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In My Kitchen… October 2019

What’s In My Kitchen this month very much reflects what’s been going on outside my kitchen over the past month. Back only a few days from Bali, we were straight off to a family wedding in the Hunter Valley. In between, we swept mountains of dust out of our home, as the house next door was demolished and the ground leveled. Add in visits from friends, future holiday planning and a long awaited gig by ‘From the Jam’ and we have arrived in October all too soon.

In my October kitchen…

a pile of freshly cut silverbeet or swiss chard leaves with red stalks

…is a pile of Swiss Chard or as most Aussies know it, silverbeet. When our closest friend Josie retired from Camp Hill to Bundaberg a few years ago, we knew we’d miss her. Little did we know we would see her more than we did when she lived in the suburb. Between visits to family, appointments in the big smoke and stop overs on flights in and out of Brisbane, we see Josie and her daughter Brooke on a regular basis. They always come laden with fresh fruit and veg they’ve grown in the fertile soils of Bundy. This mound of silverbeet cooked down to a modest amount and was the basis for a spanakopita pie. An enjoyable Sunday night treat with leftovers for lunch and dinner during the week.

glass dish of spanokopita pie with crisp brown filo pastry top

In my kitchen…

old fashioned apple corer with blue handle and pastry wheel with red handle sit on a red tea towel

…there is a new (second hand) apple corer and pastry wheel. The wedding we attended was in the tiny hamlet of Broke. As luck would have it, the annual Broke Fair was being held on the Sunday. Part country fair, part festival, there was everything from food vans to whip cracking, historical reenactments to chainsaw carving. A few months ago, when I had a huge mound of apples to peel and core, I realised that I didn’t own an apple corer. Since then I’d made a half hearted search in a couple of op shops. I knew one would turn up eventually. The second hand stall at the Broke Fair came up trumps with this apple corer with Bakelite style handle. This was something I needed. The pastry wheel was something I didn’t need but couldn’t resist because of the red wooden handle. For $3 each, the price was not only right but aligned with our commitment to buy second hand whenever practical.

In my kitchen…

blue foil bag of Indonesian kacang campur mixed nuts

…is Kacang Campur (mixed nuts). This is a spare bag of snacks that managed to make it home from Bali. It’s a mix of peanuts, dried broad beans, dried peas with salt and sugar, made fragrant by tiny pieces of dried kaffir lime leaves. It hadn’t occurred to me to use kaffir lime leaves in their dehydrated form and has got me thinking. It’s so moreish. The next time we head to Indonesia, I’ll stock up. It’s Australian Quarantine Services friendly so there were no concerns about bringing it back.

In my kitchen…

Three cranberry & coconut biscuits on a small ceramic plate

…I seem to be endlessly baking for fundraising morning teas and farewells. To get ahead of this, I made a huge batch of these Cranberry & Coconut Biscuits from an Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook. A standard recipe makes 30+ biscuits so I doubled the mixture and made 70 biscuits. Most went into the freezer so I can pull out smaller batches when time is short. Recipe here.

In my kitchen…

large glass jar filled with unshelled macadamia nuts

…are macadamias. Lots of macadamias. We dropped off a friend to another Air B’nB in the Hunter Valley and saw an amazing bounty in the yard. There was an enormous macadamia tree with hundreds of nuts lying on the ground just begging to be collected. There were also trees laden with small (tart) oranges, mandarins and bush lemons. Look at the colour of these lemons!

I picked out the best looking macadamias to carry back and thankfully, had plenty of luggage allowance to cart them home. There are 2.5 kilos waiting to be cracked this weekend then roasted or frozen, for future use.

