In My Kitchen – June 2014

I’m baaaaaaack!

And hopefully here to stay!

Its been a tough few months, this pregnancy has been so different to my first, any complaints or groans I made when I was pregnant with my daughter now in retrospect seem like mere exaggerations. I wish I bit my tongue!
At 27 weeks now, I am only just starting to eat things and have been enjoying the smells of food again. I hope this feeling lasts because it’s been a rough 6 months food wise.

There haven’t been too many cravings, more aversions than anything. I normally LOVE fish. Well apparently bub doesn’t so that’s a big no go. As are tomatoes.

Now as most Wogs would know, tomatoes are present in pretty much every dish! Whether they be in sauce form on a pizza, present in salads, or the base ingredient to a good stew or casserole.

So we’ve been enjoying meat and three veg for dinner pretty much every night. My husband groaned the other day and said ‘oh pub food again’. Yes honey, pub food. Then I reminded him that men aren’t the ones pushing watermelons out of their penises so he should just shut up and eat what I make. He quietly dug into his meal and claimed it to be the best meal ever.

I digress.

Its June, it’s a fresh start, a fresh season, and I’m feeling better. So good to be back and can’t wait to catch up on the blogosphere.

In My kitchen this month: Fresh Pink Lady apples, picked from the orchard.
We took a day trip to Bilpin and visited Pine Crest Orchard so our fridge is full of delicious apples picked straight from the orchard. At only $3.50 per kilo, the price is a steal compared to the $5 I often see at the markets or grocers. And you can’t beat biting into a fresh crunchy apple you’ve picked yourself.

pine crest apples Bilpin

In My kitchen – Is Easter Armenian Choreg.
The beauty of freezing freshly baked breads is that you can eat it any time of the year. That said, it’s no crime making choreg in June, but it just doesn’t feel right to me. Traditionally choreg is baked between Good Friday and Easter Sunday and the smell and aroma from the sweet freshly baked bread screams Easter is coming. I have no problems thawing a frozen loaf though and lathering it with Nutella or sour cherry jam and devouring it for breakfast!

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In My Kitchen: Is a brand new sparkling oven.
Well its not brand new, but its definitely sparkling! The last IMK post I featured the bun in the oven announcing my pregnancy. The lovely and wonderful people at Oven Express must have tsk tsk and shook their heads at the state of my oven because next thing I know I had a call and a prompt van pull up with the offer of a clean oven.
What a God send! Being pregnant, lethargic and over it, the last thing I wanted to do was to get on my fours and inhale awful chemicals found present in those supermarket ‘oven bomb’ cleaners. You know, the type that you spray and close the door only to return to a mini nuclear cloud hanging over your kitchen.

Before. Shocking!

Before. Shocking!

Well this experience was nothing like that! The wonderful oven cleaner Matt arrived, promptly on time and without further ado, he had removed the door and got to work using the old fashioned ‘elbow grease’ method. Being pregnant and hypersensitive I was a bit concerned about toxicity but it just happened to be some ‘super strength dishwashing liquid’. Nothing more. My kitchen didn’t smell at all and there was no white residue left like the supermarket bomb varieties. Matt was super friendly and didn’t mind having a little apprentice on hand to hand him equipment and keep him company!

Matt and his apprentice

Matt and his apprentice

I can’t recommend Oven Express highly enough. The whole service from start to finish was an hour and the end result is better then any oven cleaner you can buy or do yourself. He was so precise and even offered to change my faulty oven light bulb. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even know my oven had a light! Oven Express is a Sydney wide mobile service and can be contacted on 1800 325 773.

After. A sigh of relief! Sparkling new!

After. A sigh of relief! Sparkling new!

The In My Kitchen is thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Please do take a sticky beak at the other kitchens listed around the globe! My previous IMK posts can can be found here.

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In My Kitchen – March 2014…and an explanation

This morning I woke up excited at the prospect of blogging again. Hooray, I was going to get in on the first day of Autumn and submit my first blog post in over 6 weeks.

Then I checked the date. The 4th Of March. Oops.

Not sure how, but I convinced myself that today was the 1st. Maybe it’s because it was a short February. Maybe it’s because when you’re at home with a child all day every day you forget what day of the week it is let alone the actual date.

So I owe you all an explanation. You, my fellow loyal readers, and you, my fellow gorgeous blogging friends who I enjoyed frequenting your blogs on a daily basis and lately haven’t been able to do so.

