In My Kitchen, Simply Red, February 2016

My Kitchen has turned intensely red this month as the tomatoes and plums continue to march through the kitchen, looking for someone to love them. Two varieties of plums peaked today- both red fleshed Japanese varieties, Satsuma and Formosa. Some will be stashed in the freezer for winter clafoutis and crostata.

Japanese plums
Japanese plums

The tomatoes slowed down a little last week, thanks to the abundant rainfall and cooler weather. Signs of more flushing on the way. We have had one round of passata making and another is due today.

Sorting tomatoes
Sorting tomatoes

Half a jar of passata, reduced with fish stock, along with saffron and smoked pimenton, went into this fish and mussel soup.

Summer fish soup.
Summer fish soup.

The rest was poured over grilled eggplant layered with parmigiano cheese in a Melanzane Parmigiana, an old stand by.

Eggplant parmigiana
Eggplant parmigiana

Others are eaten as is, with their colourful friends, in my favourite little salad bowl from Mission Beach market.

Simple salad
Simple salad

The miniature tomatoes are frozen whole on a metal tray; once they turn into little hard bullets, they are stored in the freezer in zip lock bags for winter.

A lovely Christmas gift from my sister, this griddle pan has grill lines on the heavy lid which sits neatly inside the pan :once both the pan and lid are heated, panini, bread for bruschetta or anything else can be grilled on both sides simultaneously. Can’t wait to use it.

The garden pick today included the first eggplant and red chillies. The zucchini and cucumber continue to impress, the basil is slow this season, and the ducks have discovered some treasure at low levels while the occasional Houdini rabbit comes in for a soft leaf raid. We have an abundant garden as well as plenty of pests!

Today's pick

Thanks Maureen for hosting the In My Kitchen series. Please take a look at other inspiring kitchens through Maureen’s link.

54 thoughts on “In My Kitchen, Simply Red, February 2016”

  1. Funny who red is commonly associated with winter and the warmth of fire but really the heat is from summer bounty banked away. I’m yet to persuade the G.O. to enjoy eggplant but maybe Melanzane Parmigiana… will do it, it calls to me.

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    1. Some people find eggplant a bit spooky, but when draped in tomato and cheese, it becomes the close relative of the Aus pub classic Chicken parma. You might be able to con him into it, a little on the side. We keep ours going for a few days.

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  2. Normally, my gaze would not have been able to leave that beautiful parmigiana. This time, however, it was the fish soup that caught my eye. That looks oh, so very good, Francesca. Your garden is producing a wonderful harvest. Mine is, too — in my dreams of the coming summer. I must admit, though, that even in my dreams, I don’t pick baskets of tomatoes. Good for you!

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    1. The season has turned very kind after a nasty start. As you dream of your summer crops, I am thinking of the dark kales and greens of winter.
      That soup, which included a few fennel seeds, was delicious and I tend to make it whenever I get a large piece of good fish and a handful of mussels.

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  3. The grill pan is great but even better is the idea of a lid to go with it. I’ve never seen that before. AS discussed previously, I’m loving the plums this year and have to be careful not to eat too many each day. It’s 37c here today so I can only look at that delicious soup and dream…

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  4. That griddle pan is wonderful and OMG the homemade passata sounds SO good. Your plums are giving me a bit of envy. I’ve never frozen them before but now I want to. 🙂 Thanks for being part of In My Kitchen!

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    1. Thanks Maureen. If you see a load of plums going cheaply, they do freeze well- whole, like the little tomatoes. Then in winter, I put them in with apple and grated orange rind for a crumble or Charlotte. Thanks for hosting, Maureen.

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  5. I’m keen to hear how you like the grill pan with the tricky lid once you try it. Do you heat the lid separately? Love good eggplant parma and I’m envious of all your garden goodies. I can finely report that I have so much basil I’m freezing batches of pesto for winter. The ants have marched in with today’s heat, another pest to deal with..

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    1. That’s good news re the basil.
      The tricky lid sits snugly inside the pan. The two parts heat together. Then the lid is lifted, a little oil is applied to the bottom, on goes the food, then oil to top of food, then the tricky lid. Waiting for bread to grill as I haven’t baked in ages.
      I have a long cast iron griller which lies to one side of the stove top- and always find that the bread just sits there, requiring weighting to get those char marks alla bruschetta. Will report back.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful red fleshed Formosa. I cannot wait until tomato season here – so much better when grown in a hot climate. Love the passata based dishes. I have a grill pan, too, and wouldn’t be without it. You’ll love it. What a wonderful sister to give you it to you.

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    1. It is such a lovely gift. I have a large black grill that sits permanently on the stove but have never experienced a double sided one like this. Can’t wait to so some sourdough bruschetta- when I get back into bread making and out of preserving land.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A post filled with so many good things. Those plums look wonderful and, together with the tomatoes, make me thoroughly envious of the season in which you are living! Funnily enough, I’m about to go down to the kitchen to make a Melanzane Parmigiana…but made with a passata created from tinned tomatoes….which I like..so much so that even in summer I will often make a tomato sauce with tinned tomatoes saving the wonderful fresh, ripe tomatoes for salads or pan bagna:)

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    1. I always fancy a good can of Italian tomatoes too. The home made passata needs a little reducing to make it thick enough for topping the eggplant parmi ( Aus talk), with added garlic and oregano.
      Still on a plum theme for a while yet. enjoyed your Plum in Agen very much.

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  8. Your garden produce looks fantastic, especially to one in the far north where it’s wintery even when slightly warmish.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  9. Francesca, that little bowl looks just like a mother of pearl lined shell. Like the idea of throwing the little toms into the freezer, haven’t heard of that before. Eggplant parma, Mmmmmm! Now I want to slurp a plum and not a single one ion sight 😦

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    1. The little bowl is a hand made oddly shaped pottery piece – the photo does give it that pearly look.
      It’s a plum year here but no pears. They take turns which is fine by me.
      The little toms in the freezer are our winter bombs- just throw them in things from the bag, – casseroles, soups, and so on.

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  10. Just thinking Francesca that panini press would look good in my kitchen but I had a rush of blood at Christmas and gave it to you. Glad you like it. You may need to “oil” it first – season it. From your blister
    of the west.

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    1. It does come with very good instructions for first use. I have a big griddle ( a long black one) which lives on the stove all the time. This double sided number makes a fine addition. Glad you had that blood rush.

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  11. What brand is the griddle? It looks solid and should be heavy enough not to warp. I’ve gone through a few griddles for that reason. And your summer produce looks heavenly. We’re deep into winter, so I’m jealous!

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  12. Love all of you red things in your kitchen Francesca – I love red too! Everything just looks delicious and amazing – I’m looking forward to my brother-in-laws tomatoes for passata and relish and sundried tomatoes. Lots of yummy goodies this month x

    Liked by 1 person

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