In My Kitchen – March 2015

In my kitchen …

making blood orange jelly

… making blood orange jellies with orange and lemon juice, sugar, water and some gelatine leaves with a splash or two of Slamseys Marmalade Gin. A perfect mid-week pudding when we just want a spoonful or two of something sweet.

In my kitchen …

English muffins

… muffin making. Not sweet American muffins but proper English muffins made with yeasted dough, cooked on the girdle where they puff up before your eyes. We twist them open and toast them to eat with a generous spreading of butter and jam or a poached egg. If I was trying to impress then I could have made hollandaise sauce so that we could have Eggs Benedict, but instead we sandwiched the egg between each half so that the egg yolk ran down our chins when we bit into it.

In my kitchen …

giant jaffa cakes

… making giant Jaffa cakes. I know, why would you, when it’s easy to buy a packet. Well, sometimes it’s fun to try. Of course there were comparisons. Why isn’t there a little hump where the orange jelly goes? Why have you used marmalade? They’re a bit soft for Jaffa cakes. A work in progress.

In my kitchen …

vegetable garden March

… the view from the kitchen window. The soil is too wet and cold to do much with at the moment so mostly I just dash out to dig some leeks or to empty the compost bin. But soon it will be spring and there’ll be lots to do. Meanwhile, I’m happy to potter in the kitchen at the weekend.

Once again, I’m joining in with Celia’s In My Kitchen series at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial as we tour the world to see what everyone has in their kitchen this month. If you have the time, check out some of the different blogs that are listed on Celia’s page.

in my kitchen – August 2014

Some days we are …


Enjoying glorious raspberries that I could eat every day through summer.

Roasting vegetables for oven roast ratatouille with the last of the oil from the labneh.

Eating fresh plums. There’ll be time and plums enough for baked plums, compotes, crumbles and cakes so for now, we’re just picking, eating and counting the stones.

Tumbling tomatoes into salads, using them for sandwiches and eating them straight from the greenhouse, still warm from the sun.

But other days …



… I despair. I’m happy to spend an afternoon in a haze of flour and icing sugar making cakes or baking  bread. Create a wobbly jelly? No problem, just pass me the gelatine. They’re things I choose to do.

Some days, the sheer mind numbing tedium of having to make meals gets too much, especially when supper become no more than a fuel stop scheduled around work, sports and social lives. It’s not so much the cooking as deciding what to eat. Sometimes I brightly ask what they fancy for supper and they make ridiculous suggestions; obviously I should get them to look in the fridge first.

I’m off to read the other “In My Kitchen” posts to find some inspiration for tonight’s supper; you can find a list at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial, where Celia heads up IMK HQ. Why not join us?

in my kitchen – January 2014

It’s been fairly low key in my kitchen just recently. With all our celebrations in other people’s homes over Christmas and the New Year there was no frenzied mass catering with decisions about what to make or who to invite followed by days of eating leftovers, although we have eaten a lot of turkey. Perhaps a nine kilo bird was a little too large for seven of us.

But that’s what the lull between Christmas and Back to Work January is all about. I don’t have to think about what to cook for supper, other than will it be cold turkey again or can I muster enough enthusiasm to make a turkey pie or curry. The pantry and freezer are full after an autumn of preserving and storing, the fridge is stocked with basics and there are still leeks, perpetual spinach and artichokes in the garden. Bill and I are valiantly ploughing through the gin sodden Christmas cake, while the rest of the family count down the days weeks until we’ve finished it and they can open the tin of chocolate biscuits that we were given. In fact, the only cloud on the horizon is that the cellar is flooded after this continual rain, so we have to put on our wellies if we want a bottle of cider.  No shopping, no thinking. Bliss.

bread shots

Not having to think about meals means I can potter around in my kitchen being creative or just sit quietly reading a Christmas present book. Such an afternoon, coupled with a request to take something “nibbly” to a party, resulted in a batch of these Bread Shots, which were inspired by a combination of beautifully tiny sourdough rolls that Jane   @TheShadyBaker posted on Twitter and the large savoury topped rolls in Richard Bertinet’s book Dough.