Actually, I’ll tell you what’s in my kitchen this month first, then the explanation.

The In My Kitchen series is all brought to you by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, a collection of posts from around the world, and a sticky beak into the bloggers kitchen that month. So without further ado,

In my Kitchen: Are pickled Armenian Cucumbers.

armenian cucumber pickles

Armenian Cucumbers are often labelled ‘wild cucumbers’ and have rippled or ribbed textured skin and are deliciously crunchy. I buy it from my local Middle Eastern deli. These pickles are a  wonderful compliment to any meal.

In My Kitchen: Is Indulge Coffee Mocha Ice Cream from Aldi’s.

aldi's coffee mocha indulge ice cream

This would have to be my ultimate indulgence at the moment. The coffee flavour is absolutely gorgeous and actually quite strong like you were sipping on a double espresso. Throughout the ice-cream are large chunks of bitter dark chocolate. My local Aldi’s brings it in weekly and you have to get in quick, it disappears off the shelves in a flash.

In My Kitchen: is Ginger beer.

ginger beer

I got hooked onto ginger beer on the South Pacific cruise we recently travelled on. Ginger is a great way to curb sea sickness or nausea and God knows just how sick I was this time around. We’ve been back a few weeks now but I’ve become accustomed to the taste and my fridge is now nicely stocked with this non alcoholic beverage.

So…..

Pickles, ice-cream and ginger beer….

Have you guessed it?

In My Kitchen: A bun in the oven…

bun in oven

I’m beyond elated to advise we’re expecting our second bubba on the second day of Spring!

Which brings me to explain and apologise to you all.

I apologise for the lack of posting. The truth is I’ve been so lethargic and nauseous this time around, I’d feel like a fraud speaking about food if even the thought of it started to make me gag. I’m 14 weeks along and the nausea has only just started to get better. It was the opposite with my daughter, I had a very easy and problem free pregnancy with her and this around it has been so different. We have been eating out a lot because handling slimy chicken or meat, and then cooking it has made me sick. The smell has made me sick. I’m only just starting to get any thing close to an appetite back and hope that things improve from here.

The 2 weeks on the cruise ship was interesting to say the least. Try combining sea sickness (rough seas leaving and returning to Sydney) with morning sickness when every step you take is some sort of restaurant on a cruise ship. It’s like food is literally thrown in your face on-board. Relax, eat! Relax, eat! Have fun, drink then EAT! Food, food glorious food everywhere you turn but not so fun when you’re feeling green.

The other fun unknown fact about pregnancy is that it makes your eyes dry and often blurry. I haven’t been able to sit at a computer for longer than an half an hour at a time because it makes my eyes hurt. I refuse to take eye drops because during pregnancy something happens to me that my husband refers to as ‘anally retentive’. I refuse all sorts of drugs, paracetamol, antibiotics and in this case eye drops. My theory is ‘just in case’ and regardless of what any doctor or study says that conclude it safe, I just cant bring myself to do it.

So there you go folks. I hope to be back in full spirit and mode soon! I also look forward to sharing this experience with you (the good parts!)

xx

 

 

 

In My Kitchen – January 2014

Happy New Year to all my wonderful readers!

I vowed to keep the laptop switched off over the silly season and just enjoy myself, the company of my family and friends, do some gardening and enjoy the outdoors, so apologies for the blogging absence. I so look forward to sharing my delicious recipes and wacky stories throughout 2014 with you. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

So without further ado, I start the New Year with a new addition to the In My Kitchen series, a collection of bloggers around Australia and the world who give you a sneak peak to the contents of their kitchens. It’s all thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

In My Kitchen: Was a Christmas Day feast.

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We had the family over to our house on the 25th and it was wonderful to sit back, devour good food, and listen to carols in the presence of some truly wonderful people.

The plan was to have a nice BBQ outdoors, but Mother Nature thought over wise drizzling us with rain throughout the day. A hot buffet was planned instead at the last minute.

The menu was one big delicious mismatch! There was Dolma (rice and meat wrapped vine leaves), fried rice, lasagne, chicken wings, kale tabouli, garden salad, and a ‘sausage roll wreath’ inspired by Lorraine at ‘Not Quite Nigella’.

