A Food & Travel Blog

In My Kitchen – October 2013

09/10/2013 | By

Whoa – what on earth is going on here?!! It’s not like me to be organised enough to get an “In My Kitchen” post up to link with my friend Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, but nevertheless that seems to be what I’ve done. I wouldn’t want you to be getting used to this as any sort of a regular occurrence – I just had one or two things I wanted to show you, so here goes.

In my kitchen –


… are the very last of the lilacs. I just adore these flowers and the delicate way they scent the air, but their flowering time is so very fleeting. I thought I’d miss them this year as they were just ready to flower when I left, but they saved themselves for me and I had to share them with you.

Turkish table cloth

… is my new, Turkish table cloth. These designs and colours are found all over Turkey in different variations and, while I loved them, I just couldn’t see a way to fit them in with my (admittedly haphazard) home decor until I found this table cloth. I bought it from a delightful old couple who lived high up in a stone cave house in Cappadoccia (more on that at a later date). They very good-naturedly let a bunch of us troop through their sleeping, living and cooking areas and had a few souvenirs for sale on the way out. None of these people were wealthy so I was more than happy to pay my way and to secure a visual memory that I can enjoy every day in my own kitchen.

Turkish delight

… there is still just a little real Turkish delight in my kitchen. The taste of the real thing bears very little resemblance to what we get here and there is no way I was going to travel all the way to Turkey and not bring some back. I bought a few boxes as gifts and just a bit (okay, more than a bit) for us to enjoy at home, although you’d be surprised at how much that stuff weighs down one’s baggage allowance.

Greg & Lucy Malouf "Turquoise"

… down from the bookshelf and now on my table is my copy of Greg  and Lucy Malouf’s “Turquoise”, the beautiful book about their travels and eating inspirations in Turkey. Just the thing to keep the recent trip fresh in my mind and to help me share some of the amazing Turkish food with my family (who missed out, yet again).

Serge Dansereau "Seasonal Kitchen"

… waiting patiently for me to get to it is a copy of Sydney chef Serge Dansereau’s gorgeous new cookbook “Seasonal Kitchen”, from ABC Books, Harper Collins. My heart did a little leap when I found this in the post just before I left for my trip and I can’t wait to get my teeth into it – pun intended.

After Eight

… still in my kitchen, but not for long, is my secret addiction. For many years now I have had a distinct fondness for the wafer-thin, dark chocolate enrobed, post-prandial treats which used to be know as After Dinner Mints – that is, of course, when they were still available here in Australia. They vanished off the store shelves a few years back leaving me sad, bereft and just a little twitchy. Last year I was overjoyed to discover they are still available in North America under the name “After Eight” and I made sure I indulged whilst I could. I was equally chuffed to find them a few weeks ago in a candy store in Changi Airport in Singapore. The large box I bought on the way over to Bulgaria just lasted until I got back to Singapore on the way home and the whereabouts of these two boxes is a closely held secret. I won’t be sharing.

To check out all the other, more regular, “In My Kitchen” posts head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

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  1. Pat Machin

    The lilacs are beautiful and it’s nice to know that someone is enjoying their spring splendour as our leaves fall and it gets colder.

    I’m also coveting your tablecloth ~ even though that means I am committing a deadly sin! It is always lovely to look back on travel through tangible items.

    I didn’t realise that After Eight Mints were unavailable in Australia. How deprived you are!

    They were invented in 1962 at Rowntrees York factory by Brian Sollitt who died earlier this year.

    Now, of course, they are made by Nestlé and still popular here.

    Thank you for sharing. Now I must get my contribution together!

  2. Jane @ Shady Baker

    Hello Amanda. Your kitchen looks lovely as always…Greg and Lucy Malouf’s books are beautiful aren’t they? I have seen some of them but not this one.

    The After Dinner Mints bring back some memories and I didn’t realise they were not available anymore. My mother and grandmother always brought them out after dinner parties. When I was young they seemed very special!

  3. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    That’s what I like about you, Amanda, you are clever enough to hide the good chocolate.

    I love that turquoise!

  4. Amanda McInerney

    Pat – thanks for that info. I shall be looking for After Eights when I’m in London in January!
    Jane – I think it was very generous of you mother and grandmother to share the After Dinner Mints. I never did.
    Maureen – I ALWAYS hide the good chocolate.

  5. Kim | a little lunch

    Amanda, I love the mix of travel and home in your IMK post. The scent of lilacs is so captivating… I’m glad they waited for you. (And thanks for sharing them!) Your new tablecloth is beautiful — what a story behind it, too. Things like that make your kitchen even more of a place to linger and reminisce.

