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In My Kitchen… March 2015

Last month was a funny old month. I was on Jury Duty for a fortnight which was a blessing and a curse. Many of the things that I usually slip into the day between other responsibilities had to be crammed into evenings or put on hold. No tweeting in the jury room. Whilst I was sequestered for deliberation, I missed the announcement that Australia had a wildcard entry into Eurovision and, Queensland had a new Premier and Deputy Premier – both women! On the other hand, I missed an awful lot of dull meetings… March brings a change of season, a birthday celebration and an opportunity to finalise plans for our regular biennial visit to the Barossa Valley. There’s always time do some cooking though so here’s what’s happening In My Kitchen. Join in the fun of IMK via Celia’s blog Fig Jam & Lime Cordial and meet other cooks from around the world.

In my March kitchen…

…are onions (of course). You may recall that my January IMK, I talked about a huge box of very large onions that I was gifted. Since then I have made a number of recipes including

Ottolenghi’s Stuffed Onions

Baked Onions 4

Caramelised Onion Tart

Tart caramelised closeup

I also sliced a number of onions and froze them for future use (IMK Feb 2015). A twitter friend pointed me in the direction of slow cooker caramelised onions, that you cook overnight.

Caramelised Onions

You start with a huge pile of sliced onions and end up with a smaller quantity of caramelised onions. No mess, no fuss, no watching, no stirring.  The orginal recipe cooked the onions in eight hours but I let mine cook for 12 as I had doubled the quantity. I plugged in the cooker on the porch so the smell of cooking onions didn’t permeate the house. You can find the instructions here. These caramelised onions have been bagged up and frozen for future use in soups and meals. Next time I make the Caramelised Onion Tart, this is what I’ll be using. The remaining quantity of onions are now manageable so you should see no further onions on IMK for the forseeable future.


In my kitchen…

Heart Tin & Brioche

…is this heart shaped cake tin. Orginally my Mum’s, she passed it on to me at some stage. It’s delighfully old fashioned, tinny and not very sturdy. I recall her using it to make me a marbled birthday cake for me as a child. I was very impressed. I fished the tin out from the back of the cupboard to make some faux brioche for a couple of faux Valentines we were dining with on the day. I used Celia’s sweet dough recipe. It’s a very easy and forgiving recipe. The resultant heart shaped brioche were a hit.


In my kitchen…

Loaf 1

Loaf 1

Sourdough trio 1
Loaf 2

Loaf 2

…there is of course, sourdough in a number of guises. Celia sent me some sourdough starter last month and I have finally had a chance to activate it. Meet Audrey, daughter of Priscilla. She is named after Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors as she is always demanding ‘feed me’! Since feeding Audrey, I’ve managed to turn out a variety of loaves including an olive and rosemary cob as well as a couple of batches of Celia’s sourdough pancakes fromleftover starter with plum compote and yoghurt, all to Anthony’s great delight. I’m a little pushy with Audrey and have sped up the feeding process into less than 6 hours which means I can start feeding her when I get home from work on a Friday night. I can get away with it because of Brisbane’s sub tropical climate. See what Audrey II has to say on the subject: Feed Me Seymour


Not exactly in my kitchen…

Rosella logo

…but on the blog is an interview with Dan Presser, who saved the fortunes of Rosella Australia. With all of the hoo haa about frozen berries and imported ingredients, isn’t it nice to know that there’s an Australian company that uses 100% Australian ingredients and manufactures here in Australia? Please have a read of the interview and Dan’s quest to turn Rosella into a flagship Australian brand. There’s also an opportunity to win a great Rosella prize pack.


Last but not least, in my kitchen…

Wallaby Flour pair

…is an upcycled rubbish bag. Mr Tiffin and I don’t like to waste anything if we can help it. Our grey water from the washing machine goes onto our front garden and we are big recyclers and composters but, there is still always some rubbish to go in the bin. If I’ve received something in a satchel in the mail, I’ll often re-use the bag in a bin in the study or bathroom, rather than just throwing it out. Upon finishing a bag of baker’s flour, it’s now serving as a rubbish bag. As we compost, we have very little wet rubbish to go into the bin so this heavy duty paper bag readily contains our rubbish. It will be much easier to compost in the landfill as well.

And that my friends, is a wrap!

40 comments… add one
  • Joanne T Ferguson March 3, 2015, 7:23 pm

    G’day What a great IMK post Fiona and love that you recycle the Wallaby Flour bag (note to self to do) and suggesting ways to minimize other ways to use satchels!
    Honestly, you had my at the stuffed onions and thanks also for your kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne

    • Fiona Ryan March 4, 2015, 12:22 pm

      Those stuffed onions are so easy Joanne. Really worth making.

