Saturday, 5 October 2013

In My Kitchen October 2013

We are midway through Spring  I am beginning to take asparagus for granted.  The Christmas decorations are in the supermarket.  Our lemon tree is weighed down by auspicious blossoms.  The weather veers between gorgeous sunny days and howling storms that rip chunks out of our verandah. 
Over the past month, my life has been busy with Vegan MoFo and holidays as you may notice in this little peek into my kitchen.

Above are my purchases from La Manna Fresh in Brunswick near the Cat Motel where our Zinckie cat stays when we are on holidays.  While E and Sylvia picked her up, I was gathering fruit, vegies, my favourite pesto and a bunch of poppies.  Once the kitchen was well stocked, I really felt like we were home from our Port Fairy holiday.

Before the holidays, I bought a few snacks that made us happy.  On the left are purchases from Ikea.  Rhubarb cordial, chocolate spread with butterscotch pieces, and sour cream and onion crisps.  You might like to read a favouritism into the fact that the rhubarb cordial went weeks ago while the remainder of the crisps were found stashed in the back of the cupboard and the spread is still going.  But I would just eat the whole jar of chocolate spread in a night if I didn't feel that some self-restraint might be advised.  On the right is a packet of vegetable crackers from Coles supermarket that I really enjoyed.

Another snack purchased many weeks ago is this tub of sweet pickled walnuts that I picked up at the Coburg Farmers Market.  I asked what was in it and was told it was a secret recipe , though I could be told that they were pickled in honey, spices and I think citrus peel.  They are pickled when green and can be eaten shell and all.  I find it a bizarre sweet.  It would be great if I did cheese platters.  Alas, I don't and I didn't eat them all mostly because I keep forgetting about them.   (Sadly the mould got there first.)  I was even more intrigued that all the pickled walnuts online seemed to be of the savoury vinegar kind.  I did find a small paragraph about the long history of this style of pickling here.

When I was preparing to go away I was more organised with the vegetables than my pickled walnuts.  I put some in the freezer for stock, took some with us and gave my mum a bunch of parsley.  I chopped and froze some parsley by putting it into mini cupcake silcone pans and covering it with water before storing in the freezer.  I have only used one 'cake' of parsley so far but it worked very well.

We went to Port Fairy for a week of holidays in September.  There is a lovely gourmet food shop (Dariwill Farm) that I found very tempting.  I tried to resist.  We bought some Butlers chocolates that were on special.  The white chocolate with mixed berry went down well but the hazelnut chocolate was less impressive. 

I bought the other biscuits in the supermarket.  The wafer biscuits were Sylvia's choice and made me a little nostalgic (though the ones I had as a child were always in fingers).  The mint flavoured Tim Tims, I chose for E and me.  Then he told me that it wasn't his favourite flavour.  He soldiered on and ate some anyway.

On our last day at Port Fairy, we went to the community market.  I was glad we bought sourdough bread to take home with us.  We also brought home a decadent brownie with salted caramel and candied walnuts (from Treats by Bridie).  Though a little dry around the edges, the middle was fantastic.  A greeting card from the market is also included in the photo.

We also returned from the holidays with a few souvenirs.  A sourdough cookbook, red checked serviettes, a Peppa Pig pencil case, a fairy, a dog and a mermaid colouring-in page.  More about the holiday soon.

Meanwhile back at home we made this cute cat hand puppet from a craft kit.  The holes were punched for the side sewing and there was a plastic needle that was easy for Sylvia to use.  Great for young kids.  I just wish most of the face hadn't already fallen off already.

I wish we had an IGA supermarket near us.  There is one in Brunswick that we visited recently.  The range of chocolates, bread and Asian foods is amazing.  I had a choice of Irrewarra and La Madre sourdough breads.  I chose an Irrewarra bread stick.  I was excited to find Lindt chocolate with a touch of sea salt.  We had it ages ago but our local supermarket hasn't been stocking it.  I also was excited to find the Whittakers Berry and Biscuit chocolate.  It is every bit as good as it sounds.  Sylvia chose the princess yoghurts and pink bandaids.  Pester power is hard to resist sometimes.

I bought this Mango Apple and Pumpkin Chutney from Maleny Cuisine at the IGA supermarket.  The flavours really appealed to me.  We haven't opened it yet.  I hope it tastes as good as it promises.

After my trip to the IGA supermarket I made lunch with the Irrewarra bread stick.  A sandwich of avodaco, lettuce, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and carrot.  Fantastic!

Despite my purchase at IGA, I have been trying not to buy bread because I am trying to make my own sourdough.  I was not quite happy with my loaves.  So I made a softer dough and let it rise less before going in the oven.  The result (above) is my best loaf to date.  Of course when I tried to emulate it, I left out the salt and it is back to not-quite-right. I hope I am learning more about sourdough baking and will write more when I feel more confident about it.

