discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Monday, 6 April 2015

In my kitchen ~ April 2015

It's that time again, time for In my kitchen where I hook up with 
Celia from Fig Jam and Lime cordial along with hundreds of other food obsessed bloggers from around the world.  If you love to see what's in other peoples kitchens, pop over to Celia's blog and get stalking!
Lots of things have been happening in my kitchen this month.  April would have to be my favourite month of the year - crisp mornings, sunny days with some rain and cold nights and lots of produce coming in to be made into treasures.  So here we go.....
Our girls have been laying the most beautiful eggs, well 2 are and 2 aren't as far as we can tell.  It's like Easter everyday at our place!!
I must admit, I was a little shy at eating our eggs for about....5 minutes, but then I poached them and I have never had such perfectly poached eggs, I almost cried!  
We have been letting the girls out to free range most afternoons and you can see here our cat Coco keeping an eye on them....not long after this photo was taken the cat was attacked by the chooks!!  Phew, I was a bit scared Coco might attack them but no, she knows where she is on the pecking order now.  I have to keep a good eye on these girls as they could whip through a pot of rocket in seconds flat!!  We love sitting and watching them, funny little entertainers they are.

I've been pickling beetroots but I used a new method to preserve them this year.  Mr. GW and I are always trying to shorten our preserving ways if we can without ruining the end product and this way worked a treat.  I peeled and quartered the beetroots, put them into the jars raw and made up the pickle liquid and poured it over them, adding some mint and peppercorns.  
I then placed the jars - I used Hoyts pickled chilli jars that are 430g size - them into a big pot of cold water and let it come up to the boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes and then drain off water and let them cool.  So much less mucking around and they are beautifully tender.
I keep 2 big pots of basil along the back porch and they thrive there, protected by the wind and in sun for most of the day.  Sadly they are coming to an end so I've been try to preserve them in different ways.  Blitzing them with some nuts, in this case macadamia & walnuts, with extra virgin olive oil to make a mock pesto lasts for ages as long as you keep the pesto covered in oil in the jar you put it into.  
Lots of Parsley and basil garlic butter for the freezer for later.  These parsley stalks will be frozen to make stock another day.  I love adding a slice to fry prawns, to scramble eggs, on top of a steak, or to make a potato heavenly...the options are endless really.

Now the nights are colder, it's perfect red wine weather :)
I've been reading this Ottolenghi cook book over my breakfast.  I just love his use of fresh ingredients - very inspiring.
I was sent these darling little earrings from a friend - they are little tomatoes - aren't they just sweet!
We've been playing uno in our kitchen and let me tell you that Miss 8 yr old is a very cunning player!!
I've been making these baked cauliflower flowerettes (recipe here) and used some of the hundreds of zucchini that are still coming in - I also added chilli to this recipe.
And lastly in my kitchen, we have made a batch of apple cider to use up our poor apples that have been attacked by codling moth this year....never fear though, the chickens should have them cleaned up for next years blooms.
This bad brew takes around 45 days.  It's just apple juice, sugar and some brewers yeast we got for a few $$'s off the internet.....can hardly wait to see how it turns out.

What's been happening in your kitchen? If you want to leave me a comment I'll pop over and check out what you have been up to this month.

Ciao, Jan x

40 comments :

  1. wow very productive, like your beetroots too, sounds like an easier way to preserve too
    thanx for sharing

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  2. Oooooh the pickled beets are stunning, and adding mint should bring a whole new dimension of flavor. Now I've learned my first Australian noun - "chooks". Poor Coco is outnumbered.

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    1. Poor Coco nothing Dee, she is a terror!!! :) Glad I could teach you some good Aussie slang! x

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  3. So many lovely things...just wonderful! I'm worried about getting 2 chooks when I have 2 cats...doesn't seem to be an issue for you Jan? Supposedly adult cats aren't meant to attack chickens. Sounds like they are ganging up on your cat instead :)

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    1. Mr. GW assures me Jem that chooks will definately stand up to cats, I'm not sure about 2 though?? I'm rooting for you to get some though! x

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  4. I love how you've preserved the beetroot! I will admit that every time I make pickled beetroot I wonder why cooking them in the hot water wouldn't be good enough. I'm dying to try it. As for the chooks, watching them out in the yard is what I miss most about not having chooks any more. :)

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    1. Thanks Maureen - just be careful with the size of your jar - you may need to adjust the time. I put one in for 10 minutes and then opened it to test and it wasn't done enough. Easy enough when you are making small quantities. Good luck :)

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  5. That's hilarious the cooks seeing off the cat. I bet you get hours of fun watching their scraps. Your pickled beetroot looks fab - was it all from the garden too? Very cute earrings - you have a tonne of great stuff going on this month.

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    1. Sadly yes Nancy, hours!! All our own beetroots I'm proud to say :)x

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  6. WOW you had me with the cupcake and love your photography! The beetroot popped out at me!
    Thanks for sharing this month's kitchen views too!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to say hi Joanne :)

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  7. home made cider sounds brilliant! and nothing beats fresh eggs :)

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    1. I'm so impatient Tandy, I'm dying to try the cider!!

