In My Kitchen March 2014

Sunrise with Pigeon

Sunrise with Pigeon

Here we go, I have a collection of stuff to share and what better place to put it than in Celia’s In My Kitchen series? Visit Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and join in by the 10th of the month, any month and have some fun seeing what everyone is sharing.

At the moment  it is not sunrise but the evening of the last day in February, there is the lingering smell of fried haddock in batter and chips from the Fish and Chip shop on Henleaze High Street, next to the Post Office and the Garden Centre. But you will have to imagine that… suffice it to say it has no particular health benefits but is quite delicious and as the temperature dropped to a miserable 4 C today plus windchill I felt it was a perfect supper, as if I need an excuse!

Pot Stickers Steaming and Rattling on the Hob!

Pot Stickers Steaming and Rattling on the Hob!

Is that a crispy bottom I see before me?

Is that a crispy bottom I see before me?

Other delights on the kitchen table have included my first attempts at pot stickers and wontons – I can’t think what inspired me to make these? Maybe something to do with a certain Sydneysider… and the fact that we have a fantastic Chinese supermarket in Eastville where you can buy dumpling wrappers and fresh won ton skins, Jimmy’s satay sauce, fresh choy, tofu, Chinese vegetables, mysterious things lurking in freezers and more.  The supermarket even tweets as @WaiYeeHong and does online orders, so it is a treasure trove of good things. We are quite spoilt in Bristol.

I could get into this making dumplings lark...

I could get into this making dumplings and wontons  lark, Celia is right, it’s very soothing…

Pork and ginger wontons in broth with choy and spring onions

Pork and ginger wontons in broth with choy and spring onions

I also attempted Fran @ TheRoadtoSerendipity‘s breakfast, on the principle that one should try everything at least once (maybe not tripe but you know what I mean)  I thought maybe if I eat her breakfast I too will be full of get up and go and zing and maybe find myself on a beach in Tasmania, magical thinking, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis etc etc … so the other morning I ground up buckwheat and turned it into porridge, dolloped tahini and date syrup and some dates on top and ate the whole bowlful. I stopped half way through and added salt. Not sure why, but there you go.  I have to say, I zinged around all day and felt most loving towards humanity and not at all hungry until at least 3 pm. On the minus side it was a bit too like school semolina in texture, though I did enjoy the taste, so I think I will move on to buckwheat granola production to use up the rest of the bag of buckwheat.

Buckwheaty goodness and dates and stuff

Buckwheaty goodness and dates and stuff

I made two small batches of marmalade. Each year I follow a different recipe, it kind of makes it a bit more interesting. This year I used Vivien Lloyd‘s crystal clear instructions to produce a very clear set marmalade. Looks very smart! I bought her e-book and also watched her video on YouTube and asked her questions on Twitter too!

Organic Sevilles which my local veg box from Leigh Court Farm added into my box on request

Organic Sevilles which my local veg box from Leigh Court Farm added into my box on request

Seville Marmalade made to a Viv Lloyd recipe

Two different recipes of Vivien Lloyd’s here, the one on the right has a little molasses in and a chunkier cut. It isn’t quite dark enough for Brian’s tastes, who likes that Oxford Style made with lots of brown sugar.

For those of you who like fancy salts and peppers, I have to confess I have got through one jar of this espelette blend from M&S and gone back for a second. It goes very well on kale chips – (I know it is a bit last year to like kale chips, but I am often at least five years behind the trends, slow but steady, that’s me).

I was sent some special lemons and a jar of quince jam from Carla’s trees in Rome and you can see them peeking out here along with a jar of kefir lurking in the background.


I have a other few gifts to show you as well.

Fans of QI and Stephen Fry may know what these are. I was sent these as a thankyou for doing some editorial work for an old friend. They are very handsome but I think I need a party of people to help me empty one of those bowls as they are quite substantial.

Everything you need for mate tea

Everything you need for mate tea

Here is a beautiful old brioche tin from my friend Elaine, who goes to France on her holidays most years and found this for me. I am going to make brioche in it very soon but at the moment I just enjoy looking at it!

Antique Brioche tin

then there is a little round of creamy kefir cheese, made from St Helen’s Fullfat Goat’s Milk and sea salt. St Helen’s Goat’s milk is my milk of choice these days, it is mild and ‘ungoaty’ in flavour and I use it in preference to cow’s milk, particularly for kefir. It makes perfect little cheese rounds as you can see.

Goats Milk Kefir Cheese

I made ful medames loosely following Hodmedod’s recipe, though I used less sugar, and using their dried English grown fava beans.  I haven’t tried their cooked range as yet. They also have split fava beans with no skins, perfect for making falafel. They are a wonderful new company and I hope they do really well. Part of food security for any country is growing our own food and this company grows all its beans and peas here in the UK.

