Friday, 14 June 2013

In my Kitchen - June 2013

After a few months of being very sensible about food shopping, the last month has seen me jaunting off to some favourite food shops that yield interesting and unusual foods.  For weeks my fridge has been so full that we were struggling to fit even a few small jar of jam last month.  We have finally eaten our way to clear space in the fridge and it is a joyful sight to behold.


Rather than tell you more about my fridge, I will start with this amazing dark chocolate spread from Oxfam.  A perfect gift.  Something I would never think to buy.  Now I wish it was in my cupboard all the time.  It has been brilliant on focaccia, banana bread, rice cakes, toast.  It was delicious straight off the spoon.  In fact there is very little sweet food that couldn't be improved by a dollop of the stuff.

In my kitchen a little gentle persuasion is sometimes required.  It was amazing to see how quickly Sylvia ate her dinner when it was shaped like George Pig's dinosaur.  I used brussel sprouts for the body, cucumber head, capsicum limbs and cheese scales.
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I only shop at Casa Iberica in Fitzroy if I can get a park.  I have had tamales on my to-do list since seeing Katie post about them.  I couldn't find masa harina so I bought masa lista.  The smallest bag was 2kg.  I am sure I will never get through it.  My tamales weren't fantastic but I must write about them soon.  And now I have no excuse not to try making corn tortillas. 

There are moments in shopping when you find something so unexpected that you can't leave it behind.  I was fascinated with the hazelnut agave syrup at Casa Iberica.  It has a deep roasted flavour that I could drink straight out of the bottle.  I've been experimenting with it.  So far I think I like it best in a batch of hazelnut oat choc chip cookies that I made on the weekend.

Just to prove that all my purchases aren't fancy, I thought I would throw in a picture of some icy poles that we brought for Sylvia.  They cheap and cheerful treats.  The ice cream stays very soft.  I think I love the honeycomb one because it reminds me of Gaytime ice creams.  Sylvia loves to eat these mixed up in a bowl once they fall off the stick.

Ice cream is only an occasional treat in my kitchen.  More regular is rice cakes.  I give Sylvia these rice cakes covered in berry yoghurt because they are more healthy.  Sylvia loves them because they are pink.

Another recipe that I will share with you down the track is this Plum and Apple Chutney.  I don't usually have much patience with letting chutney rest for a month or two before eating.  I have put about 8 jars of this chutney up high until it has rested.  I think I am feeling a bit more confident about sealing the jars which helps me feel less worried about it sitting in the cupboard for months.  (Touchwood!)

This linseed and quinoa loaf from the Sourdough Rustica stall was bought on our last trip to the Fitzroy Market.  It was excellent.  Dense, satisfying with a chewy crust.  As you would hope at around $7 a loaf.  I was pleased Sylvia liked it despite the seeds.

On a recent trip to Lygon Street, Sylvia asked for a punnet of strawberries. They were hard to resist.  Deliciously juicy and sweet.  Great on porridge or with caramelised walnuts and ice cream.

It was at the same fruit and vegetable shop that we bought this glorious purple cauliflower, despite having a whole white cauliflower at home.  I have written about the burritos and roasted vegetable salad that I made with it.  Yet I couldn't resist sharing another photo of purple cauliflower.

For a long time, I have been meaning to try kale chips.  I was finally tempted to buy a packet at Radical Grocery in Brunswick.  I was swayed by the cashew and barbeque spice blend flavours.  It was nice and very spicy.  However it was more vegetable flavour and less crisp than I expected.  I was not bowled over.  I will need to try more to check if my expectations were too high or kale chips are not my thing.

Far more pleasing was the Alter Ego Dark Coconut Toffee Organic Chocolate.  Also bought at Radical Grocery.  It was a combination of my favourite flavours, with gorgeous retro packaging.  I loved the double crunch and the smooth chocolate.

Every now and again we buy some medjool dates for snacks.  I had some good intentions of including these in baking.  They were so delicious, we just snacked on them.

I have been following Lorraine Elliot's Not Quite Nigella blog for years.  So I was interested to read her new book of the same name.  Like the blog, it is a great read and has some interesting recipes.  I missed the photos and being able to comment but it reminded me how short blog posts and how lovely it is to snuggle up with a good book.