  6. celia

    Hooray! IMK posts are always fun and never an obligation, but we love getting a peek in whenever you’re so inclined to share! Beautiful tablecloth – we have a Turkish one too, complete with tassels on the corners. It sits on the dining table permanently under a sheet of thick plastic, because I’m not sure how to wash it! Haven’t picked up that Malouf book yet, thanks for the headsup, and After Dinner Mints! I adored those. We went through a patch of trying to make our own, but it’s tricky! 🙂

  7. Jennifer @ Delicieux

    How beautiful are those lilacs! I just love having fresh flowers in the house. Serge Dansereau’s book is definitely on my wishlist, and I love the look of turquoise too. What are your favourite recipes from turquoise?

  8. Elaine

    Just love the tablecloth and the two books………what a wonderful read.
    I can remember the after dinner mints….aren’t they divine

  9. Kate

    I am doing Choctober so I cannot share the mints but the Turkish Delight will I know be to die for – nothing like what we buy here I am sure, being from their original homeland – lucky you. I might find similar soon – on a countdown for Morocco now !!

  10. Mel @ The cook's notebook

    I wrote a comment yesterday saying how much I loved your In My Kitchen posts – obviously it’s gone 🙁 Anyway, I do.

    I used to eat at Bathers Pavilion often when I lived in Sydney – but the cheap cafe part that was attached. I also ate at the restaurant at The Regent when I was about 15 (in the mid 80s) when Serge first started working there. I am confident I didn’t appreciate it it AT ALL!

    And I love After Dinner Mints. will look out for them next time I go to the US. I love all your Turkish stuff too.

  11. InTolerant Chef

    So many gorgeous goodies indeed! Love the lilacs and wish I had some in my garden- I do have candied Lilac blossoms in my pantry, does that count? X

  12. Helen (Grab Your Fork)

    Love the tablecloth and haha I hope those After Eights last a little while for you. Now you’ve also got me hooked on those Loacker hazelnut biscuits – they’re on special this week too. Dangerous!

  13. Hotly Spiced

    Your lilacs are stunning, Amanda. Such a pretty flower. I would love a bit of that Turkish Delight – can you post a square or two to Sydney? And I love after dinner mints too. They’re a great way to put the finishing touch to a meal. I’d love to take a look through that tourism book too – just add that to the post pack! xx

  14. Amanda McInerney

    Helen – I knew you’d like them. We had a packet here yesterday, but it’s gone now & I only got one!

  15. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    That tablecloth is gorgeous! And After Eights are so hard to find so I just made a home made version. I think I prefer them more because you can control the amount of mint (I like it super minty) and use better chocolate although the boxed kind if more convenient.

  16. Lizzy (Good Things)

    Ah, those lilacs brought back some wonderful memories… my mother always grew them, Amanda. Your Turkish table cloth is stunning… I am slightly envious of your most recent travels. Well done you : )

  17. Lisa the Gourmet Wog

    I’m insanely jealous you have fresh lilac! They must make the kitchen smell absolutely heavenly! I agree about Turkish Delight, once you’ve tried the real deal, the others just don’t compare. Almost worth a trip to Turkey alone xx

  18. Fiona

    A lovely mixed post of travels and old favourites – it’s wonderful when you find something you enjoy in an unexpected place. I’m sure you know plenty of people trooping through Changi on the way home from somewhere that can pick you up a box of treats. I love Turquoise – make sure you make the pide if you haven’t already done so. Easy, though the dough is very sticky. Enjoy!

  19. Jas

    Love the blue in your tablecloth, it’s my favourite colour! And your Turkish Delight, I love the ‘fake’ stuff, have never tried the real 🙂

  20. Bernice

    Fresh lilacs! Really? I never saw those in Aus ever and I missed them terribly.
    It sounds like you had a really wonderful trip…are those rose flavoured turkish delights? What are the traditional flavours besides rose? I did have cinnamon once and loved it!

  21. Sandra

    Oh Turkey, I’m green with envy. FYI after Dinner Mints are still made by Ernest Hillier chocolates in Melbourne and are available from their outlet in Church St Richmond in 1 kg boxes. They are a cute daisy shape!

  22. Amanda McInerney

    Sandra – thanks for the tip, but I think the Hillier mints are made with compound chocolate *shudder*.

  23. jason

    Hi Amanda, you would have loved my childhood pantry as my parents often did catering and had industrial sizes boxes of after dinner mints…..they were always safe from me I never liked them. If I had a time machine I’d get you a box….

  24. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Amanda that table cloth and your beautifully packaged turkish delight are lovely. I’d sneak in to your kitchen for a nibble or two of that.

  25. Joanne T Ferguson

    G’day Amanda! Thank you for this month’s kitchen view!
    Love your lilacs as brightened my day and Serge’s new cookbook is wonderful too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewed as part of IMK