  • Lizzy (Good Things) March 3, 2015, 7:36 pm

    Love that heart shaped tin, Fiona… it has real character. Great job on the all the baking!

    • Fiona Ryan March 4, 2015, 12:23 pm

      The tin certainly remind me how far bakeware has come. I have plenty more to learn about bread making though, that’s for sure!

  • Glenda March 4, 2015, 12:59 am

    Hi Fiona
    Love your idea of the caramelised onions. I am so happy you have been able to use them up. Your bread looks fabulous. Congratulations.

    • Fiona Ryan March 4, 2015, 12:24 pm

      I’ll definitely be doing a big batch of caramelised onions this way each year from now on. So easy!

  • Napoli Restaurant Alert March 4, 2015, 8:03 am

    I’ve been using the Wallaby bakers flour as well – it turns out a good loaf!

    • Fiona Ryan March 4, 2015, 12:26 pm

      Yes – I’m definitely a fan and with only 2 of us, a 5kg bag is a good option. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. cheers.

  • ale March 4, 2015, 11:58 am

    Lovely post. Thanks for sharing your kitchen!!

    • Fiona Ryan March 4, 2015, 12:28 pm

      Hi Ale – nice to see you over here. I look forward to reading your post too.

  • Jennifer from Milk and Honey March 4, 2015, 1:09 pm

    I use Wallaby flour too. That heart shaped tin though 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 4:37 pm

      It’s very handy for us at we can get it at the supermarket. If I ever get my bigger pantry, I may go to 10kg as I seem to be getting through it with the sourdough. My mum just told me the tin belonged to my Pop, who was a bit of a cook.

  • Jan Rhoades March 4, 2015, 4:22 pm

    That heart-shaped tin (aluminimum) belonged to your grandfather (my Dad) – Edward William John Riddett. He loved to cook and I imagine that tin must have been the height of fashion.

    You are not opposed to baking/cooking in aluminium? So many people are.

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 4:35 pm

      I didn’t know it was Pop’s. Yes, it’s aluminium but I’m not too bothered. It’s not like I’m using it every day.

  • Sherry from Sherrys pickings March 4, 2015, 4:23 pm

    what a great post Fiona. Good on you for recycling and composting. Your bread looks fantastic I am still to activate my starter and make some. I did jury duty a couple of years ago and found it very interesting. People asked me why I didn’t try to get out of it but I can’t understand why you would. I feel it is everyone’s duty and very important. Yay Eurovision here we come!!

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 4:39 pm

      Yes, Jury Duty is interesting and even though I always find the deliberations a drag, I feel it’s my civic duty. We’re lucky to live in a democracy. Yay Eurovision indeed!

  • Kavey March 4, 2015, 5:47 pm

    Hello Audrey! You have a sister in London called Pussy Galoaf! 🙂 Love the look of those Ottolenghi onions!

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 4:40 pm

      OMG – Pussy Galoaf is so clever. Aren’t you the smarty pants!? cheers

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime March 4, 2015, 6:34 pm

    I love the name Audrey! So perfect. Enjoy feeding her 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 4:48 pm

      She’s a good girl. A month on I’m really getting a feel for the dough and am not so slavish to Celia’s recipe. I now know that ‘less is more’ as far as hydration in Brisbane and the dough is much easier to manage.

  • Anne March 4, 2015, 7:07 pm

    Goodness, I’d forgotten all about caramelised onion tart. Definitely one to make. Now I know that I can leave onions overnight to caramelise, maybe I can incorporate them into a sourdough loaf.

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 4:50 pm

      So easy Anne and definitely can’t be over cooked using this method. They’d be divine in the bread. With a smear of goat’s cheese curd perhaps?

  • Lisa March 5, 2015, 1:23 pm


    • Lisa March 5, 2015, 1:26 pm

      Sorry about that, computer gliche!

      What I wanted to say, was that your loaves look delicious. I’d planned on baking today but at 36 degrees, I’ve rethought that decision!! Would you consider blogging about the sped up timeline? I’m always interested in different baking methods.

      I love the idea of slow cooked caramelised onions. What a fabulous way to use up/store those onions.

      • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 5:02 pm

        ha ha – it’s ‘k’. I bake the loaves in a fan forced oven and use a pizza stone. I don’t use the pot method as I don’t have one. I use Celia’s standard ‘overnight’ sourdough. I usually start my feed at 5.30pm on Friday night, then 7.30pm, then 9.30pm and the mix a rough dough at 11pm before I go to bed. I don’t give it the second mix as Celia suggests as it’s far too late. It’s ready to be baked in the morning.

