Day to Day Stuff

In My Kitchen – January 2015

Welcome to my Kitchen for the month of January.

Wowsers. It’s January 2015. Fun fact: we’re as far away from 2000 as we are from 2030. Weird, hey. Want to see what Back to the Future got right for our year of 2015? Expect Marty McFly in October, apparently.

How quick did 2014 go? Was it a good year for you? My 2014 was pretty hectic, ups and downs spread quite evenly throughout the year. No major downs, but plenty of top ups; many a new friend and gal pal met and dined with, lots of interesting ventures and invites, a couple of dippy downers, but, generally speaking, I’m a glass half full kinda gal. As long as it’s half full of plonk, I’m happy.

And with that, here’s to the New Year, chin chin!

Rococo Cuvee, my fav tipple for the hot festive season
Rococo Cuvee, my fav tipple for the hot festive season. I have a few bottles of this chillin in the fridge.

In My Kitchen this January…

…are a few bottles of the Rococo Sparkling above. I’ve really enjoyed this bottle of bubbles, and it’s pretty reasonably priced at around $17. I’ve found it at Supabarn in Wanniassa, and if you’re like me, once you’ve found a bottle of bubbles that you can easily inhale, then you stick to it! Another bottle I found on my recent trip to the South Coast, Mystery Bay, was this Chambourcin Rose from Tilba Wineries. It was on the high end for a wine, for me, anyway, at $28, and some likened it to red cordial, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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It was drunk with freshly shucked Wapengo Rocks oysters (keep an eye out for a post on the most delicious oysters I’ve ever eaten), and some delicious cheeses. It could’ve also been the setting, as it was drunk overlooking the beach, sitting out on a fabulous deck, with some wonderful people. This isn’t currently in my kitchen, but I wish it was.

Wapengo rocks oysters

…is a great big tin of chocolate from Christmas. I don’t eat a lot of chocolate, I’d rather a small bite of good quality chocolate occasionally, over a bag of m and m’s. I was given some beautiful dark chocolate with candided oranges from Celia, which I thoroughly enjoyed the other day, taking some time out, watching Maggie Beer’s Christmas special, in the dark comfort of my bedroom, away from the annoying children. Liz gave me some salted caramel fudge for Chrissy, and although I don’t eat a lot of sweet stuff, I’ll definitely make an exception to anything salted caramel. ANYTHING salted caramel works, in my books. The rest will be featured in some baking, and hidden from the children so I don’t get nagged endlessly by them to eat it. They’re like rats, they’d sniff chocolate out even if it was hidden in the bottom on my deep chest freezer.

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…are assorted goodies left over from Christmas/New Years. I have an abundance of eggs as we had almost 3 weeks of not cooking at home, the neighbours who looked after the chooks got to take the eggs each day, but I came home from the coast to 2 doz that required using. These, along with some frozen puff pastry, a huge packet of smoked salmon, dill from the garden, a huge wedge of Camembert, made way for a salmon and cheese quiche. Or Qwiche, as my dad calls it. Still got about 200gms of salmon left, and #firstworldproblems, I’m SO over smoked salmon.

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…not IMK, but just off it, is the lifeless, soulless, dull quiet of my loungeroom. All the Christmas cheer has gone and we’re back to normal. I get so depressed and feel really down when Christmas gets put away each year. I know I can continue to celebrate this that and everything else with dear friends and loved ones, but it’s not the same without the festive decorations, the beautiful sparkling things, and the joyous music I play each day. But, I’ve kept a few things out just to cheer me up when I’m feeling blah and put upon. See below.

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…is my Christmas present from my mum and dad, Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern cookbook. It’s more of a novel really, and I’ve managed to read 10 pages of it over the last couple of weeks. A line that resonated with me was this  – “Some of the dishes, such as stuffed  vine leaves, may take some time to prepare, but if you consider cooking to be a pleasurable and creative activity, you are adding to the enjoyment of serving and eating the dish, the peace and pleasure derived from rolling up the leaves. Women in the west like to knit while watching television, or while sitting with their children. Could rolling vine leaves and stuffing tomatoes not be yet another such soothing activity?”

I think these words can be fit to suit any cuisine, that of which we spend in our kitchens preparing, don’t you? Pottering around in my kitchen, cooking, feeding my loved ones, chatting to all and any who enter, is what makes me feel whole and complete. It makes me who I am, and it defines how I feel about others. If you feel welcomed and comforted in my kitchen, then you are welcome in my life for as long as you wish to stay.

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Secretly kept a Christmas mug out to bring me festive cheer when I most need it.

…is a tub of white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie mix, a gift for us from my brother. He said he purchased it from a fundraiser at work, and my children most appreciate it. Last night we cooked a batch up and had them with vanilla ice cream, as cookie ice cream sandwiches. A first in our house, and there will be many more to come, as apparently I’m the awesomest mum eva.

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…is a bowl of fresh garden produce. The tarragon and eggs are mine, the cucumberbunds and beans are not. I’ve picked 5 beans from our runner beans, and everything else is pretty much cactus. I’ve herbs coming out the proverbial, but my tomatoes have carked it, the peppers are puny, the eggplants are a no show, so are the cukes. On the other hand, the basil has gone ballistic, so, we’ll be eating pesto for the next 3 months. Oh, and tarragon butter roasted chicken for dinner tonight. Yuuum.