Ful medames a la Hodmedod

Here is a mystery photo of something in my kitchen reflecting the outside world, you might know what it is …

Can you figure out what this is?

Can you figure out what this is?

I was only going to spend half an hour doing this and time is ticking away so I am going to retire downstairs to the sofa and grab a cup of tea and an ultra healthy oaty bar from the freezer. These are based on Carl’s recipe for his son which you can find here and they are very wholesome indeed, having no added sugar (I don’t count the dark chocolate Callebaut chips) and no fat at all. I polish my halo every time I eat one !

It’s been fun doing this, i don’t normally namecheck so many companies and businesses, but once in a while it is OK I hope. Anyway you don’t have to click on the links, just thought if you were interested you can find out a bit more if I put them in.

I hope you find something you like here and don’t forget to visit Celia’s blog and see all the other kitchens this month!

Carl Energy Bar

PS In my rush to get my tea I forgot these two images that I really wanted to put in the post, so bad form I know to add after publication but here goes…

From Emily Sincerely I got this surprise handmade card  for Valentine’s Day this week !

Thank you Emily! xx

Thank you Emily! xx

and this is what it had inside … I think she (and Proust!) are spot on!

Beautiful Quote from Proust

51 thoughts on “In My Kitchen March 2014

  1. sallybr

    BE STILL MY HEART! You’ve got a CHIMARRAO, totally authentic Brazilian gadget for drinking “erva mate” right in your kitchen! WOW! I am in awe! Some might correct me and say it’s Argentinian in origin, and I won’t fight. Brazilians and Argentinians can never agree on anything did you know that? Rivalry

    the reflection, I will say it’s either rosemary or tarragon?

    1. Joanna Post author

      hahaha!… of course!!! I should have said, Sally will know what this is, and more importantly how to do it properly, am slightly baffled even with the instructions :) The reflection is of next door’s enormous coniferous thingy, but what it is it reflected in?

      1. Lynne

        I have one of those, gifted by an Argentinian client many years ago, I looked inside the gourd, and couldn’t bring my self to actually make anything in it…

  2. heidiannie

    Hello Jo- so nice to see your kitchen in the line up this month. Are you talking about the Kindle in your kitchen? Such a great reflective surface- until I see my jowls being reflected back at me and then eww- quite gross!
    Love the first photo of the roof and bird- is that at dawn or twilight?
    The marmalade always makes me want toast to go with it! :) And a cuppa- wait you have that with the closing granola bar. I was visiting my brother in Oregon once and all he had to eat was a big bag of buckwheat. We had it roasted and in a porridge much like yours- and then just by the handful. I ended up taking him shopping by the second day I was there.
    Thanks for sharing – I always love your kitchen!

    1. Joanna Post author

      You’re hot, as we say when we play treasure hunts, yes it is a device and I love the way it is turning out to the world and reflecting something real as opposed to me looking in it for a change. That is dawn, the kitchen faces south east so I get morning sun! Twilight doesn’t photo well in my garden at all. I bet your brother was pleased you took him shopping! xx Jo

        1. Joanna Post author

          I think so, I have a straight one and one with a rolled metal handle, both lethally sharp …

  3. ardysez

    So glad I have actually been in your kitchen and can imagine you floating around making kefir cheese and loaves and bars and wontons. Wow, what a mouthwatering month. Enjoyed the photos and especially the one of the marmalades so that I could see the difference in the density and colour of each. I have made ‘ful’ and enjoyed it. Mystery photo looks like a mirror reflecting the trees outside… Lovely post. xx

  4. Jan

    Please Miss, Please Miss, she says, sitting up straight as she can, so as to be taller, and hand stretched and bouncing towards the ceiling: “Yes, Janice”; “Miss, is it a shiny metal scrapery thingy what you would use if you had bread dough stuck all over your bench”? If it is, lend us it would you, I’ve got dough smears hardening as we speak! Lovely, lovely stuff in your kitchen Joanna. Those Yerba mate pots and pipes are very beautiful as are your pots of marmalade. Is your tea mug from Finland? Pot stickers, cheese all delicious things and I adore following interesting links, but now I must remember I am supposed to be a grown up and address the kitchen bench. Thanks for the lovely post.