In my kitchen…

small glas jar of damson fruit cheese with meatl lid branded with Tracklements logo

…is this small jar of damson fruit cheese made by UK outfit Tracklements. We bought this to go with cheddar cheese over the wedding weekend but didn’t open it.’Tracklement’ sounds like a Ye olde English word, perhaps meaning something taken to sea (like salt beef or hardtack) that can sustain a sailor as they travel the world. In fact, the term was only coined in the 1950’s and means a condiment to accompany meat. Tracklements’ claim to fame is that they were the first makers of English wholegrain mustard. They have an interesting family story that you can read about here. It’s in the ‘to use’ queue after we finish a Tasmanian pear and cider jam.

In My kitchen is hosted by Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings. Sherry is a Brisbane Blogger who has grown a great following because of her interesting recipes and dedication to wooden spoons and all things pottery. You can visit her blog to see other IMK participants and what they have to share.

22 comments… add one
  • bitemebypamtree October 1, 2019, 7:19 pm

    The biscuits with cranberry and coconut were very good. I also tried them with raisins but like them with cranberry best…maybe a bit sweeter!

    • Fiona Ryan October 7, 2019, 11:39 am

      They are so easy aren’t they. Yours looked more golden than mine. I think I’ll doing them for a few more minutes next time. Coming soon will be a version of polenta biscuits. Also a winner which you can adapt and make in lathe quantities.

  • Mae Sander October 1, 2019, 10:12 pm

    What great produce! I don’t think I’ve ever seen mac nuts in the shell (my experience of them is all from Hawaii where they are very popular).

    I checked on “Tracklements” — interested because there’s a shop by that name in our town Ann Arbor also, which makes some very nice smoked fish. The 1954 use does have precedents in dialect — I found a discussion of the word here:

    Have a great October!

    best…. mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • Fiona Ryan October 7, 2019, 11:45 am

      Macadamias as also known as Queensland Nuts in Australia. They are an Australian native that has travelled the world. As I was laboriously working my way through cracking the nuts, I looked up how you can use the shells. Apparently they are an excellent bio fuel that burns slow and hot. Unfortunately, we have no need for that in sub tropical Brisbane. Anyway… I learned that it was the Hawaiians who mastered the secret of cracking them mechanically after trees were taken there.

      Thanks for the link for further tracklements reading!

  • sherry October 2, 2019, 4:34 pm

    i’ve always loved that word – tracklements. it’s very meaty in the mouth:) I’ve been making biscuits from an AWW recipe too. they have the best recipes, don’t they? I think i’ve only ever used dried or frozen kaffir lime leaves. Thanks for the kind words re my blog. i am seeing quite a few bloggers stop lately so i question my ongoing work on my blog. makes you wonder sometimes why we do it? but i must be still enjoying it….thanks for joining in this month. cheers S

    • Fiona Ryan October 7, 2019, 11:54 am

      I made a different recipe yesterday, from the same book and it was also a winner. We have yet MORE events at work this week so I am glad of the long weekend to stock up.

      I hear what you’re saying about the bloggers and numbers dropping off. I’ve noticed there are less people joining in too. I’m wondering how we can get more people to join? Are there any FB groups where we could encourage people? I feel like part of the problem is that the focus is now only on self promotion and ‘what’s in it for me’ rather than for a love of writing, cooking and starting conversations. Having said that, blogs are almost always my go to when I’m looking for a recipe so I think there’s probably a specific demographic (generally middle aged women) who enjoy blogs and blogging. It’s a conundrum.

  • sallybr October 3, 2019, 10:00 pm

    first time seeing a macadamia nut in the shell also – too cool! loved it

    and of course, that bag of snack from Bali – amazing how interesting the snacks can be in other parts of the world – here I can get a lot from India, they are always very spicy but I adore them (in moderation)

    • Fiona Ryan October 7, 2019, 11:57 am

      Wow! Macadamias are native to Australia and more specifically, Queensland. It had never occurred to me that people may not have seen macadamias in the shell. Most kids in Qld have a story about smashing their finger or toe with the hammer whilst trying to crack the incredibly hard shell on the concrete in the garage. Thankfully, technology has moved on!

