In My Kitchen July 2013

Blackboard in Zeb Bakes Kitchen

Dog Meds and Vetty things

In my kitchen there are two slim dogs.  Mme L has been ill with pancreatitis and is now on a complicated regime of micro meals and vet stuff to line her little tum with so she doesn’t vomit all the time. Zeb is in rude health once more after his leather eating trauma earlier this year fortunately.

In my kitchen is a blackboard which usually says things like, buy chicken, or take parcel to post office. My blackboard was made by Andy at Arcadian Furniture who restores furniture and makes new pieces too. He made this board for us with just the right size ledge that it could hold a board rubber and chalk and made it out of the same wood as the kitchen, American Oak.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will note it says ‘Eat Wed pm’ at the bottom. This is because Brian has had the lurgi for over a week and the doctor said starve yourself for 48 hours and drink Dioralyte.


We are into 36 hours and I am joining in in solidarity till this evening, when we will partake of ‘clear soup’. Brian has decided we are going to have a Chicken Soup and has gone off to buy himself a chicken. The good news is that, so far today he feels better, so cross fingers the doctor gave him good advice finally.

So what else can I show you?

My neighbour's gift of sweet peas

A stunning handful of fragrant frilly sweet peas grown by my neighbour. We are busily trading lettuce and flowers, cheesy buns and vegetables. My neighbour drives out to visit her mother who is now in a Nursing Home, she who likes my bread, and it is very near a wonderful vegetable grower called Mark Cox who gardens at the Walled Garden at Wrington.

Broad Beans from the Walled Garden at Wrington

Broad Beans from the Walled Garden at Wrington

My neighbour is allowed to pick what she wants more or less and she brings me treasure once a week; last week I had the most beautiful broad beans, chard, cavolo nero, newly dug potatoes, and a perfect artichoke.

I have baked more bread in the kitchen, mostly of the sourdough variety. Here is a particular fetching loaf, which someone on Twitter described as a Tin Tin loaf without the tin. A bread with a quiff!

Tintin loaf of sourdough by Zeb Bakes

At the moment as it is hot here, the easiest way to make the bread is to mix it in the evening, retard it in the fridge, shape and prove early in the morning and bake it.   Works for me just fine!

Pheasant casseroleIn the freezer I discovered three halves of pheasant that I bought from a local butcher in pheasant season earlier this year, so I have made them into a casserole, once I had pulled all the bits of shot and feather out I could find. My casserole consisted of the pheasant, cut into smaller joints, sweet onion and carrots from the Walled Garden, two sticks of celery, herbs from the garden, silver thyme, Greek oregano, sweet Cecily, bay leaves, a few peppercorns, a couple of tablespoons of ancient Pontack sauce (made from foraged elderberries in times of yore) some Chinese rice wine, and vegetable stock. Pheasant is a dry meat to my mind but it is all cooked up now and boxed and back in the freezer for another day.

I also had a crack at making the claypot pork dish that Celia made from Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse blog.

Ingredients for Claypot Belly Pork

Here is a pile of bottles that I had to get in order to have a go at it. I already had a kg piece of belly pork from Thoroughly Wild Meat who supplies us with salt marsh lamb hidden in the freezer.

I don’t have a claypot so I made it in my regular casserole. It smelled divine while it was cooking but that too has gone into the freezer as it coincided with Brian and his Lurgi.

Ottolenghi Turkey and Courgette Meatballs from Jerusalem

Ottolenghi Turkey and Courgette Meatballs from Jerusalem

I have also made the fantabulous Ottolenghi turkey and courgette meatballs with sumac sauce, a recipe which is in his Jerusalem but you can probably find written out by someone or other on the net if you look. These little nuggets solve the mystery of doing something tasty with the incredibly boring meat that is turkey mince. I thought they were a bit fiddly to make but if you are set on eating turkey mince and have spare courgettes, then give them a whirl, because the end result is worth it.

Home grown courgettes

In my kitchen were our first veggies apart from lettuce and rocket – three pale green courgettes – which I fried with garden mint in a little butter and oil  about five minutes after harvesting them and had them with some rice and chard while Brian looked the other way.