    1. Joanna Post author

      A for enthusiasm and bouncing! But no it is not a dough scraper – though I do have one of those, can you get them where you are? Shall I send you one? Would be happy to :) Though your bench will have calcified by then xx

  5. Ann

    Like Heidiannie, I think your mystery object is a device of some sort reflecting the view outside.
    I’ve also been wanting to make potstickers since reading Celia’s blog about them but haven’t got round to it yet – you’re way ahead of me! What I really will do, and probably today as I have all the ingredients, is make those delicious-looking muesli bars.
    I love reading these IMK posts and having a sticky-beak into other people’s kitchens!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I think you are right too :) Thanks for reading, the museli bars def need the chocolate in there, otherwise they are very earnest, they remind me of a flapjack that someone left the golden syrup out of…. but they fill small holes when one might otherwise dive on a bar of Twix :)

  6. Euan

    Lovely post Joanna. Watch out, because I might come and steal your brioche tin, and some of your marmalade while I’m about it :-)

  7. carla

    Your kitchen is a lovely place to be and those lemons look very happy indeed..;) xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thankyou Carla, I am so pleased to hear you have electricity to the ovens again, i bet there’s baking dancing on the worktops!

  8. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    You write the loveliest posts. :) I’m glad you’re happily folding dumplings, and that Wai Yee Hong is right there in Bristol for you! And I think when it’s freezing cold, there’s nothing better than fish and chips! Gorgeous marmalade – I’m not a fan, but I can certainly admire your bejewelled beauties. I have a jar of piment d’esplette as well, but I find it so hot! Would love to know what you think of the mate tea – they sell it here too, but I’ve never tried it!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thankyou! Wai Yee Hong has been in Bristol a long time, they used to be near Montpelier Ststion but moved to bigger and more beautiful premises and go from strength to strength, The espelette is mixed with salt in itslittle pot and I use it as an alternative on lots of dishes, i think of it as mild, and I am not a chilli person, maybe yours is different?

  9. narf77

    What a magnificent post Joanna :) Cheers for the heads up and for being so kind about humble old buckwheat porridge. I fear people who are able to eat “real food” might not adore this sturdy breakfast as people who are limited in their food palette but that buckwheat granola has lots of ticks from people customising it and adoring it so it might be the best place to start if delving into the world of buckwheat ;). LOVE all the linkies and you are a wonderfully lucky girl with all of your gifts. Sometimes the universe sends you hugs when you need them…I think you can consider yourself hugged ^-^

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks! Buckwheat is definitely real food, I love buckwheat pancakes, Dan Lepard’s buckwheat English muffins, soba noodles, etc but i eat even regular oat porridge with an air of self-sacrifice, I hated soggy rice as a kid, and semolina sends me to a bad place, where school dinner ladies glare at you and cross their arms under their bosoms and say ‘you have to eat this’ in a totalitarian way….(don’t say the sago word or i will come out in a cold sweat…. I know you love these foods but it really is a lot about texture and mouth feel. (Brian won’t eat figs, gritty, and okra, slithery)

      So next week i will be granola bound, as it sounds much more Zeb-friendly, crunchy food!

      1. narf77

        I am with Brian on the okra…like eating small green inert slugs ECH! Love the figs but am completely enamoured of all things mushy thanks to we antipodeans having a severe dearth of school dinners thrust our way thus eating bagged sandwiches and fruit for lunch (and a chunk of mum’s chocolate cake if we were lucky) and getting sago etc. for dessert…I LOVE sago! Looks like we won’t fight over food if we ever go out to dinner though ;)

  10. narf77

    Forgot to say I LOVE the Yerba mate pots! Am jealous out the rear end of them to be honest :) Have a deliciously bitter little cup of calm for old narf7 in Tasmania who has just been invaded by possums and quolls at the same time…quolls are eating my chickens and possums are eating my pumpkins…its enough to drive a girl batty! ;)

    1. Joanna Post author

      What does a quoll look like? I must look them up, are they eating your baby chickens. I would like to see a possum but i know they are naughty. I will get into the yerva mate brewing too this week and will raise a gourd to you!

      1. narf77

        If you haven’t had it before it is quite bitter but I love it :) A quoll is this…

        Sort of a spotty cute looking ferret/weasel thing that scoffs chooks :( We have lost 6 babies and 3 hens that we know of so far…they will keep coming till they run out of available tasty chickens :(

        Possums are quintessential Aussie larrikins. They are loud, aggressive and rude and spend their nights eating my plants and trying to bounce their way into my fully enclosed veggie garden which they have had some success in doing but good luck invading tonight! Steve has sorted the place where they were sneaking in out and I would love to sit up there with a deck chair and a torch and a glass of red watching the little buggers trying to get in and scoff my silverbeet :)

        1. Joanna Post author

          Do you have foxes as well? Mind you, you don’t need them, you sound as if you have enough predators to be going on with, poor chickies :(

