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In My Kitchen… February 2015

Yes, it’s February. Christmas has been and gone, as has Australia Day. Thoughts now turn to the long weeks until the next public holiday or festivity to plan for. The hot weather  continues unabated in Brisbane whilst my IMK friends in other parts of Australia and the Northern Hemisphere have had some surprisingly brisk weather. There’s lots going on in my kitchen this month as there always is and I’m wondering how many more IMKs my current kitchen will be hosting before it is retired. In the meanwhile, take a look what’s happening not only in my kitchen but in the kitchens of fellow IMKers, hosted by the Fairy Godmother of sourdough starters all across the globe, Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial.

In my February kitchen…

Kim Chi

…is both white (shown here) and red kim chi. I had a wonderful visit to the Jan Power’s Farmers Market recently and in amongst the fresh foods and veges, I saw a stall selling fermented foods. I’m a huge fan of sauerkraut and kim chi but Anthony is wary. Not because they are fermented but because they are made of cabbage. Brassicas and legumes are not necessarily good friend with his stomach. Still, he was willing to give them a taste and was pleasantly surprised. The red kim chi is a traditional style whilst the white includes mushrooms in the cabbage mix and is chilli free. This is the version that he’s enjoying. These were an absolute bargain as far as I’m concerned, at $6 a jar. Not only for the quality of ingredients and time that has gone into making these accompaniments but also because the are packaged in genuine Ball Mason jars which are worth a few dollars each in their own right. Don’t be worried if the ingredients look a little cloudy, it’s just the condensation on the jar when I took it out of the fridge for the photo.

In my kitchen…

Sliced Onions

…are onions. Lots of onions. You may recall in my last IMK I wrote about a large box of onions that made their way into my kitchen via a fundraiser. I did make a Caramelised Onion Tart at Mr Tiffin’s request and it was delicious. Recipe here. I also made some of Ottolenghi’s Baked Stuffed Onions which were incredibly easy and a great addition to a meal. Recipe hereMany readers suggested ways of using up the onions. All great ideas but since writing, we’ve had a spell of absolutely blistering days in Brisbane. The very thought of turning on the stove to whip up a pot of French Onion Soup was beyond comprehension. After making a batch of caramelised onion relish, I sliced almost all of the onions on the mandolin and bagged them up to store in the freezer until the temperature drops by another 20c degrees or so.

In my kitchen…

Sourdough Starter

…is sourdough starter from Celia. Though I initially said no to the offer of Priscilla’s offspring, I had major sourdough envy when I read last month’s IMK. Celia took pity on me and posted some starter so I could join the bread club. It’s still in granular form as I wait to see what my travel schedule is for February before I commence ‘operation sourdough’. Once the genie is in the bowl, I want to make sure I’m there to tend to it. I’ve decided on a name but you’ll just have to wait, won’t you?

In my kitchen…

Caster Sugar

….is homemade caster sugar. My mum always makes her own caster sugar so when she was whipping up a batch, she made an extra bag for me. I’m sure it’s no different to bought sugar in taste or cooking qualities but I have imbued magical powers upon it because it’s home made. There have been a couple of times when I’ve gone to use it but have chosen the supermarket stuff instead as the recipe I’ve been making hasn’t been ‘worthy enough’.

In my kitchen…

Ottolenghis Plenty

….is Yotam Ottolenghi. Always Yotam. I am re-visiting Plenty which has been languishing on my bookshelf for far too long. I made a couple of recipes for a dinner with friends over the Australia Day long weekend and have bookmarked some more for when the weather becomes cooler (if that will ever happen). If only it was the real Yotam…

When I was  organising the photos for this post, I noticed that they are all ‘white’. It wasn’t a deliberate thing, it just happened. Serendipity!

