Saturday, 12 September 2020

In My Kitchen - September 2020

I am in denial that it is September.  It can't be so far into the year and yet the weather is warmer and the smell of jasmine hangs in the air in the evenings.  I also don't like to think of how much of the year we have idled away in lockdown when I had so much planned.  Though life has still been busy.  I don't understand why I am so tired when not getting out and about but I find working and homeschooling busy, as well as all the other stuff that needs to be sorted like telehealth, insurance reviews and high school enrollments.  But I am very happy to be starting two weeks of leave.  I have plans to do more blogging, craft, cooking and cleaning!  (And try and get to grips with Blogger's changing formatting.)  But for now, here is a peek into my kitchen.

Currently in lockdown we can only travel 5km and only for essentials or exercise.  I was happy to remember that O'Hea's Bakery is in my area.  I went for a ride there on a recent sunny weekend.  I came home with pesto, chocolate caramel wafers, a pretzel mix, and the newspaper!  It just takes some little luxuries to make a weekend feel special.


Once I found O'Hea's bakery was a nice bike ride away, I took Sylvia.  Wee came home with some baked treats after admiring their range of pasta.


Being in lockdown means a lot of home cooked meals.  On a Friday when I was really tired after a busy day and had been on after work drinks zoom meet up too long, I threw up my hands and said we were going to Heaven.  That's Sylvia's favourite pizza place.


One of the meals that Sylvia and I both eat is Mac n Cheese.  We tried Jac's Mug Macaroni Cheese but have been working on turning it into something quick to make on the stovetop.  


As the weather has started to warm up, we have had a few ice creams in the house.  This Mint with Cookies is our current favourite.



I had planned to make Magdalena Roze's Broccoli Slaw for our Christmas in July Dinner but ran out of energy.  It had to wait for another day.  I was a bit bemused at what to substitute for the buckinis so I used a roasted seed mixture.  It was nice and lasted for days as a healthy side dish or to eat for lunch with a bread roll, but was a bit cold for winter.  I hope it make it again in warmer days.


It is quite convenient to work from home but some days I have breakfast at the computer.  Some days it is bread ad peanut butter.  Some days it is smoothie.  And occasionally it is yoghurt topped with lots of fruit.


Heat packs are great in winter, especially if there is no electric blanket to warm the bed.  When my old heat pack of many years got so worn it the grain started to spill out, I bought a new one.  Unfortunately it went in the microwave when the plate did not turn and got a burnt patch.  It stunk.  So I used the wheat grains from the old bag to replace the new burnt ones.  (I used a funnel to pour it into a small hole and then sewed it up.)


While Sylvia has been doing remote schooling in the second lockdown, yet again I have become more familiar with her school work.  She seems to have a lot of choice boards for many activities.  (I don't envy the teachers trying to keep the kids motivated.)  This means they have a tyranny of choice for some of the day's activities.  In National Science Week, I helped her find a project.  This rainbow jar / layered density tower was made of honey, maple syrup, dishwashing soap, water, olive oil and ethanol, with the help of a little food dye.


Perhaps inspired by her rainbow jar, Sylvia started experimenting with her food.  She made this dessert of layers of chocolate custard and leftover frosting and kiwi fruit.  Not sure what else.  It didn't taste quite as good as it looked but that unicorn confetti looked so pretty.


The craft choice boards have really inspired Sylvia.  I hope to find time to share some photos of more of her craft but this paper plate shark gives me a smile every time I see it.


I am usually very wary of supermarket soup mixes.  A Sri Lankan-spiced lentil and bean soup recipe I chanced across inspired me to buy some.  Of course it did not go into that recipe.  I just admired the pretty legumes and put them into a minestrone.


I love making a bit pot of minestrone but don't usually make it with soaked legumes.  The above lentil and bean soup mix packet said to soak it.  So I did.  It said to boil it for 10 minutes and simmer for 20 minutes.  I found the 20 minutes was far less than I needed.  I think I might have simmered for 50 minutes which was fine for the lentils and beans but not quite enough for the split peas.  I am enjoying the minestrone even with a few toothsome split peas.


Quick meals are very popular lately.  Especially when we get to the supermarket late and get home hungry.  This Taco Tuesday we made easy cheese and tortilla chips nachos and served it with corn on the cob, tomato, spinach and plain yoghurt.  It was simple and satisfying.


This photo of a recent meal does not getting any points for looks but I was proud of how it used kitchen goods.  I had leftover hokkein noodles and vermicelli in the fridge.  The silken tofu in the fridge was a few weeks out of date but smelled fine.  So I made my favourite tofu besan omelette and added noodles, grated carrot and chopped baby spinach.  I left it longer than usual because it was thicker and it was fantastic.  It also gave me a chance to try it in my cast iron skillet that I was given earlier in the year.  After the skillet lingering in the cupboard for months, I have started to enjoy using it.  I worried my omelette would stick because I usually use non-stick frypans.  I had to run an eggflip under the omelette but it worked a treat.  And instead of putting a lid on it , I gave it some time under the grill to crisp up the top.  Another cooking method that works really well with the skillet.


