Monday, July 6, 2015

What's in my kitchen, July 2015

Just like that, half the year is over. Where did that half a year go? Getting up in the mornings is just that little bit harder now... not to mention getting up constantly overnight is just awful! There is a reason they make small people so cute and loveable isn't there?! Since I'm mentioning cold nights, I need to work it in somehow that it's pretty hard to top the combination of snuggly winter pyjamas, ugg boots, a nice fuzzy blanket (and a warm body to share it with, in my case it's equally likely to be Mr Fork, a toddler, a nursling or even a fur baby) and a cup of chocolate in hand... but I digress.

In my kitchen is...

Lots of lurid coloured pancakes. Ellie and Jimmy love pancakes. I make them pretty often, either with my leftover sourdough starter, or just regular pancakes. We have them for breakfast and for snacks. Lately, I'd been adding some colours to make them a little more interesting and fun. See below for green, blue, and plain examples.
It was a good experiment, but I'm ceasing the colouring now because let's just say it made for interesting (and slightly panicky!) toilet talk. Plain and equally delicious pancakes it is then! I feel that I need to mix up what I do with my sourdough starter leftovers though. It is delightfully crumpet-like weather...

In my kitchen is...

Sourdough experimentations. I've recently become more confident with my sourdough making. My loaves are turning out with more consistency, so I've started to experiment a little. I'm playing with different flour mixtures, adding fruit additions into the loaves, and the deliberate inclusion of extra steam and moisture into the baking process.

I'm currently loving the addition of buckwheat flour into the mixture. It seems to make my loaves just a little bit denser with a much firmer and crustier crust (I also use a cornmeal coating as well). The crustier crust may be due to extra steam as well, it's hard to isolate the variables as I want to try so many new things at once!
With the fruit, I'm still perfecting when to add it to the mix, and how much is a good amount. My first attempt, with just figs added after the first rise, turned out to be a bit stingy and not very evenly distributed. My second fruity attempt (shown above and below), I added figs, apricots and pepitas at the time I was adding starter and flour etc to the bowl. This was much better, and I even remembered to add extra water to the mix as well. The fruit plumped up more, distributed better and was a much tastier, if slightly more solid loaf. It could probably have done with more liquid in it to be honest.
Experimentation is fun (and delicious!)

In my kitchen is...

Beetroot and apple juice. I have cut down on drinking a lot of fluids unintentionally, as it's so cold and I don't reach for them as often. This was my attempt to kill two birds with one stone and up my vitamin and fluid intake at the same time. I wouldn't say that this is something I could drink in large quantities, but it's a nice change every now and then. I certainly can't comment on it assisting athletic performance (seriously Sunraysia?!), but it does have an earthy, sweet sort of taste that makes me feel like I'm being healthy. I water it down a bit to be honest as I find most commercial juices a bit too much for me in their pure state.

Please excuse my little photo bomber in the background. Seems whenever I pull the camera out, she thinks its for the express purpose of photographing her...

In my kitchen is...

A collection of blossoming tea balls, sent to me by a dear friend who knows how much I love a good cup of tea. Especially welcome in the colder months if I do say so myself! The pink bloom is lotus, the yellow is camomile and the plain is jasmine.
I find that this style of tea doesn't taste any different from loose leaf varieties, but it is lovely to watch brew. Basically, it's tea leaves shaped into a flower shape and then a decorative flower added on top. I believe they are generally hand shaped and then lightly steamed to hold the ball shape. You need a clear teapot to get the full effect, but as you brew it for the first time, the ball unfolds and 'blooms' into a flower. The hot water makes the tea flower move around prettily. I keep meaning to get a video of it, but I watch in awe each time and forget to sit watching behind a screen. Each ball is good for maybe three tea infusions, but it's the first brew that's the most visually stunning.

In my kitchen is...

Parsley pesto. This was a bit of a made up recipe, mainly to cope with the abundance of parsley that is taking over one of my garden beds.
It turned out surprisingly delicious, although if you are not a parsley fan, it's definitely not the sort of thing you should be making. I made it fresh and served over some rigatoni pasta that night, and since then I've been adding the leftovers to sandwiches for a burst of green freshness, and also dolloped over homemade pizza. It really added a touch of refreshing taste of summer to what might have easily been stodgy, carb-heavy meals. I'll be making this again for sure!