48 comments… add one
  • Pamela Hayward February 3, 2015, 6:55 pm

    Loved your blog and look forward to visiting the Farmers Market when I come ti Brisbane. I am also very fond of Yotom’s recipes and am looking another of his salad’s tonight. Want to make my own kimchi though….as I have not seen it for sale at markets (yet)

    • Fiona Ryan February 4, 2015, 11:05 am

      It’s a great market Pamela. If you are here mid week, there’s the same markets in the city at the top of the Mall on Wednesdays. I’m keen on making my own kim-chi too but this was just too good to pass up.

  • Mandy February 3, 2015, 8:10 pm

    Love these posts and Celia is the most generous and wonderful lady.
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  • Jan (A gluttonous wife) February 3, 2015, 8:14 pm

    Have never tasted these fermented condiments but would definately give them again and I agree, a bargain!

    Good luck with the baby…I mean the sour dough 😀 I’ve been in the ‘gang’ before and it nearly did me in!!! Beautiful bread though, look forward to meeting her!


    • Fiona Ryan February 4, 2015, 11:07 am

      The kim chi is very addictive (not overly spicy either) and I ‘ve started putting it on lots of dishes. I’ll need to go back and stock up. This is the week that I start feeding baby : ) Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  • Lizzy (Good Things) February 4, 2015, 8:20 am

    A lovely collection, Fiona… good idea to freeze those onions rather than wasting them. I look forward to seeing your sour dough creation… mine is still waiting too. I slept in today, so my plans to start today may have to be deferred. Sweet of your mum to give you a bag of the caster sugar… I would be saving it ‘for best’ too. Happy cooking lovely and thank you for the parcel… so kind, did you see my email? : )

    • Fiona Ryan February 4, 2015, 11:08 am

      Hi Liz – sleep ins are always good. You can never have too many. I did see your email but I was just getting on the plane. Will email tonight. xx

  • Liz February 4, 2015, 9:16 am

    I’m waiting for the best time to reinvigorate my starter as well. I look forward to reading about your bread baking adventures.

    • Fiona Ryan February 4, 2015, 11:09 am

      Well the pressure’s on now isn’t it! I think I better do some serious reading on the weekend. Thanks for visiting.

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime February 4, 2015, 2:00 pm

    Enjoy your starter and everything looks wonderful in your kitchen this month 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan February 7, 2015, 8:40 am

      I just activated the starter an hour ago. Now the waiting commences!

  • Jan Rhoades February 4, 2015, 7:16 pm

    Home made caster sugar sounds so fancy-schmancy!!! but of course it isn’t. But is is easy and so cheap.

  • Glenda February 4, 2015, 7:20 pm

    Fiona, Ottolenghi can’t be in your kitchen, he’s coming to mine. I think he is gorgeous.

    • Fiona Ryan February 7, 2015, 8:44 am

      He’s lovely. I went to lunch the other day and one of the women at the table said they didn’t like him and thought he was weird. We all looked at her because we knew who the weird one was!

  • Maree February 4, 2015, 7:53 pm

    I have yet to explore fermented food. I guess seeing as I love cheese and bread making I would enjoy it too. I’m a bit starter envy with all those Priscillas out there, might have to put my hand up too. I am slo yet to explore Yotam O’s food, I’ve read great things. Thanks for opening up some new thought processes for me. 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan February 7, 2015, 8:49 am

      Fermenting is the big thing right now but like bread making and cheesemaking, requires time and attention. Something I don’t always have. That’s why I was so happy with the kim chi and sauerkraut from the markets as it’s all done for me and I can support a local business. If you want to dip into Yotam, he publishes a regular column in The Guardian with a couple of recipes each week.

  • Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe February 4, 2015, 9:43 pm

    Very white indeed and I was thinking there is a lot of preserving in jars and bags in your kitchen too. I think if I had lots of onions in a heatwave I would want to fry them up on the bbq or to have with sausages and burgers (veg for me please). But it can be hard to be enthused about any cooking when it is hot – didn’t realise Brissy had it so hot – it is quite chilly in Melbourne but about to warm up. I really need to give my copy of plenty some love too.

