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In My Kitchen… February 2014

In My Kitchen is hosted on a monthly basis by Chook Whisperer, Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. It’s an opportunity for bloggers to talk about what’s happening in their kitchen and their lives and maybe include a few things that they haven’t had time to blog about. If you visit Celia’s blog, you can read about other In My Kitchen enthusiasts.

In my February kitchen are…

…lots of greens! On a recent visit to Stanthorpe I bought a punnet of silverbeet seedlings. Also known as Swiss chard, they just happen to have red, rather than green stalks. After a very hot start to the summer they are flourishing so I have a handful of leaves nearly every day. To top up and make sure I always have something fresh on hand, I also planted some psychedelic acid green Taiwanese Pai Tsai from seed. They sprouted quickly but were slow to grow. These are now established and are also going great guns. Maybe because of the colour, I expected the leaves to taste bitter but they are very mild. We add both the silverbeet and pai tsai leaves raw to salads or steam them briefly in the microwave with some soy sauce and ginger.

In my kitchen…

…is this bottle of Raw Organic Coconut Nectar. It tastes sweet but not cloying (similar to agave), smoky with a faint tang which is possible from some type of fermentation. It is made in the Phillipines. The taste is not dissimilar to a very good palm sugar. What will I use it in? Who knows but at $7.50 a bottle, I wasn’t going to leave it behind on the shelf. I’d drizzle it over porridge but I’m not a fan. Have your tried Coconut Nectar?

In my kitchen…

…is a slab (yes, a slab!) of Ball Mason Jars. They are ‘Quilted Crystal Jelly Jars’ and I have a dozen of the little babies. My friend Sam was driving home from Sydney via Kempsey and somehow knew that Ball Mason Australia are located there. She very kindly emailed to ask if she could pick anything up for me. I wanted everything but restricted myself to 12 of these 4oz jars. They are burning a  hole in my pocket and I can’t wait to use them.

9th Feb Update – oh dear… the link to Ball Mason Aus no longer appears to exist. Perhaps my post sent the site into meltdown! I will keep the link embdded in case they re-establish it. Ball Mason Australia have a presence of facebook but it’s not very active. You could still follow though. Oz Farmer also distributes Ball Mason in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.

In my kitchen…

…are these dry goods from a shop in Capalaba called Grandma’s Pantry. My mum and I went on a raiding party today and brought back all sorts of goodies. My shopping was somewhat restrained as we have a bit of a moth problem in Brisbane at the moment. With a hot, dry spring and summer (very unusual for Brisbane) followed by a couple of spectacluar downpours, it has created perfect conditions for lawn grub. After the little buggers have killed off your lawn, they mature into moths that just love the pantry. Sometimes I open the door and can spot upwards of half a dozen sitting on the roof and walls. Of course, they delight in trying to get into your flour, pulses, grain and basically anything they think they can feed on. One of my delights is to catch the moths in the house in the afternoon and take them over to where the gecko peeks out from behind the airconditioner. I toss them in the air and the gecko leaps out to eat them. Cruel perhaps but very satisfying for both the gecko and I.

In my kitchen is…

…a scope of works for out planned renovation. We have a very thorough builder. After visiting our house, he sent on a simple scope of works and line drawing to check they we are on the same page before he builds the quote. I’m sure he’s easing us in so when we see the final figure, we’ve had time to realise how big the job is. Watch this space…

30 comments… add one
  • Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things February 3, 2014, 4:31 am

    The raw organic coconut nectar is interesting, Fiona… I hope you do get to use it and will be interested to know how it goes. I love having spinach in the garden… and that red stalked silverbeet of yours looks quite striking.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 4, 2014, 4:29 pm

      I'm quite happy with that silverbeet but I have to keep telling Anthony that the chopped red stalks is not red onion!

  • ardysez.com February 3, 2014, 7:12 am

    I have 'greens envy'. They look wonderful.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 4, 2014, 4:30 pm

      It must be said that that garden bed is absolutley the best! Everything grows like a weed there. No so much success out the back though.

  • Jan Rhoades February 3, 2014, 9:28 am

    Yes, didn't we have fun at Grandma's Kitchen. The citrus flavoured sparkling water was a bit sweet (first item on label? Sugar!). The 'greens' look wonderful. Try bay leaves for the moths – fresh or dried. I have plenty of fresh if you want them.

    And what a shame I wasn't able to buy some mason jars as well! I also want one or two with mesh tops for

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 4, 2014, 4:31 pm

      I've got a bay tree also but there are just so many moths! Luckily there are also geckoes. I didn't see the mesh tops listed on the site. Sam tells me Big W also have a good selection of the genuine article.

  • Rachi February 3, 2014, 10:37 am

    I have a serious addiction to mason jars too! Finding out where I can buy them in bulk is indeed very dangerous!

    Coconut nectar? Can't say I've ever used that in anything but sounds very interesting.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 4, 2014, 4:32 pm

      I shouldn't be telling you this but they even have all of the accessories to go with them!

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef February 3, 2014, 5:41 pm

    What?? Ball jars have a home in Australia and I don't have to haul them from the states or beg Redback for them? I bow down before thee.

