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In My Kitchen

Jan harvesting

In my kitchen is a blackboard list of what is harvestable in the garden.  I have a wonderful partner who does a lot of the cooking in our household but the garden is foreign lands to him.  So I had the brainwave of writing a list of what is in the “outdoor pantry” right now. Dumb idea.  He is never going to plough through that lot when he’s thinking about what to cook. But it does look impressive all written down doesn’t it.

seeds drying

In my kitchen I have bowls of seeds drying, taking up half my bench space.  Thankfully it’s good drying weather so they shouldn’t be there long.  Usually I dry seeds on the verandah but a brazen bush turkey has taken to coming up to check what is on the verandah table every day, clumping through breaking bowls and spilling things and pooing everywhere.  There’s snake beans and rattlesnake beans, for planting and for storing as dried beans.  There’s  nigella and dill for spices and for planting.  There’s lucullus (Italian silverbeet) and parsnips for planting.  There’s some seeds of the Brandywine tomatoes that have done so well this year and a good buttercrunch lettuce that was slow to bolt and has hung on till now to go to seed.

 

strawberries

In my kitchen are three gorgeous strawberries, getting close to the last of them.  I really should share them, shouldn’t I.  Hmm….

chillies

In my kitchen is a bowl of Bishops Crown chillies, the first big harvest of chillies for the season.  I was thinking to pickle them, but the weather report is predicting some stinking hot days over the next few days, so I might take advantage of the weather to dry these to make chili powder.

first mangoes

In my kitchen are the very first of the season’s mangoes.  This variety is ripe when the skin is still green, but these aren’t quite ripe yet.  I’m thinking a Thai style green mango salad with Thai basil, red onion, and a lime cordial and fish sauce dressing.  If I get it just right I’ll post the recipe.

first pomegranate

In my kitchen is the first of the season’s pomegranates, a small one I picked really just to see if they are ready yet.  They will be better in a week or two, but there will be so many over the next month, we might start on them now. Pomegranates are hugely healthy and really underappreciated in Australia, and if I ever see them in the supermarket, they seem to be so expensive I feel very lucky having quantities of them.  They are spectacular in salads, little pops of tart sweetness.  And they make wonderful Middle Eastern style dips with eggplant or capsicum.

george foreman

In my kitchen is an op-shop scored George Foreman oven, I think late 1980’s/early 1990’s vintage.  I’m using it to bake my sourdough these days. I am still figuring out how to use all the power we are making now with last year’s new solar panels. A friend showed me her electricity bill, and I felt very happy with our decision to go off-grid, stand-alone solar.  It does mean that we need to actually be mindful about electricity and frugal with it in overcast weather, and have energy efficient set up so we can be frugal (LED lights, small efficient fridge, small screen LED TV, laptop).  But in sunny weather we just can’t use it all, even charging a hybrid car. So I’m experimenting with moving more and more of my cooking away from gas and over to free electricity.

tomatoes

And finally, in my kitchen is a big bowl of tomatoes. I’m picking a bowl like this a day at the moment.  The Yugoslavs are so good. I wish I could figure out why some years they get fruit fly, and some years they don’t, but this is a lucky year.

It’s such fun stickybeaking in others’  kitchens.  Head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for the list.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Pat Machin January 2, 2014, 8:34 pm

    I love your list of ‘garden shopping’. I’m also envious as we are in the middle of winter and too far North for a lot of your plants.

    Your George Foreman oven is much more pleasing to the eye than the modern versions and must be a boon with your free electricity.

    Thank you for sharing your lovely productive kitchen.

  • Rose January 2, 2014, 8:45 pm

    I think your garden list would work for your partner cook if you categorised it:
    eg: greens, herbs, salad, vegetables
    As more of a cook than a gardener that’s what would work for me. Love your kitchen this month!

  • Vanessa January 2, 2014, 9:21 pm

    I love the blackboard idea. Impressive shots of your harvest too – your beautiful tomatoes make me jealous. It’s so hot and dry here even watering isn’t helping so I’m just about ready to give up.

    You’re chillies look great too. Home made chilli powder is the best. So much hotter than the bought stuff.

  • Lizzy (Good Things) January 3, 2014, 6:53 am

    Those bishop’s crown chillies fascinate me… Celia has them too, but I’ve not seen them at our local garden centres. Pomegranates are the best, aren’t they! Happy cooking.

  • celia January 3, 2014, 8:24 am

    Your blackboard list is very impressive – and made me realise how many things we’re growing in our own garden at the moment have come from yours! Trombies, yellow cherry toms, snake beans, red amaranth – thank you! 🙂

    We don’t have bishop’s crown chillies any more (sorry Lizzy!), the plant is still there, but it hasn’t produced fruit in a couple of years, so I think it’s time for it to come out. And I adore green mango salad – the Thai’s call it “Som Tum” and one of these days I’m going to have to give it a go! Thanks for sharing your fabulous New Year kitchen with us! xx

  • Francesca January 3, 2014, 9:27 am

    I am so jealous of those tomatoes. Ours are so slow due to a cold Spring in Melbourne this year. And the seed drying is inspiring.

  • Linda January 3, 2014, 9:30 am

    Hi Francesca, at least in Melbourne you have the consolation of no fruit fly. Most years they get at least some of my tomatoes, but for some reason this year not a one. Seed drying is easy (apart from turkeys), and so worth it.

  • Linda January 3, 2014, 9:31 am

    Hi Lizzy, I can send you some seeds if you like. I’ll email you.

