Wednesday, 3 June 2020

In My Kitchen - June 2020

It is easy to talk about food and how June brings winter and leads us into cosy stews and baking.  It is hard to do it in the context of so much upsetting global news.  The protests, the pain, the sorrow, the injustice in the United States is so disturbing and upsetting to see.  It is Reconciliation Week in Australia where we talk about bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.  The American situation has shone a light here on how badly our Indigenous people are treated, which is critical to creating empathy.  And of course we still have this COVID19 pandemic that has made us need to deal with more uncertainty, grief and distance than we could have thought possible.

Even race politics aside, May has been another odd month. Aren't they all this year!  We have only been in lockdown for 2 months but easing out of lockdown feels like starting life all over again.  We have had the first visit to my parents, Sylvia's first playdate.  My first dinner with a colleague.  Then my first walk in a park in a group of 10 colleagues.  In the next week I have a family afternoon tea and Sylvia returning to school.  Who would have believed a few months ago that all this would feel amazing to be able to do.  Lots of other changes are happening here with easing of lockdown but for now I continue to work from home.

Cafes were able to open in the state of Victoria yesterday with a maximum of 20 patrons and rising to 50 patrons 3 weeks later.  It is amazing to be able to visit a cafe.  We are still eating at home.  The above meringues were made by Sylvia as a school project.  She is pretty amazing that she can make these by herself.  

I had to try this Darrel Lea Malted Milk Bar.  The name is brilliant in evoking nostalgia with allusions to Milk Bars and Malted Milks which were both part of my childhood.  The chocolate with oreos and milk bottle lollies was pretty good but a bit too moreish to buy often.

I cashed in on one of my Mothers Day vouchers.  Sylvia made me breakfast in bed and it was a lovely relaxing morning reading my book while she made pancakes - purple and green - and freshly squeezed orange juice.

We went to the farmers market last weekend.  It was a beautiful day but the farmers market has a limit on how many people could go in.  So we stood in the queue in the sunshine until enough people had left that they would let us in.  I am glad some of favourites like Gorgeous George and the Berries Direct people were there but I have missed the wonderful apples from Three Bridges.

The Village Bakery was at the farmers market but with a much reduced selection.  So we went to the Village Bakery shop.  We queued too for a wonderful salted caramel cronut for me and a lemon curd doughnut for Sylvia.  Social distancing queues are weird.  You don't need too many people for them to stretch out forever!

It is citrus time of year.  We have lots of limes from our tree, lemons from a friend's tree, mandarins from the farmers market and oranges from the supermarket.  Plenty for Sylvia to play with for a school project.  She made a stop motion movie for art.  Meanwhile I had food in the fridge eyeballing me every time I opened the fridge.  I am looking forward to some peaceful working from home when Sylvia goes back to school but I will miss being so involved in the fun of her schooling.

Another example of school being fun is this project on floods.  Luckily Sylvia had not thrown out the leaves and flowers she had collected to make animals out of leaves for art the previous day.  The flood was a good apocalyptic topic.  And I got to pour water over it while Sylvia filmed it.

Not all fun in the kitchen is for school.  Sylvia had a dream of painting pet rocks.  We have had one painting afternoon and need to find another time to finish the project.

And this is not a school activity but it is what it would look like if you could go shopping for a cat.  Shadowy loves being by the front door in hope of being let out at night - if you look closely behind, you can see where he has gnawed the edge of the door!  And if there is a shopping bag there, he will hop in the bag and look like the cutest cat!

I finally made crumpets!  It is something I have wanted to try for ages.  Then I saw Karen on Lavender and Lovage post a recipe for easy three ingredient sourdough crumpets made with sourdough starter and no need for any rising.  They were quick and tasted lovely.  I was surprised they weren't quite as brown as the ones from the supermarket and I only got 5 crumpets.  The crumpet rings (9.5cm diameter) I bought specially for the recipe were bigger than the 7.5cm diameter) egg rings Karen used. It is a great way to use up sourdough starter and have crumpets ready in about 30 minutes!