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…could’ve been the bone from this fantastic leg of ham. Had I not left it in the freezer of my Aunties cabin in an Albury caravan park. So devastated, as the ham I got from Jordo’s was pronounced the best ham our extended family has ever eaten. After eating a leg of ham every year for the last 30 years ( I don’t remember the first 10 🙂 ) this is a massive call. But it was, hands down, the best leg of ham I’ve eaten. This 10kg beast fed 18 adults and 7 kids for only two days, hence why I’ve been asked to procure 2 for our 2016 family Christmas.

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I glazed it with my blood orange marmalade, a couple of dashes of balsamic vinegar and some brown sugar. In Poppa’s bbq, at the caravan park on Christmas Eve. What was I doing on Christmas Eve at 11.30pm whilst everyone else was tucked up in their cabin beds? Sitting by a smokin bbq glazing a ham. But we do it for the love of the end product, don’t we. Don’t we?

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Just a thing of hambeauty. Slicing it in the parents caravan, no mean feat I tell you! Ham on toast is Christmas morning tradition, the ham is not to be sliced until Christmas morn, hence the glazing of it on Christmas eve.

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These two peeps are in my kitchen all the bloody time. My dad, pretending to be grumpy on Christmas morn, eating his ham on toast, and my merry mum. Camping Christmas worked really well for us and we’ve decided we’ll do it again in 2016. The kids had a ball, I got stuck in our camper trailer, I forgot Santa presents for my daughter, we had some family blues, but we ate, drank and was very very Merry.

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…is my present from my sister, and is wonderful. It was such a thoughtful gift from her, and as much as SO wanted to mount it on the wall, I just turn it over and use it as usual. I love it. The bunch of drying herbs is from my new Christmasinarms mate, Becc.

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That pretty much wraps it up for January. I look forward to spending some more virtual time with you throughout 2015.

Head over to Celia’s blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial to see what everyone else is up to. See you next month.

Oh, and in case you were wondering…

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14 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – January 2015

  1. So many exciting goodies indeed Fran! Doesn’t that ham look awesome – maybe that’s what made your camping Christmas so fantastic 🙂 I do love your new chopping board, how lovely. My house feels empty as well… all that’s left is a dusting of glitter and the odd remnant of fake pine needle that resists all attempts to be vacuumed up. I already have big plans for Christmas 2015- bring it on! Xox

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  2. Bottles of Bubbly, fresh oysters, Christmas ham and a camping adventure – what a fun and tasty holiday. Your abundance of eggs and smoked salmon have me thinking of salmon eggs benedict, or at least a pitcher of hollandaise sauce ro pour over something, comfort food for the post-holiday letdown. Heres to a terrific 2015!

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  3. Aye, tis a mighty fine ham that Fran. Sounds like you had a great Christmas. I’m looking forward to hearing about your Christmas in July. Tis only a few months away! cheers, Kirsty xx

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  4. Dang girl, all the delicious in your kitchen this month. Although, not gonna lie, I’ll be happy if I don’t see ham until next Christmas. Wishing you a magical, fun filled, exciting, scrumptious and rainbow fuelled 2015. See ya soon Im sure! xo

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  5. Camping sounds like a lovely way to spend Christmas. When my grandmother was alive we always went to her house for Christmas morning ham on toast with scrambled eggs. I have lovely memories. Your own ham looks delicious.

    Very interesting mix of food items and I love the board. I’m with you about the sweets but seem to be in the minority, especially in December.

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  6. Gosh, you’re a bit of Christmas tragic aren’t you? What a lovely Christmas though…the caravan park, the kids and my oh my, that delicious ham. It looks spectactular but the photo I like is the one with the sliced ham. You can see how good it is. Hope by now you’ve been able to force down the last of that smoked salmon! Thanks for the distinctly festive tour. cheers Fiona

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  7. I loved that board! And Liz has us all hooked on the Aldi fudge now, I think! So glad you enjoyed the choc orange – it was a treat to finally meet up! Next time, could you please bring me some of those delicious oysters? 😉 And goodness, that’s the biggest leg of ham I’ve ever seen! Hey Fran, I saw on the QI Christmas special that we’re allowed to leave our trees up until the end of January (so we have this year!).. 🙂

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  8. Here you go:

    “You should take down your Christmas decorations on Candlemas Eve, which is 1st February. This is because Christmas is a much larger feast than many people realise, and the length is due to the fact that people had so much stored, preserved food to last the winter. The Christmas season originally began on Martinmas on 11th November.”

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  9. I love how much you love Christmas Fran! I have to say we still have decorations up, but that’s slackness rather than design…
    I love the sound of that ham too, and it gives me something else to do with my blood orange marmalade – I’ll have to check out Jordo’s ASAP!
    Lots of lovely presents too… Hope you have a great January with the the kids – we haven’t been away yet but are heading to the coast next week, yay!
    Beck

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