In My Kitchen, March 2015

We’ve somehow crept into another month.  Summer is technically over, but Sydney remains hot and humid, with the occasional cooler night.  I’m thinking about what I could plant in my small garden plot once my basil is gone.  But that’s outside, so here’s what is inside my kitchen this month.

An old pot of my Nonna’s.  When we were packing up the house when my grandparents passed away, I wanted a little kitchen keepsake.  She used to use this little pot, which is from sometime in the 70’s, to boil and egg or make a bit of tomato sauce.  I think of her when I use it, such a kind and gentle woman whose eyes lit up whenever she saw her grandchildren, and more recently her great grandchildren.

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Homemade vanilla extract – using vodka and vanilla beans.  Its about 3 weeks old in this photo, the beans need to have steeped for 3 months or so before its ready, but it already is smelling devine.  Apparently doing it this way gives a much better flavour than the store bought stuff (which apparently goes through all sorts of chemical processes) – I’ll let you know in June!

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Truffle butter.  The boys’ lovely Italian teacher was kind enough to bring this jar after her recent trip to Italy.  On my freshly baked homemade bread, its devine.

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And here is the aforementioned homemade bread.  My starter, La Figlia, a descendent of Priscilla, Celia’s starter (check out Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hosts this In My Kitchen series each month), is going great guns and I now bake bread every Sunday morning. The boys love it.

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I also got some wicker bread proofing baskets, or bannetons as they are known in bread making circles. I made a small loaf of rye (that’s the rye on the right in the picture above) and left it to rise in one.

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In my kitchen you’ll find a food vacuum sealer, which Aldi had recently as a special buy.  Given my work schedule, I do rely on the freezer a lot (I figure its still better than takeaway) and my husband and I thought it would keep certain foods better (it does).

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And finally in my kitchen you’ll find a book I stumbled across, Amo la cucina Calabrese (“I love the cuisine of Calabria).  Calabria – the boot of Italy – is where my family hails from, and where my other Nonna (who I am named after) still lives.  This book contains some hardcore old school recipes.  Many of them are similar to Mamma Rosas in that they have no quantities and use phrases like “quanto basta” ie “add however much it needs”. Mamma Rosa’s recipes also contain “a piacere”, which means “however much you like”.  Both are very useful measures when cooking.

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What’s in your kitchen this Sydney Autumn?

17 thoughts on “In My Kitchen, March 2015

  1. fergie51

    Love the pot and that bread looks amazing! You’ve given me an idea of how to use the vodka that’s been sitting in the cupboard since the kids left home, thanks. That bread really does look good!

  2. My Kitchen Stories

    That is a precious pot you have there with lots of memories. Your bread making looks like you are becoming very good, I must makes some vanilla too one of these days. Happy March to you

  3. Kirsty

    Hi Josephine, I too am brewing homemade vanilla extract. I too couldn’t believe the colour and flavour it developed in such a short period of time. Reminds me to go and give my bottle a gentle shake. Cheers, Kirsty xx

  4. Kavey

    I find the vacuum sealer great for preserving fruit and veg from our garden and allotment, we freeze a fair bit of it. Your loaves look amazing. We’ve only made a couple from Pussy Galoaf so far, but so good!

  5. Anne Wheaton

    Great looking bread. My grandmother had a little saucepan that I wish had ended up in my kitchen as it would be incredibly useful. Must be the time for making vanilla extract – I have some on the shelf too.

  6. MamaD1xx4xy

    What a great little pot, especially the happy memories it brings you. Your loaves of bread look so beautiful. I just made my first this morning and look forward to much more practice. I too have some vanilla extract in the pantry, it will be ready any day now so thanks for reminding me.

  7. Tiffin Bite Sized

    You know, I saw those Aldi vacuum sealers and ummed and ahhed about getting one and regret it a bit now. We are having a kitchen renovation later this year and I hope for more space for gadget such as this. Your bread looks great. I think I’ll get a couple of bannetons and have been doing a bit of research on this. A very inspiration post for me this month!

  8. Kim Bultman

    Josephine, I love the cooking measurements — or non-measurements! — you shared. Isn’t it true? I call it “the knack.” :) Your bread proofing baskets are beautiful and leave such lovely ridges in the finished loaves.

  9. Lisa

    I think I’m convinced I need a couple of bannetons, they make your loaves look great.

    I’ve a small nursling who feeds constantly, so have plenty of vodka I can’t drink right now. I might steer some of it towards vanilla essence, can’t believe I didn’t think of doing it earlier!

  10. Elizabeth

    keepsakes from your grandparents are wonderful. I have any in my kitchen that constantly remind me of my Nana! My Vanilla is coming along very well I only have 2 months left and I can use it!!! YAY! I also purchased the sealer from Aldi and it does make a big different to the amount of stuff we can put in our Freezer! Thanks for sharing! Liz xx


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