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In My Kitchen… April 2015

Well here we are at the start of April and what do you know? It’s Easter! This particular April also marks a very special anniversary for Australians, New Zealanders and Turks. On April 25th it will have been 100 years since the ANZACS landed on the shores of Gallipoli or Gellibolu in a campaign that was an early warning of what was to be a devastating war for colonial forces in general and the start of the making of modern Turkey.

Poppies at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Poppies at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra

I know that’s a bit sombre for an In My Kitchen intro but I wanted to tell overseas readers about this event as no doubt you will see posts from Australian and New Zealand bloggers in the upcoming month. Thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, for once again hosting IMK. Celia shares a birthday month with me and March was certainly a Festival of Celia occasion.

In my April kitchen…

Lauke Golden Wholemeal

…is this box of golden wholemeal flour. The last time we went shopping and I asked Anthony to grab a bag of Wallaby white bread flour, he said to me ‘Isn’t there any wholemeal?’. They had these boxes of Golden Wholemeal from Laucke so we bought one. Of course it’s a false economy buying only 2.4kg but that’s all they had. As it is, the usual 5kg Wallaby white (also made by Laucke) has to sit in the study until we have our new kitchen. There will be room for bigger bags of white and wholemeal after the renovation. The cloth bread bags you can see in the background of the photo were bought in a secondhand shop in Tanunda, when we visited two years ago. Lauke is a South Australian miller who has been going since 1899, starting in Greenock in the Barossa. They are still family owned and independent so if that’s not a reason to be a little bit extravagant when buying flour, I don’t know what is.

In my kitchen…

Butterflied Lamb

…is this very unglamorous looking butterflied leg of lamb. It was discounted at the supermarket a few weeks ago so I grabbed it to cook over Easter. Across the world, lamb is by far the most popular meal cooked during Easter. For some, it is full of Christian symbolism around sacrifice and new life but to others it is simply the food you eat at Easter in the same way turkey or ham is served at Christmas. The Pope has been eating lamb for Easter dinner for nearly 1500 years. I won’t be doing any fancy Swiss Guard cooking and will instead be treating it very simply with good olive oil, rosemary sprigs, garlic slivers, lemon and salt and cooking it covered on the barbeque. With only two of us, there will be plenty of leftovers to enjoy in lavash with a smear of hummus for lunches.

In my kitchen…

Savoury Shortbread

… are savoury shortbread or sables. These are something that I find very hard to resist, so I don’t bother trying. I bought these Roasted Onion & Jalapeno and, Smokey Sea Salt biscuits at Aldi. Palm oil free, they are good for cheese or with a drink. I thought I could take these to the Barossa to share with friends but I don’t like their chances (biscuits or friends) of there being any left. Just taking a closer look as I loaded on the photo, I noticed a little illustration of what appears to be holly so I think these were Christmas fare. I better eat them quickly. Now if only I had something nice to drink. Oh look…

In my kitchen…

Rockford Trio

…is liquid gold in the form of this bottle of Rockford Basket Press Shiraz. Certainly not a cheap drop, it is something to be savoured over the long weekend. This 08 bottle was bought on one of our regular visits to the Barossa Vintage Festival. As we are just about to head back there with our gang for a week, we need to slim down the cellar and make room. Rockford is always on the itinerary. Their cellar door is a tiny stone building that requires you to duck your head as you enter. When you step outside for a breath of fresh air and to clear your head after a long day of tasting, you can see the basket press in the open air shed. The very best of each vintage is pressed using this gentler winemaking technique. This one’s ready to drink and, it’s under cork! Something that’s a rarity these days. And what a lovely cork it is too.

In my kitchen…

Marzipan Pair

…are these cute marzipan fruit or frutta martorana. I’m reading an interesting book at the moment called ‘Sicilian Summer’ by Brian Johnston. It’s a cross between a travel tale, food journal and the story of the writer who spends the summer in Sicily and becomes embroiled in small town politics. In it, the author talks about the Arabic influences on Sicily including their use of almonds. There’s a small medieval hill-top town called Erice, that is famous for the most beautiful marzipan fruit and vegetables in the whole of Sicily. People travel the length of the island to purchase it. Frutta martorana originally appeared only at Easter but are now seen at most big celebrations and are imitated throughout the world. Another popular item are fruit cakes topped with marzipan lambs. Greeks eat lamb, Italians eat marzipan! An impulse buy, these ones aren’t from Sicily but Romania. As you can see from the close up of the little orange, they are surprisingly realistic. They would of course be of lesser quality but I’m sure they are a darn sight cheaper than the Sicilian ones and will no doubt taste just fine as an Easter treat.

