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In My Kitchen… June 2019

In my kitchen…

white plate with two madeleine cakes sitting on a dollop of lemon butter
My first ever blog post – May 2019

…I have had a revelation. May 2019 marked 10 years of Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures. Ten years of me blogging.

My first blog post was a review of Cumlus Inc in Melbourne, which I’m happy to say, is still going strong. Ten years ago, I was writing on Blogger but eventually moved to Word Press. I’m not really sure if it was necessary but here I am.

A set of old fashioned gem irons with cooked gem scones in them
Gem Scones – still the number 1 post on Tiffin

Oh how times have changed! The rise of blogging; the plateau of blogging; the concept of the ‘micro blogger’ (which is what Instagrammers call themselves); the insidious rise of the ‘influencer’ with their questionable followers and transparency; dwindling comments on posts; and the slow retreat of blogging. Yet, here we are are, plugging away at our blogs. Documenting what’s happening in our lives, what we’re eating, reading, viewing, thinking and feeling. And apparently, no amount instagramming and snap chatting substitutes for a recipe for good old fashioned gem scones. Here’s some great blogs worth reading: Celia at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial, Francesca at Almost Italian, Tandy at Lavender and Lime; Amanda at Lamb’s Ear & Honey and of course, Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings. These blogs are thoughtfully written, with expert recipes, tips, suggestions and insights from interesting lives. No fakery. 100% real.

Meanwhile, in my actual June kitchen…

brown pottery fermenting crock with tan crockery lid

I have a new stoneware crock, which I’ll use for fermenting. It was $3 from an op shop in the city. I had to lug it home on the bus and let me tell you, it weighed a ton. It doesn’t have any weights because it’s probably not really a fermenting crock so I’ll substitute a large jar with weights. The first ferment bound for this, is kimchi.


In my kitchen…

Bowl of pumpkin & dahl soup, topped with natural yoghurt and a pumpkin muffin as a side

…we have been celebrating some cooler weather with homemade soups for Saturday lunches and Sunday dinners. I recently made a warming, spicy soup of leftover lamb, with roasted capsicum, smoked chilli paste and couscous, topped with yoghurt and mint. Another soup on high rotation is an ever changing version of chicken and vegetable, based on what veges need to be used up. Also on the menu is Pumpkin & Dahl Soup. I enjoy it more than just plain pumpkin, which I generally find too sweet. The yellow split peas gives the soup an earthy tone and satisfying texture. Click on the picture to go to the recipe.


In my kitchen…

decorative tea towel from Ma Ma Creek School with anniversary date 1180 to 1980

…is this lovely tea towel, home grown garlic and chillis. A gift from a work colleague who knows that I love tea towels, particularly daggy vintage ones. Ma Ma Creek is a speck of a hamlet in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane and as you can see from the date on the tea towel, has been going strong since 1880. It is a much loved addition to my burgeoning collection. The garlic has small, pungent cloves that have made me fall back in love with cooking with good garlic.

In my kitchen…

rectangular basket with miscellaneous pantry items

…is a basket of pantry items that need to be used. Every so often I do a stocktake of the cupboards and collect up forgotten or relegated items so the packets and jars don’t take over. They may be the last of something (muscatels), an impulse buy (that bloody teff), a packet that needs using (Dahl tadka) or something we have too much of (jam). They all go into a basket and sit in my line of sight, to be used creatively in meals. Who doesn’t love a dollop of cocktail sauce (with horseradish) in their beef cheek casserole?

Of course, there’s plenty more happening in my kitchen but as the daylight hours are short, I find photography options have dwindled. There will plenty to see in other people’s kitchen though, if you visit our IMK host Sherry’s Pickings.

kookaburra perched on limestone sculpture of leaf

Finally, here’s a photo of a visitor to our backyard yesterday. I saw him or her when I was In My Kitchen. We have a family of kookaburras who live in our area. They often visit the yard as we have no animals to bother them. Next time I’ll sweep up the leaves!

17 comments… add one
  • Lyn Riddett June 2, 2019, 11:51 am

    Great recipe – thank you!

  • shaheen June 2, 2019, 6:14 pm

    Firstly Happy 10 year Blog Anniversary, like you I celebrated mine quietly and I so agree with you on how blogging has changed! Its a concentration i have with a couple of grassroots bloggers. Your words chime with me so brilliantly and – ‘the insidious rise of the ‘influencer’ with their questionable followers and transparency; dwindling comments on posts; and the slow retreat of blogging. Yet, here we are are, plugging away at our blogs. Documenting what’s happening in our lives, what we’re eating, reading, viewing, thinking and feeling..’. Like you i have my own list of great blogs that I continue to value. Now onto what is in Your kitchen – I love the tin that the gems are bakes in, so different. Good purchase for the fermentation experiments – I do love a good homemade kimchi !