This morning Sylvia and I went to the Coburg Farmers Market a little late.  We were delighted to see our favourite potato lady from Trentham Potato Co.  Gorgeous George was out of kombucha but we bought some wild kombucha and hummus.  Take Me Home had vegetarian lasagnes.  Sylvia wanted apple juice.  I bought some cheese pastries, brownie and pumpkin "sausage" rolls at Pure Pie.  Perhaps the sign had gone missing during the morning but I was not happy to find my brownie was reeking of espesso so I gave it a wide berth.


Finally, Shadow loves indulging in catnip which is growing back in our spring garden.  His crazy eyes look a little like a kid who is so stircrazy from lockdown that when you get to the park and find that the flying fox isn't tied up anymore, you haven't the energy to protest at your kid flying back and forth on it.  Or perhaps he is just giving me a hard stare to remind me that the garden needs attention!


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 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog and visit more kitchens.

14 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear that you're back in lockdown, but at least you've cooked loads of lovely stuff. I love those Manner biscuits from Vienna, but I haven't tried that variation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks VegHog - the numbers are much better so we are on the way up now which makes everyone feel a bit better and a bit impatient. Highly recommend the Viennese biscuits, though sylvia found them quite sweet (but still managed to eat them :-)

      Delete
  2. Discovering a bakery that near to you must have been delightful, when you are so locked down. Our state isn't doing marvelously (probably worse than your area), but many shops and even restaurants are open. However, I don't feel safe going into most places, so I'm voluntarily locked down that way.

    be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mae - your situation in America sounds very stressful - just shows how important good leadership is. It sounds very tough for individuals like yourself to have to make the call to stay safe rather than having a leader who will look out for everyone. Was very pleased to remember O'Hea's bakery - it is nice to see some small local businesses doing well in the pandemic.

      Delete
  3. Shadow is so beautiful and expressive! Sylvia's rainbow dessert is delightful. And Heaven as the name of a pizza store made me LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Shadow is great company in the lockdown. And it is fun to say we are going to heaven. And I think the rainbow dessert is a taste of dessert experimenting to come when the weather warms up!!!

      Delete
  4. I adore the smell of jasmine and rarely smell it here, other than botanic gardens i visited and it evokes good memories. Jasmine always remind me of my paternal grandparents house. i'd love to try and seek it out and grow it here oneday. I am not liking blogger changing format and am struggling navigating it a bit, hopefully you will find it a bit more accessible. That is the classiest pizza box i have ever set eyes upon. The rainbow jar is so cool. Please please don't have breakfast at the computer, its a bad habit to slip into at home (i remember the days of eating my lunch at the computer at work - ah those were the days :) Do enjoy your leave and hopefully it will be refreshing for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shaheen - I love riding around on a warm day and smelling the jasmine - we have some in our front garden which is lovely coming home in spring. Is it too cold for jasmine in Wales? What worries me with Blogger changing format is that old posts formatting goes awry (this has happened to me before). The Pizza box art was impressive. I regret to say I am less and less good at sitting down for breakfast with these busy times but enjoy it when I do sit and relax over brekky. I confess today I just got breakfast and took it back to bed to read my book - that is the sort of relaxing holiday morning I like if I must stay home!

      Delete
  5. Johanna, I can't begin to imagine the challenge of home schooling (even though Sylia is an apt student) -- my "kids" are in their 30's and I've breathed many a sigh of relief. :) Well done! Loved your "heavenly" pizza, yoghurt topped with fruit, variety of nearby finds, and your weekend paper, too, among other things. Take care of yourself and you'll be able to take care of the rest, xo. Thanks for your tip on how to finish a frittata, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kim - I am glad Sylvia is old enough (11) to have some independence - I have spoken to parents of prep kids (and to parents of kids who started high school this year) and it sounds like it has been far more challenging. As well as getting out to buy nice food, being organised enough to get the weekend paper is a treat at the moment - and then double treat if I can find time to read it!

      Delete
  6. lots of interesting things going on here johanna. love the shark plate! and that cute kitty. home schooling - omg. i really feel for you guys in victoria. we have been so very lucky here in QLD; often i forget that we have some restrictions. i mean they seem so lightweight in comparison. take care and thanks for being part of IMK.
    cheers
    sherry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sherry - that shark plate is really cute - Sylvia did that all by herself while I was busy. The paints have been in and out of the kitchen recently. It has been pretty tough in Melbourne - sounds wonderful in Queensland and even much easier in regional Victoria where I have family living. But the numbers are looking much better so fingers crossed it wont last too much longer!

      Delete
  7. You've been very busy capturing your time! I saw the numbers today and they look very promising so hopefully you will have some extra freedoms soon. Nice to see Shadow too! What a sweet face :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. You have some fun things in your kitchen. The O’Heas pirate gingerbread man is my favourite.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)