Sylvia decided to try a new gingerbread recipe one afternoon.  She used too much flour and didn't use an oven timer for the first batch.  Not her finest moment!  So we rolled out some of the remaining pastry and used our Scrabble cookie cutters which are great but are missing a K.  I made some for my work friend Eliza who came around for pizza.  It was the first time I had a friend around for ages and was so lovely to sit and chat.  And did I mention that Sylvia has started cooking an egg on her pizza between the tomato sauce and cheese! 

Another quick recipe that we have discovered recently is the Kitchn's Brownie in a Mug.  I haven't been baking heaps so occasionally when we want some sweet dessert we make this quick recipe.  I love it because there are no eggs and no fuss and minimal dishes.  Please it tastes amazing.  It is quite rich and we have shared it on occasion.  I only recommend it to people with great self control.  It would be just too easy to make this every night.

I have kept my sourdough starter in the same plastic jug ever since I created it in 2014.  Recently the handle broke when it fell on the floor.  So I went searching for a new jug that would not take up too much space in the fridge.  I found a new one but then I have found because it is even narrower and taller than my old jug that it is hard to stir with a spoon.  However I have found that a long butter knife can be used to stir it.  But it may take a bit more experimentation to find the best way to use it.

Meanwhile I have transferred the starter from my favourite old jug.  I did suggest a farewell ceremony to Sylvia but she looked at me rather oddly as she continues to practice being a teenager!  Hopefully the new jug will produce as much bread as my old one.

And I finally sharing this photo of a sunset taken on an evening walk with Sylvia recently.  It signifies both the nights drawing in early as we speed towards the winter solstice and also the appreciation of small things thanks to the lockdown.  I hope you are doing well wherever you are in these crazy times.

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. Sylvia is amazing! I adore all her projects. The food in the fridge made me laugh out loud. The meringues look magical.

  2. Thank you for sharing Sylvia's projects, I miss having young ones in the house...she is very creative and has a wonderful sense of humor. I wonder if you feel safe going out? Restrictions have been somewhat lifted here in the US but covid is still spreading rapidly. Frankly the whole country is a total mess. We are all grieving. Stay well.

  3. Those mug cakes (or brownies or whatever) seem to become popular in waves -- one year everyone is posting a recipe, then it stops for a while. A number of years ago, there was one called "the most dangerous cake in the world" which was named for the fact that you could have a large serving of rich chocolate cake in minutes whenever you chose to.

    As you say, the combined pain of civil unrest, uncontrolled government abuse at many levels, and the neglect of public health are making life very horrifying here in the US.

    be well... mae at

  4. hi johanna
    thanks for joining us at IMK, and thanks for the mention. I love that new jug of yours. the shape of it is just wonderful. I have a thing about jugs; i have many of them lurking on my shelves. Love the faces on the foods in the fridge. so cute. sylvia's meringues are delightful also. Your cat is a sweetheart; looks so cute in that bag. strange times isn't it? i feel for the U.S. And am so glad not to be an american, living with Trump as leader, and having such a non-caring government. Poor buggers!

  5. looks like you are keeping your life full and busy! So amazing you can go to the farmers market and all the best for the return to school :)

  6. You do have some interesting things in your kitchen. My favourite is Shadow in a bag. You are very good with your sourdough starter - mine went grey after a few months so I tossed it and haven’t bothered again.

  7. Nice to hear that the society is opening up a bit more over there too. It does feel incredible to do many things now again. It really makes you appreciate the everyday life in a different way.

  8. Wow Sylvia is so clever making those colourful meringues! Well done on keeping your sourdough alive. It pains me that I killed mine and I don't want to get another one because of it.

  9. I love how your kitty gets into the shopping bags! Cats are such intriguing creatures. Those Scrabble cookie cutters are a real hoot, I'd love to get them for a friend I play Scrabble with

  10. I just went online - blaming you to get me some scrabble cookie cutters, as i love it - but they are unavailable - boo hoo! Shadow does look cute. As always love seeing whats happening in your kitchen and good to see that you were able to get out and about a bit more. I haven't been out at all, the next supermarket run we do I will be stepping into that supermarket.


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