Needless to say the sausage roll wreath was the highlight of the day and I’m quite impressed with how nicely it came out!

sausage roll wreath

In My Kitchen: Blue Eye

blue eye mask evil

I don’t really believe it voodoo, but hey, what’s a Wog house without a ‘Blue Eye’ to fend off the evil thoughts of others. In Armenian, we have a saying ‘Atchket kaknem’ which literally translates to ‘I will shit on your eye’. It means if you ever have a negative thing to say about me or my family, the Blue Eye will protect us from your jealousy/negative thoughts. Hysterical!

In My Kitchen: There is Cognac. Lots of it!

landy cognac xo

My husband is a ‘Cognac and cigar’ kind of guy. He loves his cognac collection and it grows every year. The Landy bottle with the dog on top was my Wedding present to him 7 years ago.

And there you go, the 1st IMK post for 2014, Short and Sweet. For a recap of my 2013 kitchen contents, please take a moment to view my previous posts.

In My Kitchen – December 2013

It’s finally here: summer in Sydney!!  Welcome to the last IMK post for 2013. This series has certainly been fun and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. It’s all thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

In My kitchen: Is Smoked FALKSALT.

FALKSALT smoked sea salt flakes

It’s no secret I love salt. I’d pick savoury over sweet any day of the week and my absolute favourite cocktail of all time has to be the Margarita, salt crusted of course!

I was given this lovely jar of Smoked Salt by FALKSALT  by my gorgeous Sister who just got a job at one of Sydney’s finest deli’s. The salt is imported by Simon Johnson and comes all the way from sunny Cyprus. As soon as you lift the lid, the smoked hickory aroma hits you and I find I have to stop myself from eating the salt crystals as is.

Adding the smoked salt to roast veggies take them to a whole new dimension and it’s amazing how much flavour they contribute.

In My kitchen: Is this hand painted spoon rest from Dubrovnik, Croatia

olive painted spoon rest

I bought this gorgeous spoon rest on our travels throughout Europe many years back. I love the olive design and colour scheme and at only $1 Australian it was a major bargain.

It adds a splash of colour to my dull and beige kitchen

In My Kitchen: Green Tea with Certified Organic Ganoderma

green tea with organic ganoderma

A close friend has become a distributor of Organo Gold products and kindly gave me some samples to try. I had never heard of Ganoderma before and when she explained that it was a cancer fighting mushroom, I was intrigued to say the least. Ganoderma, or Reishi as its known throughout Asia has been used for the promotion of health, longevity and treatment of cancer in traditional Chinese medicine. The tea thankfully tastes very much like any other green tea with no mushroom aftertaste.

In My Kitchen: Hangs this gorgeous Christian art work.

Armenian artwork from 1980

My gorgeous Armenian friend kindly gave me this art work to hang in my house. I don’t know the story behind the artwork but I can clearly see it is a religious piece depicted by the halos and angel wings the two figures. The artwork was purchased by my friends Dad in 1980 in the USSR, current day Armenia and it is very special to my friend as her father has since passed. She went on to marry a kind Muslim man many years ago and requested the artwork be hung in a Christian house where she feels it belongs. I felt very humbled when asked and it hangs proudly in my kitchen, the heart of the house.

In My kitchen: home-grown garlic

homegrown organic purple garlic

My last listing for the IMK 2013 series is very special to me. It was listed on my very first IMK post in April this year and that was garlic. I bought a gorgeous bunch of organic and locally grown garlic from my farmers markets  and was so taken back by its taste I decided to try my luck at planting a couple of cloves. I really do mean a couple, I didn’t want to waste any of my precious garlic and thought I could ‘spare’ 2 cloves. Well, I really do wish I planted more because from those 2 cloves, I just pulled out 2 large bulbs from the garden 7 months later. They are currently drying near my kitchen window and I can’t wait to eat them, raw and in all their glory in garlic dip

homegrown organic purple garlic

Thank you for joining me the last IMK for 2013. My previous entries can be found here.

In My Kitchen – November 2013

A pinch and a punch, it’s the first day of the month, and you know what that means? It’s time for another round of In My Kitchen, hosted by Celia at Figjamandlimecordial.com

So in my kitchen this month:

lahmajoun box

Lahmajoun

You’d be hard pressed finding an Armenian without a box of lahmajoun in their freezer.

Lahmajoun is a traditional Armenian pizza, with a mince meat, tomato, chilli, smoky paprika and capsicum topping.

Of course home made lahmajoun is always certainly going to better but having a box in the freezer just helps on those dates when you just can’t be bothered. I buy a box of 10 every month for $15 from my local deli and as they’re already precooked and only need to be heated through.