    1. Joanna Post author

      The daylight is longer and there are spring bulbs up and blossom buds but it is still quite cool and chilly when the wind blows! Thanks for reading Glenda, hope all is well x

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Kari, so pleased you saw Emily’s card, she is very good at all manner of things that I haven’t tried, makes wonderful soap and is an amazing gardener:)

  11. Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas

    Wow. I love everything going on in your kitchen. I am jealous of the Seville oranges. They are so hard to get here. The crispy bottom you got on your pot stickers is fantastic. Well done. Your kefir cheese is awesome. I am only making enough to drink at the moment. I might need to step up production to try cheese. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hey thanks Tania! Love your blog too! The Sevilles are very special, I think most of them come to the UK, but I don’t know if they grow bitter oranges elsewhere in the world, I am sure someone must try? I mostly make kefir to use for bread making, I use it as an alternative to sourdough and/or yeast as I confess I am not a big drinker of milk or smoothies and stuff like that. This simple little cheese takes about a litre of milk, it isn’t very difficult to do as it just needs muslin and salt. I keep meaning to do some ‘proper’ cheese with it, but I have to read more on Dom’s site first :)

  12. michaelawah

    Hi Joanna! I love these IMK posts. So many lovely things! Gyozas, for one. This is one of those things that I’ll never come round to making myself. The soupy ones look perfect, as do the nicely grilled ones. And what a coincidence, just this morning as I lay in bed, I thought of getting rid of some old semolina by making a breakfast ‘pudding’ with chopped up dates and honey. Semolina nightmares huh? Have you tried sago with fruits like mango and honeydew in Asian desserts? If it’s the texture you don’t like, then you mustn’t go near basil seeds desserts!! And what are those metal pipes with the round pots for mate? Are they for sipping the tea? Or grinding/stirring? And very nice brioche tin indeed. Is it enamelled? It reminds me of a beautiful old shell. The espelette reminded me that I’ve been intending to experiment with a polenta/semolina/espelette bread, after I had some in a restaurant here that was so delicious. It was their bread on the side that they gave out in very miserly portions! And the waiter didn’t look like he would entertain questions as to the contents of their bread :) And of course you know I have my eye on the kefir cheese, and is that a perfectly poached egg sitting atop the f u l? I have to separate the letters because auto-correct keeps wanting me to spell it as flu! I like these posts because we always learn something. I’ve just been on to Fran’s blog (she is ONE FUNNY LADY) and it’s amazing what she makes. And feeds her kefir grains – homemade date paste and homemade sesame milk…

    1. Joanna Post author

      I once had sago pudding in a Chinese resto in London’s chinatown, did it come with grass jelly I wonder? or maybe with a palm sugar sauce? Scratches elderly head, don’t get out much these days.. I have never heard of a basil seed dessert, but I like the name, if it is particularly slimy/slithereen/gelatinous I might have to pass on it though….

      Yes indeed that is a poached egg, made in the ridiculous poach pots that work perfectly every time. these …. as long as you butter them and remember, most important of all to put lid on pan, as the top won’t set unless you do so. Gone are my days of swirling furiously with a whisk and vinegar and will it won’t it twirl nicely together, instead I produce these uniform poached egg blobbies and am content, Fran is one of the nicest people I have met in blogging. Her kefir is very special indeed :)

  13. Sally

    So amazingly productive Zeb – don’t know what to comment on first. Actually that tea pouring out of the pot has made me rush to the kettle now…

    1. Joanna Post author

      Well it doesn’t all happen in one go, I think I would have jumped into the kettle if I tried to do all that in one day :)

  14. marycheshier

    Wow, I am very impressed by your site! And organic marmalade to boot, a lady after my own heart! I just have to try the ginger wontons, but instead of using pork I will use vegies. Thanks for the great post!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hello! Thank you for visiting :) I made some veggie dumplings the other night with shitake mushroom, white cabbage, leek, carrot shreds, winter fennel, ginger, a little soya and rice wine, seasoning and they were delicious ! I think one can put almost any filling in something like that, they are just containers at the end of the day. I might even get round to making the dough and rolling them out by hand one day.

  15. Choclette

    Now this is what I call co-incidence. I was just looking at Carl’s muesli bars on his blog before coming here and you have featured them in your kitchen round-up! So many lovely things in your kitchen Joanna. Your marmalade looks quite beautiful, as does your kefir cheese. I tend to just bung it haphazardly in a jar and it doesn’t look pretty at all. making it with goat’s milk sounds a lovely idea. And what a perfect egg you have created on top of your foul me dames (never heard of putting sugar in it BTW). Isn’t it wonderful to have spring at last?

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