    • Fiona Ryan February 7, 2015, 8:51 am

      It’s been a very hot summer for us. Which is what you expect in Brisbane but the last few have been so mild. There were A LOT of onions. It was a huge case so far too many for one BBQ! Thanks for stopping by.

  • The Life of Clare February 5, 2015, 5:24 am

    I’m in desperate want of Plenty! Might be my next cookbook purchase. I also want to try my hand at making some kim chi, and I love the sound of the chilli-less version. Have fun with your sourdough! Can’t wait to learn it’s name!

    • Fiona Ryan February 7, 2015, 8:54 am

      I just read on your post how you treat yourself every so often. It’s a good one – I’ve had it for a while as I brought it back from the UK. To be honest, I enjoy reading Jerusalem more but they are both good. Sourdough was activated today – now the watching begins.

  • Elaine @ foodbod February 5, 2015, 11:25 pm

    Hi Fiona
    Lovely to see inside some of your world 🙂 I hope you have as much fun with your sourdough starter as I have xx

    • Fiona Ryan February 7, 2015, 8:55 am

      Hi Elaine – the sourdough was activated this morning so I hope I have a loaf by tomorrow lunch. Thanks for joining IMK and taking the time to stop by and read and comment. Hope to see you back soon. Fiona.

  • shaheen February 6, 2015, 2:13 am

    Homemade caster sugar now that is amazing, I have never ever heard of anyone make that at home before. I have a copy of Plenty, but have to be honest I haven’t cooked from it yet. but I have from his recipes when he contributed to the Guardian

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 8:52 am

      I have learned that many of his Guardian recipes are ‘recipes in progress and test’ that go into future books. They are often tweaked based on feedback from readers. I have noted that a number of the recipes from the 2010 Guardians made it in one form or another into Jerusalem. So online access is like your own digital Ottolenghi library. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.

  • Moya February 6, 2015, 7:52 am

    Looking forward to your sourdough adventures too and the name you have decide on. I have the cookbook Plenty More (not Plenty) as it was chosen for our cookbook club. Lots of recipes were prepared and most of them were quite delicious. 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 8:55 am

      I unveiled the name over the weekend as I baked my first loaf. She is called ‘Audrey III’ after Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. Feed Me!

  • sherry from sherrys pickings February 6, 2015, 1:58 pm

    that kim chi looks great. i may have to swing by the markets tomorrow. It is great that they are on every saturday now. i keep meaning to have a look at Ottolenghi’s books – yes i will do it! i always seem to end up with heaps of onions in the crisper, then i have to chop them up and throw them in the freezer which is actually a fab thing to have to hand. see ya round the markets!

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 8:57 am

      Sherry – take a look at some of his recipes in The Guardian. These will eventually end up in a future cookbook as he uses the paper as a first proof and test, often tweaking them based on reader feedback. We should certainly try to meet up one morning. Fiona

  • Elizabeth February 7, 2015, 8:12 am

    What a great IMK this month… I have tried making kimchi and I much prefer to pay someone else to do it, it always taste better 🙂 I am yet to buy an Yotam Ottolenghi book, but it is on my list, as I made is marinated turkey breast for Christmas and it was amazing. I always make my own castor sugar and icing sugar… it is very simple in the Thermomix and yes I think it does have magical powers, because I made it myself…Oh and it is a lot cheaper! 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Liz xx

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 9:01 am

      I’ve been telling people to take a look at his Guardian recipes. Many of them end up in a cookbook so you can have the jump! It had never occurred to me to make caster sugar and of course, it is much more economical. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, you famous media personality, you.

      • Elizabeth February 9, 2015, 9:15 pm

        LOL I’m not famous yet… I don’t even have any advertising on my blog and no one has sent me anything to review YET… so as soon as I am actually famous… We should go out to lunch in some swanky restaurant in Brisbane and do ti properly 🙂 hehe!

