Thursday, 9 April 2020

In My Kitchen: April 2020

T. S. Eliot said "April is the cruelest month." Looking around the world that seems true but Australia is happy to have a significant downturn of CoVid19 cases.  There is a long way to go yet.  Working at home with a school child at home is not ideal but having a job and having company is something to be valued in these strange times.  Yesterday I started a week of leave.  It is nice to have a break but usually we go out in holidays to movies and shops and sightseeing and visit family and friends.  We have to content ourselves with cooking, monopoly, face time and tidying the house.  Now, let's have a look at what's going on in my kitchen, in these strange days of eating in all the time.

Above is a particularly pleasing meal of ravioli.  I heated a little oil in the saucepan, fried some red capsicum, peas and spring onions, then mixed in spinach, basil and grated cheese with some ravioli.

For nostalgic reasons I am sharing this mac and cheese I made at my parents house about a month ago.  On the visit we knew it was getting worse but we were not sure exactly what that would mean.  I made it because it is one of Sylvia's favourite dishes.  But she wasn't so keen on it with dairy milk rather than the soy milk that we use at home.  The rest of us enjoyed it and also had some halloumi bake my mum had made.  It is so odd and sad not to be able to go and visit my family, especially with Easter coming.  Thank goodness for mobile phones and Zoom for keeping in touch with family.

I was delighted to find this 12.5kg bag of baking flour at one of our Middle Eastern grocery stores.  It has been supporting us well with baking cake, bread and hot cross buns.  I feel so lucky to have it when I look at how empty the flour shelves are.  The bread flour seems scarce as hen's teeth.  And I've heard a few people say it is also hard to get yeast.  I would love to know if bread baking has gone up more than usual!

Sylvia has had a lot of screen time (hello Brooklyn 99) but she is also doing some projects to share with her class mates.  They are keeping in touch through their ipad program.  We have now had confirmation that school children will study from home unless they are vulnerable or their parents work in essential services.  So it is good the school has started asking the students to link up digitally.

When I went to get my flu vaccination, Sylvia stayed with her dad and made green cupcakes.  My favourites were the ones that had caramel sauce on them but she liked the ones that she iced with cream cheese frosting!  On the way home I did some supermarket shopping.  In the photo above are the garlic bread flavoured Doritos crackers that are our latest favourite crackers.. 

This is what I bought on my last visit to the farmers market.  It was busy then but I haven't been for a few weeks.  I have heard they are limiting the numbers at any time so I guess it is quieter.  I love the pumpkin bread and choc chip berry scrolls and the Gorgeous George kombucha.  But the main reason I have not been going is that my favourite apple stall (Three Bridges)  is not appearing on the list of stall holders.  They do amazing fresh apples each autumn and are one of my favourite stallholders at this time of year.

Many weeks before my last farmers market visit I picked up this curious Kennedy Popcorn on the Cob.  It was exciting for its novelty value.  You can see a photo of the corn on the cob in my March In My Kitchen post.  It came with a paper bag and instructions for cooking.  The corn is dried on the cob and goes in a paper bag in the microwave and comes out with a mostly denuded corn cob in a bag of popcorn.  I was so excited that I recommend you buy it online or at markets if you get the chance!

Sylvia asked E to get her these black cat lollies, which ended up in our place.  The aniseed flavour was quite strong.  Sylvia was keen on them because she loves black cats but I don't think she was quite as keen on the flavour.

For meals I have been making mostly stews and soups.  I liked this stew with the remains of a box of pretty Barilla casarecce pasta.  Sylvia has eaten a lot of beans on toast.  And we both have been eating chocolate when not baking.

We are still having pizza on Fridays.  The pizza above was pretty amazing with roasted pumpkin, fresh pineapple, mushroom and olive as well as the usual tomato sauce and cheese.  I was surprised that Sylvia was willing to try some of her margherita pizza with finely chopped olives.  She doesn't normally eat them but I wonder if she will come around as she love bitter flavours.

I have been baking hot cross buns.  The overnight sourdough hot cross bun recipe I made last year has been working a treat.  I have made it with pumpkin in one batch and stewed apples in another and both are delicious.  Sylvia is not so keen, even when we agreed to use dried cranberries and dried nectarine and I cut the dried fruit smaller.  I liked the addition of orange zest to the second batch because in an idea world I would have dried peel in my hot cross buns, but did not have any on hand this year.  It was a sign of a well stocked pantry that I could made two batches without needing to go out for supplies.

Sylvia prefers the choc chip hot cross buns.  Now I love chocolate with a passion but prefer fruit in my hot cross buns.  We were going to make hot cross muffins but I was not well and needed to sleep off a headache yesterday.  Today I have made chocolate babka from the Coles magazine.  It is still cooling so I will write more about how it tastes.  Sylvia found the shaping very amusing.  Shadow was quite interested when I started baking. 

I plan to be back with this as well as more posts but am finding my time and energy for blogging is not great lately.  I am not managing to blog so often but will continue at a slower pace for now.

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,  I am grateful to Sherry for soldiering on despite all the upheaval as In My Kitchen is always a fun event. If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog and visit more kitchens.


  1. So good to know that Australia is on the downward trend with COVID cases. I too have not had the time or energy for blogging given that I feel pulled in all directions. Flour shelves are empty here as well; I do have enough to make a carrot cake for Easter weekend. Stay safe, friends.

  2. Flour has been hard to find from the start of the lockdown. Everyone seems to find that baking takes one's mind of the crisis as well as being a good way to have nice food. Yeast is even less available. Our neighbors have been supplying us with flour, and we have been reciprocating by giving them bread. Len is the baker, and he's really doing some amazing new recipes. The global scope of this emergency is especially overwhelming.

    be well... mae at

  3. Scrumptious looking hot x buns! I love the vegan recipe. I'm low on flour but my work colleague donated me a bag so I'm definitely making them this weekend. Stay safe!

  4. I enjoyed your post and I think we are all feeling a bit challenged at the moment. What a find your flour was. I have been given a couple of packets in payment for fresh honey so I am feeling very fortunate. Stay well, Pauline

  5. I think everyone must be baking right now. We still have plenty of bread here in Fort Bragg so there doesn't seem to be a shortage but I haven't checked the shelves for flour. Your bread and buns look delicious, the pizza as well. Stay safe and well.

  6. I am glad to see you kitchen buzzing with good stuff. Yeast has indeed been hard to find in the UK too, i was fortunate that my niece sent me some so am able to make bread at home. So good that you have been able to get flour. I've bought popping corn on the cob before, but ended up taking the corn of the hob for popping as there was no instruction on how to use it. The black cat sweets intrigue me with aniseed flavour,shame they were not to Sylvia's taste - but they sound like a grown up flavour. Make the most of your break.Your hot cross buns look amazing.

  7. thanks so much for joining in johanna, and thanks for the mention. i am finding it so hard to blog or comment or do anything really but i am trying to persevere:) All i do is cook and bake and eat. i think the old waistline is getting a wee bit fatter! take care and keep well! x

  8. Your pasta dishes look so fresh and inviting. I love the brand name "Gorgeous George" for the kombucha. I never used to like black cats but I am definitely getting old - when I last bought party lollies I tried the black cats for the first time in years and liked them!


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