Despite Spring being upon us, we are still having some wild weather.  (Last week we had terrible winds that ripped half our fibreglass verandah awning off and parts of it could be found on the other side of the house and even in our back lane.)  Such weather calls for warming cups of tea.  I am particularly fond of these Madame Flavour herbal teas.

Meanwhile E has started drinking Decaf tea.  Tetleys have very odd messages on the tea bags. Every time E has a cuppa I am read out a new message.

Finally to end on a sweet note, we enjoyed some Connoisseur Murray River Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Chocolate Coated Hazelnuts.  Sylvia didn't like the nuts.  E and I loved it.  The ice cream was particularly good on a Quince and Walnut Garibaldi Biscuit.

I am sending this post to Celia for her In My Kitchen series.  Check out others' kitchens or join in by sending Celia a post about your kitchen.

41 comments:

  1. The difference between you and me is we both have that voice saying it would be bad to eat an entire jar of chocolate spread on one night, but you listen to yours while I soldier on regardless.

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    1. Ha ha hannah - you paint me as the model of self restraint but I can assure you I aint - and then I made scones yesterday and thought the chocolate spread would go so well on them but then I just forgot,

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  2. Looking forward to more on the sourdough - I always assumed making a sourdough loaf was something akin to magic! Never heard of sweet pickled walnuts either - only the savoury kind, but the the thought of eating the shells kind of weirded me out.

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    1. Thanks Joey - I still think sourdough is magic - feels that way when it works and feels like black magic when it doesn't. I hadn't heard of sweet or savoury pickled walnuts - eating the shells seems quite odd but it is quite tasty and not at all crunchy as you would expect

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  3. What fabulous foodie finds! I bought that rhubarb cordial my last Ikea trip too :) I love the elderflower too. I usually pick up their frozen potato rosti cakes too. They're great to have on hand.
    I wish lindt sea salt was vegan :( I know they're not a particularly ethical company but their 90% is my all-time fave choc.
    Enjoy all your spring produce! Just a teeny bit jealous here....

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    1. Thanks Emma - it is a shame that the lindt sea salt isn't veg as it is dark chocolate - I would have potato rosti cakes in my freezer if I had room (need to fit in some stock, doughnuts and maybe cake this week, as well as the loaf of bread already in there) Elderflower cordial sounds good - will have to see if Ikea has that next time

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  4. I'm definitely looking for that rhubarb cordial next time I go to Ikea.

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    1. Thanks Jac - hope you find the cordial - it is lovely and not overly sweet

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  5. What a great haul this month Johanna! I love the Connoisseur ice creams on a stick. So delicious! :D

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - haven't tried the coinoisseur ice creams on a stick but am sure I would love them - this ice cream from the tub was delicious

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  6. Wow, such a great haul! I keep meaning to visit Brunswick IGA too! Also curious about the vegetable wheat thins!

    Are the IKEA chips vegan? I have heard they are but my local one has never carried them :-(

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    1. Thanks L - the vegetable wheat thins have honey in them I think and am not sure about the Ikea chips - sadly have thrown out chip packet but I see some online discussion about them being vegan so am now interested. And the brunswick IGA is fantastic - wish it was around the corner

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  7. IGA chocolate options definitely exceed - by far! - Coles and Woolworths chocolate options. You have some delicious looking things in your kitchen this month and it is dangerous indeed to tell me Ikea has chocolate spread with interesting bits in it (Ikea is somewhere I'm best kept away from for many reasons, but never before have they included food!). I love that tea range too, and your cat puppet.

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    1. Thanks Kari - it would be dangerous for me to know that ikea has the chocolate spread except we don't go there very often - I had a spate of visits - 3 in 3 weeks to look for a lamp but got sick of it being out of stock and finally had a visit where I bought nothing because it had lost its novelty!

      And I think that IGA might not be tied in deals with certain manufacturers like Coles and Woolies seem to be which is yet another reason I wish I could shop there more - more choice!

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  8. Hi Johanna, the idea of rhubarb cordial sounds perfect as we hit the warmer months. Have you tried the new supermarket on cnr Sydney road and Harding st? KMF I think or KLF either way its a bit like an IGA, with focus on great Asian, European, deli, fish etc I really like it and the people seemed nice when I was looking for different things. cheers Jason

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    1. Thanks Jason - will check out this new supermarket - would be great to have a good asian shop in Coburg - thanks for the heads up

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  9. Hi GGG!! Great IMK post! We grew up eating sweet pickled walnuts, they are quintessentially Armenian, like vegemite to an Aussie. I have to admit, yes they can be overly sweet but everything in moderation right?!! Thanks for the tour x

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    1. Thanks Lisa, you have filled in some gaps for me with the pickled walnuts - they were sweet but I was annoyed I just kept forgetting about them because I would have loved to eat them all

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  10. Wow your kitchen is packed with goodies!
    I like the idea of pickled walnuts-in honey and spices no less!
    The cat puppet is really cute. And as for all the chocolates- I'm going to go searching for a piece of Toblerone to gnaw on!