I have been eating North Sea brown shrimp, odd bits of roast chicken,  and lettuce and bread. Feeling guilty that I can eat and he can’t, though not that guilty that I couldn’t cruelly munch my way through half a bag of M and M’s last night while catching up on the White Queen on the telly box while The Hollow Man averted his gaze.


I also had a box of very special chocolates from Haigh’s hand-delivered from Melbourne from a blog friend who is visiting the UK. Lucky lucky me and I loved meeting her and her husband in my kitchen and plying them with cake, more of which another day. (There are no chocolates left of course!)

After watching the White Queen (historical drama based around the time of the War of the Roses)  I always have to spend ages on Wiki looking up the Kings and Queens of England, the Kings all seem to be called Edward or Henry and all the queens Elizabeth. Many of them are a little stressed out.  I have no memory, nor interest in retaining their names and who was married off to whom in political unions but  I am enjoying the White Queen, chiefly because I like the way they roll their eyes in a thoroughly modern way when they marvel and gasp at each other’s Machiavellian ways.

Eat Wed PM

But back to the kitchen –  by the time I get to the end of this post it has indeed become Wed pm and we have made supper.

My grandmother's Willow Pattern soup bowl

The man vet said ‘clear soup’ we translated that tonight into Canja de Galinha  – ‘a soup for what ails you ‘  – as made in the one and only Bewitching Kitchen by Sally.  A Brazilian take on a Portuguese soup, which hit all the right notes for Brian being substantial but super low in fat and super soothing.

Brian's soup

Brian chopped the veggies and I poached the chicken and we cooked far too much rice, but we didn’t care. I invoked the spirit of my paternal grandmother Lily and got out her Willow pattern soup bowls which have nursed more versions of chicken soup than I can remember in their long life and hope that he is cured now. (I added a liberal splosh of chilli ginger sauce to mine as I hadn’t been on starvation watch, but I have never seen Brian attack a bowl of soup with quite such enthusiasm).

I realise it has been far too long since I wrote one of these IMK posts, but if you want to read a whole lot more or indeed join in,  you should visit lovely Celia @ whose meme this is and peek at her sidebar as there are lots and lots of kitchens to visit from her links.

59 thoughts on “In My Kitchen July 2013

  1. heidiannie

    Your bread is so lovely- I haven’t made any recently as I’m trying to clean out the freezer and have found a LOT of bread in there!
    Your Blue Willow soup bowls look so cool and inviting and the soup delicious.
    I”m always happy to visit in your kitchen, Joanna!
    (And I’m going to try the Ottolenghi turkey and courgette balls as soon as some one gives me some zuchinni!)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I find bread hiding in the freezer too Heidi and casseroles with no labels, I think the labels fall off. Try those turkey balls, they are just great and make a great sandwich filler too the next day :)

  2. sallybr

    Well, how about the thrill of being featured on YOUR blog with the In My Kitchen series? Too good, too awesome, I am on top of the world!!!!!!

    First, let me say I hope your dear beloved is on the road to full recovery, as well as Mme L – poor thing…

    love the blackboard, what a cute idea for the kitchen, if you have the space for it (we definitely do not here in KS)

    Now, if you allow me to suggest a book for you: The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George

    I read this book in 1993, and again a few years later. Cannot say enough great things about it….

    Thanks for including my family’s recipe in your series, I must show my Mom sometime… ;-)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Have sorted out the giant picture thing, no worries and just read the review of that book and it does sound fun! I think H8 is the only bit of kings and queens history I do know, largely because they are always making tv shows out of him. Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. I believe that was the fate of his wives….

      He is watching TV downstairs and I have heard no moans of pain, so the magic of the soup must be working, Mme L is to see Maria the Vet tomorrow again, we will just have to see what she says. Lets hope it’s good!

  3. Alicia (foodycat)

    Good luck with keeping everyone healthy! I particularly like the sound of Brian’s man vet. Every man should have one. My GP and Urchin’s vet share a carpark, so every time I have to take her in I tell her that what my vet does to me is more undignified.

