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In My Kitchen… July 2017

The weeks roll by and here we are again looking In My Kitchen. I’ve started this post so many times in my head but have finally put pen to paper. It’s been a difficult year for my family, after suffering a devastating loss in February that we are still reeling from. I haven’t shared or written about this but it’s the reason behind why my blogging has been so sporadic this year. This month’s IMK reflects how life goes on.

In my July kitchen…

australian native quandongs in a packet

…there are glazed Quandongs. Not something you see every day so I snapped these up at the McLaren Vale Visitor’s Centre. For those from farther afield, Quandongs are native plums. Bush Tucker. Native foods have sustained Australia’s indigenous population for thousands of years but they are rarely cultivated in a commercial sense. They are chewy like a fruit leather, tangy and taste faintly of apricots. These Quandongs are like lollies and I can imagine the sugar and energy hit they would have provided to desert dwellers. I have committed to cooking more for friends, to stay connected and enjoy their company so have been having a series of small dinner parties. I used some of the Quandongs last night, softening them in water and then baking some into a creme brûlée whilst pureeing the rest with the water and some vin cotto to create a tangy sauce. I see some dukkah has snuck into this photo too.

 

In my kitchen…

pile of colourful tea towels

…are a pile of kitschy, colourful, linen tea towels. I have spoken before about my love of fabrics and textiles. Tea towels are no exception. A visit to the Barossa Valley netted a great haul. Most have never been used and all tell a story of times gone by. Many are made in Australia but there also tea towels from Czechoslovakia. I have a plan for them but we’ll see how the year goes. Despite only costing a few cents each, I can’t bear to use them and destroy their bright colours so in the mean time, they will join their friends in the linen cupboard.

 

In my kitchen…

wedge of roasted rhubarb & almond cake

…I am spending more time cooking and less time photographing. Having said that, I made a wonderful Roasted Rhubarb & Almond Cake from some tangy Mt Tamborine rhubarb. I served the cake as a pudding, warm from the oven with some good quality ice cream at another dinner party with friends. It was well received. The recipe will make its way onto the blog one day.

As I observed in a recent Facebook post, I have far too much food in my cupboard. It won’t be wasted but honestly, just how many jars and bottles can two people have?

I often receive food as gifts, which leaves me with a never-ending supply of gourmet items. Like plastic bags, the pile never seems to reduce. I am determined to be more conscious when I shop but in the mean time, I have a lot of food to get through. Inventive meals are truly the order of the day such as this Mexican style pulled pork soup. In Mexico, day old tortillas are often sliced and then fried to add to soup or chilaquiles. I had no at old tortillas but I do have a stockpile of Peking Duck pancakes so a packet of these were shredded, shallow fried and then topped the soup. No one knew the difference.

shredded pancakes

mexican puuled prok soup with shredded pancakes on tope

I am spending more time reading and less time on social media. I am enjoying our garden and the first of our newly planted silverbeet. I am making lunch, dinner and drinks dates with friends rather than letting the year rush by without catching up. We have been watching classic movies we’ve never seen and re-visiting old faves. Good bottles of wine and homemade desserts on a school night are now the order of the day. I am writing lots of posts that are sitting in draft but haven’t been able to give my blog the love and attention it deserves. Hopefully those posts will make it out of draft very soon.

IMK is hosted by my Brisbane blogging friend Sherry, from Sherry’s Pickings. Hope on over to visit kitchen from around the world!

8 comments… add one
  • Sherry from sherryspickings July 9, 2017, 9:13 pm

    Hi Fiona
    So sad to hear about your loss. It is a terrible thing to lose a loved one. And it takes a lot of time to get over. It’s even harder realising that life goes on inexorably. Hope it gets better soon. And thanks heaps for joining in this month. X

  • Jan rhoades July 10, 2017, 7:34 am

    Tea towels. A quilt? A wall hangs? A table cloth? I hope that old Elna is still going strong. Might need a service just to make sure. Nice post 😉💖

    • Fiona Ryan August 3, 2017, 5:24 pm

      I can’t cut them up! How dare you! No, they have a special plan.

  • Francesca July 10, 2017, 9:34 am

    Avery reflective post Fiona. A devastating loss sometimes makes us take stock of lour lives. You are also doing what many others around the blog traps seem to be doing- cutting down on consumerism. It is a wonderful trend to embrace and one that we should model for the younger ones out there. Like you, I don’t buy many things these days, unless they are second hand and so therefore irresistible- like your stash of teatowels. And the food glut has been a problem for me until recently. Shopping like an Italian grandmother- I keep trying to tell myself. Less is more. Frugality is the new black.( or orange). Good luck in your new journey Fiona.

  • Jan Rhoades July 10, 2017, 9:54 am

    Hmm. That’s interesting. I made a comment but it isn’t here. Congratulations on a reflective post. Tea towels! A quilt? Wall hanging? Table cloth? I hope the old Elna is still up to it. It may just need a service. Thanks for garden update. I’ve been doing a bit for the first time in more than 5 years too.

  • Lyn July 10, 2017, 12:20 pm

    Greetings Fiona,
    I am oranising a small parcel of nostalgia for you – related to part of this post which I much enjoyed reading.

  • Gretchen July 10, 2017, 8:28 pm

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Time passes all too quickly and before you know itmthe year is gone. It’s all our crazy schedules lately I try to enjoy the small things a little more. Your dinner parties sound like a wonderful evening with friends. What a gorgeous collection of tea towels, looking forward to seeing what you do with them.

  • Carole July 11, 2017, 1:25 pm

    I feel for you and your family Fiona, such a tough time for you all. I have learnt that distracting myself has been a big help when sadness is over whelming, i.e. scrabble against the computer, gardening and this last year have done lots of baking which I mostly give away to people who also are suffering one way and another.

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