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime October 4, 2019, 6:51 pm

    I broke my apple corer and decided not to replace it. I used it so seldom and seemed like a waste. I must say I miss it when I need to core pears 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan October 7, 2019, 11:59 am

      I’d obviously made it this far but now that we have a dehydrator, I suddenly seem to need one on a regular basis. Now you’ve mentioned pears, I have double the uses. 😊 🍐

  • johanna @ green gourmet giraffe October 4, 2019, 9:55 pm

    what an interesting time you have had – I have never seen a macadamia tree and having one in a holiday yard would be great – you are always inspiring with your ways of keeping the environment healthy – I don’t have an apple corer but maybe should check second hand shops – and I love the word tracklement.

    • Fiona Ryan October 7, 2019, 12:02 pm

      Who knew tracklement would be the word of the month? Macadamia trees grow very big. There was one in the house behind us that they eventually chopped down but I have noticed that there are a couple of saplings in the back garden Where some nuts obviously fell and germinated. They are slow growing and not in the right location but I am tempted to let one of them grow for extra shade and eventually, nuts!

  • The Mother Hubbard's Cupboard October 6, 2019, 2:04 pm

    its so lovely to see what is happening in your kitchen after my long break… but I’m back! Don’t you just love those great finds… I recently found a basting spoon, it amazing! My Hubby (yes I got married) as a bush lemon tree at his house and you can deal with the pips, the flavour is fantastic! Thanks for showing us around your kitchen this month… I look forward to reading many more!
    Liz x

    • Fiona Ryan October 7, 2019, 12:05 pm

      Welcome back you young bride! Bush lemons really do have the best juice. I have completely stopped buying cook books and cooking implements but sometimes, they still sneak through 😉

  • Liberty Belle October 7, 2019, 4:07 am

    That Spanakopita looks good. Wish I had some right now!

    • Fiona Ryan October 7, 2019, 12:06 pm

      It was really good and because I used good quality feta, it made a real difference. It’s all gone now. Hopefully I can get some silver beet growing when we start our new raised beds.

  • Kim Bultman October 10, 2019, 1:07 am

    Hope you’re done dusting by now, Fiona! There’s nothing worse than coming home to an unexpected mess after being away on holiday. Your spanakopita sounded tasty (swoon…) and your utensils with the Bakelite-like and wooden handles will be functional treasures for years to come. Thanks for sharing your Makrut-infused snack, too. I’ve had dehydrated lime leaves in my pantry for ages and was looking for a good way to use them up. Never saw macadamia nuts in the shell before (love IMK!) and orange-colored lemons! xo

    • Fiona Ryan October 12, 2019, 3:26 pm

      Gosh Kim! I had no idea people didn’t know what macadamias in the shell looked like. I just took it as read. They’re all shelled now – it was A LOT of hard work. They are burning a hole in Mr Tiffin’s pocket who keeps saying ‘Can we eat them? Can you make something with them?’ lol

  • shaheen October 12, 2019, 9:35 pm

    I am thinking we think alike i have some chard in the garden and planning on making spanakopita with it. Yours looks good. Damson fruit cheese always makes me think of Christmas.

    • Fiona Ryan October 30, 2019, 3:53 pm

      Well there’s a new food memory link for this Anglophile. I wonder if it’s a Dickens/A Christmas Carol link? We don’t have damsons in Australia but I have enjoyed them picked from trees in National Trust properties when we visited. (I also scrumped sloes for slow gin ; )

  • jrrose80 October 15, 2019, 7:47 pm

    Those lemons are so orange – how strange! Good thinking about baking biscuits for the freezer to pull out when you need to bring a plate of goodies – we have a cake stall coming up for school and I’m trying to figure out how to squeeze in the baking. =)

    • Fiona Ryan October 30, 2019, 3:53 pm

      I’ve been away for two weeks and have come back to yet more birthdays and fundraisers so I’m glad I have something in reserve!

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