In My Kitchen, September 2015

Spring has sprung! Longer days, fresh herbs in the garden, outdoors that beckon, glorious cooking ingredients. I don’t tolerate cold weather that well so count down the days till the warmer months. Any day now bags of produce cultivated from gardens of Italians around Sydney will be appearing on my doorstep.

Meanwhile, in my kitchen you’ll find a few things I picked up on our recent overseas trip. They are probably all things you can find here, but when on holidays you have the luxury of time, and to browse in a leisurely fashion.

There’s a pastry mat I bought in San Francisco. I love the fact that it has cm/inch, gram/pound, and Celsius/Farenheit conversions on it – I’m tempted to stick it to the kitchen wall!imk sept (4)

There’s this cool little cube grater, think I got it in LA. On the side it has cup measures, which is quite handy.imk sept (3)

And a giant flipper, just perfect for pancakes. I used it for the first time when I tried the recipe from Vitrine.imk sept (2)

I also bought a couple of new bread baskets, which were quickly put to good use.imk sept (5)

This batch of loaves were in honour of Selma from Selma’s Table. Selma was an avid contributor to Celia’s In My Kitchen series, and part of Celia’s global tribe of bread bakers. Rest in peace Selma.imk sept (7)

Recently I have just started using a different flour. I’ve always used the Wallaby Baker’s Flour, as it is readily available at my local Coles, but then discovered that one of the Italian delis I go to sells these larger sacks – they are much much better value. Each loaf ends up at about 60c – pretty good.imk sept (1)

I saw this brush for cleaning bread proving baskets on Passionfruit Garden and had to get one.imk sept (11)

In my kitchen is some beautifully risen pizza dough. I’ve tried lots of different recipes over the years. The last couple of times I’ve made pizza I’ve used a good recipe from The Italian Baker, a book recommended to me by Francesca at Almost Italian. The dough has great elasticity and rises and cooks well. Mamma Rosa makes amazing pizza dough, but her recipe depends on the way the wind is blowing, how the flour feels that day, her mood and other such factors – I find it a little hard to follow.imk sept (8)

Here they are ready for toppings. The little plain one is for a nutella pizza for the boys for dessert.imk sept (9)

I mostly make vegetarian pizza since the Marito does not eat meat – a good combo is grilled zucchini, asparagus and ricotta. That rectangular tray used to belong to my Nonna, then Mamma Rosa, now me. I think it is from the 70’s, goodness knows how many pizzas have been made on it.imk sept (10)

And finally in my kitchen is some cuttings for a dragonfruit plant. A very thoughtful friend found out I love dragonfruit and sourced these cuttings for me. I can’t wait to plant them and see them grow!imk sept (12)

I hope you are having a lovely time in your kitchen!

29 thoughts on “In My Kitchen, September 2015

  1. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons

    Lovely things you have found on your travels. I will have to look for the baking mat, do you remember where in San Francisco you found it?

    I just heard about Selma, I am so sorry. Your bread is a fitting tribute to a masterful bread baker.

    And how do you use dragon-fruit? The leaves are very interesting.

  2. NapoliRestaurantAlert Post author

    I got it from Williams and Sonoma at the Union Square store. Dragon fruit is an Asian tropical fruit, which some grocers in Australia have now started selling. Eventually those leaves will turn into a tree which produces some stunning flowers, and then hopefully fruit to eat – they are delicious!

  3. Francesca

    I cannot tell you how much I am lusting after a Pizza. I know Thai food is wonderful, but here on the banks of the Mekong, all I can think of is how much I want a pizza. And then you post that beautiful veggo number.
    Good scores from San Francisco- glad to see you had your priorities in order and went for kitchenware.
    Iv’e see that big sack of Manildra flour around the traps in Melbourne. Any good Signorina? Might make the switch.I lovely tribute to Selma too.

  4. fergie51

    I too get Manildra flour from the bakery at Dandenong market. Great results and good value. I really like the 12.5 kg bags. Big enough to last a while but not too big to be hard to manage and store. I’d never heard of dragon fruit until I saw it on Gardening Australia this week, sounds interesting. Lovely bread, dough and pizza. I love Mamma Rosa’s ‘recipe’! have The Italian Baker from the library at the moment. So many things to try!

    1. NapoliRestaurantAlert Post author

      Agree. The 25kg bag is too big, don’t want to have to keep flour that long. I love in the Italian Baker how she specifies a method for hand, food processor and stand mixer – such attention to detail!

  5. Ania @ Milk, Toast and Honey

    Love the bits and pieces you have gathered on your travels – San Fran is on our list too :-) Your pizza looks delicious! Thanks for sharing x

  6. My Kitchen Stories

    You bought some great things on your holiday. Pizza, so much pizza and they do look so good. You ddo need that big bag of flour being such a prolific bread and pizza maker don’t you?

  7. EllaDee

    Kitchenalia is a great souvenir material. Useful and memorable every time you get it out. I love the organic form of the bread baskets… reminds me of school coil pot creative efforts :)

  8. Lisa

    I love that little cube grater! I’ve been meaning to get some bread baskets but then I talk myself out of it. Perhaps I should declutter some things before I can justify it. I’ve also started trying that brand of flour; a friend brought it for me from Costco and it works out much cheaper than my Wallaby flour. Must source a Costco regular!!! Are your dragonfruit red or white do you know?

  9. Moya

    Pastry mat looks fab no wonder you want to hang it on the wall with all that info on it. Bread looks wonderful… need to get one of those proofing baskets.

  10. Gretchen

    Lovely finds from your travels. Beautiful bread and nice tribute to Selma. Love all the pizzas. I find that we are doing g family pizza night more often now, it’s quite popular. I’ve found my new favorite crust recipe and have fun picking out new topping combinations.

  11. Elizabeth

    Wow, I love everything this month :) especially those bread baskets…. I have been looking for some and haven’t found any here in Queensland.
    that grater is so cute, but also practical! I have made much bread this month, but forgot to post. I did think of Selma, when baking… what a lovely tribute to a beautiful friend!
    Liz xx

    1. NapoliRestaurantAlert Post author

      I think it’s lovely that a lot of IMK’ers made something in her name – what a nice little community we have! You can get bread baskets online if no local shops have them – they are great, I have four now in different sizes and a baguette pan.

  12. missfoodfairy

    I hope you had a lovely holiday Josephine – love your grater you bought! Any tips/tricks of the trade for the perfect bread using my sourdough starter? I’m not a baker but will keep being persistent – will be heading to some deli’s for Baker’s flour, thank you for sharing that tip. Do those bread baskets help? May have to keep my eyes open for those too. Love your goodies this month Josephine x

    1. NapoliRestaurantAlert Post author

      The bread baskets are a ‘nice to have’ but I don’t think they are essential. My tip – when you remove starter from the fridge to feed, keep it somewhere mildly warm if you can (eg next to an electrical appliance that radiates mild heat, or you can put it in the oven with the light on; a friend heats up one of those wheat packs in the microwave and puts it next to the starter) to get it nice and bubbly before you prepare your dough. Also in the oven, I put a tray in the bottom and throw in a couple of cups of cold water to create steam and give a nice crust. Good luck!!!

  13. Emily (Cooking for Kishore)

    Hi Josephine! Lovely goodies in your kitchen; tasty looking pizzas, beautiful breads and baskets. I have a similar pastry mat, it really does come in handy. Love that you’ll be growing your own dragonfruit, wish I could do that here. :)


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