    1. Joanna Post author

      You are very funny! I love the name Urchin! We have spent far too much time at the vet’s lately Alicia, and think we should move in. We took her sourdough bread and salad leaves too the other week, salad leaves because she said she was doing 5:2 and bread for the days she wasn’t. We changed vets a few years back and are very happy with them. The GPs are ok and the phone triage method seems to be working fairly well. Anyway on with the day xx

  4. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Fabulous post, Jo, but I’m sorry to hear Brian and Mme L are traveling poorly! I hope everyone is on the mend soon. As always everything in your kitchen looks delicious, especially your Tin Tin without the Tin loaf, and your take on Sally’s cure-all soup. The broadbeans look lovely and fresh! xxx

    1. Joanna Post author

      It took me a while to realise the tweep meant Tintin as in the cartoon character with the quiff. Those broadbeans were something else – the pods were tiny and I thought they weren’t going to have much in them but they were packed with huge, intensely flavoured bean explosions, a revelation in beaniness. We are all travelling, as you say, OK, I just thought it was funny that he had written on the board, along with the schedule for the dog’s meals, that he too was going to eat on Wed pm :)

  5. hotlyspiced

    I love your Willow plates and have always wanted a set of my own. I also love the image of the broad beans and the fresh produce from your friend’s garden sounds wonderful. Sorry to hear of all the sickness. And your poor dog with pancreatitis – that is so painful. I do hope everyone has made a full recovery xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Those plates were put out on my Grandma’s table with chicken soup with matzomeal dumplings visit after visit. They have a sort of soft feel to the china and are quite light to hold. My Grandma was one of the first women to go to Cambridge University and she studied medicine and qualified as a doctor, then she married, had chlidren and gave it all up. Different times, different lives. Dog appears to be in recovery and has had a fetching new shortie haircut and looks like a small spring lamb and bounces around like one too :)

  6. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Your TinTin loaf is lovely Joanna. I love that someone named it that on Twitter.
    Haighs? It’s good stuff isn’t it. I think that would have to be one of my favourite fancy chocolates. Hand delivered…even better!
    Hope Brian is definitely on the mend from his lurgy and soft reassuring pats to poor little Lulu and to Zeb. xxx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks for the good wishes, we are all much jollier this morning; cool breeze running through the kitchen – or maybe just the scuttle of little paws and B in search of a loaf of bread for toast! I was very spoilt with the chocolates too :) Just got a ping from your fabulous beer rolls; as I am still half asleep I read it as BEAR rolls and thought, goodness I didn’t know they had bear in Australia ;)

      1. cityhippyfarmgirl

        now we could try to roll them in to one of Heidi’s bear’s :-)
        Forgot to say too, I tried the rosetta roll stamp with these guys as well and it didn’t work. I’d used it just the week before and it had worked fine, but for some reason these little fellas don’t like the stamp. Wonder why?

        1. Joanna Post author

          Yes a cheese and onion Heidi Bear ! Of course ! Genius !

          I am not sure, probably the cheese changes the structure of the dough in some way, but I am only speculating.


          1. heidiannie

            I find that any dough carrying a heavy load of inserts will not shape well- the sticky pieces interfere with the gluten ,I think. And I’m up for a cheese and beer bear- but again the definition will probably be soft because of the extra ingredients. Although adding onions just sounds right, somehow.

            1. Joanna Post author

              In Hamelman’s cheese bread he puts lumps of cheese in, but this one being all grated, though sticky and the onion particles break up being so dry, unlike caramalized or wet onions. By chance maybe, then, the dough is easy to shape into rounds. When I get some more onions I will try again, I gave the rest of mine to a friend who wanted to make the bread.

  7. Ann

    I do hope both of your invalids are well on the mend now. Love the blackboard – I write myself little notes on bits of paper as well as in the diary if it is something really important, eg Spot’s heartworm injection which has to be given as near as possible to the same date every year.

