Sunday 2 April 2017

In My Kitchen: April 2017

April has arrived, ushering in some autumnal weather (after a very hot start to autumn), the end of daylight savings and a suggestion that our salad days might soon be over.  I am still settling into my new job.  However I have found my online bookmarks and am cooking more.

Above is a salad from a supermarket magazine.  It was like a coleslaw with a gingery Asian vinaigrette.  I planned it for days.  When I made it, the dressing was too acidic for me.  A shame.  I loved all the vegies.  Fortunately I have been finding that plain old coleslaw has been working for a quick vegie side dish.

It has been a summer of Golden Gaytime ice creams.  So I could not resist trying the Golden Gaytime Cornetto (which I thought I saw somewhere as the Gaynetto but perhaps I just dreamt that up).  I really liked the butterscotch and vanilla swirl of ice cream, even though it not something to eat regularly.

St Pat's Day found me with limited energy.  I went for one of the easiest green option.  Pizza with pesto and cheese.  Well, I guess it would have been easier if the pizza base and pesto weren't home made.  It was nice but a bit stodgy without vegies on the side.

I have become more strict on gelatin over the years of being vegetarian, though some gelatin occasionally finds its way into the house.  But I do draw the line at jelly using gelatin.  So when we found this Aeroplane Glitter jelly did not have gelatin, I bought it for Sylvia.  She loves jelly.  Luckily my mum has made jelly a lot.  A lot!

So when we bought this packet, I showed her how to pour in the boiling water on the jelly crystals and then add ice blocks.  I added a few too many iceblocks and it was too sloppy.  We bought another packet and added less ice about 1/2 a cup rather than 3/4 cup and no extra cold water) and it works quite well.  I think Sylvia now thinks we will live on jelly.  Sadly, as it is sugar and chemicals, I am not sure it will be in our house that often.  But at least I can offer Sylvia the fun of jelly making without gelatin.

At the Sydney Road Street Festival.  I fell for this tiered cake stand made of vintage plates.  I love these sort of cake stands but don't really use them much.  They gather dust and are awkward to wash and store.  Yet I am often drawn to them.  I purchased this one because the woman who makes them said she is not making any more because it has become so hard to pick up vintage plates cheaply.  I am glad I have it but I am finding it hard to keep my promise to myself to put out the other tiered stand that I own.

Last month I was delighted to win this beautiful book, The Barber from Budapest and other stories: a memoir with recipes by Liz Posmyk.  In case you don't recognise the name, Liz Posmyk is no other than Bizzy Lizzy who hosts In My Kitchen.  I love reading her blog.  She writes in a thoughtful and entertaining style that makes me look forward to reading her book.  (And now that I finally finished The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and Burial Rites, I think the Barber from Budapest is next.)  I also received a packet of Hungarian paprika to assist with making some of the recipes from the book.

We have a new small chum in our kitchen.  Sylvia loves catalogues.  She was given one for Beanie Boos with some cute little giraffes she was given for her birthday.  She set her heart on Piggly.  But apparently they were rare.  Then amazingly she found one in the local supermarket and had to buy it.  Yes.  Had to!  Well, he is pretty cute.

It has been tomato season.  The above tomatoes are from the school.  Sylvia's close has been doing a Kitchen Garden program and there were selling the tomatoes.  They were really good.  For tomatoes.  I sort of enjoyed them.  In the way that someone who hated tomatoes as a kid and has sort of come around to them as an adult.  At least I can appreciate how pretty they look.

My mum has been making tomato sauce and passata.  It has been great to have her home made sauce.  I have also been eating sauerkraut.  Tomato sauce is like mother's milk (though not on chips) but I still find sauerkraut a challenge. 

Here is one of my sauerkraut meals.  Pretzel bagel from the Farmers Market, with cheese, sauerkraut, grated carrot, tomato, spinach and mayo.  A good lunch.

Another lunch I've had a few times is sandwiches with these fritters.  They are great between two slices of bread with cheese, spinach and Branston pickle.  Which is a win with a mistake.  I decided to use sourdough starter in Sylvia's favourite tofu nuggets instead of the milk and flour.  Then I remembered that I had only used about 1/4 cup of starter topped up with milk instead of 1 cup starter. 

I mixed the leftover seasoned starter and breadcrumbs, with some brown rice, grated carrot, finely chopped nuts and probably a bit of other stuff I don't remember.  They were weird but work well in sandwiches.  I still have a few in the freezer.

Sylvia went to a party a few weekends back.  I painted a door frame that was getting shabby, got some treatment for the citrus leaf miner on our lemon and lime trees, and I added broccoli, leek and parsley to my planter.  I am no green thumb so I will be relieved if they don't die.  Just look at how messy my leeks look.  There were so neat in the punnet but once I repotted, they look like some crazy punk haircut.  The strawberries in the two two pots have produced well and apparently are likely to produce again next year.

Seeing in a mouse in the kitchen has been pretty awful.  Even worse was waking up one morning and seeing it had taken this chunk out out of this loaf of bread.  It was time to lock up all of our food and get a new cat.

Seriously, we didn't get a new cat because of a mouse.  But we did get a new cat.  He is called Shadow.  A quiet and gentle cat.  Until night when he wants company and to claw the bed to remind us of this.  We are working on it.  Locked him in the bathroom.  He opened the door.  Now he curls up with Sylvia on the bed at night to look so cute we can't lock him up.  It is a work in progress.  As are my attempts to take photos of a black cat.  At least we haven't seen the mouse since Shadow arrived.