  • Jennifer from Milk and Honey February 7, 2015, 11:32 am

    Can’t wait to see your sourdough creations Fiona. I just baked some sourdough rye (from a starter I’ve had for years). Once you start baking your own sourdough bread, you can’t stop. I’m a fan of Yotam too. He’s so creative with flavours.

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 9:03 am

      I baked my first loaf late yesterday and though I have lots to learn, we really enjoyed it. Mr Tiffin is already talking about ‘next weekend’s loaf’. I find Yotam’s recipes simple (just lots of ingredients!)

  • Tania @My Kitchen stories February 7, 2015, 3:40 pm

    Ha arent you funny saving that sugar for best. Still it has Mum’s love attached. Those markets sound great Fiona and looking forward to bread escapades

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 9:05 am

      I had to crack it open yesterday Tania and you know what, it tasted like sugar… First bread under the belt. Much to learn and improve upon but I’ve made a start. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  • Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas February 9, 2015, 5:41 pm

    I have some traditional kimchi bubbling away on my bench at the moment, and am a huge fan of radish kimchi but I really like the sound of your white kimchi. I think I need to hunt down a recipe for it. Best of luck with the sourdough baking. It is addictive 😉

    • Fiona Ryan February 16, 2015, 4:34 pm

      Radish kim chi sounds good. The white kim chi basically doesn’t have any chilli – otherwise it seem fairly similar. The sliced mushrooms appear to be reconstituted shitake, so quite meaty.

  • Lisa February 13, 2015, 8:35 pm

    I do love the unintentional ‘all white’ theme. It sort of brings to mind snow and cold after the dreaded heat… which has cooled a little recently, but not enough for my taste.

    I’ve not seen the fermented food stall at the markets, but I shall keep my eye out for it now you’ve mentioned. Like you, I am happy to outsource where it is easier for me… and quite frankly, sourdough bread has taken over my spare kitchen bench space, I’m not sure the family would appreciate if I started fermenting a bunch of things as well!

    I used to save my special ingredients for extraordinary occasions… then I just decided that really, every meal could be a special occasion, it was all a mindset. So I try to use everything but there are a few ‘extra’ special things that get brought out for the champagne moments (not that there are any of them with the nursling around but one day….) 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan February 14, 2015, 5:06 pm

      I sympathise re: bench space and bread. Time is another thing for me. Between work, commuting, cooking and blogging – I don’t have time to be peering into fermenting jars. The stall was in the main walkway.

  • celia February 15, 2015, 10:10 am

    How nice of Jan to make caster sugar for you, and how good of you to treasure it so highly! 🙂 I’m so happy Audrey is making YOU happy and turning out gorgeous loaves for you! I made French onion soup yesterday – I wish I’d had bags of pre-sliced onions to pull out of the freezer! I’m with your hubby a bit – I’m not a huge fan of cabbage based dishes either. I do love how they taste, but am often folded in half with stomach cramps shortly after!

    • Fiona Ryan February 16, 2015, 4:35 pm

      Wait until you see next months IMK and what I’ve done with the balance of the onions!

  • Kim | a little lunch February 24, 2015, 4:28 am

    What?! You’re retiring?! Say it isn’t so! (Or please include your next IMK haven in Celia’s delightful mix of “must reads!”) Hope all is going well for you, Fiona. Thanks, too, for your love and support! My “next” kitchen will be up & running soon, xo. Again, thanks…

    • Fiona Ryan February 24, 2015, 10:09 pm

      Hi Kim – no, not retiring. Just getting a new kitchen this year. Delays of course but at least I have one hey? So glad that things are slowly coming together. Celia mentioned a new stove & fridge for you. Wonderful. Take care. xx

  • akshata February 24, 2015, 10:25 pm

    I discovered your blog today and I am going to read it in the whole..
    I have added you in my links ..
    Keep up the good work thanks for sharing.

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