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In My Kitchen… December 2015

December is here. Yep. Reading this post if proof of that. I’m in the weird twilight world of thinking about Christmas cooking but as yet unable to make it a reality.

Kitchen Renovation in progress

We are supposed to be hosting Christmas this year and whilst I’m optimistic that our renovation will be done by then, until the last lick of paint is applied and the last tile laid, there’s a mix of frustration and malaise in the air. Ding, dong, merrily on high!

Soon to be in my December kitchen…

Bottle of Pomegranate Molasses

…is this bottle of pomegranate molasses. I get through this tangy liquid at a rate of knots, using it in salads, braises, desserts and drinks. I usually buy bottles from the Middle Eastern grocer nearby but this came in a gift hamper. It is Lebanese in origin by way of Western Sydney. It’s a lot more glamorous than the usual bottle but no doubt tastes pretty similar. Looking forward to cracking it open though.


In my kitchen…

Paint and Laminex Samples

…is samplemania. Again I ask you, why are there so many shades of cream? Who knew there were so many styles of curved drawer handles? Enough said.


In my kitchen…

Book - Talking With My Mouth Full by Bonny Wolf

…is a lovely gift from a reader, Carole. ‘Talking With My Mouth Full’ from NPR food commentator Bonny Wolf is about what American families really eat. Full of recipes, anecdotes, literary quotes and short essays, this is on the top of my Christmas reading pile. Thank you so much Carole for sending this to me and for taking the time to have it signed by the author. I appreciate your kind gesture and am thrilled that you enjoy my own food writing. Roll on Dec 26.


In my kitchen…

Two plump R2E2 mangoes with a red blush

…are mangoes. Look at the size of these beauties, and let me tell you, they weren’t the biggest on offer. These are R2E2 mangoes from the Northern Territory. My favourites are the smaller Bowen or Kensington Pride (KP to those in the know) but I’m hardly going to quibble. These will be used in Asian inspired salads paired with pork and chicken and in next weekend’s morning tea of mango, blueberries (that I froze when plentiful) and yoghurt. Summer is here.


In my kitchen…

Kitchen Equipment waiting to be installed

…is everything but the kitchen sink. That’s in the study. It is the last remaining room still somewhat in tact though once the tiler starts this week, it will all have to be moved. In the mean time, it is storing our new sink, oven and stove. I can’t wait to use them!



Badge for Kerala Blog Express competition

…a TIFFIN public service announcement. I am participating in a competition to visit Kerala on the Malabar Coast of India. The final decision is the judges’ but votes count too. If you are on FB, please take a moment to click on the link and Vote For TIFFIN! It will take you seconds and if I win, you will be able to travel along vicariously through my blog posts. Thanks.

And that’s another year of IMK. Regular readers may recall that I met up with our host, Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, a few months ago. We had a lovely day gossiping and tasting and laughing.

Selfie of Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial and Fiona from TIFFIN bite sized food blogs

Celia & Fiona

I met Pete and Small Man and found out a little more about our IMK host. What a wonder she is, both in the kitchen and in the community. I can see why the boys say it takes so long to walk to the local shops. She knows everyone along the way and stops to chat to them all, miraculously producing little packets of chocolate from the depths of her pockets. Thanks for being a great host Celia and for connecting me with writers all over the world. Next year, a new host takes over the reins. I look forward to joining you all in January at The Orgasmic Chef with host Maureen.

36 comments… add one
  • Mandy December 1, 2015, 7:10 pm

    Fiona, not sure I would be as calm about the kitchen renovations, I take my hat off to you – can’t wait to see it all – such an exciting thought to have a new kitchen. I will have to live vicariously through you with that too.
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Mandy December 1, 2015, 7:11 pm

      Voting done. Best of luck!

    • Fiona Ryan December 1, 2015, 7:55 pm

      I must say Mandy that I am very, very ordered person who plans to the enth degree but I knew from the outset that I was just a passenger on this journey so it’s made life so much easier.

  • Gretchen December 1, 2015, 9:09 pm

    I am just now starting to think about Christmas cooking and baking. The boys are working on the list of cookies and I am trying to figure out brunch and dinner. At least I have a kitchen though! You must be getting a little anxious for your Reno to finally be complete. Pomegranate molasses is great in a salad and that bottle is indeed nice looking. I’m off to vote now, good luck

    • Gretchen December 1, 2015, 9:15 pm

      Well that didn’t work, I’m still a Facebook holdout! I’ll get somebody else to vote for me!

      • Fiona Ryan December 5, 2015, 4:36 pm

        Not to worry. Thanks for trying. I’m only relatively new to FB myself.

    • Fiona Ryan December 5, 2015, 4:33 pm

      They have now put up the cornice and are doing the undercoat today but waiting, waiting….

  • Jan Rhoades December 1, 2015, 11:05 pm

    Wow, I loved every bit of what has been achieved so far. I know it is going to be absolutely amazing.
    The book was indeed from a reader/follower of your blog – but her name is Carole. I know she won’t mind the error – and in fact, because she is selling her home at the moment, she would probably be happy to answer to the name Helen as Helen is probably having more fun than Carole as I write this.
    Won’t be long now Ms Tiffin. You have been a patient renovator indeed.

  • Glenda December 2, 2015, 12:34 am

    Fiona, I do not envy your renovations. I could do with a new kitchen but I don’t have the stomach to face tradesmen who don’t turn up when they say they will and don’t do what they say they will. Good luck, I do hope it is finished by Christmas.

    • Fiona Ryan December 5, 2015, 4:39 pm

      We have a great builder who is really driving his subbies but agree, there is nothing worse than trying to organise tradies. We are getting all of this other work done by the sparky, that has been piling up forever!

