Well, my lovelies, I’m really going for broke with a third “In My Kitchen” post in as many months. This is all the brainchild of Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and if you wander over there you can check out what my friends have in their kitchens this month too! As I’m running out of time to post before the break and because I really wanted to share this with you, I’m also including a recipe from my kitchen – just scroll down to the end of the post for it.
When my US friend Dianne Jacob arrived here last month to speak at our conference, she bought me a lovely surprise – a goodie bag of treats that she thought I might not find here in Australia. Among them were these two Microplanes. These laser-cut and wickedly sharp graters are an absolute must-have for any serious cook and I did not have either of these models. In fact, I hadn’t even seen the large grater in the stores here so they were both a welcome addition to my gadget drawer. I already had the bandaids – and it was just as well, as I needed them after the first time I used this gift.
Dianne included in her gift a container of dried “plumcots”. These are plums which have been crossed with apricots. I’ve never seen them here at all and am wondering if there is a whole new crop out there that we could be growing. They are quite delicious and I’m looking forward to trying them out in my next chicken tagine dish.
I’ll put my hand up here and admit to being afraid of these big boys. They are dried Ancho Chillis and were also a gift from Dianne. I know that the larger the chilli, the milder the taste, but I’m still intimidated. If anyone has any suggestions for me to use them – safely – I’m all ears.
We had some friends over for a few drinks the other day and David and Kath brought me this glorious bunch of Lemon Balm and Kangaroo Paw. It is still gracing the bookshelf and perfuming the air – thanks, guys.
It is cherry season here in the Adelaide Hills and we can pick them by the bucket-load at the moment. If you are a local, just look for the signs on the side of the roads and support your local growers. When you’ve got your bucket full of cherries try this little treat out – my Christmas Cheery Cherry Chutney. Like most of my cooking, it is easy to prepare (although I suggest you invest in a cherry stoner), is the perfect accompaniment for the season and a delicious way to tart up all of those left-over meats.
- 1 kg pitted, fresh cherries
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup finely chopped, candied ginger
- 2 level Tbsp powdered ginger
- 2 level Tbsp Chinese five spice powder
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½-3/4 whole nutmeg, freshly grated
- Place all ingredients in heavy based saucepan, cover, place over medium heat and bring to the boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook until soft and thickened.
- Remove cinnamon stick, cool, store in clean jars in the fridge.
Subscribe to Lambs' Ears and Honey
You may have noticed that I try to keep the focus of this blog on others – mainly the remarkable food producers and their products that we enjoy right here in South Australia – rather than my own specific adventures with food. However, when I heard about the Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop I was immediately tempted. I’ve got quite a sweet tooth and love a good pavlova, but in a (largely unsuccessful) attempt to restrain my waist I only ever make them at Christmas time. It didn’t take the Greedy Girl in me too long to work out that this is the perfect excuse for an extra-curricular pavlova binge – so here we are!
Subscribe to Lambs' Ears and Honey
Only nine sleeps to go, folks – and this weeks link is here!
For those of us who celebrate it, Christmas is really looming now and it’s time to get into top gear and start finalising the eating arrangements. We always tend to have a cold buffet meal – but often with hot, kettle-bbq’ed pork or turkey – just because it is so much easier to get all the food on the table if we don’t have to actually make room for people as well! I have a couple of salad recipes that I like to make on the big day and I’ll share those with you next week. One of them involves spinach or silverbeet, so don’t worry about the continued appearance of spinach in the boxes – we can deal with it!
Now that it looks like the cherries have escaped the worst of the weather I wanted to share a recipe for a cherry preserve that you can knock together fairly quickly and one that means you can make the whole cherry experience last past their very brief season. It is possible to buy a similar product as this in gourmet shops, but it is very pricey. This is not difficult and, I think, is nicer than the bought one. I have really only got very rough estimates of measurements and times for this, but you should get the general idea. I think it might be nice with caramelised onions with it or a clove or two instead of the star anise. It goes brilliantly with most meats, but especially poultry and pork or ham and would make a nice homemade gift.
1 kg pitted cherries
1-2 heaped tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup of GOOD balsamic vinegar (more or less)
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
Bring all ingredients to the boil, turn down heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes until reduced and thickened.
Remove star anise and cinnamon stick, cool and store in sterilised, sealed jars.
Store it in the fridge where it should keep for some weeks.