    1. Joanna Post author

      The blackboard helps and we too have little notes stuck everywhere and calendars that we supposedly update but we still forget to do things. Is heartworm a big problem in Australia, I have heard of it, so I guess we have it here too but the vets here talk more about fleas and ticks and Lymes Disease. Maybe we will get more of those other diseases here as it is easier now to take pets abroad to Europe than it once was. Love to the lovely Spot and to you xx

      1. Ann

        I think heartworm is probably a hot weather thing – it used to be only a problem up north but gradually crept down to Perth. The vaccine is slow release which is why it has to be given on an exact date each year – clever stuff.
        Interesting that your Grandma was one of the first women to go to Cambridge. I was at Girton (many years later!) and would probably know the name. Was she one of the real pioneers who had to live out at Hitchen?

        1. Joanna Post author

          Lily Moss, Girton 1916-1919 Not sure where she lived, I will ask. Had a look at the history of Girton just now, not something I know much about, Lily wasn’t there at the very beginning. I know she sat in lectures and the Professor looked up and addressed them all as ‘sirs’. You might know my aunt or my Dad though, depending on when you were there. Lots of my family went there, but not me, rebel (ha!)

          I think I saw a poster about something called lungworm, haven’t looked it up but can be transmitted by slugs?

          1. Ann

            I was up 1953 -56. No, I don;t recognise the name but your grandmother would have been at Girton where it is now as the college moved from Hitchin in 1873. Would have to have been your great grandmother to have been one of the Hitchin girls. I was forgetting the dates. Which college did you Dad at?
            Haven’t come across lungworm – slugs, ugh!

    1. Joanna Post author

      He is much better thankyou! I am looking forward to the casseroles, I enjoy peeking in at them and seeing how they change colour and the smell is lovely too :)

  8. Choclette

    Your kitchen wasn’t looking like a very cheerful place to begin with, but I’m glad it got a whole heap better. Hope everyone gets better quickly and the soup did the trick for Brian. I’m very envious of your courgettes. We are so behind with gardening this year, our courgettes have only just appeared above the ground.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Sometimes life is like that though isn’t it? A small dose of unedited reality creeps into my blogs from time to time, I try not to make it sound too grim though :) And yes it got better thanks xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am waiting for my own sweet peas to flower, I didn’t sow them till after Easter I think. I am not sure why that courgette galloped away but it is a bit heat stressed right now and I see mildew on the leaves. At the moment in reality world I am trying to transfer my old backups to a new external drive and it is taking all day, plus it is 28.5 C in the shade. I have abandoned the garden till it cools down. Thanks for visiting, your comment got caught in spam but I have rescued it :)

  9. Karin Anderson

    Unedited reality makes your blog the more endearing to your readers. Joanna, I like your blog not only for its content and beautiful photos, but, also, because it’s so easy the eyes. Even the most entertaining and informative post gets a chore to read, if it is all in one “gray block”, and I appreciate good writing, too (Let’s say, many feel the call to blog, but few are chosen…)
    I hope, husband and critter are soon better!

    1. Joanna Post author

      That’s so nice to hear! It is of course all edited, but I find that if I write quite quickly then it comes out resembling something like the way I speak, only with punctuation and hopefully with some respect for grammar. There is that old adage ‘a photo tells a thousand words,’ and so the photos help to make the blog post shorter while giving you detail that you really can’t get any other way. The one thing that is extraordinarily hard to capture is the texture and feel of dough though, nigh on impossible, even when you watch a video of someone doing something or other, it is really hard to imagine that dough under your own hands.

      Everyone is getting better at last thankyou! we had Round 2 of the Soup today, with more poached chicken, new potatoes, green beans and courgettes thrown in, and lived dangerously and steamed some kale. I feel very virtuous :)

  10. narf77

    Poor Brian! I wonder if my midnight stomach cramps were sympathy pains? I don’t stop eating for anything though ;). A wonderful post full of wonderful things. I can actually smell those sweet peas in my residual memory. Mum used to grow them every year. She would lament “why don’t you just grow a few Pen? (her pet name for me) just plant a few and that smell will be with you”…Now she is gone I might just plant a few sweet peas to remind me of that intoxicatingly perfumed deep primal scent :). Again, cheers for a lovely post and those chocolates looked delish! :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      We grow sweet peas (or try to, this year’s were sown late so maybe there will be pics of some flowers in a few weeks) for Brian’s Dad and my Mum, both gone now. Scent does extraordinary things deep down in one’s memories, as you say primal. Ardys who was here the other week dived nose first into a white peony in the garden and said she hadn’t smelled them for years. I love the memories of smell and sound. My visual memory is very poor. I hope your cramps have gone away, Brian’s tum is peaceful once more :)

