Sunday 4 February 2018

In My Kitchen - February 2018

February finds me back at work, school back and I've had enough heatwaves to do me the rest of the year, thank you very much.   As always I looked forward to the school holidays so much but by the end I was looking forward to the end of term for a break.  But there is even less time for blogging now I am back at work.

After half a week of the school term I have missed two of Sylvia's swimming lessons, gone to gymnastics before classes start and got to the shops after all the uniforms in Sylvia's size sell out.  No matter.

I am at least more organised with making sure Sylvia gets to school with a neat (albeit short) uniform, a healthy lunch and her hat. (Actually she reminded me about the no hat no play policy at this time of year.)

My February kitchen is very summery with cool drinks, fragrant basil and vegies and dip with some sweet treats like the honey photo above.  Sylvia had a new bee toy and only wanted food with honey as well as hunting out anything in the house related to honey.

We bought some of the honey treats above so we could make a sundae.  Honey and butterscotch ice cream with honey maltesers, crunchie crumbs, gingerbread sauce, chocolate sauce, strawberries and wafers.  Honestly these are more fun to make than to eat and often don't always get all eaten.

At the more healthy end of the spectrum is our addiction to kombucha.  While on holiday in Ocean Grove Sylvia and I had to try Remedy's cherry plum kombucha.  It had a really lovely fruity flavour and was very refreshing.  It was a sentimental favourite for me because I grew up with a huge cherry plum tree in the backyard but you don't hear that term very often these days.

On the way home from our Ocean Grove holiday we stopped at That Place, a patisserie tucked away in Belmont.  We both had hot chocolate, I had a lovely beetroot and carrot cake, and Sylvia had a cinnamon scroll.  All so good we took away a salted caramel lamington and a nutella pastry, plus a home made marshmallow (which I assume wasn't vegetarian but did not ask).

Then we drove on to Geelong Fresh in pouring rain (thankful to have left the beach) and was tempted by the cutest bottle of gingerbread syrup.  I hoped hoped it might be good for pancakes.  We found it a bit sweet and prefer maple syrup but it was good with some stewed apricots or yohurt on the pancakes.  

At Geelong Fresh we also made quite a few other purchases - seaweed snacks, raspberry liquorice, a most excellent loaf of sourdough garlic bread with sweet nuggets of roast garlic throughout it.  We also bought these black sesame almonds made by Pana Chocolate.  I have to say they were the most weird snack I have had for a while.  The ingredients were roasted almonds, black sesame seeds, maple syrup and coconut sugar.  The almonds had a coating of slightly sweet tahini flavour.  I really enjoyed them for something sweet after dinner.

My sister and brother in law have been renovating their kitchen.  John kindly made us a chopping board out of leftover wood from the benches.  We had to give it a good oil and salt before using it, hence Sylvia writing her name in salt.  I am still trying to decide if it is too big or not.  He has said he will trim it if it is too long.  It has been lovely to take photos on over summer.

Our strawberries and basil have been growing well in our pots.  I still need to do something about the failed leeks below the basil and am hoping the parsley might regrow after going to seed.  I have used the basil in pesto and salad and on pizza but am wondering what I was going to make all those times in the past that I wanted basil in the backyard.  Let me know if you have favourite recipes using basil.

Here is one salad I made with basil.  It was based on a recipe for Tomato, basil, and cucumber salad with brown rice and feta.  I didn't have enough brown rice so I used risoni.  It wasn't a great success and made so much that after a couple of nights we gave up and binned it.  I don't like throwing away food and usually can rescue it somehow but this just didn't work for me in any way.

A slightly better basil offering was this bread scroll with pesto and cheese.  It was the result of a disaster day making bread after letting my sourdough starter get quite sad and neglected.  I decided to try some bread but it was a cold night and in the morning the dough had a long way to go to get to the usual level in the bowl.  So I left it and was busy by the time it was ready, so it waited a bit more. 

It wasn't a great dough so I flattened it into a rectangle, spread it with pesto and cheese (and one with pizza flavoured tomato paste and cheese) and rolled into into a scroll.  I slashed it into slices that I could cut when it came out of the oven. It took ages to bake because my oven did not want to stay on so I finally baked it for the last bit in the grill part of the oven.  I was relieved to find it edible.  It made a handy lunch on the run and the rest didn't last long enough in the freezer.  I should try this again when the dough is behaving better. 