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    1. Thanks Heidiannie - enjoy your toblerone - we have just a bit too much chocolate around the house right now but I guess it is better than none at all :-)

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  11. That Brunswick IGA is incredible. We live much closer to Barkly Square, but every now and then I make the trip further for the IGA's more varied groceries.

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    1. Thanks Cindy - I think I should make the trip there regularly - if only to show coles and woolies that we do want choice!

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  12. i also am a fan of IGA (although the prices are a little higher)... I am also a big big fan of that icecream and those triangle tea bags are gorgeous!

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    1. thanks love at every bite - I am willing to pay a little extra when the products are a little better - though I guess that stops me going there too often - and I think once I finish my teas I should head back as they had some intriguing herbal teas

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  13. What an incredible looking sweet those walnuts are - intriguing! Our local IGA closed a couple of weeks ago - they got the demographic of our suburb waaaay wrong (I think if they had've stocked their shelves with gourmet cheeses and had a deli section they would have made a fortune). We're awaiting to see what opens in its place - hopefully something run by somebody with some more business smarts!

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    1. Thanks Jas - what a shame about your local IGA - I think the Brunswick one has the residents very well sussed! Hope the space is filled with lots of yummy goodies that your local people will want to buy

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  14. Lovely things in your kitchen this month, Johanna! I have that lavender tea as well, and it's very soothing, and the pickled walnuts are interesting, but a bit bizarre looking! Love the cat puppet and Tina wafers..wow, what a blast from the past they are! :)

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    1. Thanks Celia - the lavender tea is great but I prefer the raspberry - was most displeased it wasn't in the supermarket when I went today. And am interested that you remember tina wafers - the wafers I remember were different shaped (though the same three flavours) and I don't remember ever seeing these ones.

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  15. Those pickled walnuts are even more intriguing after seeing a photo, I couldn't quite get my head around them when you described them to me. Love your parsley ice cubes, what a fab idea! I've enjoyed a different flavoured chutney from the Maleny brand but can't recall which one it was - hope this one delivers for you!

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    1. Thanks Mel - even when I tasted them I found them hard to get my head around. I partly made the parsley ice cubes because someone gave me the bunch for free at a community stall and I felt obliged to use it - they are quite watery when I defrost them but have been very useful to have about.

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  16. YUM! you have a lot of delicious looking treats in your kitchen. I wouldn't mind trying those walnuts.
    When I lived in Perth, I always found IGA had more interesting food finds than the bigger box stores, true.
    Good luck on the sourdough...it's something I've been wanting to try for quite a while now. Do you have to bake everyday?

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    1. Thanks Dishes - I think IGA really plays an important role in offering more choices in grocery shopping so I should get there more. The sourdough goes up and down - I am still new to it as I have only started sourdough baking a couple of months ago - it is so amazing to have a fresh loaf - even without salt in it :-( I keep mine in the fridge and am trying to feed it about once a week - I think it is working. And if you don't want to bake sourdough you can either discard some when you feed it or keep the bit you have taken out and use it in baking or flatbreads or pizza (or your feta and spinach filled dough pockets could probably be done with sourdough)

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  17. What a sweet find! I really love that cute cat hand puppets - I love anything with kitties or cats on it.

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    1. Thanks vegan miam - I live with a cat lover so we have lots of cat things about - the puppet was fun

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  18. Johanna, your phrase "pester power" made me smile. (It's been awhile since I've dealt with that persuasive force.) What a wonderful variety of IMK goodies -- enjoyed reading about all of them! (And wish I had a bite of your sandwich...) Thanks for your how-to on parsley "cakes" too; nice way to preserve an abundance.

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    1. Thanks Kim - we hear pester power about kids often but I think that there are just as many temptations for adults as kids :-) And the parsley cakes are very useful to have in the freezer - it is either famine or feast with parsley I find!

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  19. Great post, Johanna, I'm on hols in Europe for a few more days and took a pic of some pickled walnuts in a deli in Copenhagen yesterday. Keen to introduce them to our preserving masterclass if my attempts are successful!

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  20. i'll have to keep my eye out for the 'madame' tea - been trying to find some hibicus tea :-)

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  21. Great post Johanna, true!
    Mango Apple and Pumpkin Chutney from Maleny Cuisine is fantastic too!
    Never had madame tea...now is on the list for me!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewed as part of IMK

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  22. 'Finally, to end on a sweet note'...It's nearly all sweet! I spied some good looking things in your kitchen this month GG. I'm tracking down those vege thins in Coles and I'll be having a go at that Connoisseur ice cream too. I love the Lindt Salt as well and was just having a square with a cup of coffee as I read your post. I suspect you don't get to Big W much but they always have it and it's always discounted. Maybe it's online too? I buy several blocks at a time as some sort of subliminal message to the buyers that it's worth continuing to stock. Yes, Tina wafers should be rectangular.

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