In My Kitchen. June 2016

Winter is a tough and demanding task master, dishing out all sorts of cruelty to the unsuspecting: nasty viruses, frost and zero temperatures, months spent wood gathering, chopping and storing. Forget about all those scarves and nostalgic notions- it’s just mean and nasty.  But on occasion, along comes that other Winter, like a quiet and tender Scottish grandmother, offering peace and more repose, scope to explore indoor interests, an excuse to indulge in deeply nourishing foods, and a break from all the mad socialising, swilling and swimming of silly Summer. Cruel and kind. Strong but gentle. In the centre of Winter is my kitchen. Let’s take a look.

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There’s a Dobro in my Kitchen!

Mr T keeps a guitar in each room, just in case he finds the inclination to play. He has a few too many,  but he assures me, they all have special sounds and different attributes. Sing me a country song on this still day.

New old books from Savers, source of all my hard copy fantasy.
A swag of new second-hand books from Savers, source of all my hard copy food fantasy. I am really enjoying Plenty, Digressions on Food, Gay Bilson, 2004

It is so quiet outside, only sun has come to visit. As it drops low in the northern sky, it warms our front rooms and I curl up like a cat on a couch with a book, the kindle e-reader or a magazine, a wood fire to keep me company. Time for a cup of tea and a slice of that quince cake. 

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Love this New Zealand magazine, Dish. It isn’t so dominated by advertising. Wishing it wasn’t so expensive!

The pumpkins were harvested last week to make more room for more broad beans and garlic in the garden. They sit on the verandah in the cold, an arm’s throw away from the kitchen. They are a long-lasting source of winter comfort food.

Zucca
Zucca

My zucca  repertoire includes:

  • baking small pieces to throw into a pumpkin risotto, or combining them with caramelised onion and pasta,
  • making pumpkin soup with plenty of fresh ginger,
  • baked and tossed in a salad with spinach and pine nuts,
  • baked in thin slices, with Tamari sauce and sesame seeds
  • I am building up to making some pumpkin and ricotta stuffed ravioli. Time to crank the pasta maker and use up the eggs. And also look forward to some pumpkin gnocchi with burnt butter sage leaves.
Pumpkin and Cavolo Nero Risotto
Pumpkin and Cavolo Nero Risotto

Lentils also star in winter. I often make a lentil version of a shepherd’s pie, spiked with mushrooms, herbs, tomato paste and the key old-fashioned ingredient, Worcestershire sauce, covered in buttery potato and kumara mash. Red lentils go into soups, especially my version of Turkish Bride soup, a meal in itself, as well as dhal,  dhal with curried silverbeet, or homemade paneer, or chopped hard-boiled eggs and curry leaves in ghee. Cheap as chips and so satisfying.

Lentil ans anything
Lentil as anything
Lentil and mushroom sherperd's pie, kumara mash. tomato kausundi
Lentil and mushroom shepherd’s pie, kumara mash. tomato kausundi

The garden is in transition, but still provides the odd little surprise for the kitchen: the chilli are hanging on, one last zucchini, a handful of limes and a gorgeous radicchio growing in a path. I love the way radicchio hardens up in winter, providing that bitter contrast to rich winter foods.

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Picked this morning on the first day of winter is this pile of green tomatoes that happily grew in April and May. The seasons are so strange now. Looks like it’s time to make chutney – again.

June 1, 2016. Green tomato crop.
June 1, 2016. Green tomato crop.

A trip to Basfoods is my idea of heaven. A Melbourne institution for super fresh nuts, spices, dried fruits, pulses, dried beans, bulk flour or anything Turkish. Below we have a bag of Manildra Bakers flour for bread making (12.5 kilo for $14.99). Bags of linseed/flax, an Omega 3 wonder food, to add to bread and porridge, or smoothies in summer (500 g for $3.99), plus almond meal, rye flour, almond flakes, and more. All essential winter ingredients.

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Goods from Basfoods, Brunswick

Thanks Maureen for the link up this month. Maureen is the host of In My Kitchen. http://www.orgasmicchef.com/ Any one can contribute to this series or pop in there, via the link, for a look around world kitchens.

33 thoughts on “In My Kitchen. June 2016”

  1. It all looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I suppose I am going to have to plant some tomatoes some year just so I can get some green ones to fry! Seeing that bowl of your green tomatoes has me a little green with envy. xx

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    1. Thanks Roger. I have never seen linseed growing in the paddocks though we do grow it here. It needs to be saoked before adding to bread, or freshly ground before sticking it in other things, to enable the valuable goodies to become available as the seed is hard. I have been reading about it and though I’m not a health nut, nor am I into super food fads, this one appeals to me.