Every Armenian has their own way of eating lahmajoun. I personally like to add tomatoes, gherkins, fresh mint or parsley, and extra chilli sauce. Sometimes a sprinkle of sumac and squeeze of lemon. Wrap it all up like a kebab and devour.

armenian lahmajoun

In My Kitchen:

Anchovies

anchovies in lebanese bread

I know, I know, I’ve just turned off half my viewers but stay with me here.

Anchovies are the bomb. Really. You know how sometimes you get the sweet tooth and hit the lolly jar, well I get the savoury munchies more often and when I do, I reach for the jar of anchovies, wrap a couple up in fresh soft Lebanese bread and smell like an alley cat for the rest of the day. Mmmm

In My Kitchen:

Californian Pomegranates

Californian pomegranate

Another staple in Armenian households worldwide are pomegranates. The pomegranate is the national fruit and is one of the most recognizable symbols in Armenian arts, celebrated for centuries in mythology, religious texts and literature. In Armenian mythology it symbolizes fertility, good fortune, abundance and marriage

I support Australian farmers for all my fruit and vegetables, Aussie beef, Aussie lamb, Aussie chooks and seafood fished from Australian waters. The only exception I make are pomegranates. I find the quality of the Californian variety, far more superior than any grown here. The seeds are fleshier, more tart and sweeter at the same time.

I see celebrity chefs on the screen cut the fruit in half then tap the underside with a wooden spoon to release the seeds. I personally prefer to cut my pomegranate in quarters, and manually pry out the seeds one by one, red juice dribbling down my arms, staining my skin to remind me of the deliciousness I devoured earlier.

Pomegranate Molasses

pomegranate molasses

Pomegranate Molasses is a concentrate of pomegranate juice and not a molasses per se. It is incredibly tart in flavour and makes my absolute favourite salad dressing. Mix equal parts of pomegranate molasses and extra virgin olive oil, half a teaspoon of minced fresh garlic and the juice of half a lemon. Mix well and pour over your favourite salad leaves. Tangy and oh so good, you’ll be fighting your other half to drink the leftover salad dressing straight from the bowl (tell me I’m not the only one that does this?!)

Thanks for stopping by on another addition of IMK 2013. My previous entries can be found here.

xx

In My Kitchen – September 2013

To say our month of August was busy would be an understatement! Thank god winter is over and spring is finally here! In saying that though, we’ve certainly been blessed with warmer than usual days and very minimal rain.

Here is my September addition to the In My Kitchen series, hosted by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

In My Kitchen: Is Bulgur

bulgar burghul packet

Bulgur, often spelt bulghur or burghul, is a delicious form of cracked durum wheat, a staple in our cupboards. It is very cheap to buy and has a delicious nutty flavour, perfect in salads like tabouli and rice dishes like mujaddara.

I’ve been making a lot of tabouli recently, we have so much parsley in our yard and the best way to use it up is a healthy lunch time tabouli. Bulgur must be combined with a liquid to allow it to soak its juices and puff up. Many recipes call for it to sit in hot water for a few minutes, but I find the flavour intensifies if it sits in lemon juice instead.

In My Kitchen: is this Fathers Day mug.

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In Australia, we celebrate Fathers Day on the first Sunday of September, not sure why we Aussies are different to the rest of the world, we just do things on our own time?!

The mug was created 2 years ago on Snapfish and was so simple to create, upload photos and arrange them on the mug using their templates.

Mr Wog was quite delighted indeed with his present and has been using it every single day for the last couple of years. Considering how many times it’s been washed, the paint work is still remarkably clear.

In My Kitchen: was this ‘2’ cake I spend 2 hours making.

number 2 shaped cake

We celebrated my beautiful daughters 2nd birthday with a laughter filled BBQ at Davidson Park for the family. The weather was glorious, 8 kilograms of chicken thighs were marinated Wog style in garlic, lemon and oregano and over 60 pork sausages were grilled combining the best of both worlds, Wog and Aussie. My mum made Lebanese style garlic dip and we made kebabs by the water. Spinach and cheese bouregs were enjoyed by all. Shisha’s were lit and the sweet smell of apple tobacco floated through the air. It was your typical Wog BBQ and it was perfect.

