Sunday, 7 March 2021

In My Kitchen: March 2021

It is March and life fails to calm down.   February was an eventful month.  Sylvia was settling into high school and so am I with trying to keep up with all the parent activities.  It was nice to talk to some of her teachers at a meet the teacher session.  I bought a new computer and a new car.  I sold my old car for scrap.  We had a snap 5 day lockdown during which Sylvia got sick and had a covid test.  I got sick and had a covid test the next week.  It was not a good time for me to be sick, having just been out for a fun hotpot meal at work and then having to miss our first big Centre face to face meeting since lockdown in March last year.  Both of us are fine and there are now only a few cases of Covid in our state that came from international travellers in hotel quarantine.  But a few weeks back there was great concern about Covid as the Australian Open in tennis was held with crowds and workers were told they could go back to work.  And as if that wasn't unsettling enough, there has been a huge media storm over sexual abuse at the highest levels of power in our government.  Time to take a deep breath and have a good laugh at the Princess Bride!  And let's look into my kitchen.

There has not been much cooking in the kitchen but sometimes inspiration is still nipping at my heels.  More often than not, I am keeping it simple.  The above platter was put together when a friend and her family came for lunch.  This was indeed a simple matter of dips, cheese, rice crackers, vegetables and dolmades.  Plus some delicious bakes by Kerin.  I was so disorganised that we were just back from the shops and they arrived so I had extra help putting the lunch together.

This walnut fudge cake was made for my birthday, which was pretty lowkey this year with a Nourish bowl at The Boot Factory with a friend, mac and cheese salad rolls with this fudge cake for dinner with Sylvia, and then a fancy restaurant meal a few days later with my parents.  I have had this cake on my birthday before and am rather fond of it.  It was very good with lots of berries.  Quite a lot went into the freezer and I still have a few pieces left there.

I was sad when a crack became too great to hold one of my favourite bowls together.  This bowl was one of the first bowls I bought when I moved into my first share house in Fitzroy in the 1990s.  I still have a few let but it is a sad sight to me.

I made this stew to clean out the old vegetables in the fridge.  It had a lovely tomato tahini sauce with smoked paprika and honey.  It was served with haloumi, broccoli, corn and rice.

My mum gave me some basil for the garden.  Luckily it has been a very cool summer so my garden is doing ok, despite my neglect.  We have had very few really hot days but days in the 20s have been lovely.  But I have still managed quite a bit of swimming in the outdoor pool and some beach swimming including a chilly swim at Jan Juc beach last weekend with my visiting brother at 5pm on a cool day.  Back to the basil.  It grew like crazy and finally I pruned it and made pesto with all the trimmings.  I mixed the pesto into brown rice and at it for days.  Above is a meal made with pesto rice, chickpeas, red cabbage, spinach, red capsicum, and olives.

These yoghurts were like the Muellers corners yoghurts in the UK that we love.  The yoghurt comes with crumble, dried fruit and chocolate pieces.  It was delicious: lots of crunch and chewiness with the creamy yoghurt.

Summer is time for ice creams.  Sylvia is very partial to ice creams.  I love chocolate.  So I wanted to try the Magnum Luxe Caramel Ego.  It was very decadent with layers of chocolate and caramel around the ice cream.  Sylvia's choice was the Proud and Punch vegan chocolate and banana smoothie.  She was rather fond of it but I preferred the Magnum!


One of my sentimental weaknesses are the Golden Gaytime ice creams that I loved as a kid.  So when we saw this Golden Gaytime flavoured popcorn, I had to try it.  It was delicious though a little moreish with alternate caramel and chocolate covered popcorn.

Our supermarket had these stainless steel pegs so I bought a packet.  I have seen other brands advertised as a sustainable alternative to plastic pegs.  They seem to work quite well.  I wonder if these will become as easy to find in the shops as plastic pegs.

 I cleaned out my fridge.  Life does not leave me with long hours to do such things but I cleaned it in a few installments.  It was very satisfying and a little sad to throw out lots of my gluten free flours, which ironically had been stored with my gluten flour that also was binned.  I found a lot of the due dates were 2010-2014.  It made me feel quite old that so many years had passed since I bought them but I decided that if they hadn't been used in that time, they might as well go!

These packets are of crackers that I bought to try.  I loved the Gourmet Crackers with aged cheddar and caramelised onion.  The Natural Cracker Co Crispy Taco crackers were a little over seasoned for me.  And I am yet to try the Grainz brown rice snacks with parmesan and herbs.

I was also quite curious about this Whittakers ginger caramel filled chocolate.  It was nice but I prefer their caramel filled chocolate without the ginger.

Here are a few presents I received for my birthday from Scotland.  I really love the thistle doilies and the deer tray.  The cards will be very useful too.  

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 to check out her cute hand drawn banner and visit more kitchens.


  1. Your opening line is just, perfect ....It is March and life fails to calm down. I am sorry that you and Sylvia have been unwell, its never a good time to be unwell - ever, really.

    Anyway, lets get have a good look at what is happening in your
    kitchen - Sorry to read about your broken plate, that is a shame.
    i have wooden pegs like my parents, i felt nostalgic when i picked them up a few years back. your steel ones look rather good too, but i wonder if they may pinch/tear delicate fabrics. Wow that is a lot of flours to be ditched. But these things happens and they get overlooked. As someone who likes her savoury bites, those crackers to appeal

    Good to read that you have a new car and computer - both should be reliable! and make life a little easier.

    And finally, i may have said it before - but if not Belated Birthday wishes my friend x

  2. A belated happy birthday to you, Johanna! It sounds like you had some lovely small celebrations. You can send the ginger caramel chocolate our way, we're big fans of it. :D

  3. The number of new foods in your list this month is awesome. So many different packages. I hope you had a great birthday! And good luck with high school motherhood.

    be well... mae at

  4. Johanna, belated Birthday greetings! Your chocolate cake looks marvelous (just printed it off as a potential dessert for my birthday!) and it's nice to know it freezes well, too. Sorry to see your cracked bowl didn't make it, but it looks like you enjoyed the rest of them with your wonderful stew and pesto rice meals. Crackers with aged cheddar and carmelized onions are making me hungry, too. :) Interesting IMK finds and beautiful gifts from Scotland -- an enjoyable post from beginning to end! Also, I love your dark green decanter in your header photo -- very elegant.

  5. take the plate to a ceramicist, and maybe they can do the japanese thing of repairing it with gold! An artist friend painted the cracked concrete floor in her little gallery with gold leaf. it looks fabulous. i hope you are both feeling better in every way these days. i am still in a bit of a blue funk i have to say. just can't get mojo up! Re your post: i love ginger chocolate; maybe i should hunt it up?:) Golden gaytime popcorn? wow! i've been eating violet crumble gaytimes lately- so delish. Happy happy birthday to you. and i love the scottish stuff! keep well and safe
    sherry x

  6. My Dr. had to remind me when I had my Covid scare last year that there are still other diseases going around, I hope you and Sylvia are recovered. Happy belated birthday, my mouth was watering at that cake. Ginger and chocolate is a wonderful combination. And good luck to Sylvia with high school, it's quite a big step for you both.

  7. Love the selection of snackies this month, I also loved gaytime as a kid and have a soft spot for anything gaytime. Happy belated birthday! Hope this year brings different things to last year :)

  8. Happy belated birthday! I like the sound of your cake. I have the same Proud and Punch ice blocks and Whitakers chocolate in my kitchen!


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