I’ve said before how much I love the summer months. The warm weather, the long days, it creates the illusion of more TIME, that precious commodity. I’m more energetic at this time of year, wanting to pile more in the day before the cold months arrive. So there has been plenty going on in the Napoli kitchen of late.
In my kitchen you’ll find little fingers that want to lick the bowl. Remember that? I am one of four, and we always used to fight over who would get to lick the cake beaters. The cake is called a Bung In Chocolate Cake, by Kate Bracks from Masterchef (whatever happened to her?). It’s an easy cake made from ingredients I always have in the pantry, and the boys love it.
You’ll find a batch of my morning coffee biscuits. I usually make these every few weeks, but hadn’t for a while with other things going on around Christmas and New Years. I was getting complaints from the office (you know who you are) so it was time to whip up a batch. Since I make these so frequently, as well as other biscuits, it made more sense to get the Silpat baking mats, rather than go through reams of baking paper. They are a little big for my baking trays though; in my “next kitchen” (one day) I dream of a monster sized oven.
In my kitchen you’ll find pasta sauce. There is nothing better than sauce from home grown, ripe, summer tomatoes. I had so many and they were getting too ripe for salad, so I made a batch of sauce with some basil from the garden thrown in. I always keep some sauce in the freezer, so after work all I have to do is cook up some ravioli or pasta. Presto – a ten minute meal (take that Jamie!).
Something to hang onto for your pasta sauce – Parmesan rind. I buy my parmeggiano in big chunks from the Italian deli, and grate it as I need it. Keep the rind – when you are making sauce or stock, chop off a bit and put it in, it’s an extra little flavour dimension. Scoop it out before serving.
This is “biscotto” care of Mamma Rosa. I don’t actually know what the proper Italian name for this is, but that’s what we called it growing up. My boys call it “crunchy bread”. It’s a lightly crisped bread, ideal for bruschetta, braised eggplants, cheese, ricotta and any other antipasto. I have the recipe, Mamma Rosa wrote it out for me in my little book of recipes, and its very long! I’ve tried a few people’s versions of this, but no one else’s has this feather light consistency.
In my kitchen you’ll find baker’s flour, for my first attempt at baking bread.
Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial , who hosts these In My Kitchen sessions each month, sent me a packet of Priscilla, her sourdough starter. Priscilla has been around the world and borne many an offspring with a variety of interesting names. I decided to call mine La Figlia di Priscilla (daughter of Priscilla). Following Celia’s instructions, I bought La Figlia to life.
I then made a dough, shaped a loaf…..
And wow!! My first loaf of homemade bread! It was pretty good for a first attempt.
The following weekend I tried again – this time it was much better as I was much more confident about what I was doing. The first loaf disappeared in the blink of an eye. (Even Mamma Rosa gave it the thumbs up).
I’m loving my new dishrack from simplehuman. (Do I need to start getting out more when these things excite me?). It has a built in knife block, holds wine glasses, and has a little spout that runs water into the sink. Clever design!
And finally, in my kitchen you’ll find Sydney grown mangoes! My parents have a lovely mango tree in their backyard, and it produces fruit towards the back end of the Queensland season, so we get to enjoy them a little longer. Its the Kensington Pride variety, my favourite. They don’t colour like Queensland mangoes, in fact often they will still have green skin even when completely ripe, but the flavour is amazing.
So long Summer, it’s been great, see you next time.