I challenged myself to make her birthday cake. I had grand plans of making a ‘2’ cake with a border of chocolate wafers and decorated with smarties. I spend the morning of the BBQ frazzled in the kitchen cutting out a 2 shape from a huge slab of cake. I should have just hired a tin but instead decided to print out a template from the internet, cut it out and shape the cake. It worked but it was time consuming alright!

The cake looked perfect when it left my kitchen but by the time I loaded it into the car and made the 2 minute trip to Davidson Park, I heard the wafers drop one by one like dominoes in the car. My heart sank a little further every time I heard another wafer drop. I drove 40km/h the whole way there in a 70 zone and still couldn’t save it.

When we arrived, over 70% of the chocolate wafers had fallen like toy soldiers. I was so upset but we managed to stand them all upright again the best way we could so that the cake looked half decent for the photos.

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In My Kitchen: Is my drab kitchen

beige kitchen

I thought I’d share my actual kitchen with you. It’s dull, boring and beige. Beige, with beige and a splash of beige. The cupboards, bench top and flooring all blend into one. Clearly I didn’t design this kitchen. We moved into our house 3 years ago and I’ve been nagging my husband daily about how much I don’t like our flooring, bench tops or cupboards. One day (in my dreams) we’ll renovate and I’ll be content in the room I spend most of my time in.

Our bench tops and cupboards are laminate and the flooring is vinyl. Awful. The floor is stained and no matter how many times I mop it, it still looks dirty. The only upside of vinyl flooring is that with an active toddler, we rarely get breakage. Cups literally bounce instead of shattering. One day when I have half a day free, I plan to make my way to Bunnings and buy some new flooring in a contrast colour and vinyl over the vinyl. A total Band-Aid job but it’ll break up the beige. One day, when we can afford to redo the kitchen, we’ll say bye to the vinyl and tile the floors.

In My Kitchen: Is this collection of baby bottles, going into storage  

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Little Miss 2 is a big girl now, and chooses to drink her morning milk with a cup. I can finally put away the collection of Medela baby bottles, teats, and mismatched lids that clutter my cupboards. We plan to have more children so I won’t dispose of them just yet, just store them deep in the back of the pantry, along with the steriliser, breast pump, milk bags and accessories.

Thanks for stopping by on another addition of IMK 2013. My previous entries can be found here.

xx

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On Another note, I was thrilled when Gourmet Wog came in at one shy of the top 50 Sydney Food Blogs collated by Noodlies. 51st from a list of 275 is a pretty good achievement for a blog that’s only been around for 5 months!

In My Kitchen – August 2013

Welcome to another addition of In My Kitchen, the brain child of dear Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

I love these posts, they’re my favourite and I have to confess, I do deliberate all month over what I’m going to post. What do I have in my kitchen thats ‘interesting’

Keeping up this blog has been particularly challenging this month. I quit my job, completed a hand over, started a new job, completed training and along the way have been dealing with a ‘terrible two’ who is the perfect child in the eyes of my parents but turns into a little devil when we’re home. I digress.

So, In My Kitchen this month are:

ghar laurel soap

Ghar Soap (Aleppo Soap)

My husband, while Armenian in background was born in Aleppo, Syria. The only soap that he has ever know growing up was Ghar soap, a pure and natural soap from his home town made from olive and bay leaves (olive oil and laurel oil).  He has converted me into using this hard block soap, and I have never looked back since realising the healing properties and seeing it first hand on my dermatitis and psoriasis prone skin.

I am very anti ‘aniti-bacterial’ soaps, liquid soaps, and chemical ridden products in the kitchen and bathroom. More so now since being a mother and reading the unnecessarily long list of chemicals in ‘natural’ and ‘gentle’ soaps and baby products.

A fun fact is that unlike most soaps, Ghar soap will float in water!

You can buy Ghar soap in all Middle Eastern specialty stores and deli’s.

In My Kitchen:

heston from waitrose chocolate sauce

Heston Blumenthal ‘From Waitrose’ Chocolate Sauce

My beautiful friend Lucinda kindly offered to bring dessert at a luncheon I recently hosted and brought this deliciousness in a jar that is Heston’s chocolate sauce with a punnet of strawberries. You pop the jar into the microwave for a few minutes and out comes the most delicious, rich and indulgent dipping sauce for your choice of fruit, marshmallows etc. The sauce is strangely dairy free, instead, being based on a wheat glucose syrup making it suitable for vegans too. The ingredients also contain Madagascan dark chocolate, cocoa liquor, cocoa powder, sea salt and espresso natural flavouring.