      1. narf77

        Cramps gone but with some of the things I expect my poor stomach to put up with I am often surprised ;). Glad Brian’s tum is happy again and that soup looked gorgeous. My grandma had a neighbour from India who gave her a fantastic cure all chook soup recipe. I might have to ask my sister for it. I got mums Christmas cake recipe by the way. How would you like me to give it to you? I could do a small post about it as its probably time to start thinking about making the Christmas cakes anyway isn’t it?

        1. Joanna Post author

          Ooh! Christmas cake! You should have my email from my comments on your blog so please feel free to email me that would be great or maybe I should email you? The different thing about this chicken soup was that it didn’t use the poaching water, so it wasn’t as strong and richly chickeny as a classic Grandma soup which I prefer, but I think Brian preferred this recipe. We moved on to carrot and coriander the following day, when he wimped out of bread and butter. Pleased to report he is getting less fussy by the day :)

          1. narf77

            I might have to infect Bezial with some kind of lurgy. He is the fussiest dog known to man! I always thought that dogs just ate anything, the more disgusting the better but not my 2. Earl is a bit less fussy than Bezial but will still turn his nose up at a lot of things. Bezial refused to eat those buttery bacon and cheese biscuits point blank. I baked them to get some sort of fibre into their diet as they live on raw steak and dehydrated steak treats that we make but that fussy sod wouldn’t have a bar of them! Earl loves them so I suppose that’s a bonus but Bezial is even more fussy than Steve ;)

            1. Joanna Post author

              I guess a dog that eats raw steak routinely is very well fed and can afford to turn his nose up at other foods, can you get dried tripe where you are? I know in theory you could make in your oven but in practice you really don’t want to. That is a good hardish chew. Or very well cooked cabbage mixed in with the steak to emulate half digested deer guts or something like that? What happens if you just don’t feed them for a day?

              1. narf77

                He went for 4 days without eating once…we caved first ;). He is the most wilful dog in the world! You wouldn’t believe that a 40kg part Labrador would be able to be so fussy but he is. It’s his way or it’s those enormous dog eyes that guilt you out and tell you that he is starving to death whenever you turn around…4 days of that… sigh… ;). I used to cut up their steak into chunks, fry grated carrots in butter (yes butter…he wouldn’t eat anything else) and toss oats in butter to make them crispy and stir it all together. Occasionally he would eat it but most nights we were throwing it out to the feral cats! Not worth the hassle or the expense. It is somewhat ironic that penniless student hippies should end up with a dog with expensive tastes. I swear he was a rajah in a past life that has been sent here as part of his journey to rebirth ;). He LOVES the smell of fresh linen. After we change the beds he jumps onto the bed, snuggles down with his nose on the clean linen and sighs contentedly.

  11. maree

    Sorry to hear about the sickness. I hope everyone is much better…nothing like chicken soup to put you right. My goodness those sweet peas look so beautiful I can almost smell them. I have some self seeded shoots coming up in an unweeded patch of the vege garden. They are about a foot high and your photo has reminded me that I need to get into the garden this afternoon and tidy up around them. Did you know that the fragrance of sweet peas cant be replicated by science? They always remind me of a favourite aunt who was a prolific grower of them. I have just picked the first of my paper whites (narcissus), this morning. These are from bulbs that have been growing on the family farm for 100 or so years. My dad used to pick armfuls of them for me every year, every time I smell them I think of him and remember the big warm cuddles that I miss.
    Take care. XXX

    1. Joanna Post author

      We are doing great today thankyou Maree! I didn’t know that about the scent of sweet peas, how interesting. I like the sound of your dad and his big warm cuddles. My own sweet peas are only about a foot high, I sowed the seed really late, I think my neighbour must have sown hers last autumn like you are supposed to. I nearly always forget :)