Using ordinary white bread dough, shaped into 20g balls, I poked a wooden spoon handle into  the top of each roll and filled the hole with chopped olives, pesto or feta cheese. These bread shots are best eaten warm from the oven, though they’re good eaten cold. Being (almost) bite sized, they’re certainly less messy to eat than a vol-au-vent, especially if you’re juggling a drink in one hand and food in the other. Goodness, I can’t remember the last time I ate a vol-au-vent. Are they due a revival?

We had just enough cold turkey left for New Year’s Day sandwiches today, the bones have been used to make stock and that’s it – the end of 2013 Christmas. Looks like it’s back to normal tomorrow.

Have a happy and bounteous New Year. There are so many exciting things happening on the horizon, I can hardly wait to tell you all about them …

Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts In My Kitchen every month for bloggers around the world. You can find a list of everyone taking part and details of how you can join in at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial.

in my kitchen October

Every month bloggers join in with Celia to write about what’s happening in their kitchen. This is a relaxed group (no rules or schedules or invited members only) where we get the chance to peek into everyone’s kitchens to see what they’re up to. It’s bit like dropping in for a sociable chat and a cup of coffee. So, sit yourself down at the virtual kitchen table and help yourself to a biscuit.

In my kitchen this October …

blackberry trifle recipe

… one thing leads to another. It’s a busy time on the farm as the new wheat crop is planted and Bill has spent several days rolling. As this is an incredibly boring job, a packed lunch with something a bit different from the usual sandwich and an apple makes a welcome change, so I made some gingerbread to slip in. As usual, the last bit of gingerbread lingered in the tin untouched so I used it to make a trifle together with some of the blackberries that we’d picked from the hedges and the dregs of a bottle of Blackberry Gin.

blackberry mess

Then, as I had egg whites left over from making the custard, I made some meringues, which a couple of days later I plopped into a glass with some whipped cream, more blackberries and blackberry puree to make a Bramble Mess.

bramble cheese

As usual, I picked far too many blackberries so used the last of them to make Bramble Cheese which is like a blackberry version of membrillo. The blackberries are cooked with a little water and sugar, then sieved and the puree cooked with more sugar until it’s thickened. Turned out from its mould, it can be cut into small squares to eat like a sweet or eaten with cheese or cold meat.

In my kitchen this October …

2013 harvest bread
… the first bread made with wheat from 2013 harvest. It always takes me a few batches to adjust to fresh wheat; some years I can make loaves with 80:20 home milled wholegrain flour to commercial white flour but this year it looks more like 60:40. I need to do a bit more experimenting to make sure the loaves aren’t too heavy and dense.

In my kitchen this October …

retro milkshake maker

As the seasons change, so does the equipment in my kitchen. In summer, the ice cream maker is usually hauled out of the cupboard and when the kitchen gets unbearably hot, the aga is switched off and the electric toaster and kettle are searched out, dusted down and brought into action. Back in 1999, while on holiday in Australia, we stopped for a memorable lunch in Gulgong . Memorable for the children because of the milkshakes served in ice cold metal beakers and memorable for me because I left my bag containing our passports under the table and didn’t realise until we were an hour and a half down the road. It was a long day. Back home, I found a similar milkshake maker and we spent the summer of 1999 recreating those delicious milkshakes.

Now the children are grown up, the milkshake maker has languished in the cupboard, but this year Ruth was home and has resurrected it, so that we’ve doubled the order to the milkman and drunk milkshakes all summer. My favourite? 1960s style Iced Coffee made with Camp coffee. A retro drink for a retro style milkshaker maker. Now that the apples are ripe, the juicer is in action most days and milkshakes are being replaced by apple juice or purple blackberry & apple juice, so the milkshake maker will get put away. What’s your favourite milkshake?

In my kitchen this October …

view from the kitchen window
… the view from the kitchen window. Not much different to last month.

Why not share your kitchen this month? Pop over to Fig Jam & Lime Cordial to find out how to join in and to see what’s happening in Celia’s kitchen and others around the world.