Thursday, May 7, 2015

What's in my kitchen... May 2015

May! How is it May already? I feel like I only just wrote my April post! Maybe the month went quickly because we have been a bit under the weather lately. (Thank you daycare for your germy hot pot situation!). Ellie bought home a bug, which she gave to Jimmy, who shared it with me. Mr Fork was also stricken, but he claims he had it so much worse than everyone (I call man flu....). Anyway, so there was lots of hot drinks, soup and resting happening at our house. Those citrus from last month certainly came in handy!

In my kitchen is...

Passionfruit. Brisbane was recently struck by severe storms which saw five people lose their lives after their cars were swept away by flood waters. We are so very lucky to have avoided any damage, and being situated high on a hill means that our home was relatively safe from flooding, although with many roads being closed or underwater, getting anywhere took much longer than usual for a few days. While I am sure that the garden enjoyed the drenching, one thing which didn't fare so well was my neighbours passionfruit vine. It's a great producer (nothing like my vine) and was loaded with fruit and flowers pre-storm. Post-storm, well, now I have a bowl of large, mostly still-green passionfruit. I'm hoping that they will ripen gradually if I allow them to sit on the windowsill, but if not, I'll turn them into something that needs lots of sugar, possibly a jam or a cordial.
In my kitchen is...

A set of Global knives. Mr Fork and I were given a set of Global knives when we were married some years ago now. However, it is part of Chinese culture that it is bad luck to give knives or cutting implements to people, as it is symbolic of cutting off the relationship. So when I say we were given the knives, technically we were, but in return, we gave the generous giver a card with a coin in it, effectively 'buying' the knives from them.

These knives are fantastic, and are just as good now as the day that we got them. This vegetable knife is my favourite one. I use it for most tasks - yes I know there are such specialised ones as fruit knives, bread knives, fish knives etc... and we have all of those too, but this one fits my hand nicely, is balanced, big (and small) enough for most things and does the job for me nicely.

Also shown is my current favourite chopping board. Made from camphor laurel timber, I like it because the wood has naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties, and because of the wood's grain, only retains surface knife marks and doesn't take the edge off the good knifes. I got this board on one of my trips to the Noosa Edmundi markets, from Nature's Cutting Boards. I love supporting local businesses where possible.

In my kitchen is...

Lots of Hello Kitty kinder surprise insides. I'd always intended to be one of those mothers who is not about the merchandise. Quite a few people though, disagree with me, and although I don't purchase them for her, Ellie has quite the collection of Peppa Pig and Hello Kitty things - toys, bed linen, clothes and the like. One of my relatives has recently discovered that kinder surprise make a special Hello Kitty egg, and so, bought Ellie a carton of them. For those who don't know, these eggs have a thin chocolate shell, and a little toy enclosed.

I managed to stash them away before she was aware of them existing, and I've been stingy about letting her have any - some were released for Easter, and when she is especially good and deserving of a reward, I'll occasionally allow her another. (Mr Fork is not so strict, but that's another story). Anyway, we now have quite a collection of small Hello Kitty habitats, which Ellie insists on displaying prominently in the kitchen, and then arranging endlessly. They are rather cute, but also in my mind... dust collectors. Also, I'm not big on giving food as a reward either.


In my kitchen is...
Chopsticks. We have many sets of chopsticks in our house. Cheap bamboo plain ones. Painted bamboo. Plastic. The cheap ones I use for cooking - stirring and lifting spaghetti and noodles, mixing up stir fries and the like. I used to use the plastic ones to hold up Ellie's bottles to dry. As Jimmy refuses to take a bottle still, I no longer need to have an assortment of chopsticks arranged on my dish drainer. I also have my 'nice' sets of chopsticks which come out occasions for eating. This is my favourite set. I got it in Hong Kong, back before children when I used to travel more often! I don't recall what they're made of, but they're a lovely hardy black material with dimpled silver caps on the ends. The holders are the same black with a simple silver square inlaid.

Speaking of chopsticks, and not technically in my kitchen, but here is a picture of Ellie at yumcha over the weekend. Mr Fork and I have not pushed it and have always gotten her a fork, but for the first time, she attempted to use chopsticks, and I had to get a picture! She is trying to pick up pieces of a bbq pork bun (cha siu bau) which she absolutely adores! 
Although we don't always use chopsticks to eat, I suppose now it is time to start teaching her some of the chopstick etiquette that our families follow:
  • How to hold her rice bowl and scoop rice directly into her mouth with chopsticks
  • To rest chopsticks on the side of the bowl or on the individual stand to indicate you are still eating and just paused for the moment
  • Resting chopsticks at the top of the bowl to show you are finished
  • Never to stand chopsticks vertically in your rice bowl because this resembles the burning of incense and 'feeding' the dead (or death in general)
  • Transferring choice morsels of food from your plate to someone else is a sign of caring (however annoying it may be when my grandmother refuses to believe I am finished and keeps doing it!)
I am sending this post to Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial's monthly In My Kitchen event. Go have a peek through other kitchens around the globe!

