and keep it in your glovebox. x

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    1. The icecream maker has done a few more years. Now, since it has such a good reputation. I’ll get my nephew to hunt out the spare part in Milano before he comes here in January.

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  14. Look at all the lovely things in your kitchen, Francesca! 🙂 Your gelato maker was an amazing find – hard to find one with a built in motor that won’t set you back a small fortune these days. I love dolmades but have never tried making them. And from memory there is a recipe for “bachelor’s jam” in the Pam Corbin cookbook – I think you just keep adding fruit to an alcoholic brew and let it mature and ripen. Would you like me to send you a copy of the recipe? (I haven’t ever made it, but the other stuff in her book is great) 🙂

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    1. Just back from an east coast meander. The recipe sounds like a good one- easy. The berries are just flooding in after the rain, but not as much rain as you are all copping in Sydney. Thanks Celia. x

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  15. I am always drawn to blue and white for the table. It seems to be just the right combo. But I may be influenced by my mum. She loves blue and white china, and we always had willow pattern china as I was growing up. I love that you rescue old linen. There must be so many special pieces out there, lovingly embroidered by grandmothers and mothers in those spare pockets of time.

    And I am in awe of your berries…..:)

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  16. Ha ha, your kitchen visitors are a crack up. Your trakky dakked boy looks incredibly freaky without any arms! Love those plates for $3, wowsers that’s an awesome bargain. What a shopper.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Francesca 🙂

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  17. Hi Francesca – really enjoyed your IMK post this month – well I always enjoy them!! Lots of fun being had in your kitchen that’s for sure! That linen – I am such a sucker for table linen so that pile looks like heaven to me! Ditto the blue plates – I love thrifting and finding gold!! I had a look on-line and found these details for a com pay in the States that do parts for the Simac – I hope they a) still exist and b) can send you the parts….
    “The folks that repair simac units and have some spare parts are: info@electra-craft.com
    fax 973 565-9822 or call 800 223-1898
    Electra-Craft, Inc.
    250 Halsey Street
    Newark, NJ 07102″

    Have a wonderful December not planning the big meal! x

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  18. I love the blue plates and blue and white linens. The berries looks fantastic and nests sound heavenly, especially with the limoncello cream! I was off the hook for Thanksgiving but will be cooking this Christmas. Happy holidays!

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  19. Your home-grown berries must taste so amazing and they look so beautiful too. I hope santa brings you a new ice cream machine. Love your lovely blue tableware and linens. Happy times in your kitchen. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and New Year. 🙂

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