    I use them with a jar attachment on my vacuum sealer for all sorts of dry goods. Yay!

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 4, 2014, 4:34 pm

      Yes Maureen – save your luggage allowance for other treats from home! *NB other preservers of Maureens tip re: vacuum sealer

  • Anne Wheaton February 4, 2014, 12:42 am

    Still smiling at the thought of you feeding moths to the gecko. Never heard of coconut nectar but it sounds intriguing.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 4, 2014, 4:35 pm

      I suspect that if coconut oil, paleo, raw etc etc weren't all the rage, I would never have seen it. I'm sure I'll use it but don't think it will be a 'staple'.

  • lamorgana February 4, 2014, 3:42 pm

    Pass over that coconut nectar please. It sounds delicious.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 4, 2014, 4:36 pm

      Nice and smoky. It's very popular on this post so I'll have to use my imagination and report back. Thanks for visiting.

  • celia February 6, 2014, 11:03 am

    Ooh renovations sound exciting Fiona! And I reckon I'd use the coconut nectar over sago pudding, with coconut milk. Normally we make a palm sugar syrup for that, but if the coconut nectar already has that flavour, it would be ideal! Love all your green goodness – rainbow chard is just amazing isn't it? – and can't wait to see what you fill your ball jars with! 🙂

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 7, 2014, 9:28 am

      What a great idea for the nectar. I love sago and semolina puddings. Thanks you clever clogs!

  • I put my dry goods like flour into the freezer. Love the peek into your kitchen and good luck with the renovation 🙂

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 7, 2014, 9:33 am

      Hi Tandy – yes my Mum also puts her dry goods in the freezer but unfortuantely, space is at a premium due to restictions in the size of the fridge we can have in 'in my kitchen'. Another reason we are renovating. ps: thanks for the FB follow.

  • Joanne T Ferguson February 6, 2014, 7:09 pm

    G'day! I'm coming to your kitchen this month Tiffin, true!
    As great to see your monthly In My Kitchen view! Thank you!
    Cheers! Joanne

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 7, 2014, 9:31 am

      Joanne – you're always welcome! Make sure that any visit to Brisbane incorporates a visit to Camp Hill. That goes for all of my IMK buddies.

  • Sandy February 8, 2014, 9:18 pm

    The coconut nectar sounds interesting. Will keep my eye out for it 🙂
    The mason jars look awesome – though I can't seem to get the link to work?!? Maybe its just me, but I would be interested in knowing where they are.
    Thanks 🙂

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 9, 2014, 5:14 pm

      Sandy – that link was working but the website seems to have disappeared. Thanks for the heads up. I have updated the post with a suggestion to visit their FB page or trying Oz Farmer. They (Ball Mason) are located in Kempsey

  • passionfruitgarden.com February 9, 2014, 3:58 pm

    Hi Fiona, We have the same problems with moths and grains and flours here. I store all mine in the fridge and have no problems. If you have room, it is worth considering.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 9, 2014, 5:16 pm

      No room! I note that a small gecko took up residence in the cupboad for a few days and now there are no moths. This is the first time this has happened. There's a gaping gap at the bottom of the pantry which doesn't help so I'll make sure the next closes properly. Thanks for stopping by Glenda!

  • nancy@jamjnr February 10, 2014, 11:22 am

    I have moth problems here too. And weevils. Now I put all my dry goods in the freezer for 48 hours when I bring them home and then in the pantry in tupperware with a bay leaf tucked in. Just for good measure I have a moth trap as well from Bunnings!!! So far so good.
    I think the sound of your coconut nectar – I think I'd be pouring it over ice cream!

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 11, 2014, 1:51 pm

      I have a moth trap nancy – it's the gecko! I do already have bay leaves in the pantry and thankfully, a good sieve. Lovely to see your comment – thanks.

  • Pat Machin February 10, 2014, 10:40 pm

    I love your 'natural' moth control! I strew bay leaves around with gay abandon to discourage insects and also, in the summer, sprigs of rue which are supposed to discourage fruit flies.

    I didn't realise you had Ball Mason jars in Australia. I've seen them in America and always seen them as the equivalent of our Kilner jars.

    Thanks for the poop into you

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! February 11, 2014, 1:55 pm

      Hi Pat – Ball Mason are new on the scene here after the sudden surge in popularity over the past few years. I know of Kilner jars but most people wouldn't have heard of them – quite unusual given the ties between our two countries. The #1 preserving outfit in Australia is Fowlers Vacola – 'Preserving since 1915'. It's fell out of favour for many years (except for the die hards) as

  • Kim Bultman February 14, 2014, 10:03 pm

    Fiona, those quilted jars are so appealing. (I use one for shaking up small batches of vinaigrette or as a "sauce server.") Best wishes on your kitchen renovation and staying ahead of the moths — glass canisters are a must here, too, when the critters begin to sprout. Happy Valentine's Day!

    • Fiona Ryan February 20, 2014, 9:51 pm

      HI Kim – strangley, after I wrote this post, the moths have all taken flight or been eaten. The weather has chnaged but I'm sure the little buggers will be back!

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