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In My Kitchen… January 2017

Well that’s the first time I’ve written 2017 on the blog and it makes you pause for thought. This year is full of promise and excitement as I hurtle towards a milestone birthday. ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like 50’.

As we had such a huge Exteno Unveil house party with family and friends last year, I hadn’t planned on a big celebration for my 50th. Perhaps a dinner or a weekend away. But life is full of change and chance. Cheap flights, a regular meeting of the tribes and opportunities to visit friends in new locations finds me planning multiple trips to multiple destinations over the course of the next 12 months. By stealth, 2017 has become the year of Fiona.

card showing 'kick their asses' motto

The Year of Fiona

In between the reading of endless hotel reviews and booking of trains, planes and automobiles, there is the kitchen. The heatwaves are upon us so cooking is perfunctory and is basically a different version of an Asian or Mediterranean salad every night.

In my January kitchen…

two eggplants sit on a table tiny eggplants bloom on the the eggplant bush

…are eggplants. Last year I went with a friend to a food trivia event held at a local council library. The prizes were herbs and veggie plants. I snaffled an eggplant and it’s been fruiting since Christmas week. Conveniently, it offers up a couple at a time so there has been no glut to manage. Eggplants are a fave in our house  – these were perfect for a lunch of Grilled Miso Eggplant.


In my kitchen…

…is a bounty of Christmas gifts.

jars of vanilla infused honey and fennel flavoured salt

Honey infused with Broken Nose Vanilla… This vanilla is grown in Tropical North Queensland and has won many awards. The rainforest honey is flecked with vanilla seeds and has a piece of the pod suspended in the jar. There’s also a jar of  Salt flavoured with Florence Fennel…. Javier Codina is a local chef by way of Catalonia who owns the highly regarded Moda restaurant in Brisbane’s CBD. He is (allegedly) known as The Saucier and has worked with local cheese pushers, The Cheese Pleasers, to create a selection of goodies. Despite an extensive salt mine in the pantry, I’ve already cracked this one open to sprinkle on some sweet potato I was baking.

two bottles of sauce using Australian indigenous flavourings

…A selection of sauces flavoured with Australian indigenous ingredients from Outback Spirit. This is a socially conscious business that contributes to the development of remote indigenous communities that grow the bush foods. I received six bottles featuring flavours including bush tomato, lemon myrtle and wild lime.

Thoughtful gifts from those who know me well and my passion for socially responsible businesses and Australian produce.


In my kitchen…

pizza dough balls in a zip lock bag

….is pizza dough. With some time on my hands before Christmas I made up a large batch of dough. We enjoyed pizzas that night and the rest I rolled into balls and froze for future use. I once went to a pizza making class where the host said if you’re going to take the time to make a single batch, you may as well make a double and store the rest. Wise words. As it turned out, I made a second large batch only a few days later for a casual get together we hosted for a friend moving farther afield. I ended up with extra dough, which I also froze. We are now set for pizzas and Parmesan bread sticks for the foreseeable future.


In my kitchen…

four wooden spoons and a rolling pin

…are my boiled and cleaned wooden spoons and rolling pin. There was a recent article in Delicious magazine written by Matt Preston suggesting that in the 21st Century, a number of kitchen items were now outdated. One item listed was wooden spoons and resulted in many outraged responses on social media. Matt made the point that these wooden implements were unhygienic and should be replaced with silicone or nylon tools. It got me thinking. I won’t be ditching my wooden spoons any time soon but a quick sniff of the spoons suggested that could do with a boil and scrub down with bi-carb to ensure they didn’t harbour any nasties. It must be said that the water was a very murky shade so I’m glad I gave them a thorough clean. I did them on New Year’s Day so perhaps I’ll make that a new tradition for the year ahead.


In my kitchen…

four small bamboo teaspoons with pastel coloured handles

…speaking of wooden spoons, I also received this delightful set of bamboo tea spoons for Christmas. Aren’t they sweet? Perfect for small desserts I think.

And so we begin another round of In My Kitchen. This link up is usually hosted by Liz from Bizzy Lizzy Cooks but it’s on a summer holiday hiatus for January. As I know IMK is popular with readers, I have gone ahead and published as usual as have some other regulars:

Glenda – Passionfruit Garden


10 comments… add one
  • Marcellina January 3, 2017, 9:05 pm

    Fiona, I also saw that article re the wooden spoons. I love my wooden spoons and don’t want to give them up. Yours is a good idea ….I’ll be scrubbing tomorrow! Love the vanilla infused honey. Broken Nose is not far from me and I have visited the farm..they are doing great things there.

    • Fiona Ryan January 8, 2017, 11:52 am

      Hello Marcellina – how did you go? Everyone who’s done it has said, “Hmmm… I’ll have to it more often’. WE had hoped to get as far north as you last year but things got in the way and we won’t be doing it this year either but FNQ is definitely on our list. After all, it’s important to visit your own backyard.

  • Mel Kettle January 4, 2017, 2:59 pm

    I definitely need to give my wooden spoons a boil and a scrub – great idea, thanks!

    • Fiona Ryan January 8, 2017, 11:50 am

      Lol – so it seems the wooden spoons will be firmly staying in people’s kitchens…

  • Clare January 4, 2017, 6:57 pm

    The eggplants are fantastic! Perfect amount and I’d like to try the miso eggplant.

    • Fiona Ryan January 8, 2017, 11:49 am

      The miso eggplant is delicious. I had enough left over to chop up in a salad to take to work the next day so that’s always a bonus.

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 5, 2017, 4:53 pm

    Just love the goodies in your kitchen! And have a super year of Fiona. I have never tried freezing pizza dough. Will do so the next time we are in the mood for some 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan January 8, 2017, 11:49 am

      Hi Tandy – I have defrosted a ball and as long as it has time to defrost and for the yeast to activate, it seems fine. I take it out the night before and defrost overnight on the bench and then just pop it in the fridge whilst I’m out during the day.

  • Sherry from sherryspickings January 10, 2017, 3:27 pm

    I must be going mad. I thought I had commented here already. Yep Great way to start the year go crazy ! And I have made chutney today in all this heat I am mad :). Those eggplant are so cute. I do adore them. I really must get onto cleaning my wooden spoons but I have so many… have fun with all your trips.

    • Fiona Ryan January 14, 2017, 8:36 am

      You are mad making chutney in the heat but sometimes you have all of that fruit and it needs to be done. It seems to be one of those years when it comes to travel and as it’sthe Yaer of Fiona, that isn’t a bad thing : )

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