In My Kitchen – January, 2014

Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts a monthly sticky-beak fest called ‘In My Kitchen‘.  It’s a heap of fun to peer into other people’s kitchens, marvel at the lack of dirty dishes (I secretly hope that, like me, they just keep the dishes out of shot), and drool over fascinating ingredients and classy kitchen gadgetry.

Having spent a couple of days doing just that, it’s only fair that I now share my kitchen with you.

In my kitchen this month, I have a lot of chocolate and confectionery.


All my lovely scientists give me chocolates and confectionery and biscuits for Christmas, apparently being under the impression that sweets don’t happen in this household.  (Which is pretty puzzling, given how many homemade sweets find their way to work!)  Switching off the levity for a moment, it’s really lovely to receive the little bags of chocolates and sweets and the notes that go with them.  This batch will see me through to Easter…

In my kitchen this month I have sourdough starter!


It was given to me on New Year’s Eve by a friend as a spelt starter, but I am converting it to rye, because I feel that if you are going the sourdough route, you might as well go the whole way.  And rye sourdough is definitely the whole way.  I love how beautiful and bubbly it is.  This is because I took it out of the fridge a few hours ago to make bread and then got distracted…

In my kitchen this month, I have Panettone in a tin!


Pannetone is the traditional Italian Christmas cake, though in our family, we always had it on New Year’s Eve.  I’m actually almost as excited about the tin as I am about the pannetone, however – isn’t it pretty?  I can think of all sorts of uses for a tin like that one…

In my kitchen this month I have fruit salad!


Actually, it would be more accurate to say that in my kitchen this month I *had* fruit salad, because I ate every bite of it for breakfast over the last few days and there is now none left. Nonetheless, it was so beautiful and colourful and summery that I had to include it.

In my kitchen this month I have a new set of kitchen utensils and a fancy chopping board!


The chopping board was a gift from my parents in law, and it comes with a little drawer that you can use either to collect scraps or to collect the things you are chopping up for the pot.  The utensils were partly paid for by a voucher I won for a raw pasta recipe a few weeks back, and were kind of irresistible, because like everyone else in Australia, I have that second draw that always sticks because it’s stuffed full of slotted spoons and eggflips and the like, and I can never find any of them when I need them…

In my kitchen this month I have slow-roasted tomatoes!


I found this recipe in Jenny Perillo‘s marvellous cookbook, Homemade with Love about a month ago and have been using these tomatoes in everything, ever since.  Tonight, they are going to spice up a bread soup, and it will be amazing.

In my kitchen this month I have soap!


I know, they even look like little cakes, and they are a totally unfair thing to have hanging around the kitchen (especially the pink ones, which look like a particularly yummy sort of strawberry cake thing).  The reason there is soap in my kitchen is that I have been doing a lot of cleaning and tidying and reorganising and I found this random ‘make your own soap’ kit, which I suspect came from Sovereign Hill many years ago.  Clearly, the only thing to do was to make the soap and get rid of the box, right?  So now I have soap drying in my kitchen, smelling of spearmint, and making us feel hungry.

In my kitchen this month, I have Clotilde Dusoulier‘s French Market Cookbook!


I bought this book a few days ago, read it from cover to cover, and loved it instantly.  So far, I’ve made the shaved fennel salad, the avocado and radish hors d’oeuvres, the melon and ginger soup and the apricot and zucchini tart with chickpea crust.  They have all been *amazing*, not least because they have the simplicity and subtlety I associate with French cooking while still being things that Andrew will eat.  Tonight’s bread soup will be using Clotilde’s bread soup as a starting point, only with more exciting tomatoes.

In my kitchen this month I have bread dough rising!


It hasn’t risen very far yet, but one should always celebrate the making of bread!  This one will be a spiced rye sourdough recipe of my own invention, and it will be unique, because I kept fiddling with quantities and have no idea how much of anything I used…

In my kitchen this month I have chocolate tahini spread.


I have no idea what this will taste like, but I am positive that it will be the perfect accompaniment for spiced sourdough rye bread.

In my kitchen right now, I have stock straining and clarifying.


Stock is another one of those lovely, homey things that one must celebrate when one has time to do it, don’t you think?

And not in my kitchen, but right outside it and right now, the sky is darkening, the trees are bending in the wind and the clouds are gathering over my vegetable beds.


I think I picked the right night for making soup.

What’s in your kitchen this month?


Two years ago: Planning and Pizza

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16 comments for “In My Kitchen – January, 2014

  1. January 5, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    I figure more chocolate is always okay, so being set for Easter is a good position to be in 🙂 I love the new utensils too, and the bread making sounds exciting!

    • Catherine
      January 5, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Thanks, Kari! Yes, too much chocolate isn’t really something that exists in my world…

  2. January 6, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Good luck with your starter – it’s on my to do list (again) this year. The French Market cook book looks lovely.

    • Catherine
      January 6, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Thanks, Sally! This will be my second go at keeping a sourdough alive – the last one was a casualty of crazy grant season at work…

  3. January 6, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Love that fruit salad!

    • Catherine
      January 6, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Thanks, Misky – so do I!

  4. January 6, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Catherine, your statement about keeping dirty dishes out of sight made me laugh. (I’ve been cooking my way through ideas this afternoon… no photos today…) The colorful utensils and fruit salad were a vibrant contrast to your grey skies — beautiful view and gardens! Happy New Year.

    • Catherine
      January 6, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Ah, so I am not the only one who chooses the camera angle that won’t show that the stovetop needs a bit of a clean? Good to know!! And thank you!

  5. January 6, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Doesn’t your starter look healthy! And you’re absolutely right, good stock is definitely worth celebrating! Your fruit salad looks divine, and I bet those tomatoes taste amazing! 🙂

    • Catherine
      January 6, 2014 at 8:47 am

      Thank you, Celia! And thank you for hosting such a fun event.

  6. January 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    G’day Chocolate is good and love your Panettone in a tin! True!
    Happy New Year to you and your family and hope it is the best one yet for all!
    Thanks also for this month’s kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne

    • Catherine
      January 6, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      Thanks, Joanne! Happy New Yeaer to you and yours!

  7. January 8, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Chocolate Tahini – are you kidding me? Why haven’t I heard of this before? Thanks for the alert! I laughed at your second drawer comment. Oh yes…. Looking forward to reading your IMKs throughout 2014.

    • Catherine
      January 8, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Chocolate Tahini is *so good*. It’s much less sweet than Nutella, but much less bitter than Tahini, though both sweet and bitter flavours are present, and it’s wonderfully chocolatey. I’ve never been an ‘eat Nutella / Jam / Honey out of a jar with a spoon’ sort of person, but my friend and I each took a small spoonful, tasted it, eyed each other, and then reversed our spoons so that we could have another taste on the spoon handle without contaminating the jar. Amazing stuff. I suppose I will have to find some bread to spread it on, but this seems like a bit of a waste…

      (and surely everyone’s second drawer is like that?)

  8. January 9, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Love your post- I’m a real homemade stock fan- and I always celebrate it!
    (So does my husband as I tend to use the vegetable parings from the week in making the broth- and he is thrilled that I finally got the “garbage” out of the fridge!)
    Your starter look so perky- and spicy rye sounds intriguing- what spices did you add, if I may ask?
    Chocolate tahini is definitely on my shopping list.

    • Catherine
      January 9, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Hi Heidi! Thanks for dropping in! With the rye bread, I used sweet spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger. Unfortunately, it didn’t rise very well (I haven’t quite worked out my quantities and rising times for sourdough yet – this batch clearly needed more than 16 hours, however), but the flavour was good.

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