  • leah January 3, 2014, 11:58 am

    I love the blackboard idea! we also often have seeds covering our kitchen bench as my other half attempts to dry and then plant Cape Gooseberries, tomatoes and other such delights from fruit we buy along the way. Makes for interesting times when you are trying to cook and not splatter them in the process. I think he might need a drying table 🙂
    Happy New Year!

  • Linda January 3, 2014, 12:03 pm

    Hi Leah, my yellow cherry tomatoes, one of my favourite varieties this year, came from tomatoes I found growing wild in a decorative native garden next to a Visitor Information Centre. They were thriving and laden, even in poor soil with lots of competition, so I brought some home. It’s a great way to find good varieties, and worth the bench space 🙂

  • foodnstuff January 3, 2014, 12:29 pm

    I love the idea! I’m going to take a whiteboard into the garden right now and do some recording. Often I forget what’s out there unless I’m foraging or watering and see something and think: I could’ve used that last night for dinner. I’ve been making lists for ages of what seed will need to be collected and can’t think why I didn’t extend the idea to what’s currently edible.

  • Joanne T Ferguson January 3, 2014, 3:31 pm

    G’day! Happy New year Linda, true!
    May ir be the best year ever too!
    LOVE the blackboard idea and how good your partner loves cooking…
    Thanks also for this month’s kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne

  • Marian at Apricot Tart January 3, 2014, 9:41 pm

    Hi Linda! I’m so impressed with your ‘outdoor pantry’ – you are truly overwhelmed with choice! To have a large kitchen garden and orchard is a dream of mine. Happy New Year!

  • Anne Wheaton January 4, 2014, 4:44 am

    Think I may pinch your blackboard idea. I could also do with one by the freezer too. So envious of your mangoes and pomegranates. Yellow cherry tomatoes were very successful last summer over here and definitely on my list to sow next month.

  • My kitchen stories January 4, 2014, 7:39 am

    A peek Ito your kitchen is an incredible journey. The amount of vegetables you grow is just staggering. What an amazing life. I am so envious of your life style. Happy new year I will be back to read all the amazing things you have written on sustainable eating

  • Linda January 4, 2014, 8:40 am

    Hi Pat, I do love that retro aesthetic, but also, I find that things made 20 years ago were just made so much better. The George Foreman has some weight to it, which means that it holds the heat and distributes it so much better, like a heavy frypan. The new ones are so light and tinny. It’s part of the disease of our times, stuff made to be junk.

  • Linda January 4, 2014, 8:42 am

    Hi Rose, I wish my partner was that organised a cook! He’s fabulous (and he takes most of the photos for this blog), but he has a real creative, right brain that doesn’t do categories. I do like the idea of categorising it for me though.

  • Jane January 4, 2014, 1:45 pm

    What a marvelous variety of crops you have at the hot time of year. Here in CQ we are being fried by the weather but I have had good corn more to come, tomatoes just setting but the cucubit crops arent coping with the heat any better than the gardener is!!

  • Linda January 4, 2014, 2:00 pm

    Hi Jane, today is testing everything here too. Over 40, and that’s getting close to plant limits. I have shade and mulch, and I watered last night, but it will be interesting to see the damage tonight. This heat wave is not just trouble for gardens, but city people will get a glimpse of what climate change will do to food prices out of it.

  • cityhippyfarmgirl January 4, 2014, 2:10 pm

    Linda that list, you lucky thing. I have garden envy on a grand scale.
    Your pomegranates are something most people would swap small bags of gold for, I think I can count the times I’ve eaten one. Like you said, too expensive in the shops.

  • Linda January 4, 2014, 2:14 pm

    Pomegranates are just coming into season now, so if you look out for them at markets, you might be lucky. They’re not actually that hard to grow – they are a staple in Middle Eastern gardens – just that Australia hasn’t had a big Middle Eastern immigration until recently.

  • Sally - My Custard Pie January 6, 2014, 3:50 am

    That bowl of tomatoes is so inviting as is the huge bowlful of interesting chillies.

  • Misky January 6, 2014, 4:32 am

    I think your blackboard is the ultimate brilliant idea!

  • Kim | a little lunch January 6, 2014, 5:54 am

    Linda, I often write out an “inventory” (pantry, fridge, freezer) to inspire meals, but your garden harvest blackboard is genius! I noticed those three gorgeous strawberries didn’t make the list… 🙂 Happy New Year!

  • Linda January 6, 2014, 8:52 am

    Hi Kim, no, the strawberries kinda disappeared. Wonder how?

  • Fiona @TIFFIN bite sized food adventures January 7, 2014, 7:22 pm

    Laughing about that bush turkey – they can be pesky can’t they? We aren’t off grid but do have solar panels which has meant no pwer bills since we installed as we are quite frugal too. Though it must be said that over the past few scorching days I’ve had to resort to aircon so I’ve probably eaten up some of that credit! Hope you enjoy that refreshing mago salad. I look forward to reading throughout 2014.

  • heidiannie January 8, 2014, 7:19 am

    Those strawberries were a bonus item- there for the first takers only! Good for you for taking advantage of a very good thing!
    I, too , like your blackboard listing of the “garden” pantry- and love the pictures of the produce. Those tomatoes made me smile to view them.
    Thank you from a place with sub-zero temps for the week.

  • Lizzy (Good Things) January 12, 2014, 8:52 am

    Linda, thank you EVER SO MUCH for the seeds. I can hardly wait to plant them! xox

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