    • Fiona Ryan June 9, 2019, 4:02 pm

      The tins the scones are baked in are called gem irons. They used to be a few dollars at the second hand shop but these days, they are upwards of $20 so I’m glad I got in when I did.

  • Mae Sander June 2, 2019, 9:33 pm

    Yes, tea towels! So much fun, and they don’t have to match other things or be any special style to be perfect in a kitchen. Yours looks vintage but unused. I have many but I use them all the time, so they are faded and don’t lie flat any more. Your other mentioned items look quite practical. How great to see a kookaburra … I suppose you would be equally enchanted by our hummingbirds.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • Fiona Ryan June 9, 2019, 4:03 pm

      I’ve never seen a hummingbird Mae so would be very excited indeed. I’ve also never seen a platypus or wombat in the wild in Australia and hope that we can rectify that in coming travels. I love the kookaburras though. They are very cheeky and not afraid of people at all.

  • Amanda June 3, 2019, 8:20 am

    Well happy anniversary to you – and thank you so much for the kind words!
    I think that actually is a fermenting crock you have there. My mother went through a very brief flirtation with fermenting one summer in my youth. She tucked some pickled onions away in the old laundry in a very similar crock that had she had borrowed from someone who actually knew what they were doing.

    • Fiona Ryan June 9, 2019, 4:04 pm

      OK, so maybe it is a crock. It’s heavy enough. I had a huge one that held 7.5 litres but it was far too big.

  • sherry June 3, 2019, 4:08 pm

    congrats on your tenth anniversary fiona! as you will have read, my blog is now 6 years old tho i did have a blog for a short time a few years before that. bloody Blog Now! they went under very quickly. Love that sculpture; figured it had to be from NZ. it’s so wonderful. Thanks for the very kind words re my blog. I do get quite cross when these young girls on IG call themselves bloggers! when i think of the hours and thought that go into my blog (and yours!) and it has been fascinating reading jothn Lethlean’s IG account about all the ‘influencers’ begging for freebies from restaurants. Grrrrrr!! On a different note, I have actually started up a batch of sauerkraut today. let’s see how it goes! i hope it doesn’t explode or go mouldy. hopefully the cooler weather will keep it in top condition. thanks heaps for joining in IMK. cheers and keep warm sherry

    • Fiona Ryan June 9, 2019, 4:06 pm

      Yes, John Lethlean and his ‘cash for couscous’ posts are hilarious. And yet, they keep appearing! I’ve made sauerkraut in a Moconna coffee jar with great success so I’m sure you’ll be fine with the crock.

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime June 3, 2019, 4:42 pm

    I am going to ‘steal’ that idea of putting forgotten ingredients into my line of sight! Thank you for the shout out, an well done on the 10 years. I have also noticed the dwindling comments and the increase of fake followers.

    • Fiona Ryan June 9, 2019, 4:07 pm

      Great work. I got rid of a few things but there’s new things in there. I *have’* to stop impulse buying (says the girl who just bought a jar of cactus nopals).

  • Jan Rhoades June 11, 2019, 9:05 am

    Great blog full of life, vitality and laughs. Did anyone buy the ‘other’ crock?

  • Tina June 13, 2019, 12:38 am

    Happy anniversary on your blog! I started writing as an extend my paper journals, the old fashioned way of doing it. I never dreamed I too would be at this 10 years later. I have “met” so many people who love cooking & reading through the blog.

    Love your crockware, it’s a love.y color. That kookaburra is so pretty, I love watching birds through my kitchen window and this one would be an amazing sight for me. In north Florida I don’t get anything. Is exotic 😊

    Thanks for posting the links to some other cool blogs. Checking them out today.

    • Fiona Ryan June 17, 2019, 9:15 pm

      Hello Tina – thanks for your kind comments. Blogging is certainly an extension of what is happening in my life. It can be frustrating but I do enjoy it.

  • jrrose80 June 15, 2019, 10:24 pm

    Happy 10 year blogiversary! I love the fermenting crock. And I’m so stealing your basket of pantry items that need to be used idea – it is simply BRILLIANT! =)

    • Fiona Ryan June 17, 2019, 9:17 pm

      The basket idea works well but it’s constantly full of impulse buys I’d forgotten about. Oh well, I’ll just have to stop ‘acquiring’.

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