Thursday, 1 August 2013

In My Kitchen - August 2013

This month in my kitchen has seen kooky, comfort, curiosity, cute and craft.  Perhaps I should add kindness as there are a few presents too.

First up is a pot of pasta on Sylvia's toy stove.  My mum and dad returned from their holidays a few weeks back.  They brought back a packet of pasta made of little circles of felt stuffed and sewn into semi circles.  Such a great simple idea.  Better than her home made stews which are made up of finely chopped coloured paper which inevitably spill and end up all over the floor.

Most Aussie kids know teddy bear biscuits.  They have the lines of the bear face baked into the biscuit.  Less recognisable as a bear but even yummier is the chocolate teddy bear biscuits.  My sister Fran loved them so much that when she lived in London this was the food from home that she requested any visitors bring her.  Sylvia asked for a packet the other day and I said yes.  For old times sake!  It is a hard balance to share some of the food I loved as a child without overindulging.

While some food fills me with nostalgia for childhood, others bring back holiday memories.  I couldn't resist this moreish chocolate toffee popcorn from Cadbury.  E and I shared a bag of the stuff in Eeinburgh last year when we went to see Skyfall at the cinema.  Good times!

My kitchen table is the hub for many activities.  Sometimes cooking, sometimes eating, sometimes craft.  Here is Sylvia with her craft apron, her craft tablecloth and her paints all over the table.

Another present my parents brought back from overseas is a craft kit to make these little flower friends.  They require sewing (what was my mum thinking!).  Sylvia can help a little with gluing but I need to do most of the sewing.  So far we have only made two.  Four to go.  They are rather cute.

For some time I have been curious about (vegan) coconut yoghurt. When I found CoYo in stock at Whole Foods, I bought a tub.  I found it very thick, quite intensely coconut-flavoured and lacking in tang that I expect from yoghurt.  (For a more in depth review, see what Catherine thought about it.)  I was more interested than thrilled.  It wasn't spectacular mixed with stewed rhubarb (though we love the rhubarb with porridge) but I have enjoyed having it for ice cream, soup and a curry. It is too expensive to have in the fridge just in case I want it, but I might buy it again if I had a specific recipe in mind.

I was also curious about this Collective Dairy yoghurt from New Zealand.  The packaging was fun, the yoghurt was vegetarian and the rhubarb and strawberry flavour appealed.  It was enjoyable.  Not sure it will be a regular yoghurt in our house.  It was not as creamy as Gippsland Dairy yoghurts and not in convenient larger tubs.  Occasional purchases are likely.  If I see their Russian Fudge flavour I will definitely taste that.

I recently took the plunge and bought a large bag of unbleached flour.  It is nice not to be rushing out to the shops and constantly buying smaller packets.  I am getting through it.  However my main problem is that it is so big that I don't have space for it.  So far it has sat on my kitchen floor, which is rather unsatisfactory.

One reason I have been going through lots of flour is that I finally created a sourdough starter last week.  (Mainly using Brydie's post.)  So far I have made a loaf of bread (above), made sourdough flatbreads and given some of my starter to a friend.  Not a bad start!  My bread was not perfect but I will write about it.

My mum also bought me home some tomato chutney from Ireland.  I haven't opened it yet but the ingredient list looks just right for me.  Sadly it looks far nicer that the Plum and Apple Chutney I made months ago.  I might post about it but the star anise does not appeal so I haven't felt too enthusiastic about it.

Here is a present from my nephew in Ireland to Sylvia.  A motorised spinning spaghetti fork.  Sylvia has only used it once and then lost it.  It is found again so we will need to eat spaghetti again.  If you do have one of these the best advice I can give is to make sure you know where the off switch is.  Sylvia forgot and found herself with rather a lot of spaghetti on her fork!

I bought these pretty straws from the supermarket for Sylvia.  She loves to drink through a straw.  Goodness knows why.  She did laugh knowingly at her library book Alfie Gives a Hand when the birthday boy, Bernard, blows rude noisy bubbles in his drink with a straw.  I think Bernard was rather naughty.  I loved Shirley Hughes books as a kid and still love them.

Here is a peek into my freezer after I made lots frugal freezer stock.  I have found that putting in a whole onion and carrot helps take the bitter edge off the stock which is made using vegetable scraps that I store in my freezer.  I put this lot in the freezer at midnight.  When I shuffled stuff around to make room, I found the bottom shelf was so dirty that I had to give it a good scrub before going to bed. It is lovely having flavoursome homemade stock on hand.  Great for soups and stews.