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  2. It’s unfortunate the lurgy affected you so early this autumnal season, as it’s had quite a bit of lingering summery lovliness to offer… finally delivering authenticity in recent weeks. Our modest potted vege garden continued to deliver modest offerings but has slowed up now… our late tomatoes too have hung in but only a few ripened, I’ll try making green tomato pickles… waste not want not. It’s a pitty there’s not a similar use for unripe passionfruit of which we have no shortage. Your zuppaa repertoire is tasty. Pumpkin also has featured here… soup, and my go-to chilli pumpkin stiry fry which could end up in anything.

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  3. We need a Basfoods in Auckland. Oh how I wished you lived closer .. I would invite myself around on a regular basis for meals 😄 I love Dish mag too! Wonderful post .. Time for me to get my broad beans in

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    1. That Dish Mag is really sensational- you can read it over and over again, but I can’t justify spending that much on a mag on a regular basis. It will become my airport treat.
      I’ll take you to Bas foods when you come over, and the Mediterranean, just for a stroll through Brunswick.

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  4. I follow Dish on FB, lots of fab recipes. I miss Melb’s fab multicultural shops, I didn’t really appreciate how important they were to me, it’s a struggle to find great ingredients here. Love the look of your lentil shepherd’s pie, sadly lentils are off the menu for me. Enjoy fires and scarves, misty mornings and big bowls of steaming soup for me..

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    1. Oh No, not lentils too!! As a veggo, I really need them. I will blog that recipe one day: I know there are lots of versions, but I can fool many a meat eater with it. Must check Dish on FB: thanks for the hint.

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  5. I just made a Curry Pumpkin, Red Lentil and Veg Stock Soup served with yoghurt and parsley on top. Hubby was enthralled with it and it only took 20 mins to cook. I had to add water to it once made as it came out very thick but we have quite a few serves frozen for the future. I used a whole Butternut Pumpkin recently picked and grown by hubby – also added a teaspoon of grated ginger, one onion and some garlic. This soup is to die for! Love anything with lentils in it. Luckily we still have another 2 pumpkins growing so looks like more soup on the horizon. Might open a soup kitchen, ha ha!

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  6. You seem to have the essential Winter survival kit in your kitchen – I can image big pos of soups and dhal nourishing you thought the cold with bread being baked to mop up all the juices. It must be wonderful to step outside and grab your produce.

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  7. The first photo is excellent as it is, but the caption blew me away. I love to learn things like this! Let’s see what I’ve learned when I googled it: Maker of string instruments John Dopyera of Slovak origin and his brothers started a company “Dobro” (the name they also gave to the instrument), a play on words derived from the “Do” in Dopyera and “bro” from Brothers, and a word which means “good” in Slovak. Their slogan was: “Dobro means good in any language!”

    And this is now my slogan too. 😀 I’m Slovenian – but lo, “dobro” means good in my language as well! (As in Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian and I’m sure there are more.) What a dobro start of this Saturday. Thanks!

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  8. I love shops like Basfoods sounds. We have a very similar shop and we always end up buying way too much. It takes us months to eat all what we thought we could not live without.

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  9. I stopped buying some food magazines because of the adds, so good you found one with not so many. Love the fresh green tomatoes and the zucca, always handy to have stores in the cupboard for later use 🙂

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  10. Look at those crazy green tomatoes. It’s been a very topsy turvy year. I cut a pumpkin last week so the race was on to use it. Of course there was soup but I created a couple of new recipes so I could use it all inc Pumpkin Gingerbread which I hope to write about soon. Hope you are over your dreadful cold and flu and those weird dreams.

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  11. My husband & your husband could be great friends – if we didn’t live in a two bedroom apartment, he’d have a guitar in every room for inspiration Francesca. My hubby would love your husbands guitar in your photo – stunning! Your pumpkins look amazing – great recipe tips for using pumpkin too 🙂 Thanks for some beautiful goodies for #IMK this month, see you soon xx
    https://missfoodfairy.com/2016/06/08/in-my-kitchen-june-2016/

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  12. love that first photo – the guitar looks great. so glad we are having a wee bit of cool weather here at long last. it has been the longest summer ever! sorry, i am not a big fan of pumpkin; it always annoys me to see it in every cafe over winter. i figure they are just using the cheapest ingredient they can so they make lots of money:) I love Cuisine mag; those Kiwis really know how to put up great mags.

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  13. You really captured the feeling of the onset of winter in your post and photos, lovely. I sense the stocking of cupboards and pantries in preparation for the cold throughout your writing. You are getting ready for being snowed in. It makes me long for winter, warming fires, and pumpkin dishes…as we head into summer. I will be harvesting the first ripe tomatoes this weekend.

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