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In My Kitchen… January 2019

Happy New Year. I have just come back from 12 days in Tasmania. Lovely weather, amazing scenery and what a food scene! We must have eaten our body weight in cheese and cider. The Taste of Tasmania festival was on in Hobart over the Christmas/New Year period and of course, we visited. Most of our bite sized food adventures though, revolved around farm gates, cellar doors and the infinite treasure trove of fantastic restaurants. Here’s some snippets of what we ate…

In my January kitchen…

tray of amaretti biscuits with almonds and amaretto liqueur in the background

…are frozen amaretti. I decided to do some Christmas baking on what must have been one of the hottest days we had in December and made a double batch of these biscuits. A perfect use for leftover (frozen) egg whites. My vegan fiend has suggested that aquafaba is equally suitable. A double batch makes 70. Most of the biscuits I gave away but I did freeze a dozen, to be pulled out of the freezer on short notice. Recipe here.

In my kitchen…

jars and packets of tasmanian products including jams, nuts and saffron

…is a haul of goodies from Tasmania. This includes Pear Cider Jam, using cider from Frank’s Cider Barn and an unusual Quince Marmalade from Fat Pig Farm. There is also some Australian saffron. Most saffron in Australia is imported however Tasmania has the perfect climate to grow the saffron crocus. A luxury item, with a price to match. Thankfully, a little goes a long way. I was also delighted to buy a few bags of Crooked Tree hazelnuts – the final few of last season’s harvest. Nuts do not generally grow in Qld and we rarely have access to fresh supplies. This is a real treat.

All of these items came from family run businesses that were within a few kilometres of our Air BnB stay in Glaziers Bay in the Huon Valley. I’m glad we could support the local economy. I could have gone wild but I showed restraint, knowing just how much weight a jar of jam adds to the luggage. Besides, I had to leave space for my next item.

In my kitchen…

steel loaf baking tin

…is a new steel loaf tin. These baking tins and trays are made by SG Emmett & Son in Cygnet. They started in 1924 making functional items such as watering cans and rubbish tins and are still using the same machines. This is a serious tin – weighty, sharp corners and turned edges. It will outlast all of my other cake tins and me as well. I had hoped to visit the factory but they were closed over Christmas. Thankfully, Fat Pig Farm had a few for sale. I wanted the slice tin but they were sold out so I took what I could get.

In my kitchen…

six bottle corks piled on table

…are an assortment of corks. There is no longer any cork recycling in Australia as most wine bottles come with steel screw tops. But what to do with corks from Champagne, Prosecco and Cider? Our local Reverse Garbage will take corks that they then use in kids craft workshops. We set aside our corks and drop them in, when we are in the area. It’s not a perfect solution but if the corks can have a second life as a wonky Christmas decoration or Mother’s Day gift, that’s better than sending them straight to landfill.

In my kitchen…

dried wattle seeds still in pod piled on plate

…are some foraged wattle seeds. On the walk down to the Woodbridge Jetty, I spotted these seeds still on the branches of the coastal wattles (Acacia sophorae). There were plenty, so I picked some to bring home. I will roast them in a cast iron pan, grind them and probably add them to shortbread or scones. Ground wattle seed doesn’t cost much to buy (as wattles are so prodigious in Australia) but I like the idea of foraging and adding something new to my pantry. A word of warning – there are over 1000 species of wattle in Australia and most are fine to consume. Most, but not all. If you go foraging, make sure you know what you are picking. There is plenty of information and illustrations online. Here’s a start: http://www.anbg.gov.au/acacia/

In my kitchen…

two brown bowls sit on a small purple and white tray

…it’s not all new items. Two bowls and a tray also came home with us from a Huonville op shop. I continue to resist buying anything new (the tin was a momentary weakness), preferring to make do and mend or, source second hand items wherever possible. The bowls match a set we use daily for breakfast and dessert and will be added to the pile (50c each). The tray is something I’ve been after for a while as I need one at work. I sit nowhere near the kitchen so I need a tray to carry my cup, bowl and coffee plunger back and forth to the kitchen in one journey. It’s from IKEA originally and cost me $1.

That’s enough food boasts for one post. Thanks to Sherry for hosting In My Kitchen. If you follow the link, you can see what’s happening in other kitchens around the world.

ps: If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom of this post, I’d thought I’d share with you how much I dislike the new WordPress Gutenberg editor. It takes so long to construct a post. It’s horrible. Let’s hope they roll out some bug fixes and improvements soon. Spell check and proofing would be a good place to start.

clusters of dark red cherries attached to the branches of a cherry tree with bright green leaves
Gratuitous photo of cherries dripping from the trees in Tassie
22 comments… add one
  • Pamela Hayward January 7, 2019, 8:03 pm

    Really inspired to visit Tasmania….thank you!

    • Fiona Ryan January 8, 2019, 9:02 am

      It was wonderful Pamela. We kept out Hobart bus cards as we know we’ll be back!

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 7, 2019, 9:04 pm

    I so have to get my sister to bring me some wattle seeds! Your trip looked amazing 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan January 8, 2019, 9:01 am

      We were lucky as I think it’s a bit early (or late) in the season for the seeds. It just seemed to be that stand of wattles. I saw no seeds anywhere else. It was indeed a great holiday and certainly made up for a relatively disappointing holiday earlier in the year.