I picked up this tin of Amy's Split Pea Soup at Wholefoods in East Brunswick.  It was delicious and had a very simple ingredients list.  I would buy it more regularly if it was cheaper and local.  It is a nice alternative to making lunch with a tub from the freezer that might be soup and might be stock.  (Today's freezer lunch was soup but an unidentified one!)

I am sending this post to Celia for her In My Kitchen event that she holds each month.  It is a great opportunity to peek into other people's kitchens.

22 comments:

  1. These are so wonderful, Johanna. We never thought we'd get through our masarepa, either, but it is one of Rob's favourite meals. It lists arepas as an option on your bag, so you may want to try them, too. :-)

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement on the masa lista Janet, I rarely buy flour in bigger bags than 1kg because I use lots of different ones - I am not familiar with arepas but sounds like I need to be

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  2. Oh that dark chocolate spread...I definitely need that in my life!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - the dark chocolate spread is amazing - I love it so much I have wondered about making it at home

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  3. I can never buy chocolate spreads, when I bought a chocolate tahini spread it was gone really, really quickly (two days maybe...?)

    With kale chips, I've never really liked the packet ones. I make my own in the dehydrator so if there's ever a big bloggers meet, I'll make some :)

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    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - I don't buy chocolate spreads for the same reason but this was a present (and lasted longer than the hazelnut chocolate spread that came with it). I had a suspicion that home made kale chips are better - should try my own but would love to try some made in the dehydrator - must get a bloggers meet happening!

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    2. Lol. Same here. I love that Oxfam spread! And I'm totally up for a blogger meet up x

      P.s. Love the dinosaur dinner!

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    3. Thanks Nat - good to hear more support for a blogger meet up and veganopoulous' kale chips :-)

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  4. Those store bought kale chips are pretty rubbish. I would recommend making your own at home before deciding if you like them! You don't need a food dehydrator to make them. I just toss some kale in a bit of oil, salt, and savoury yeast and bake at about 170 C until crispy, but there are a million more interesting recipes online!

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    1. Thanks Sarah - this is what I had hoped to hear so I guess I still need to try making this one day

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  5. So many fun new foodie buys!I've been meaning to get some masa harina to make tortillas after seeing Ashley's tutorial http://edibleash.squarespace.com/home/2013/4/29/homemade-corn-tortillas-baked-tortilla-chips.html
    I've never had tamales before believe it or not but have always thought they looked tasty.
    And what a lovely Mummy you are making that great dinosaur dinner for Sylvia:)

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    1. Thanks Coconut and berries - I can well believe you haven't had tamales before - they are still a mystery to me - will check out the tortilla link

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  6. Aaahahaha!! Now you understand the allure of sweet flavoured nut butters eaten from a spoooooooon!

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    1. Thanks Hannah - I am sure that I would never be eating sweet nut butters from a spoon if not for your bad influence :-) Actually if there is chocolate involved I am far more likely to want to eat it on a spoon

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  7. Lovely peek into your kitchen! I have seen that chocolate spread but not tried it - I may not be able to resist next time! - and ditto that particular flavour of Alter Eco chocolate (they have so many great dairy free ones that I've resisted the toffee with its dairy addition). I'm intrigued by flavoured agave and have tried and enjoyed those rice cakes covered in berry yoghurt (despite the dairy!) :)

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    1. Thanks Kari - the chocolate spread is amazing and so is the flavoured agave - I confess that I loved this chocolate but my favourite lately is the lindt chocolate with sea salt - and we couldn't find more of the pink rice cakes so we now have chocolate ones!

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  8. You have some great things in your kitchen. I would like to try the pink rice cakes and the chocolate spread.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - highly recommend both of them - not sure if they are still selling the pink rice cakes as I couldn't find them on my last trip to the supermarket

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  9. Isn't Lorraine's book just the best? And I love your dinosaur dinner, and that fabulous looking chocolate spread - which must taste even better given it's fairtrade and supporting a village! Beautiful looking bread as well! x

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    1. Thanks Celia - yes I really loved reading Lorraine's book and the chocolate spread definitely tasted better for being fair trade

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  10. I want everything that you have!!! And that dinosaur. Almost too cute to eat....

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  11. I love Sylvia's dinosuar and agree that it's almost too cute to eat. I've never bought kale chips, I made some at home recently which were gobbled up by people who said they didn't like kale!

    Hope you enjoy making tamales! I've wrapped them in foil rather than corn husks and this worked for me. I must make them again soon, you have reminded me of my neglected big bag of flour!

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