We can't resist a limited edition at the supermarket.  I wasn't that impressed by this raspberry coke.  It was ok but a bit sarsparilla for me.  E and Sylvia loved it.  Honestly I am not a big coke fan anyway - there are so many better soft drinks out there these days.

I fell for the limited edition Doritos collide with a both sweet chilli corn chips and lime chips in the same packet.  A fun idea but they didn't look quite so different inside as they did on the packaging.  And yes, you could always just buy to different flavoured packets of corn chips.

Here are a few packets of bikkies I have found more interesting at the supermarket than when I get home.  The Peckish range  of rice crackers with carrot and kale sounded exciting but didn't have a lot of extra flavour.  The difference was seen in the colour that seemed to get Sylvia's back up.  We also could not resist a packet of Choc Cherry Tim Tams that claimed to change colour in the fridge.  But ... meh ... we did the research and could not see the difference.  The taste was sensational though!

Finally here is last night's tea.  A wedge of Castello brie cheese with crackers and a plate of vegies and hummus.  We've had quite a few of these meals because it is hot and I don't feel like spending lots of time in the kitchen or eating anything too complicated.  You might notice under the cheese and crackers is my new bread and butter plate that has a pattern of broken plates with all different patterns.  The plate makes me happy.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings 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 Sherry by 10th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to peek into more kitchens. 


  1. Your markets seem to have an endless supply of newly invented foods, and you seem to have an endless willingness to try them! Too bad the TimTams didn't actually change color: that sounds like fun. I grew up with cherry coke, but raspberry coke is entirely novel to me.

    best... mae at

  2. It looks so summery in your kitchen! And I hope, despite your comments, that those vegetable Peckish crackers make it over here. The Peckish range (in just a few flavours) are pretty much the only offering for those types of rice crackers, which remain mysteriously absent in the UK market, but I would appreciate the novel colours even if Sylvia didn't :-)

    I also love your new chopping board and the sound of those nuts, and wonder if the gingerbread syrup would be nice in coffee (except I'm not sure if you drink coffee).

  3. I love the chopping board, your brother in law is very talented. And I also adore the gingerbread syrup bottle. We have gingerbread syrup that we have been using for coffee.
    The flavoured rice crackers have interested me as I'd love to try them if they appear in the UK. And finally I may have a got at making some black sesame almonds as I have all the ingredients. Not sure if I will get round to participating in IMK this month, but will try as I do have lots of things still left over from the seasonal holidays, but have not photographed.

  4. I always love these posts! :) Those Belmont cakes look so tasty!

  5. raspberry coke?! wow. sounds interesting. when were in the US years ago, we were amazed by the multitude of different flavoured Cokes they have. Love the bee toy and the cute little bottle of ginger syrup. Choc cherry tim tams? oh yes! thanks for joining in. cheers S x

  6. I haven't gotten on the Kombucha wagon yet, but I always look at the bottles with great interest, as I also always am so thirsty for refreshing drinks.

    That is the single best bottle of gingerbread syrup I have ever seen!

    Nice to see your kitchen garden as well. I'm all out of basil ideas, as it's winter here, and I don't use so many fresh herbs at the moment. I think that bread was a great idea to use it in.

  7. "But there is even less time for blogging now I am back at work."
    I definitely feel you on this front ;)
    Sylvia's bee is really cute - I like hearing about her interesting food tendencies, like honey. I was similar to her when I was that age. I used to love maltesers at her age too!
    The sundaes look so fun!
    The black sesame almonds sound delicious - I recently came across a recipe for a dessert that called for tahini and was strangely intrigued.
    I love the idea of making a cutting board out of leftovers like that. We actually have a cutting board a similar size (it may be a tad smaller) and although I don't use it as often as my medium-sized cutting board, I like bringing it out for soups & stews that require a lot of veggie chopping and can keep all of the veggies on the cutting board together with room to spare.
    I'm probably too late... but here's one of my favourite basil recipes:
    That bread looks sooooo good. I have been avoiding making bread recipes since I'm gluten free, but I have recently been reevaluating it and my considering going gluten again. I will try out your bread =)
    Your kitchen is always so fun Johanna.

  8. The pesto flatbread looks amazing! Raspberry coke?!?!?


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