  • sherry January 8, 2019, 9:29 am

    Tassie! you make my heart sing. which was your disappointing holiday last year? i love the food, the wine, the people, the scenery …. ah tassie. sorry my thoughts are all over the place today. love that steel loaf tin. i must keep an eye out next time. oh how i adore tassie cherries especially those yellow/orange ones. our dog used to eat wattle seeds. we would sit on our garden bench enjoying the sun (in winter) while she munched away. we wondered for some time what it was she loved to eat so much till we discovered it was the seeds. oh and we used to have witchity(?) grubs under that tree. interesting…. happy new year!

    • Fiona Ryan January 8, 2019, 11:35 am

      The disappointing holiday was Europe. It was 4 weeks of solid heatwave with no respite. We were exchanging and the houses just aren’t equipped for 38c+ days. The heat seriously cramped our style and what we did. I know it’s a first world problem but it wasn’t cheap to visit! Anyway, done now. I’m eating the last few Tassie cherries that we brought home, as I write.

  • Mae January 8, 2019, 12:23 pm

    Your voyage seems so distant and exotic, but i’m almost at the antipodes from you, so I guess it is! The climate of Tasmania sounds very much like the American middle-south: cherries, saffron…

    Have a great year in 2019.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • Fiona Ryan January 8, 2019, 1:56 pm

      It’s certainly a cool climate in Tassie though we took the weather with us as it was sunny and very hot (by their standards) every day.

  • sallybr January 8, 2019, 12:40 pm

    those cookies are a dream! never made this type of cookie, I bet they are delicious…. will check the recipe right away

    and that purple tray… coolest thing ever!!!!

    • Fiona Ryan January 8, 2019, 1:55 pm

      Once you have made the amaretti, you’ll be addicted. Mind you, they are full of sugar. Yes, I start back at work tomorrow so and looking forward to using my tray. It’s the simple things…

  • Sandra January 8, 2019, 4:32 pm

    Tasmania’s food scene is so inspiring, passionate people following their dreams. Isn’t MONA amazing? Amaretti are a Christmas thing in our house, amaretti stuffed with an amarena cherry. Very decadent, very delicious.

    • Fiona Ryan January 10, 2019, 9:34 am

      I loved MONA but quite a few people I know don’t really enjoy it. It’s hard to comprehend that one person owns all of that art and is prepared to share it with the public. Almond and cherry is the classic combo so I’ll have to give your idea a go.

  • jrrose80 January 8, 2019, 8:33 pm

    Sounds like an amazing holiday! I seriously end up with way too many egg whites in my freezer so thanks for the link to your amaretti recipe. =) And I had no idea you could use wattle seeds, I’m going to read up on it at that link you posted. (I’m so frustrated with the new Wordpress Editor too.) Happy 2019!

    • Fiona Ryan January 10, 2019, 9:35 am

      Wattle seeds impart a nutty flavour and a bit of interest and crunch to baking. They can be very finely ground to make a flour for a style of damper that seems like a lot of work!

  • shaheen January 11, 2019, 3:56 am

    Happy New Year to you. I so want to try wattle seeds now!

    • Fiona Ryan January 13, 2019, 11:16 am

      They are heard work! I just picked the seeds from the pods (easy) and there’s a very small handful. I’m going to roast them today.

  • Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons January 13, 2019, 1:59 am

    Happy New Year Tiffin. I am so happy to see your recipe for amaretti biscuits, I often have leftover egg whites from making lemon curd and haven’t known what to do with them. (I usually scramble them and add them to the dog’s dinners). Now I will freeze them in 3 egg portions for the cookies. You can buy amaretti biscuits (cookies here in the US) but they aren’t that good and your own look fantastic. I am also saving your tips on Tasmania, it is on our list for a visit in 2020.

    • Fiona Ryan January 13, 2019, 11:17 am

      Hi Liz – Tasmania is so good! I hope to do a post soon. I’ll send you the link when (if!) I do.

  • Kim Bultman January 13, 2019, 7:03 am

    Amen to your frustrations with the new WP “editor”, Fiona. I have yet to figure out how to put together a photo collage so I don’t bore everybody to tears with one photo followed by a few “blocks” of text in every post. Aarrgh! Will have to mess with it some more (like I have nothing better to do…) So glad you enjoyed your trip! The landscape is amazing and the food looks fantastic. Glad you gave in on buying that tin — it’s an investment in YOU and future baking for years to come. Happy New Year! xo

    • Fiona Ryan January 13, 2019, 11:19 am

      Today I’m struggling with ‘Gallery’. I can create the Gallery but can’t click through the photos to the story. Ugh! Anyway, on other news, I have decided to press the tin into service with a quick banana bread so I’ll report back.

  • eliotthecat January 20, 2019, 11:02 pm

    Love what you brought back from your travels. I love to shop for food items too when we are out and about on a vacay, especially from local businesses. I haven’t updated my blog for so long that I will really need to back up before I do so. Happy belated 2019!

    • Fiona Ryan January 28, 2019, 12:22 pm

      After not blogging for a while, you do ask yourself if it’s worth it but it is a good record of holidays and life in between so I am trying to make an effort. It has to be what suits you though. All the best for the year ahead!

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