While the sugar content is very high, the dark chocolate is quite bitter, creating a lovely balance of flavours neither bitter nor sweet.

The jar calls for it to be eaten ‘hot or cold’ however you would need a shovel to excavate the chocolate if you attempt to eat it cold. It solidifies stiff and isn’t as pleasant to eat. Go hot, gooey and yummy 😉

In My Kitchen:

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Ceramic Egg Holder

I’ve always wanted a ceramic egg holder, since seeing one somewhere. I can’t for the life of me remember where I saw it first, perhaps a blog, magazine or shop front but since then I have been looking high and low for one. No such luck until I walked into the fashion store Sussan to buy myself some winter pj’s and there, in a clothes store of all places was this beauty. Best of all, it was marked down on the clearance table to $4.00!

In My Kitchen:

Caramel Lebanese coffee

Caramel Lebanese Coffee

I don’t drink a lot of coffee at home. I’m very much a tea person, but every now and then I crave a hot, sludge and sandy Lebanese coffee. A 1kg bag of Caramel brand coffee lives in our freezer and makes the most delicious brew.

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It is made on the cookstove, traditionally for every cup of water, you add one teaspoon of coffee and one teaspoon of sugar. Bring it to the boil and make sure you ‘catch it’. By that I mean once it starts boiling, it rapidly rises to the surface and you will have a royal mess if you don’t remove the pot straight away. The coffee is not filtered so at the end of your glass you will have the ‘sand’ which is not drinkable.

Enjoy it with a piece of baklava when you’re in need for a sweet hit 😉

Lebanese coffee baklava

And there you have another edition of IMK, this month, August 2013!

Check out my previous In My Kitchen posts here

In My Kitchen – July 2013

Can you believe we’ve now passed halfway though 2013?! Christmas is just around the corner! Time flies when you’re having fun.

Here’s a sticky beak into my kitchen this month, thanks to the IMK series, hosted by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

In My Kitchen: is Dads home made Bastourma

Armenian Bastourma

Bastourma, or often spelt Basturma or Pastirma, but not to be confused with Pastrami, is a mouth watering Armenian air dried beef, seasoned with chaman, a spice mix of fenugreek, cumin, garlic, smoky paprika and chili and left to cure for 3-4 weeks. It can be served raw or cooked in a bit of oil/butter and served with eggs as a popular breakfast dish.

Armenian Bastourma

My Dad’s been making Bastourma for as early as I can remember. We’d go and buy a few kilo’s of good quality rump, unsliced and he would spend a good chunk of his day sitting on the kitchen table, dividing the rump into smaller portions and cutting off excess fat. Now the next part of this story will probably turn some people off; he would get the rump portions, and wrap them in a clean cloth, place them between two thick layers of wood, pop them on the driveway and hop into the car. He’d then drive up and down the wood, to squeeze all the blood out of the raw rump. Writing this up today makes me laugh at how many people are going to get squeamish at this.

I can assure you, the wooden planks are clean and sanitized, and the meat only touches the cloth, and the tires of the car never make contact with the raw beef.

The raw beef portions are then left to hang for 2 weeks, in the fridge during warmer months, or outdoors in a custom made box with some fly screen stapled on to keep away the critters.

Once the beef is dry, the chemen spice mix recipe is made and basted over the rump and then it is returned to the box/fridge to dry some more.

The end result is a delicacy, unlike any other delicatessen meat on the market, unique in every way. The flavour can’t be expressed, it really must be tried!! It’s hard to find, but many Italian deli’s will have it if you ask, pretty much all Middle Eastern specialty stores sell a pre vacuumed version for between $45 and $60 a kilogram.

In My Kitchen this month is a jar of Armenian Sweet Eggplant Preserve

Noyan Eggplant preserve

It’s not often you find a product made in Armenia, so I squealed in delight when I saw the Noyan sweet eggplant preserve at Village Grocer Balgowlah over the weekend. Small baby eggplants are cooked and infused in the most delicious fresh vanilla bean syrup, the taste is really something out of this world. Biting into the baby eggplants, they take on a crunchy, almost water chestnut texture and you can only have one at a time, they are so sickly sweet and delicious! The small jar is $8.00 and only contains 5 eggplant pieces but we keep all the syrup too and use it over vanilla ice-cream so nothing is wasted and well worth the money spent. YUMMO!

