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In My Kitchen… February 2017

In my kitchen, there has been very little cooking this month. In fact, there has been very little time spent in my kitchen at all as my attention is directed elsewhere. As a serial cook, my freezer was full to bursting with quick re-heat and eat meals for ‘just in case’ moments. This has certainly put me in good stead over the past weeks when I am able to arrive home late and pull something from the freezer. We have succumbed to takeaway a couple of times but for the most part, my food hoarding has kept us in good stead.

In my February kitchen….

Chinese mustard greens in a colander

…there are Chinese mustard greens. I bought a couple of packets of seeds at the Asian grocer and they turned out to be a good investment. They are sown directly into the ground and sprout within a few days. Within a few weeks you can start to harvest. When the leaves are young, I use them as you would any type of salad leaf. They are less bitter than I expected. They also go onto pizzas and into the nightly vege mix. I have just sown another small handful to make sure I have some new seedlings coming through as the larger plants start to flower. The grasshoppers give them a bit of a go but I think they don’t like the taste so they move on to other, more delicious plants, such as our kangaroo paws.

 

In my kitchen…

A plate of Cherry & Coconut Gem Scones

…are Cherry & Coconut Gem Scones. Gem scones are by far and away my most popular post on the blog so I decided to make a variation. One recipe makes at least 30 of these little cakes, which can then be frozen and extracted a few at a time from the bag, as required. It may make 30 cakes but 30 never make it into the freezer.

 

In my kitchen…

unpeeled lychees in a colander

…are luscious, perfumed lychees. I can’t say lychees are something we grew up with. They were something that you only encountered in Chinese restaurants and even then, they were from a tin. Over time, lychees have become readily available and gosh, do I love them! They are still behind cherries on the list but have managed to edge nectarines into third place. These come from Chinchilla in the Wide Bay-Burnett region of Queensland, famous for its red soil and fruit and vegetables. I bought them from Jan Powers Farmers Market at the Powerhouse last weekend. Perfectly timed for Chinese New Year, they are at their peak and cost $10 for a kilo. Nothing says ‘Brisbane Summer’ like visiting the markets when it’s 30c/83% humdity at 7.30am. These lychees are so sweet, they are almost like lollies and are one of the few fruits that are best served ice cold from the fridge.

In My Kitchen is hosted by Liz from Good Things and is back in the swing for 2017. It is never to late or too soon to join in the monthly get together with cooks from all over the world. Drop in to see what else is happening in their own kitchens.

17 comments… add one
  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime February 4, 2017, 2:58 pm

    I love lychees but sadly I’m allergic to the peel shop I don’t buy them. Nice to have a freezer full of ready to go meals

    • Fiona Ryan February 14, 2017, 3:00 pm

      Wow – allergic to the skin. I have never heard of that. Possibly too much fructose for you anyway.

  • Pamela hayward February 4, 2017, 3:24 pm

    My mother had one of those gem scone tins but we threw is out when she passed away. So today I bought a pan from the local Vintage Bazaar for a silly price so I will start on a new adventure. Did not realize you need to heat the pan though.
    And the Ottolenghii biscuits with tahini are delicious!

    • Fiona Ryan February 14, 2017, 3:04 pm

      Yes, heating the pan helps them cook quickly and also activates the SR flour. The new recipe for the cherry & coconut will be on the blog this weekend.

  • Liz (Good Things) February 5, 2017, 1:14 pm

    Good, albeit few, things in your kitchen, Fiona. How are you enjoying retirement? I, too, am freezing cakes in batches nowadays, lest we eat them and get fat again! Love lychees, but must say I have yet to buy some this season… am busy eating my way through the red plums and white-fleshed peaches, that are in abundance. Thank you for the lovely shout out, and enjoy whatever it is that you are doing x

    • Fiona Ryan February 14, 2017, 3:25 pm

      I’ve pottered around for a few months but I’m keen to do some more work so Mr Tiffin can join me in my bite sized adventures. Having said that, I’m being choosy. I’m just starting to see decent plums coming through now.

  • Francesca February 7, 2017, 3:57 am

    Those little gem scones look tasty. A good idea to freeze them and have something on hand in the sweet line when the cravings hit.

    • Fiona Ryan February 14, 2017, 3:38 pm

      They have been very useful to grab when we are heading up to visit at the hospital and as you can imagine, so much better than what’s on offer there.

  • Liz February 8, 2017, 5:08 am

    Those gem scones look delicious! Fresh lychees are such a treat. I will put the mustard greens on my seeding list, I always thought they were very strong.

    • Fiona Ryan February 14, 2017, 3:39 pm

      I can’t believe how easily the mustard grows. I used it the other day to bulk up spinach and feta pie – no one even knew!

  • Amanda (@lambsearshoney) February 9, 2017, 7:19 am

    I haven’t seen gem cakes for years! I think we all got so enchanted by posh friands etc, that we forgot about these delicious little treats. I must pull my gem tray out again …

    • Fiona Ryan February 14, 2017, 3:40 pm

      Yes – haul it out. New recipe on the blog this weekend.

  • sherry from sherrys pickings February 12, 2017, 3:20 pm

    i had never seen lychees till i was in my 20’s when i met hubby. His sister’s father-in- law had a fruit farm up north and used to send a box of fruit down each Christmas. they are so delish. love your gem scones. hope you are having fun!

    • Fiona Ryan February 14, 2017, 4:13 pm

      I met a lychee farmer from Chinchilla a few years ago. When I told him how much I loved them. he said ‘You and one other person’. He just can’t compete against the Asian imports.

  • Glenda February 13, 2017, 12:22 am

    Hi Fi. We rarely see lychees here. I like the fact that we are in the same country but our shops stock different fruit. In summer it is all stone fruit, grapes and water melons. And lovely mangoes from the Ord River region. That is how it should be. I am dead against food travelling all over the world.

    • Fiona Ryan February 14, 2017, 4:15 pm

      Agreed re: local produce. Next time you come east, you can have a summer feast!

  • Marcellina March 10, 2017, 3:54 pm

    Isn’t it fantastic to have a freezer stocked with meals for such times? Thank goodness for freezers! Mmmm lychee season is always a treat!

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