I am sending this post to Lizzy of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things for the In My Kitchen event, that was started by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  If you would like to join in, send your post to Lizzy by 10 March.  Or just head over to her blog to peek into more kitchens.  And stay tuned for next month when Sherry takes over from Lizzy as host.


  1. I always wonder where to start with your IMK post as so many things excite me. I'm excited about the glitter jelly, its not something I eat - but when I do its often homemade or one made with crystals. I haven't had gelatine come into my house as I've been good about that, but i did pick up a black pasta once that was coloured in ink squid once.

    Do like retro recycled cake stands. I got one last year for a fellow worker as I was her Secret Santa, part of me wanted it myself - but I have two already.

    Welcome to Shadow and hope he gets that mouse. We live near a forest, and see pests scurrying in the garden. I am always nervous one of them will get indoors. D would be excited about the tomatoes! I too find sauerkraut a challenge, but am hoping to incorporate it into my food habits this year with a few recipes that I have bookmarked.

    I do love your cascading pot stand. I'd like something like that for when I step out into the garden.

  2. Wow you're early for the April IMK, and what a selection of things going on! I like the look of Piggly, very cute! That pesto pizza looks wonderful. Unfortunately I didn't manage to make anything green for St Paddy's this year. Tomato season is lovely time, and those homemade sauces are surely full of flavour. The planter looks nice and is very practical. I would need something like that in my small balcony garden.

  3. Hi Johanna, thank you ever so much for your kind words both here and over on my blog. I have greatly enjoyed hosting IMK, but will be travelling extensively in coming months, so I won't be able to do what's needed of the host. I hope you will enjoy my book, congratulations on being one of the winners. So many goodies in your kitchen, as always. How "mad" is that glitter jelly! Happy April to you x

  4. Nice collection of Kitchen Stuff!

    "Glitter jelly" is a new term for me, I think not used over here in the US. We just call it "Jello." There are several vegan alternatives available here to substitute for gelatin made traditionally, including agar-agar and Kosher gelatin. I wondered if you have tried them.

    best... mae at

  5. oh no to the bread but oh yes to Shadow! What a beauty!

    BTW one day my friend found his bread looking the same but he saw a little mousey face peeping out from the middle.

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  7. Shadow is so cute! Congrats on the new member of your household. :)

    That sparkle jello looks awesome! I'm working on a jello with agar-agar powder and it's working out well. It's fun getting a look in your kitchen. :)

  8. What a delightfully full post and kitchen (and so much for me to want to comment on!). I was interested to read your method of making jelly as I don't recall ever adding ice blocks, but that is a good idea. The outdoor planters look fantastic, your new cat is beautiful, and I am exactly the same with tiered cake stands!

  9. Loved your post, and glad to meet Shadow. Glitter jelly sounds fun!

  10. Yes, photographing black fur is so difficult but you've succeeded well here! Shadow is quite the cutie.

  11. That new salad looks really good. Shame it was too acidic. Does the jelly use agar agar to set it? I must look out for a jelly that doesn't use gelatine, which is made from pigs connective tissue mostly.

  12. "I am still settling into my new job." Fun, isn't it ;)
    Ah that ice cream!
    The green pizza is a rather clever idea actually. I should remember that for next year.
    So many delicious eats.
    And your potted plants in the backyard look so pretty - especially with the painted backdrop.
    "Seeing in a mouse in the kitchen has been pretty awful. Even worse was waking up one morning and seeing it had taken this chunk out out of this loaf of bread. It was time to lock up all of our food and get a new cat."
    Ok. So I tried not to laugh at this ... but I failed horribly. Your new cat is quite. When we first got our pup, my husband was strictly opposed to having her on any furniture. It took 2 whole years for me to convince him to allow her on the couch and another full year after that to let her on the bed. Now he complains if she jumps off the bed instead of cuddling up to him ;)

  13. Love your new cat, but shivered when I heard about the mouse. Any reason to get a kitty is a good one. Before we remodeled and plugged up the holes, we sometimes found little mouse heads in corners. Kitty on patrol. Pesto pizza is one of my favorites.

  14. Johanna, what a delight catch up with you "IMK". Loved your stories and photos! We had a mouse recently (eeeek) but thankfully it was a one-time occurrence. No new kitty pets in our future, but I bet Sylvia loves her "Shadow." :) xo Loved your two-tiered cake plate, too -- even if it is a bugger to clean and store -- and your fledgling herb garden.

  15. Hi Johanna, glad to found you. This green concept is really cool!! Enjoyed reading this post...glad no mouse is sighted since Shadow arrived. x

  16. Let's hope we don's get a mouse since we can't have a cat, hubby is allergic! Shadow does look adorable. Pesto pizza is one of our favorites, I hadn't thought to make one for St. Patrick's Day.

  17. Glitter jelly? How amazing. I'm not a jelly fan I must admit. Glad to see someone else who doesn't really like tomatoes 🍅. I do eat them but they are just not my favourite thing Love the cake stand. It Is incredibly hard to get cheap things at op shops any more isn't it? more's the pity Love the beauteous Shadow cat 🐱.


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