        Because we are in Brissie, I find the starter works fairly quickly because of the warmth and can cope with being hurried. Last week it wasn’t as bubbly as it had been on other nights (though still plenty of bubble) and it was still fine to take the last batch of flour and water and be mixed into a dough before I went to bed. Of course, If you started feeding at around 7.30am on a Sat (which I have done), I can still be baking by 4.30pm as again, the dough rises quickly in out climate.

        I think Audrey is pretty resilient and I’m pushy so we get along well together.

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 4:51 pm

      k right back atcha!

  • Jan (A gluttonous wife) March 5, 2015, 8:39 pm

    Those stuffed onions look sensation Fiona!!! I’m very jealous of your Barossa trip, I’ve never been but it’s on my bucket list.
    Jan x

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 5:05 pm

      Thanks Jan – they are well worth making. We go to the Barossa every two years when the Barossa Vintage Festival is on. I think this is my 6th. There are ten of us who go and rent some cottages on the same property in Tanunda. After all this time, there are still lots of things I haven’t seen or tasted. A must visit so I’m glad it’s on your list.

  • Gretchen March 6, 2015, 8:49 am

    I did jury duty several years ago too, luckily before children. It was definitely interesting, though mine was much shorter at only several days. I also like making caramelized onions in the crockpot, makes life easier sometimes which reminds me I should make some soon.

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 5:15 pm

      Jury Duty I always interesting but I find the deliberations are so long… Maybe it’s me that’s making them long! I’ve had a murder trial, fraud trial and assault case so I’ve seen the full cross section of society. As to the onions, I’ll never make them any other way now.

  • Kari @ bite-sized thoughts March 6, 2015, 6:04 pm

    My Mum used to make heart shaped cakes too 🙂 I bought a small tin of my own but still prefer hers! Lovely that you can take on the heart baton now.

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 5:16 pm

      I think it will be only a once a year thing but of course, Now I’m wondering what else to make in it. 11 more months to prepare! Thanks for the visit Kari.

  • Ardys March 8, 2015, 3:56 pm

    What a brilliant sounding method for caramelising onions! Sitting it outside would be wise but I would not be confident the ‘critters’ would leave it alone. Maybe the smell of onions puts them off?? One hopes! Looks like a delicious time in your kitchen despite the jury duty. Thanks Fiona.

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 4:20 pm

      It was OK overnight I think as the only animals that may have been interested would have been the possums but I had it tucked beside the BBQ so it wasn’t in their regular freeway across the roof and onto the fence. The garage would be suitable. Give it a go!

  • Kim | a little lunch March 10, 2015, 5:19 am

    Fiona, what a month you’ve had! I once showed up for jury duty, only to find out that it was the “wrong” county for me to participate… the driver’s license bureau checked the wrong box! Isn’t it funny (and fortuitous) how one IMK post leads to greater global awareness and implementable “ideas?” Celia is doing the world a great service — you, too, by sharing! Your “gray water” recycling made me think (and plan) to use our recently re-routed gray water line to my soon to be planted garden. Why waste perfectly good water or watch it run into a ditch?! Thank you sooooo much for that. (I’m sure my hubby can rig something up!) Thanks, too, for the links to your caramelized onion goodies… dreaming, drooling, and doing!

  • Vicki @ Boiled Eggs & Soldiers March 11, 2015, 6:53 pm

    Audrey! One of my favourite names. I love what you have done with all those onions – I must try the stuffed ones and the slow cooked caramelised ones are genius! Oh that heart tin, so sweet.

    • Fiona Ryan March 11, 2015, 7:05 pm

      Yes – it’s all onions in the TIFFIN kitchen. The stuffed ones are very easy and worth a go. Yes, the tin is a delight to be sure.

  • Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe March 12, 2015, 8:50 pm

    So much good stuff – I love the overnight onions – though am paranoid about putting on my oven while I am not about – more worried about that than about the house smelling of onions – I always love the smell though am not sure it is a smell to wake to. The old fashioned heart tin makes me jealous because it is cute and because I am fond of my plain old cake tins and sad that it seems harder and harder to find cheap cake tins that aren’t covered in non stick. And the bread looks delightful but even more inspiring is your use of the flour bags – genius!

    • Fiona Ryan March 13, 2015, 4:28 pm

      Hi Johanna – the onions were actually cooked in the crockput which is why I could leave them outside. I have done slow cooking overnight in the oven. The first few time I had a restless night’s sleep but once it’s a proven recipe, I don’t worry anymore. I’m the Queen of using boxes and packets as rubbish bags.

  • Elizabeth March 26, 2015, 8:35 pm

    Finally getting to all the IMK’s for March, just in time to start again for April. I must say I do love the onion theme and I hope that stuffed onion recipe is in Plenty as I want to make it 🙂 I keep my flour in a storage container, but have recently stared a rye sourdough, so I kind of have flour bins everywhere! Thanks for sharing! Liz xx

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