I am sending this post to Celia for her In My Kitchen series.  Check out others kitchens, join in by sending her a post about your kitchen or let me know what is happening in your kitchen in the comments.

50 comments:

  1. wow, what amazing goodies! I made my own coconut yoghurt which had the zing from the lemon juice. Good luck, and have fun, with your starter :)

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    1. Thanks Tandy - home made yoghurt would mean you have a bit more control over the taste - am sure that is satisfying.

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  2. We have Collective Dairy yoghurt here in big tubs and definitely try the Fudge - it's very good.

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    1. Thanks Anne - glad to hear the fudge flavour is worth trying - as the brand is new we might get it soon

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  3. Hi Johanna. That bread looks good to me. I think you are being too modest. Glenda

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    1. Thanks Glenda - this comment got lost in my spam - thanks for your kind words on the bread - I have written more about it today

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  4. I enjoyed looking into your kitchen!!

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  5. Your kitchen is such a fun place this month!! Can't wait to hear about the sourdough challenge. One of those things I have yet to make but love. :)

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    1. Thanks Janet - I am enjoying the sourdough but still a bit scared of it and still finding my way but it is exciting to get this far

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  6. I'm so intrigued by the coconut yogurt! I'm going to look for it at the store. I'm so interested to see what's in it :D

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - I think if I had a choice I would try the coconut yoghurt with fruit mixed into it rather than a plain one

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  7. Hahaha! Johanna, we usually have at least twenty kilos of flour sitting on the kitchen floor. It's not satisfactory, you're right, but it's the only workable option here! :) I love all of Sylvia's craft adventures, and your parents are geniuses to find that felt pasta. It will keep her entertained for hours! Congratulations on the SD starter - I've never been able to make one, we bought ours! Your first loaf looks most fine! xx

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    1. Thanks Celia - so good to hear I am not alone in the flour on the floor. The felt pasta is great for her little stove and I am excited about the Starter - have enjoyed checking your website posts on sourdough

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  8. I loved peeking into Sylvia's kitchen this month - the felt pasta is such a great idea! That spaghetti fork is a fantastic concept, good to hear it has turned up again.

    It was interesting to hear your thoughts on the CoYo coconut yoghurt. I baulked at the price when I saw it, given I only use yoghurt for marinades and making cheezes I'm happy to keep buying soy yoghurt at a more affordable price.

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    1. Thanks Mel - I was relieve to see the spaghetti fork again because it disappeared for a few days and it was fun. The one thing that interested me about the coconut yoghurt was that after tasting it, the dairy yoghurt we had tasted really strong. But I would be interested to find a soy yoghurt I liked.

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  9. Ah yes, the 'soup' made from scraps of coloured paper... got lots of that in the vacuum cleaner as I type!

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    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - I don't even like to think what is in our vaccum cleaner - I try and avoid little and tiny things but not sure I do completely

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  10. So much happening Johanna! I love the little flower friends - I think they are worth the sewing - and your thoughts on the CoYo yoghurt match mine (I was very disappointed at the lack of tang). I grew up with the plain Teddy Bear biscuits and they still fill me with nostalgia and probably always will. Your freezer is impressively filled and clean (cleaning at midnight?! amazing) and particularly appealing given our freezer is playing up and we aren't using it right now - we have borrowed a very old one that is sitting in the garage!

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    1. Thanks Kari - the flower friends are gorgeous - got to get my sewing mojo back for more of them! Teddy bear biscuits are just so cute. Yes I thought it was a bit crazy to clean the freezer at midnight but I knew if I didn't do it then I would move on to other distractions the next day. Hope you get your freezer sorted soon - ours is not huge but I do love it

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  11. Aww, the toy pasta! <3 And the spaghetti fork is just awesome! :D I'm looking forward to reading more about your sourdough starter, this is something I have never made before!

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    1. Thanks Kath - kids get all the fun stuff! the sourdough starter is quite a mystery to me still but will write more about it

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  12. My Sylvia loves straws, Shirley Hughes and teddy biscuits too :)

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    1. Thanks Kate - childhood is such fun!

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  13. I have that same bag of flour, sitting in my (carpeted) garage begging to be used because it won't fit in the pantry!

