Sunday, December 6, 2015

In My Kitchen, December 2015

Cue shocked exclamations about how it's December already. But seriously, how is it December already? Summer has just started and if it continues on the way it's begun, it's going to be a long, hot season. Probably an expensive one too as we will be getting heavy use out of the air conditioning and blow up pool. I suppose that seems odd for my Northern hemisphere friends to think of a festive season with scorching heat. One of these days, I will experience a white Christmas. It's definitely on my bucket list! Perhaps when the kids are older and can appreciate it more...

In my kitchen is...

A selection of Nestar and Miss Sweetie vegan chocolates I won from a competition on veganopolous. I'm super pleased to discover an Australian based (in Melbourne) chocolatier that likes to source locally where possible. They make a mix of fruity and nutty chocolates (not pictured here is the ginger version, which was in no fit state to be photographed as it was ripped open for consumption immediately!). Everything I've tried so far has been delicious - the perfect blend of filling and chocolate. Thanks for introducing me to this fabulous brand Faye! I think a few packets will be finding their way into Christmas stockings in a few weeks... both other people's, and my own...

In my kitchen is...

Minimal ingredient vegan gravy, mainly to make a dinner of potato gems seem less 'thrown together' and more 'I put some actual effort in'. I love gravy. I'll be taking a modified mushroom version of this to Christmas lunch with the family, along with some kind of loaf as usual, to cater for the vegans and "picky eaters" as my family calls them (aka gluten free).

In my kitchen is...

Cuttings! In the small bottle there are some mushroom plants that I've been carefully nurturing. They started as just bare sticks and have now grown leaves and small roots. These are a fabulous plant - growing low to the ground and clumping to make a nice ground cover, the leaves smell and taste faintly of mushrooms. You can eat the leaves and stems as is in salad, or cooked in a stir fry.  This is my sole stock of the plant at the moment as my naughty chickens breached the protective fence around a garden bed and demolished an entire crop of corn, tomato, pumpkin and other edibles.

I also have a small sweet potato that those same naughty chickens unearthed from the sweet potato patch, but I managed to save it before it was consumed. It seemed silly to eat such a small specimen especially as it was a bit pecked, so I thought it would be a nice science experiment for Ellie to see it grow. We impaled it on some toothpicks and left it to sit in an ex-candle jar with water. It's now got some tiny little roots and some healthy looking leaves. She was quite impressed but now seems to have lost interest as it isn't really a speedy grower. The impatience of toddlers!

When I chicken proof my garden bed again, these will all be off into the outside again but for now they decorate my window sill.

In my kitchen is...

Treats for those undeserving chickens. With the weather so hot lately, I've taken up my old tradition of making icy treats for the animals which I distribute for them before I leave for work in the mornings. For the chickens, I put small pieces of vegetable scraps in an old container, top up with water and leave in the freezer overnight. They get all the fun of pecking frozen treats out of the ice cube the next morning. Yay for them! This ice block (seen from the side, below) has canned corn in it as I'd opened it to use half but forgot about the rest of it until making chicken treats.
The puppies get a similar block, sometimes I just use plain water and add a huge ice block to their water bowl, other times I'll freeze some of their dog biscuits into the middle (although where vegetables sink, the dog biscuits float so the sneaky puppies just wait for the cube to melt enough and then snaffle their treats from the top).

In my kitchen is...

Dried sourdough starter from Lorenzo, son of Priscilla. I have been making extra starter every time I make bread, drying and bagging it all up ready for this December post. Mr Fork is just about over the little plates of starter I have been spreading all around the kitchen. I'm going to restrict postage to within Australia only (sorry!), but I have a few packets to give away so if you'd like one, please let me know. 

I am linking this post in with Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial's monthly In My Kitchen event. As an aside, this is the last month that Celia will be hosting the event before it moves over to Maureen, the orgasmic chef, and I'd like to give her my sincere thanks for creating such a marvellous online kitchen tribe!

What's in your kitchen this month?

15 comments:

  1. I love your cutting collection! Very impressive. I have fond memories of those Nestar chocolates too - just the thing to eat in air conditioning when taking shelter from the hot days :P

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    1. Air conditioning and hot days must sound lovely right now right Kari? Although, there is something to be said for a lovely white Christmas :)

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  2. I am very intrigued by the mushroom plant. I have never heard of it before. It has the look of something that needs quite a bit of water. Do you think it would grow successfully in Melbourne? Great idea with the ice blocks, although I agree, your chickens don't deserve treats at the moment! :)

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    1. Hi Anne, surprisingly, it needs little water. It hates to be waterlogged and is actually quite forgiving (luckily, as I'm the type of gardener who likes plants to be self sufficient and thrive on neglect!). I think you could definitely grow it in Melbourne... it is fairly tolerant to small amounts of frost.
      I agree the chickens are undeserving at the moment! Lucky for them I'm vegetarian else they might have been dinner in a moment of vengeance! :)

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  3. Look forward to seeing some sour dough pop up in your kithen now Lisa!! Jan x

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    1. I love making sourdough Jan. My favourite type at the moment is full of fruit and nuts... it's quite festive x

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  4. I love your ice cube for the chooks and puppies - I used to make ice cubes of gravy for my dog with treats too on hot days. I hope those naughty chooks of yours are at least good layers to repay your kindness :)

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    1. Gravy is an awesome idea! Totally using that one :) One egg a day from each chicken... and the occasional monster egg too.

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  5. Great idea with the sweet potato - we have tomatoes and Sylvia is loving watching them grow. Those ice blocks are great - wonder if our cat would like one to cool her water. I worry animals are sensitive to the cold - my first reaction to the chickens was that I hope they don't have sensitive beaks! Enjoy the chocolate and sharing Lorenzo.

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    1. I bet your cat would think it was amazing! It's been pretty hot lately... I figure the worst that will happen is they'll neglect the ice block and have frozen little veggie scraps to eat off the grass. I do see them pecking at the ice cube though so I think they like it. The dogs just lick at theirs then collapse on the tiles dramatically :)

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  6. The chocolates look delicious. How clever to make ice cube treats for the chickens. Our dog hears the ice maker in the fridge and comes running! Your cuttings look great, we have not had much success with sweet potatoes. I will keep trying though.

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    1. Bless, you've trained the dog to come for ice! Go Pavlov! Haha. I have to jealously guard anything in the ground from the chickens, but I'm hoping this will kick off lots of tubers. If not, the leaves are good too (although I have a different variety of sweet potato to eat the leaves from)...

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  7. Ha ha - potato gems and gravy. Talk about taking me back! Love the frozen treats idea. Very practical. Our friend puts freezer bricks in the guinea pig hutch. They love to lie on them. Talk about a luxury life!

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    1. Those guinea pigs sound very spoilt (but lucky things, it can't be fun being covered in hair during the heat!). Everyone loves a frozen treat... even the husband likes an occasional ice block :)

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  8. Hi I'm just wondering if you have any sourdough starter left?
    Thanks
    Sam

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