I am linking this post in with 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?

25 comments:

  1. Your bread looks great, I don't know about those pancakes though. :)

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    1. Yes I'm a bit iffy about those lurid pancakes too!! :-)

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  2. all lovely in your kitchen - the blue pancakes would appeal to little 'Frozen' fans everywhere. I was given some of that tea to drink at a friend's place recently and was fascinated by it. The bread looks great - my mum has told me that soaking dried fruit before adding it to bread helps the bread stay moist.

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    1. That's a fabulous tip about soaking the fruit. That may be one of the next variations then!

      I never thought about the Frozen appeal. No wonder they were eaten so quickly!!

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  3. I've never heard of tea balls! What a fun and clever idea. The pancakes look lovely too and the blue ones are impressively vibrant :-) I would love fruit sourdough as well.

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    1. The fruit sourdough is delicious on cold mornings. If you get a chance to try the tea balls, they are lovely to watch, but really do taste no different :-)

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  4. What lucky kids to have such a variety of pancakes. I can only imagine the discussions the colored ones would conjure up with my three boys! The tea balls sound fascinating. Nice never heard of them and must see if I can find any.

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    1. Oh do! I think a specialty tea shop might have them... you tend to buy them individually from experience.

      Oh... boy conversations. Yes I have that to look forward to when my small man starts to talk :-)

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  5. Your kitchen looks like a fun place to be. Those sourdough loaves are amazing. I love those beautiful tea balls, too, and was glad you said yours didn't taste any different to the loose tea, because that was my experience too. They are rather beautiful to watch unfold and come to life, though. Thanks for sharing Lisa.

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    1. Thanks Ardys. I'm always a bit loathe to say that special things are really a bit of a taste dud, but I'm glad to hear I'm not unique! Definitely beautiful to watch though for sure.

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  6. I'd eat all the blue ones! Tea balls look interesting, have not seen them before. Like you I am going a lot of 'playing' with different doughs and bread styles. Good fun! I've actually started keeping a record as I do it just in case I create something sensational!

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    1. Oh, I love it when serendipity happens and something sensational is created. I should document all of my experiments too! Its something of an addiction lately, haha!

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  7. You had me at the blue pancakes right away! I can almost smell your breads from here!
    Thanks for this month's kitchen views and for brightening my day!

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    1. Thanks Joanne! I do admit those pancakes certainly are bright! :)

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  8. I love your fruit bread, Lisa. And I've always been a great fan of the flowers that open up to make a beautiful cup of tea.

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    1. Thanks Christine. I love that fruit bread too. Much more than I should... I may have to start freezing it immediately so I can't eat it all!

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  9. I love your fruit bread, Lisa. And I've always been a great fan of the flowers that open up to make a beautiful cup of tea.

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  10. Great Parsley pesto... I have so much in my garden at the moment that into the Thermomix it will go :) AND you are gunning it with the sourdough!!! so good! Thanks for sharing! Liz xxx

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    1. Oh Liz, such a compliment about my bread coming from you!! I hope you enjoy the pesto! x

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  11. gosh that bread looks amazing! Soooo good! Such a good IMK this month

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  12. yep we used to colour our food too:) blue rice was always a fave. when we had herbs in the garden (before the bush turkeys got them all) we used to make up a pesto with whatever herbs were surviving at the time. kept it interesting. tea balls are so pretty aren't they?

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    1. Oh coloured rice, such a great idea (totally filing that one away!). Tea balls are so amazing... absolutely lovely to watch :)

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  13. Looks great! Do you find the sourdough is easy to make? I've always wanted to try my hand at baking bread, but it looks so difficult!

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    1. Thanks Alyssa! The bread itself is fairly easy once the starter is going. It's just the timing. I have to prepare it the day before I want to eat it. You should definitely give it a go though - it's very satisfying (and addictive!) :)

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