  12. gillthepainter

    Your home is quite the hospital ward, Joanna. Pleased to read the invalid is eating again, all be it gingerly. Sweet peas always remind of my last job in the City. I got a huge-huge bouquet on my final day, and sneeze all the way home cuddling them lovingly on the tube.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I can just imagine you with a big bouquet of sweet peas sneezing and smiling :) I bet they miss you still. We have had one episode of v today, rang vet, who has put her back on the antespetin (probably too much info though) and the larger invalid is doing just dandy. I saw him eating toast and marmalade so all is well xx

  13. narf77

    I am SO tempted to reblog that wonderful dog psychology/relationship piece that you shared with me…if only to show my dear constant readers that 2800 words is NOT an essay and that there are things out there that are long and convoluted that really are worth reading :). Cheers for sharing it with me and I had best hurry up and get Steve his first cup of coffee, we have a busy day ahead of us today :).

    1. Joanna Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it. Gopnik is a great writer isn’t he? The New Yorker is famous for its long form journalism. There was something in the WordPress newsletter this year about writing longform posts and tagging your posts accordingly so that people who enjoyed reading longer could find your posts.

      1. narf77

        Not sure that the average reader would enjoy my long posts, it takes a “special” dear constant reader to appreciate them :)

        1. Joanna Post author

          I am a short blog post sort of a person myself. I always read them back to myself and tend to cut them down so that the average person might love me enough to leave me a nice comment ;) We have the attention span of fruit flies these days ! I kind of think if more needs to be said it can turn up in the replies, so often my replies overall contain more words than the post. Sneaky ….

          1. narf77

            Yeah, I am going to attempt to cull my posts down to a lot less words. Maybe I can use images to tell my story. I realise that a lot of blog readers simply don’t have the time to put into a large post but up until now I figured “what the heck!” ;). Time to whittle methinks but make sure I give quality information about what I am talking about. Less waffling and more info should do the trick ;). Lets see if I can hone my posts from now on to give the maximum to my reader…

  14. timethief

    Dear Joanna,

    Oh, the Ottolenghi Turkey and Courgette Meatballs from Jerusalem look divine.

    Visiting your blog always makes me hungry so I’m changing my timing. In order to quell my appetite I’ll eat first and drop in to read after I’m full.

    1. Joanna Post author

      You make me laugh! Thank you for your lovely comment. I think you should drop in and read it earlier in the day so that you can indulge your appetite xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      The one above did, I have just unspammed it, but I can’t find any trace of one since the one about making a ‘brick’ of Peder’s bread. I wonder if they have changed the Akismet settings or something. I found Promenade Clare in spam too just now. Most odd. It’s not supposed to spam people who have commented before and been moderated once the way I have my settings. It only holds you if you leave a comment with a hyperlink in it and then it should just be in Pending not Spam. Hmm. I wonder if it is picking up that you are using a different IP address from ones you have used before? Not that I know how those work either. That’s the limit of my knowledge. Presumably the IP varies depending on which device you comment from? I would definitely ask WordPress com what is going on.

  15. Promenade Claire

    I always enjoy seeing everyone’s In My Kitchen’s and yours is certainly no exception! A busy kitchen full of great food, and those adorable sweet peas, the ones I’ve grown this year are posh but don’t have a strong scent, back to the cheap old fashioned varieties for me next year!

    1. Joanna Post author

      The ones I am growing myself are too posh to flower, well I am still hopeful that I will get some flowers in the next few weeks, months…. none yet :)

  16. TIFFIN bitesizedfood (@TIFFINbitesized)

    I wish I had three half pheasant in the freezer! Not too common around these parts…. I love your sweet peas. As soon as I saw the photo, I was transported back to a childhood of sweet peas, snapdragons, lazy days, butterflies and not much else. Summer huh? Thanks for your great post.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Tiffin (may I call you Tiffin?) I think they were about £4 for two pheasants, hard to resist. But they ended up in the freezer because I am the only one who likes them here. I am tapping my fingers waiting for my late sown sweet peas to do their thing, M’s ones above were sown last autumn. She’s more organized than me !

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