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.
Lizzy (Good Things)
Hi Tania… so many good things in your kitchen, as always… those books on curing and smoking have caught my eye… very interesting indeed. Thanks for sharing and happy cooking lovely xo
I’m looking forward to giving the smoking a go Liz. Time will tell if I am any good at it 🙂
Hi Tania, Geez you have been busy. Maus and I have been musing over making a smoker. I really want one but I don’t want to spend a lot of money. It is Maus’ summer project. If we get one working then a book may be required 🙂
The River Cottage Book has a large section on building your own smokers or adapting your own BBQ for smoking Glenda, so you might want to check it out. There are also lots of smaller smokers you can get for hot & cold smoking that you can stick in your BBQ that are quite cheap. I’m sure Maus can build you a great smoker for a limited investment. Look forward to seeing how she gets on.
Tania, you are the undisputed queen of preserving and pickling! Honestly, you’re so clever! You obviously love your pressure canner, right? I’ve always thought of getting one, but my kitchen storage is at its maximum. Our lemons are bountiful as well at the moment, and I can’t wait to hear how the smoking goes! 🙂 Have a gloriously festive December! xxx
[email protected] Tart
What a fabulous array of goodies! I am inspired by all your fermented produce – and have promised myself that this will be on the 2015 ‘To do’ list! Maybe smoking will come after that! Cheers!
Thanks Marian. I hope you do try fermenting. It is a lot of fun. I am actually working on a ‘How to’ post for sauerkraut which should be up sometime before Christmas if you need further inspiration 😉
Love all those goodies in jars, but especially the preserved lemon, reminding me to get some made for the season.
Joanne T Ferguson
G’day As soon as I saw and read it, I wanted to try your grapefruit cordial! And admire people who pickle and preserve! Thanks for welcoming me into your kitchen this month too!
I would love to get my hands on those cookbooks. That lemon cordial looks delicious. I would love a lemon tree. Emma.
Hi, very interested in the smoking book. I recently did my first smoked salmon using rice and black tea in the wok and it was sensational so now we expand! Lemon items look great too. Thanks for sharing.
All the pickled veg looks fantastic. A pressure canner is on my list of things I want, especially since I could can beans. I use beans so much and it would be so much easier to can my own than to soak and cook all the time. Happy Holidays!
Miss Food Fairy
Hi Tania, I also have been getting in to pickling as my sisters veggie patch is producing more than I know what to with! I’m a bit of a cookbook (collector) lover also – can’t get enough! Look forward to some inspiring recipes from you 🙂 thank you for a look in your kitchen, see you next year (happy new year) for imk