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In My Kitchen… March 2014

Welcome to TIFFIN’s new home.  Between travel for work, helping out with some project coordination, a weekend of camping and moving to the my new Blog home, there hasn’t been an awful lot of cooking or eating going on. So without further ado, here’s what’s happening this month


In my March kitchen…

Bamboo Steamer

… are some new bamboo steamer baskets. I already have some of the smaller yum cha sized basked but they are not really large enough if you want to cook anything bigger than a few dumplings. I work on the edge of Fortitude Valley, the home of Chinatown in Brisbane. These days, it’s less Chinatown and more Thai and Korean town but that just makes it more interesting. There are two major Asian supermarkets in Chinatown. One is Yuen’s Market Trading, which has been there for decades. It’s crammed with products and shows a lots of wear and tear. They do not take credit cards and have very brusque service. The other is Burlington Supermarket. This opened the time before last that Chinatown was re-vamped, in the 90’s. It’s big, stocks an enormous range and has its own butcher and BBQ meat area. I shuttle between the two for my Asian grocery supplies. Yuen’s has the best fresh produce with items such as shallots (scallions), Chinese greens and coriander (cilantro) for 99c a bunch. At least half the price of the Big 2 and freshly delivered from market gardens every day. I also get my coconut cream from there. Eever since Celia put me on to Kara brand in a previous IMK post, there’s been no turning back. For some reason, Kara is much cheaper at Yuen’s. Burlington on the other hand is where I always go for Asian homewares. Steamers, ladles, bowls etc – they have a very large range and good prices. They take credit cards too. I also always buy frozen mini BBQ pork buns there. They are much smaller than the normal size and can be steamed straight from the freezer in the microwave for 30 seconds. This is a favourite Friday night treat, with a glass of wine. These steamers were pressed into service on weekend when we had some friends over for lunch. They performed admirably.


In my kitchen…

Pork Belly

…is a huge slab of pork belly. It looks big (it is) but quite frankly, too much pork belly with crunchy crackling is never enough. I always found pork belly recipes puzzling as you need a slow cooking time for the pork to become tender and melting yet a high temperature for the crackling to crisp. Once day I stumbled on a  recipe that addressed my puzzlement. It was an ‘aha’ moment and I have never used another recipe since. Next time I make this pork belly I’ll post this simple but clever recipe.


In my kitchen…

Autumn Pears

…are  some new season pears. In one blink of the eye we have moved from a very hot Summer into Autumn. Whilst it’s still warm in much of the country, it’s been cool enough for the first of the pears and new season apples to start arriving in shops and markets. I like pears in all their guises but was thrilled to be able to buy these ready to eat, rather than needing to ripen them over the course of the week. I’ve just finished one as I write this. Some of these will be going into a dessert this weekend.


In my kitchen…

Dried Blood Orange Peel

…is this tangle of dried blood orange peel. Usually I put my orange and lemon peels into vinegar to steep and allow the volatile oils to mix with the vinegar to create an all-purpose, environmentally friendly cleaner. You can use it on benches, in the water you clean wooden floors with, mirrors, sinks etc. I may have even been known to use it in a dressing…  With these peelings however, I decided to dry them for other uses. They add an extra dimension to meals such as lamb shank or Moroccan beef, tomato based soups and stews, pounded with salt to create an orange salt or blitzed in the food processor and added to cakes when you want an oomph of citrus but don’t want the little pieces of zest.


In my kitchen…

To Do List

…there’s a massive to do list to complete moving the blog. It’s all of those annoying things like changing passwords, updating URL re-directs, getting new card printed, re-sizing pictures, re-categorising post, correcting images…. The list is indeed endless. Still, I am happy to be in my new home and hope you will visit me regularly. In a few weeks we are heading for the virtually internet free world of Norfolk Island and upon my return I will have much to write about and maybe, a few things to share on my next IMK

In my kitchen…

…there is no movement on the kitchen renovation front. I have a second scope of works but have done nothing about it as I have been far too busy. I am hoping to speak with the builder this week.

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In My Kitchen is hosted on a monthly basis by the Romertopf Champion, 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.


19 comments… add one
  • hmscat March 10, 2014, 11:37 am

    I always love reading your ‘in my kitchen’ and one day will get around to doing my very own ‘in my kitchen’ post!