  • Anne December 2, 2015, 5:25 am

    You seem very laid back about your renovations. How exciting to have a whole new kitchen. I’m very envious of your mangoes – we get imported ones here of varying quality. The best we had was when my sister visited from Sydney, bringing some delicious mangoes for Christmas Day pudding (much better than the heavy, steamed proper pudding but nobody had the heart to tell my mother that).

    • Fiona Ryan December 5, 2015, 4:40 pm

      Regardless of where we are, there will most definitely cold ham and mangoes on the Christmas table.

  • Heather scott December 2, 2015, 7:04 pm

    You are really going to enjoy January:)

    • Fiona Ryan December 5, 2015, 4:43 pm

      I am indeed. All I need now is someone to come over and share a good coffee with me ; )

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime December 3, 2015, 2:15 am

    I hope that your kitchen sink is full of dishes come Christmas 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan December 5, 2015, 4:44 pm

      So do I Tandy. It’s a double sink too so that’s been a bit of a dream of mine for the past 15 years or so.

  • Tania | My Kitchen Stories December 5, 2015, 7:23 pm

    Good luck with the renos. I imagine you will at LEAST have a sink and a stove by the time you get to Christmas. I will happily vote for you. Good luck. i would love to have applied but getting votes is just too exhausting. Good luck and thanks for all of your support of my blog through the year

    • Fiona Ryan December 16, 2015, 3:03 pm

      The kitchen sink went in on Monday and was plumbed in today. Still so much to do but at least I can migrate from the laundry (though there is no light down stairs in the evenings).

  • Pamela Hayward December 6, 2015, 4:26 pm

    Kerala. ..good luck! I have only returned from a month or so in India and spent2 weeks in Ragestain but actually enjoyed the south more. Loved it but feel I only touched the surface of this amazing country.
    Good luck and of course I vote for you.

    • Fiona Ryan December 16, 2015, 3:04 pm

      Thanks for the vote. I bet you had a great time. India is on the list but this little detour through a new kitchen has pushed back plans somewhat. That’s why I need to win!

  • maree December 6, 2015, 11:03 pm

    Oh it is lovely to see all that work going on! I completely understand the position you are in with rents and await seeing the final result. Good luck with it all. cheers, Maree.

    • Fiona Ryan December 16, 2015, 3:05 pm

      Yes, it’s getting very real but Christmas is getting closer! I think we can pull it off.

  • maree December 6, 2015, 11:03 pm

    Oh it is lovely to see all that work going on! I completely understand the position you are in with renos and await seeing the final result. Good luck with it all. cheers, Maree.

  • Ania @ milktoastandhoney.co.uk December 7, 2015, 6:21 am

    Gorgeous, just gorgeous the two of you! Hope everything is ready in time and you have a happy December x

    • Fiona Ryan December 16, 2015, 3:06 pm

      Yes, it was a lovely day together Ania. I hope to catch up with Celia when I visit again next year.

  • Lisa December 7, 2015, 11:52 am

    Wow, it’s progressing nicely, but gosh you’re calm! As one contemplating a renovation myself, I don’t know if I could convey your level of zen, especially if I was hosting an occasion.

    I do so love mango season! Merry December! x

    • Fiona Ryan December 16, 2015, 3:07 pm

      The poor builder had a couple of set backs today but he is working so hard so I keep telling him not to stress. As long as the kitchen is operational, the rest doesn’t matter. (Well, it does but what can you do?)

  • Elizabeth December 9, 2015, 10:45 am

    I’m sure your kitchen will be ready…. And I love the look of all your samples… I’ve just renovated a bedroom and it took ages to decide, I think I would have a melt down if I had to do a kitchen 🙂
    Love mangos…. I’ve already bought a cheap tray and frozen them for throughout the year, but I’m still enjoying them on a regular basis 🙂
    Oh and I do hope to meet Celia one day…. and I’m sure that Maureen with take the IMK banner and run with it 🙂
    Great being back and seeing your kitchen this month (we’ll sort of)
    Liz xx

    • Fiona Ryan December 16, 2015, 3:08 pm

      I’m looking forward to some trays of cheap mangoes – I haven’t looked out for them yet but I know they are around. A staple for smoothies and daiquiris.

  • Vicki @ Boiled Eggs & Soldiers December 10, 2015, 12:03 am

    Snap on the renos! Our kitchen is in and useable but the rest of the house is still not quite there but we are living through it and I’m sure both end results will be fantastic. In the meantime I’m going to hunt down some pomegranate molasses.

    • Fiona Ryan December 16, 2015, 3:10 pm

      It’s been a bit of a drag this past week but I know that lots is being done today as I write and it’s always interesting to take a look at what’s been done when we get home each night.

  • SeattleDee December 13, 2015, 3:10 pm

    You haven’t lost your sense of humor in the midst of the kitchen reno – so holiday entertaining will be fine even if some details are unfinished. Think if the stories to look back on – grin. Can’t wait for the next peek into your new kitchen.

    • Fiona Ryan December 16, 2015, 3:11 pm

      There will definitely be some undone details Dee but yes, the kitchen will look very different next month : )

  • Jan (agluttonouswife) December 18, 2015, 3:43 am

    Oh Fiona the count down is on!! I really hope you aren’t too stressed and the kitchen is all but ready 🙂 I love that pomegranate molasses too – I use it for a marinated chicken with rose petals that I love. I had lots of fun (not!!) making your apple scrap jelly. Funny story, I thought it had set, then I bottled it up and 4 hours later had to re do it as it was too runny, boiled it over, lost about half and but ended up with 4 wonderful jars hehehe. How wonderful to get to meet Celia – a gem that lady. Merry Christmas!! Jan x

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