Enjoy your Easter and all the other IMKs, for some long weekend reading.

51 comments… add one
  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef March 31, 2015, 9:36 pm

    The celebration and remembrance at Gallipoli this year should find every Australian glued to their TVs.

    I have a big kitchen but almost no pantry so I can’t buy in bulk without storing it elsewhere in the house. Those cloth bags will attract envy from us all.

    Happy Easter!

    • Fiona Ryan April 3, 2015, 11:54 am

      My new kitchen reno will have a big pantry but to be honest, in Qld, we are better off with small bags due to heat, humidity and moths! I wonder how many people you’ll be cooking for this weekend. No doubt a few from the care home also. Happy Easter to you too Maureen. xx

  • Lizzy (Good Things) April 1, 2015, 5:30 am

    Peter and I spent a day at the Australian War Memorial this week with a young family member visiting from the UK. Always a sobering reminder, and lest we forget.

    Have a lovely Easter, Fiona.

    • Fiona Ryan April 3, 2015, 11:57 am

      Hi Liz – yes I saw the photos you tweeted. I could see your family member taking a photo of the same shot and thought ‘everyone must take the same photo!’. It looked like a great day.

  • Sherry from sherryspickings April 1, 2015, 7:07 am

    There’s an obvious joke there about the Pope but I will leave that alone. Love the look of the marzipan fruit. So pretty. Have fun in the Barossa!

    • Fiona Ryan April 3, 2015, 11:59 am

      I can’t wait for the Barossa. This time next week I’ll be halfway through my last day of work for 2 weeks. My friend Maria’s family are from Sicily and she is actually staying in Erice when they visit this year so she’ll be all clued up.

  • Maria April 1, 2015, 7:12 am

    We’re staying in Erice on our family trip to Sicily later this year – will definitely look out for these, thanks for the tip!

    • Fiona Ryan April 3, 2015, 12:07 pm

      Hi Maria – apparently Erice is pretty dull on the outside but once you get inside, it’s a jewel box. I’ve just finished the book and as he spent a whole summer there, he visited many smaller towns. I’ll lend it to you. It’s a very easy read so you’ll have time to read before you go. Fiona xx

  • Jan Rhoades April 1, 2015, 12:44 pm

    Loved the variety of your March kitchen.
    Hmmm…having to stretch and share that lamb a bit further with no hope of left-overs is a bit of a bummer…but much appreciaated by all.
    I used to make marzipan fruit in another life – when I did cake decorating – and they were as safe as houses with me because I don’t much like marzipan.
    Have you ever looked at the 5000 poppies site to see what people have been doing for the past few (at least two) years in relation to making poppies for ANZAC Day? Go here and have a look. https://5000poppies.wordpress.com/
    Of course Lynn and her happy band are way past their target of 5000 poppies. They have around 100,000 now I think and still counting.

    • Fiona Ryan April 3, 2015, 12:12 pm

      Yes, the lamb does need to go a bit further but there’ll be plenty of other things on the Easter table. I saw Lynn on TV the other day – I knew of the poppies as you’d previously mentioned it.

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime April 1, 2015, 3:51 pm

    Good wine is always worth the expense. I buy flour in 2.5kg bags, all stone ground. Definitely makes a difference to my bread. Thanks for the peek into your kitchen 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan April 3, 2015, 12:13 pm

      Exactly Tandy. As I said to Maureen, in our high heat/humidity climate, small bags are better anyway.

  • celia April 3, 2015, 9:09 am

    Didn’t we have a fun birthday month, love! Lovely things in your kitchen this month – I hadn’t planned on cooking lamb this Easter but now I wish I had. The marzipan fruits are amazingly realistic! And the 100 year anniversary of Gallipoli – sobering indeed. xxx

    • Fiona Ryan April 3, 2015, 12:26 pm

      I really want to eat them but they are so cute so I’m going to put them on the fruit platter on Easter Sunday to be shared by all. I will of course be modelling my significant anniversary in a couple of years on your own celebrations ; )

  • Tania @My Kitchen Stories April 3, 2015, 9:32 am

    How exciting, you are going to the Barossa. Have a great time. it certainly is worth spending extra on flour and supporting our local millers. Laucke make wonderful flour blends.
    I didn’t know about those little marzipan fruits from Sicily. Fascinating Fiona…..have a great Easter break

    • Fiona Ryan April 3, 2015, 12:27 pm

      Hi – yes, the Barossa looms large on our social calendar every 2 years. We never know what to do with ourselves on the Easter we are home, we are so used to going there now! Have a good break yourself Tania.

