Saturday, April 2, 2016

What's in my kitchen, April 2016

Well that's the first quarter of the year done. I heard on the radio recently that this has been the hottest Autumn for some time... a good 5C degrees higher than the average anyway. I'm quite enjoying it - I can still wear sandals and skirts to work, and I can get away without a jacket at the moment. It also reflects in the foods I'm eating, plenty of light meals and things I can pick at. There's time for hearty filling foods soon enough.

I hope everyone had a good Easter, however you celebrate it. This year for the first time in a decade or so, we stayed home instead of taking our annual Easter long weekend away at the beach as my parents were overseas attending a wedding. We spent our days sleeping, eating, and playing so that we could do more eating. It was lovely to have the time off - cocooned away from work and stress and instead surrounded by food, friends and family - that's what holidays are about for me!

In my kitchen is...
 
A bottle of liquid smoke. I saw it at a jerky stand (I know, I know) at my local farmers markets. The stallholder offered me a sniff and I had to have it.
Vegan and made locally, I love the added smokiness this adds into my cooking. I use it in so many dishes - chilli, stews, soups, even as a seasoning in my marinades. It's particularly delightful with tofu or eggplants as they seem to soak up the flavour. A little goes a long way, and this little bottle will last for ages.
In my kitchen is...

My attempts at Celia's stuffed focaccia. I made a sundried tomato, artichoke and asparagus version for me.
 
Mr Fork had a ham and cheese version, with extra cheese sprinkled on the top at his request. So easy, so yummy, thank you Celia for adding to my baking repertoire. I have already made this several times since, and it's been a hit each time.
 
In my kitchen is...

Refried beans. Oh how I love Mexican food, and beans in particular. They're my comfort food. They are so simple to whip up and make a yummy addition to our regular make-your-own-burrito night. There's some of the liquid smoke in these beans too.
 Any leftovers from our Mexican night, I used to make a lasagne. I made a bolognaise sauce (tomato and lentil base) and then I chucked all the leftover burrito fillings in too - the beans, some corn, baby spinach, broccoli, salsa, I think there was even a handful of rice etc. Here's an in progress shot to show just how ad hoc my fillings were!
 
Then I layered that into a baking dish with lasagne sheets. I used my traditional layer of hummus on the top and it turned out delicious. Both my kids gobbled it up!

In my kitchen is...

Frozen vegan pizzas, again from a local business. Although I told Ellie we were having that for dinner one night, and she shot me such a look of disappointment when she realised there was nothing Elsa or Anna about the dinner.

There was an error in the package printing so they were having a sale on pizzas that were perfectly fine just not packaged correctly. I snapped up a couple to keep in the freezer for nights I just don't feel like cooking. Win!

In my kitchen is...

A winter melon. At least I think I translated that right. Usually we just call it gua which is a bit of a ubiquitous Cantonese word for melon. Regardless, its a bit of a nom de plume as it's not even grown in winter, but in summer. It doesn't really have a taste, but like choko, it absorbs the flavours of what it's cooked with. Although it can be used in stir fry, I'm most used to seeing it included in soup or stew dishes which is how this one will end up.
This specimen was given to me by the mother of one of my friends, who in turn was gifted several of them herself. I took the smallest one, but it's totally not small at all - see the 20c piece for size reference! Soup for days!
 
In my kitchen is...

A single rose, grown by my aunt and displayed proudly in a coke glass proudly selected by Ellie because it matched the flower. Somehow, flowers grown at home smell much nicer than anything a florist can provide, and this one perfumed my kitchen for days, not to mention bringing a smile to my face every time I saw it!

I am linking this post in with Maureen, the orgasmic chef, host of the monthly In My Kitchen event.

What's in your kitchen this month?

19 comments:

  1. liquid smoke, beans and bread have to be among my favourite comfort foods - and I love how you use your leftovers beans in lasagne - I often just mix them with leftovers from tacos and make a chilli non carne. The winter melon looks huge and the rose is gorgeous. Hope you are enjoying autumn settling in.

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    1. Mmm beans and bread. You're a lady after my own heart :) Chilli non carne sounds amazing! I am very much loving the cooler Autumn weather!

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  2. Your focaccia looks wonderful and I agree, liquid smoke is a great addition to so many dishes. The vegan pizzas sound like a winning find too!

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    1. Thanks Kari! I love a quick and easy meal

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  3. Liquid smoke accented tofu is intriguing...Yikes! My shopping budget is expanding as I see all these goodies I want to display #InMyKitchen =) At any rate, thank you for the intro to liquid smoke and guan =) Love, love, love the rose from your aunt.

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    1. IMK is great for finding new MUST HAVE items isn't it!! :) Thank you for visiting!

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  4. Beautiful rose. It really highlights the difference in the seasons, as we are in very early spring, not even tulip time yet.
    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. It's funny isn't it! I love seeing meals from across the world but it makes me hungry when they're made from things that aren't in season here yet :)

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  5. Beautiful rose. It really highlights the difference in the seasons, as we are in very early spring, not even tulip time yet.
    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  6. lasagne with hummus? now that's different. do you ever use black beans in your mexican dishes? i like the look and taste of them. i am so over this weather. still 30C every day! yum i love a smoky taste in food. so delish. and your focaccia (sp.?) looks wonderful.

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    1. I try to avoid dairy, so the hummus gives dishes a nice creamy flavour and texture. I don't use black beans as much as I should but I love them. Perhaps I'll do that next time we have Mexican. 30C is odd for Autumn isn't it!
      Thankyou for visiting Sherry.

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  7. What a lovely rose. I also love mexican and I believe you can slap anything between sheets of pasta and it will be great!

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    1. You're a cook after my own heart. Anything slapped between pasta is amazing, I agree! x

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  8. I love, love, love liquid smoke and Mexican food (actually, both together!). I cook mostly plant based at home so liquid smoke is such a gift to stews and even to roast potatoes (I adore just adding a drop or two to the dish, it seems to elevate it!). The one you got from the jerky stand looks great :)
    It's nice to meet you Lisa, I'm newish to IMK (as of last month) so I am enjoying the process of meeting other bloggers through the link up! Your recipes look wonderful and I am drooling over that veg foccacia above. Must try Celia's recipe! -Laura

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    1. Welcome to IMK Laura. Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by x

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  9. Yum - that liquid smoke hickery sounds amazing.

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  10. Love your focaccias Lisa, they look delicious! Gorgeous rose, my favourite colour, I can smell it from here :) Nothing like homegrown flowers, I can't wait to grow my own one day. Some wonderful goodies this month for #IMK. See you soon x
    https://missfoodfairy.com/2016/04/10/in-my-kitchen-april-2016/

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  11. Cooling off there and warming up here in the northern hemisphere. The beans look quite delicious and I love your veg filled focaccia. What a beautiful rose, there is something special about flowers you've grown yourself. M

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