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  8. Ooh so glad that you tried the cauliflower florets! Did you like them? Those earrings are so sweet and great idea with the beetroot! :D

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    1. We absolutely love them!!!! Perfect with some chilli flakes ;)

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  9. I came across your lovely blog via blogchicks.com.au. Oh my, your food photos are amazing!!!

    I'm currently hosting a giveaway and would love for you to enter. Two hot chocolate mixes in a jar are up for grabs! Details are on my blog - hope to see you there! x

    http://www.butterandjamblog.com/2015/04/giveaway.html

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    1. I've just entered Grace! Thanks so much for stopping by x

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  10. Must get onto making some basil butter before all the basil disappears. Tanks for the reminder. The beetroot preserves look tasty too.

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    1. The basil butter has been fantastic rubbed under a roast chicken :D Thanks for stopping by x

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  11. Hi jan, chicken watching is one of my favourite pastimes...especially when they run.....also loving your beetroot idea...just to clarify you don't cook them first but jar them up with the pickle and then boil them?...sounds fantastic...will definitely do that next year...I made such a mess this year getting them into jars !

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    1. Haha aren't they hilarious when they run Suzie!! I love their fluffy bums wobbling - I'm living a sad life aren't I!!!! So yes, don't cook the beetroots first, you may want to trial a jar to get it timed right but 15 minutes starting them in cold water and start timing once the water is boiling. The mess is why I wanted to try it this way and I won't be going back to the old way!

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  12. oh i love your chickens and your eggs! and isn't it interesting how many bloggers have one or more of Ottolenghi's books? i really must try them out:) and how marvellous to make your own cider. hope it turns out well.

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    1. Ottolenghi is a champion isn't he!!! I'm hoping the cider makes it in next months edition Sherry :)

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  13. I love your preserving! Those earrings are really cute too :)

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  14. Jan, you have really outdone yourself - everything looks delicious. I make a similar basil pesto but add quite a bit of grated cheese and I toast the walnuts. It freezes beautifully. I'm going to try your basil butter and cauliflower. They both look delish. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Oooh good reminder that I should make some herb butters while herbs are growing nicely in the garden!!! And yes those earrings are adorable!
    Kavey (fellow IMKer)

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    1. I need to get to and make more of these butters too!! Thanks for stopping by x

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  16. That cauliflower looks amazing! What's your secret to poached eggs? Mine would never be photo worthy. Though aren't fresh eggs for breakfast just the absolute best? Yum.

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    1. Hi Cassadie, for the poached eggs you have to decide whether you are a saucepan or microwave poacher. I go between both, but the principle is the same for a saucepan.

      Take your microwave container and fill it with enough water that would be enough to cover your eggs. Put in mic until the water is steaming, around 4 mins. If you are doing in saucepan, heat enough water to cover your eggs and bring up to a gentle simmer - never boil the water. In this time, get your toaster out, toast in ready to go, any condiments you want( I love them with my homemade chutney), sea salt & pepper, plate, knife and fork. With a slotted spoon give the water a good stir creating like a whirlpool and crack your eggs in, 2 at a time is enough. Bang them back in the mic for 2ish mins, but check at around 1 ½, and put the toast down as well. Depends on your mic’s power really but don’t over do them. When they are still nice and soft use the slotted spoon to lift out and let water drain off and onto your now cooked toast. I hope that helps! Biggest tips are fresh eggs and don't boil the water at any stage, keep it at a gentle simmer. Good luck!!

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  17. How lucky you are to be able to keep hens and have organic eggs! Love the idea of the cauliflower, might have to try making it, Many thanks for sharing IMK

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  18. Very lucky Ania!! The cauliflower is great, I hope you enjoy it :)

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  19. Very entertaing post, loved hearing about the adventures of your chickens and the cat. In my experience chickens can be quite fierce. As you slip into the cooler weather we are just starting spring, wonderful ideas to preserve the fresh herbs that will soon be around. And, I shall try pickling the beets by starting in cold water, it saves several steps doesn't it.

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    1. Fierce alright Liz!! Good luck with the beets, so worth the try.

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  20. For some reason blogger doesn’t like wordpress as my comments on anyone with a blogspot address completely vanished! So, for the second time, I think I said Jan that those are some seriously beautiful poached eggs, and you have some lovely girls producing for you there! I also have the same Ottolenghi cookbook, and he has the most fabulous salads - enjoy :)

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    1. Glad your comment came through Beck! Thanks for stopping by x

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  21. So much happening in your kitchen and backyard! Chooks are funny - ours have a run, but they keep escaping and attacking the garden beds, so we can only let them out when we can keep an eye on them. They can be vicious little buggers too! And I completely understand your excitement - I think when we had our first egg, I cried a little too! :) LOVE the Ottolenghi cookbook, but I find I read it more than cook from it - his recipes tend to get quite complicated!

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    1. I bet you and I could exchange mad chook lady stories for hours Celia :)

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