  • Indira April 3, 2015, 11:31 am

    What a lovely post. Your image with the poppies is beautiful. My Birthday is on November 11 (Remembrance Day in North America) and I have a special place in my heart for those flowers.

    The book that you mention sounds really interesting. I’m a huge fan of food memoirs so I’ll definitely check it out!

  • Miss Food Fairy April 4, 2015, 10:51 am

    Happy Easter to you Fiona. Did you say a 2008 Shiraz – we can’t go past a good Shiraz either! What time is lunch? 😉 How were those savoury biscuits? I’m always looking for new flavours to enjoy by themselves or with cheese & Shiraz! Happy cooking x

    • Fiona Ryan April 13, 2015, 10:01 pm

      Of course, that Shiraz is long gone now and as I write, I’m sitting in the Barossa Valley, re-stocking the cellar. cheers *clink*

  • Sally - my custard pie April 5, 2015, 2:57 am

    Thanks for sharing the info about ANZAC anniversary. The Rockford sounds gorgeous. Raising a virtual glass to those past heroes

    • Fiona Ryan April 13, 2015, 10:09 pm

      That shiraz is long gone now but we’re in the Barossa Valley now, stocking up for the next 2 years. There’ll be more about ANZAC traditions in an upcoming blog post.

  • Jennifer from Milk and Honey April 5, 2015, 10:12 am

    I use Laucke flour blends too – German gain being a favourite. We drove past the mill when we were in SA last year. Now whenever I use it, I can visualise the place.

    • Fiona Ryan April 13, 2015, 10:11 pm

      Hi Jennifer – I drove past a Laucke Animal Grain silo yesterday (we are in SA). They are certainly diverse!

  • Joanne T Ferguson April 5, 2015, 11:01 am

    What a great post Fiona and think every Australian should visit the War Memorial and the War Museum.
    Canberra is rich in this nation’s history and in my opinion, it is something that is lacking being taught in schools throughout Australia!
    Happy Easter! Sharing!

    • Fiona Ryan April 13, 2015, 10:12 pm

      The War Memorial was a revelation. I thought it was only the memorial and had no idea that a massive museum was attached. We ran out of time. A thoroughly enjoyable day.

  • Cate April 6, 2015, 3:02 am

    Savour shortbread looks delicious! Savoury biscuits are not so common here, you’re inspiring me to make my own!

    • Fiona Ryan April 13, 2015, 10:13 pm

      I have to report that they were OK but not as delicious as I thought they would be. A little bit too sweet on the sweet/salty spectrum. I hope you make something delicious!

  • Napoli Restaurant Alert April 6, 2015, 7:14 am

    I use the Wallaby baker’s flour as well – always turns into a great loaf!

    • Fiona Ryan April 13, 2015, 10:16 pm

      To be honest, I didn’t have much success with the wholemeal but it could have been the weird wet weather at Easter. It’s back to the Wallaby White for now!

  • Jan (A gluttonous wife) April 6, 2015, 10:57 am

    I love the Laucke flours and use the multigrain mixed half and half with plain flour for a beautiful no knead bread I make.
    Jan x

    • Fiona Ryan April 29, 2015, 7:13 pm

      I wasn’t too successful with the wholemeal but I expect it was actually to do with the horribly wet weather so I will give it another go soon.

  • Anne April 6, 2015, 7:47 pm

    Those marzipan fruits look wonderful. Such a shame that one bite and they’ll be gone!
    Your lamb sounds as though it will taste delicious and one of the good things about a joint is the leftovers. Sometimes I think they’re better than the first time round.

