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In My Kitchen… March 2019

Last month I wrote about being organised In My Kitchen. I’d hate to see what my world would be like if I wasn’t. The days just fly by and this month is an exact repeat of last month, with just a couple of days tacked on the end. The heatwaves across Australia continue unabated, so cooking has been basic and still comprises mainly of salads. What I wouldn’t give for a 20 degree day!

In my March kitchen…

wicker basket containing 6 purple skinned figs

…are figs. I was lucky enough to buy 8 figs at the local markets for the relatively modest price of $5. Some of you may be rolling your eyes at the price but given that figs rarely grow in Brisbane and attract a price tag of a few dollars each, this was a steal. We have been enjoying them pan fried with salty haloumi, dressed with a squeeze of lime, a grind of black pepper and drizzle of honey. Delish!

In my kitchen…

two colanders with black beans and borlotti beans

…are beans. I prefer to use dried black beans over the tinned variety so when I make time to prepare them, I cook a big batch and then freeze them in smaller quantities. After soaking black beans, they leach out some of their colour and turn a gorgeous purple hue but turn black again once they’re cooked.

colander of purple hues black beans

As I was doing the black beans, I thought I might as well cook some borlotti beans too. The black beans will be used as a quick add in for Mexican themed soups and burritos and also my Black Bean Brownies. The bortlotti beans had been hanging around and needed to be used. They will make their way into soups and casserole when (if) the season changes.

In my kitchen…

small blue and white ceramic bowl filled with dried yellow flesh and red skinned plum

…are dried plums. They are tart, sticky, chewy and delicious but what a palaver! I had bought some plums that were allegedly red inside but of course, when I cut them, they were not. I’m not really a big fan of yellow flesh plums but rather than waste them I decided to dehydrate them. It was a simple as slicing, tossing in caster sugar and putting in the dehydrator. The palaver was the fact that they took so long to dry, as the weather changed from dry to humid almost as soon as I flicked the switch. What should have been several hours turned into almost 24 hours of drying. Still, they taste great and are perfect for a cheese board.

In my kitchen…

screen print artwork of small child swinging on hills hoist clothes line
red wooden shelves with various ornaments and decoration sitting on them

…is a small piece of artwork that makes me smile every time I pass by. It’s a screen print, on a piece of reclaimed VJ, of a young girl swinging on a Hill’s Hoist. For those reading this from distant shores, a Hill’s Hoist is a rotary clothesline that dotted the backyards of Australia. It was a rite of passage to hang onto the Hill’s Hoist and spin around on it. Completely ignoring your mother’s request not to do so. With the subdivision of suburban blocks, the Hill’s Hoist has nearly disappeared so my screen print keeps this piece of Australiana alive. For those wondering what VJ is… that’s an Australiana story for another day.

In my kitchen…

Tahini Caramel puffed rice slice cut into cubes, some dipped in chocolate
Tahini Caramel Lunchbox Bites

…are these very, very more-ish Tahini Caramel Lunchbox Bites. As you know, I’m keen on preparing snacks I can pull from the freezer and pop straight into our lunchboxes. I have to say, these have become our new favourites. They take no time at all to make and no time at all to eat. I posted a photo of the test batch to my Facebook page and people fell in love with them so I published the recipe almost immediately. Recipe here!

In my kitchen…

fried loofah sponge sitting on bench
All the nice girls, love a loofah…

…is a loofah. Decidedly phallic in its styling, my friend Josie grows these in her garden in Bundaberg. This one is small and was her first attempt peeling the skin away and drying. I’m actually going to cut it in half horizontally and use it as a biodegradable pot scourer. I find the palm fibre ones I buy from the shop aren’t abrasive enough. I think this will do the trick nicely.

If you’ve read all the way to the bottom, I might as well tell you that VJ stands for ‘vertical joint’. It refers to the timber used in wooden houses called Queenslanders. Queenslanders are another piece of classic Australiana but that really is a story for another day.

In My Kitchen is hosted by Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings. It’s a community of bloggers from all of the world who share what is happening in and around their kitchens. Make sure you visit Sherry’s blog so you can see what’s happening in her own kitchen.

13 comments… add one
  • Dr Lyn Riddett March 2, 2019, 1:15 pm

    I really enoyed the February “…in my kitchen” a lot. Thank you.

  • bitemebypamtree March 2, 2019, 8:50 pm

    Oh I love figs and these look particularly delicious. I often buy some for cooking but they are usually eaten before I get around it. Love the Hills hoist art work. Hopefully March will be cooler

    • Fiona Ryan March 10, 2019, 2:30 pm

      All hopes of a cooler March have been abandoned. Another heatwave is approaching. Thank goodness for air conditioning. Those figs were particularly marvelous – we finished a batch yesterday, caramelised with some hazelnuts, on pancakes. Small pleasures.

  • Mae March 2, 2019, 10:48 pm

    Funny thing — you wish for 20º days and often, recently, so do we. Just that yours are 20º C and ours are 20º F … big difference, same global climate change heating up the South and perturbing the Arctic Air Mass so it descends on us! I love all the things in your kitchen. I think that those rotating clotheslines were also used in the US long ago, but I also think we adopted electric or gas clothes dryers earlier. (And speaking of climate change should un-adopt them but how likely is that!)

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • Fiona Ryan March 10, 2019, 2:32 pm

      Clothes dryers have their place in cold and snowy places but no need for them in my part of the world. In fact, the sun is so harsh, we actually hand our clothes on a line, underneath the house, out of the sun. I know how bitterly cold it can get, where you live and I honestly marvel at how you do it!

  • ladyredspecs March 2, 2019, 10:53 pm

    Love your iconic Hills hoist artwork, a wonderful reminder of simpler times

    • Fiona Ryan March 10, 2019, 2:34 pm

      The Hills Hoist was from a small shop in Salamanca Place in Hobart. Not particularly cheap but it resonated with me and I’m certainly happy to support local artists (as I know you are).

  • sherry March 4, 2019, 2:17 pm

    hi fiona
    thanks for joining in with IMK this month. always lovely to see you. the hills hoist reminds me of a story hubby told me. when he was very small, his older brother and sister tied him to the line and left him there then spun him around like a whirlpool. and that’s after letting him run away in an escapee pram… figs – mm a bit too fibrous or thick in texture for me. gawd i’m fussy:) Oh p.s. who did the drawings for your banner? was it you? they’re cute. cheers sherry

    • Fiona Ryan March 10, 2019, 2:35 pm

      Gosh – I would have picked you for a fig lover. I adore them dry too. Ah well, more for me. The ‘escapee pram’ is a hilarious touch. Siblings huh?!

      • Sherry MacKay March 12, 2019, 1:31 pm

        yep i’m funny like that. can’t take the fibrous nature of bananas either tho they are fine whizzed up in cakes or smoothies.:)

  • Kim Bultman March 11, 2019, 6:15 am

    Fiona, loved your story and art about the Hill’s Hoist. (Saw some of those in the U.S. “back in the day” — don’t know what they were called here.) A retractable clothesline was a fixture on our back porch until it burned up (gah!) and I’ve yet to find another “bird-free” spot to dry clothes outdoors. Made me long for the good ol’ days! I’m a fig-lover, too, and your dried plums looked like a fantastic addition to a cheese board. The black-purple-black beans also piqued my interest! Still smiling over the loofah… 🙂

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