It’s quiet In My Kitchen this month, although this may be the calm before the storm. With my focus being on the end of the school year there has been little time for much else. Waiting around for The Princess has, however, given me time to indulge in a little online shopping (thank goodness for the Internet) and lots of new cookbooks have arrived just in time for the holidays.
I have long wanted to master the art of smoking (food, not cigarettes), so bought the River Cottage Curing & Smoking, and Salt Sugar Smoke for inspiration. I already have a hot smoker, and the River Cottage book in particular has some good basic recipes to try. Bacon is first on my list.
I was interested to read 100 Days of Real Food, particularly after following Lisa’s blog for a while now. Lisa is slightly more hardcore than I when it comes to wholemeal flour and sugars, however our approach to processed foods is quite similar. If you are interested in real food, this is a good starting point. The first half of the book defines real food and provides strategies for changing your diet. The second half contains some basic recipes to start you improving your diet.
I have been coveting Flavor Flours since I heard it was to be published. Alice Medrich explores baking with non-wheat flours, such as teff, sorghum, buckwheat, chestnut, coconut and nut flours. I love baking with alternative flours and am really looking forward to trying some of the stunning recipes in this book.
I found beautiful baby carrots and turnips at my local farmers market this month, and just had to buy them. The problem with buying fresh produce though is that you then have to use it. Pickles in the summer months are always handy to throw into salads, or serve alongside cold meats, so I fermented the baby vegetables in a 3% brine solution. They will keep in the fridge for a couple of months and will be great with Christmas ham.
The lemon tree is dropping lemons faster than I can use them, so I made a large jar of preserved lemons for use in tagines, and in fish and chicken dishes. The remainder of the lemons were juiced for lemon cordial. I just used a variation of my grapefruit cordial recipe for this one. A new batch of radish kimchi also sits slowly fermenting on my bench, being kept company by a few jars of bubbling sauerkraut. I have gone fermentation crazy.
I have been experimenting with canning my own beans this month, so now have many jars of beans on my shelves. Black beans have been particularly successful, as The Princess has discovered a jar of black beans mixed with homemade tomato salsa, and topped with grated cheese, makes a great filling for quesadillas.
I am not normally a fan of packaged baking mixes, but this month I discovered Littlesweet Baking mixes containing top quality ingredients and no additives or preservatives. After tasting the finished product I have decided to change my policy and keep a bag of the brownie mix on hand for emergencies. Even Mr Grumpy thinks these are good, which is truly an endorsement. I received the toffee, also made by Little Sweet Baking, at a recent food styling workshop which I attended, and I have had to hide it from The Princess to make sure she doesn’t eat it all.
That is about it for my kitchen this month. Don’t forget to hop over to Celia’s at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial to see what is going on in other kitchens around the world.