    • Fiona Ryan April 29, 2015, 7:14 pm

      As it turned out, we had unexpected guests so there were no leftovers! (good company though)

  • EllaDee April 9, 2015, 6:46 pm

    We do lamb on Easter Sunday as well, Easter is as much about simple tradition for me as Christmas, and I prefer as a holiday as it’s quieter. ANZAC Day is another day of tradition for us as well, this significant year we’ll be commemorating in our tiny rural village of Taylors Arm where we get a great turn out.
    I’m due for a Festival of 50 later this year as is my bestie so we’re doing a trip. I suggested the Barossa and she agreed, but has now put Tassie on the table. Maybe a nice Rockford Shiraz will persuade her.

    • Fiona Ryan April 29, 2015, 7:17 pm

      Hi EllaDee – I have a number of Barossa posts on the blog and am just about to launch some more. Type Barossa into the search engine and they’ll come up. Perhaps she can read a few and you can persuade her. Then again, I think Tassie may be next on our list too. If you do decide on the Barossa, let me know if you need any info or ideas. Tanunda is the best place to be based.

  • Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe April 11, 2015, 10:44 pm

    ooh smoky shortbreads and pretty marzipan fruit – and interesting to hear about you buying wholemeal flour – I am trying to incorporate some into my bread baking and I tend to include it in my baking and find I go through those little 1kg packs rather quickly so might look out that larger packet – though I already don’t have room for the 5kg bag of white flour (I use Wallaby)

    • Fiona Ryan April 13, 2015, 10:21 pm

      I wasn’t too happy with the wholemeal. It could have had something to do with the very wet weather but the dough was very stodgy. I’m back to the white for now.

      • Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe May 12, 2015, 9:30 pm

        I haven’t been brave enough to try all wholemeal but I have had success with adding about 1/4 wholemeal flour to my bread

        • Fiona Ryan May 14, 2015, 9:16 pm

          I think I’ll have to do that as I’ve had a 2nd wholemeal failure. Too heavy.

  • Kavey April 12, 2015, 1:56 am

    That war memorial is beautiful.
    And then to marzipan fruits, one of my very favourite things!
    A lovely IMK post!
    Kavey (fellow IMKer)

    • Fiona Ryan April 29, 2015, 7:18 pm

      I just cracked open the marzipan. To my dismay, Mr Tiffin seems to like them too!

  • Lisa April 12, 2015, 12:45 pm

    i love Laucke flour and use it for my bread baking too. Good flour certainly makes a huge difference. I’m trying to find a good bulk wholemeal also.l

    Christmas biscuits or not, those certainly look like the perfect cheese accompaniment. The Rockford sounds delightful! Must look them up next time I’m in the area!

    • Fiona Ryan April 29, 2015, 7:19 pm

      Rockford are the bomb! The biscuits were not as good as I had hoped for. They were OK but I think I could have made a better job of it myself. Still, they hardly broke the bank.

  • Mel @ The cook's notebook April 13, 2015, 4:37 pm

    I’m really looking forward to seeing your kitchen! I love Rockford too – and yes, it’s a lovely little winery. Rumour has it that Tim Friedman from the Whitlams used to drink a bottle of Basket Press on stage every night, back in the day.

    • Fiona Ryan April 13, 2015, 10:24 pm

      Not as much as I am Mel. I just want it to start! Delays with the builder (though not his fault) but it will certainly be soon. Tim must have had a fat wallet!

  • Beck @ Goldenpudding April 16, 2015, 9:05 pm

    Ooh, marzipan and lamb, two of my favourite things! I’m also now feeling that I really need to visit the War Memorial again, as like many Canberrans, I only go there when we have visitors from interstate – thanks for the beautiful photo and reminder Fiona…

    • Fiona Ryan April 17, 2015, 9:43 am

      Hi Beck – I’m on holidays at the moment and left my little marzipans at home. I can’t wait to get home and eat one! The memorial is just so vast isn’t it? I need to go back and see more. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment. cheers xx

  • Liz April 20, 2015, 3:00 am

    Thank you for the history, I’m going to have to do some brushing up. I love that IMK takes me around the world and expands my view. It’s taking me forever to go throught he posts this month as they are all so interesting.

    We love wines from the Barossa Valley. We probably don’t get the very best here in the states but the Shiraz is outstanding. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

    • Fiona Ryan April 29, 2015, 7:22 pm

      Hi Liz – Once you’ve had a Barossa Shiraz, it’s hard to go back. They’re very bold and brash though so once your palate is used to them, everything else seems wan and a little insipid. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

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