What's in your kitchen this month?

21 comments:

  1. I'll take the knives from your kitchen Lisa - how fantastic!! Cheers, Jan x

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    1. I didn't use to need fancy knives Jan, but now I've been introduced I don't think there's any turning back! x

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  2. We have that Global knife too :D We just have that one but like you, I love it. My husband introduced me to the brand (and good knives more generally) and it does make a huge difference to chopping. Ours needs sharpening though.

    I'm glad you came through the storms ok and fingers crossed the passionfruit ripen for you.

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    1. When I first got 'good' knives I was super hesitant about using them but I can't imagine not having them anymore. I love when they're freshly sharpened... the biggest test for me is how well they cut a tomato without squishing!

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  3. I love the Kiwi knives I get at the Asian Supermarket, range between $3.00 & $12.00 and they outdo all of the 'very' expensive ones I used to have. Thanks for the etiquette tips, nice to know. I hope Ellie managed to get some dumpling on that stick, she looks very determined!

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    1. She was very determined! If I recall correctly, the novelty quickly wore off and she reverted to hands!

      Asian stores have fabulous finds. I love some of the crockery I pick up there for amazing prices.

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  4. Love those Hello Kitty habitats, they're adorable. But kudos on your stance not to let it be too much about the merchandise. I don't have kids, but can still applaud this approach!

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    1. It's very hard to remain staunch when we are grocery shopping, but I'm sticking to my guns. The rest of her family... not so much :)

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  5. So sorry about the damages from the flood to Brisbane residents! Your passionfruit does look delightful and love using it in savory dishes too! Your little one is cutie!
    Thanks for this month's IMK view!

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    1. Savoury passionfruit dishes? I'm intrigued! Must have a google around. Thanks for stopping by Joanne x

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  6. We do the same thing when someone "gifts" us knives in our family... :) last year all of the passionfruit fell of my vine and they ripened very well. I did use most of them making passionfruit slice and passionfruit butter :)
    Liz x

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    1. Hi Liz, glad to hear there is hope for my passionfruit then! :) Mmmm passionfruit slice...

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  7. We are the same with merchandise for our boys, unfortunately my mother in law isn't! After very visit I go through things and send it to Goodwill. I can't stand dust collectors or toys all over the place. Your daughter looks adorable trying to use chopsticks. Our boys like it at restaurants when they have the "child" chopsticks rubber banded at the top so they can use them easier.

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    1. I've never seen child chopsticks... I must keep an eye out as I can imagine they'd be much easier. My grandmother used to be very firm with me when learning to use them... it was a bit the case of use them properly or starve!

      Mothers in law and merchandise go hand in hand I think. Even when they didn't buy it for their own kids, somehow grandkids are different....

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  8. Thank you for the chopstick etiquette Lisa. I knew a couple of them but majority I had no idea about! I have so many chopsticks too - ones I use to make my dumpling dough, ones to eat with and ones I use as props for my photos.

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    1. I know everything should be useful and used, but I save some of my nicest things just for photos too! :)

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  9. i have always wanted to have a global knife. good to hear they are great knives. thanks for the info about chopstick etiquette - good to know! i have to say i love kinder surprises and i am a grown up:)

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    1. Sherry, everyone should have at least one good knife. I definitely recommend them. I used to love the chocolate part of the kinder surprise... there was never enough of it though!

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  10. I have good knives that aren't sharpened enough but I have been to friends' places who have more ordinary knives and I notice the difference. I know what you mean about merchandise - I hate it and yet there are some characters I find more deserving as a role model than others and find myself buying more of their stuff. The chopstick etiquette is really helpful as I am not very au fait with it.

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    1. This is true. There are certainly some good characters out there. If I can't stop the merchandise, perhaps I should gently guide the buyers of it towards characters I can stand better. Great suggestion!

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  11. See, there's a whole lot of chopstick rules I clearly didn't know! Thanks! :) I've seen baby chopsticks in Daiso which are joined at the ends - could be a good way to start? Your Global knives sound lovely and I too can't give sharp gifts without asking for a coin in return. Hope you're all on the mend now! xxx

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