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    1. Thanks Jas - seems we are not alone in not having room for the flour in the pantry - I think I need a carpeted garage for an pantry extension :-)

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  14. OMG I want a motorised spinning spaghetti fork! How fabulous is that! Great IMK tour :)

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    1. Thanks Lisa - it is so unnecessary and yet so much fun!

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  15. Hah! I also have my flour situated on the floor of the kitchen. It is convenient and I am not fond of the look- but I think a lot of bakers have their flour stored right where they use it!
    I love all the little girl stories in your kitchen- and I think I will make some of that felt pasta for my grandson's little cookpot!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. thanks heidiannie - flour on the floor is rather convenient though the peg holding mine closed are a nuisance. the felt pasta seems very easy to make if you have the right equipment - hope your grandson enjoys it

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  16. Yay! That's awesome. See I told you it was easy to make a starter! Looking forward to seeing all your amazing loaves you produce. You'll never look back and as for the bags of flour? Yep, I've always got two bags of 12.5 kilos each sitting on my floor. Not great but always dipped into so it's ignorable.

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    1. Thanks Brydie - I just hope my starter lasts - almost put it all into a loaf of bread yesterday morning but am trying to care for it. Second loaf now in the kitchen and looks totally unlike the first so am still experimenting. I think I will just have to look upon my flour on the floor as a sign of much baking - and that is not a bad thing surely!

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  17. You have some great things in your kitchen! I want to try the toffee chocolate popcorn. The flower friends are cute.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I found the toffee chocolate popcorn dangerously moreish but you should try it once

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  18. That little stuffed pasta is so cute!! And I love those straws!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - who doesn't love all the kids stuff - it is so much fun!

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  19. I love coyo yogurt - it's my favourite. I nearly bought those straws for myself... maybe next time

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    1. Thanks Gustoso - the straws are fun and quite sturdy unless you are a 4 year old who loves to chew on them!

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  20. That spaghetti fork is the coolest thing ever!!!!!!!!! :-)
    Sounds like the flour sitting on the floor isn't so practical - other than that I def love the idea of buying it in such a large packet.

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    1. Thanks Sandy - the spaghetti fork is lots of fun - and one might say that dodging the flour packet on the floor is fun too but a large pantry would be great :-)

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  21. G'day Johanna!
    Love what's in your kitchen this month too!
    Wallaby Flour...never heard of and love Teddy Bears...
    Cheers! Joanne

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    1. Thanks Joanne - I love the name of the Wallaby Flour too - and who doesn't love teddy bears - so cute!

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  22. Ah yes, the midnight freezer clean...well, at least it's done now! Have you ever tried doing stock in the crock pot? I'd never thought of it until I saw it mentioned on another blog. Roast the ingredients, whack them in the pot with water, seasoning etc and away you go. Easy peasy. Sounds like you're not having too much success with those other yoghurt brands but at least you can say you've tried.

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    1. Thanks Fiona - gotta do the freezer clean when the mood strikes - stock in a crock pot sounds interesting though I find I don't need to cook mine too long or it can get bitter. I tried the toffee version of the collective dairy yoghurt and it was very good (and still love my gippsland yoghurt)

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  23. Awesome things in your kitchen this month. I love the felt pasta. I think I will have to track it down for our neighbours kids. If it makes you feel better, the only reason I don't have a sack of flour on the flour in the kitchen is because I need to go buy a new one. I I've having stock in the freezer. You have reminded me I need to make more.

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    1. Thanks Tania - I think the felt pasta is from italy - shame as I just noticed only one piece left in Sylvia's little saucepan today - will need to hunt down the rest! (better than actual food around the house). I need to make more stock now too - my stock stocks are dwindling

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  24. What fun to see an IMK post through a child's eyes, too! Some of my daughter's fondest memories were "cooking together" in her play kitchen. (She's 28 now.) Special times!

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    1. Thanks Kim - it is special to spend time with Sylvia - she will be at school next year and I spoke to a teacher the other day about how this changes kids attitudes

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  25. I was wondering how to participate in my kitchen, thanks for showing me the way. And for letting us have a good nosy in your and Sylvia's kitchen - I understand the flour, I buy a big batch too.

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    1. Thanks Shaheen - it would be great if you participate in IMK - they are always fun posts - nice to hear I am not alone in the big bag of flour

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