    • Fiona Ryan March 10, 2014, 12:35 pm

      I’m sure more than one of those items is very familiar to you!

  • Sam March 10, 2014, 2:18 pm

    The peel looks fabulous.

    • Fiona Ryan March 10, 2014, 3:33 pm

      Well I have plenty so I’ll bring you in some and you can brew up a tea or something. I’m sure you’re glad you can comment now!

  • Leah March 10, 2014, 3:58 pm

    Love your bamboo steamer… I have one tier and its just not enough. I only just discovered the awesome asian grocers in China town in the valley but I love them and can’t help spending hours exploring when I visit. Happy March, Leah

    • Fiona Ryan March 10, 2014, 4:10 pm

      Hi Leah – yes you can spend many hours drifting through the aisles and trying to puzzle out what things are. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Happy shopping!

  • Shannan March 10, 2014, 8:05 pm

    I get all my steamers and frozen goods from Burlington too! I look forward to the pork belly recipe thanks.

    • Fiona Ryan March 10, 2014, 9:39 pm

      It’s great having them so handy. The larger steamer was perfect so I’m glad I invested.

  • heidiannie March 11, 2014, 4:46 am

    I love your large steamers- I have some that are smaller and one that fits into the top of my rice maker which I use most of the time.
    I also save my orange peel- it has so many great uses- I often candy mine and dip it into dark chocolate for a quick treat.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Fiona Ryan March 11, 2014, 6:39 pm

      Oh, I hadn’t thought of using the small ones above the rice maker. There’s a tip. Cheers!

  • Lizzy (Good Things) March 11, 2014, 8:31 pm

    Hi Fiona, lots of goodies in your kitchen… and a massive to do list! Love the idea of the citrus cleaning product! Thanks for sharing xo

  • Jan Rhoades March 12, 2014, 4:16 pm

    Oh Fiona. I couldn’t give my large steamer away to anyone a few years ago. I had it for so very long. I did ask but it has gone now. What a shame I didn’t keep it for just a few more years. And tell me, does Yuen’s still sell Haw Flakes??? Remind me to tell you my Romertopf story.

    • Fiona Ryan March 12, 2014, 7:03 pm

      Yes, Yuen’s still sells Haw Flakes and perhap they may be an occassional gift to my brother or perhaps they never make it to him. No Romertopf story – Celia just has great recipes using it!

  • Jason Watkins March 12, 2014, 9:06 pm

    Hey Fiona, congrats on the move, looking good!
    You had my at pork belly!!
    What a great tip with the citrus peels, I’m going to have to try that.
    55 days till Eurovision!!

    • Fiona Ryan March 12, 2014, 10:22 pm

      55 days! Say it isn’t so! Thanks for visiting Jason. Always a pleasure.

  • Francesca March 13, 2014, 9:19 am

    The orange peel soaked in vinegar is a great idea. I plan to copy this one.

    • Fiona Ryan March 13, 2014, 10:07 am

      The oils in the skins are freed up and help the vinegar to act as a powerful cleanser. You can dilute it 1 citrus vinegar:1 part plain vinegar or 1 part citrus vinegar: 1 part water so it’s not as harsh on delicate surfaces if you’re concerned. Thanks for your comment

  • celia March 14, 2014, 6:09 am

    Fiona, congrats on the blog move! It’s all looking very good! I’m so glad you have a Chinatown/Thainatown/Koreatown so close by. Interestingly, the original big supermarket in Chinatown Sydney was called Burlington – I wonder if it’s still there. Isn’t the Kara brand great? We can’t go back either – when I find myself needing coconut milk, I simply dilute it down with water. Your belly pork sounds intriguing, and I do love the plate you’ve got your pears on! xx

    • Fiona Ryan March 14, 2014, 5:44 pm

      Hi Celia – every day on the site gets a little easier. A tag here, a photo corrected there. You know, I hadn’t even thought about watering down the coconut cream. So simple, so clever! The plate is from Morocco but I actually bought it in an op shop in the UK as I knew that anything I brought back myself from Morocco to the UK was likely to get broken (and it did). I shipped it back to Aus and it made it safely!

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