In My Kitchen this month is a jar of Armenian Sweet Eggplant Preserve

In My Kitchen: Are these colourful little glass jars.

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These were my wedding bomboniere when I got married back in 2007. I wrapped ribbon around the base and attached 5 sugared almonds in tulle with a little thank you card for all our guests. Somehow I ended up with a box of 20 left over (I blame Mr. Gourmet Wog for this) so I’ve been putting these gorgeous colourful jars to use, serving dips or sauces in them with carrot sticks or lavosh.

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In My Kitchen: Is this humungous stunning single peach rose, from my beautiful friend Tiffany’s garden.

huge orange peach rose

I don’t know what type it is, but I do know I’ve never seen any rose so big! It’s bigger than my hand, see?! It’s been in the vase and continues to open its petals – 9 days and counting!

Edited to Add: The rose is ‘Just Joey’. Stunning.

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And there you have another edition of In My Kitchen this year. My previous IMK posts can be found here.

In My Kitchen June 2013

It’s that time of the month again! Come round, gather up and take another sneaky peak into my kitchen, courtesy of Celia, the wonderful creator of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

So what’s In My Kitchen this month?

My new bench top compost bin!

benchtop compost bin

My daughter gave me a proper rotatable compost bin for Mothers Day and I was stoked! When I told some of my workmates what I received, they looked at me with sad eyes and asked if I was disappointed. Ha!! Best present ever!!

Since moving from an apartment to a house with a wonderful pizza shaped backyard, I’ve become so conscious of sustainability and being environmentally green. My veggie patch is thriving and continues to feed us. We would like to return the favour by keeping our food scraps and returning the favour. This little compact bin sits next to my sink, collects the peels, skins and off cuts of vegetables, fruits and egg shells and then gets tossed into my mother of a compost bin that sits outdoors under the sun, brewing happily away.

In My Kitchen: is a beautiful arrangement of Camellia flowers from my front yard.

light pink cut camelia flowers vase

Our front and backyard has quite the collection of mature and established Camellia tree’s, many well over 30 years old. They continue to flower throughout Autumn and Winter and I love displaying the cut flowers throughout my house.

In My Kitchen: is this terribly embarrassing apron

lisa's kitchen tea 030

A gift from my Kitchen Tea party 6 years ago. I suppose it’s something I was suppose to wear for my husband when I cook him dinner!! Ha!! I wear it every now and again, purely to entertain myself for a laugh.

In My Kitchen: is a jar of green cherry tomatoes, pickling away

pickled green tomato tourshi

My Mother and I recently visited a local Community Garden and the Tomato bushes had an abundance of green tomatoes. We were encouraged to pick as many as we wished, so we did just that and turned them into pickles. They have another 2 weeks of storing before we can open the jar and give them a taste.

Growing up, my Mumma would always have plenty of jars of pickles in the laundry. The laundry was often the darkest and coolest room in the house and the perfect place to hide the pickles. I say hide, because my Dad and I would often sneak around the house in search of pickles, find them and open the jars, well before they were ready to drink the pickling liquid, vinegar and all…Yes, we’re weird!

Also In My Kitchen is a large bowl of home-grown West Indian Lime and Mandarins.

Indian Limes and Mandarins

Mr Wog is a horticulturist, a nursery purchaser and a handy landscaper. Do we have the Garden from Eden? NOOOOOOO! Plumbers have pipes at home that leak, Electricians have light globes at home that need replacing, and we have a weed infested backyard. Well, most of it anyways! I have a wonderful veggie patch in one corner that is most happy and thriving, but the rest of the yard is what he calls ‘A work in progress’

So anyway, Mr Wog quite often does garden consultations around Sydney, primarily the Northern Beaches and he comes across some of the most beautiful waterfront gardens. One client he was visiting had an overgrown West Indian Lime and Mandarin tree, with fruit completely overtaking the leaves. He was welcome to forage the trees and brought home these beauties. I love that there are blemishes, I love that the skin and peel are not perfect, I love that these are not ‘seedless’ and I love that these taste real. By real, I mean when you cut the fruit, the zing from the citrus squirts and fills up the room with its freshness.

I can’t wait till our citrus trees properly fruit in our own backyard.

Hope you enjoyed this instalment of IMK, they’re always the post I look forward to the most! Read my previous entries here xx

In My Kitchen May 2013

I’m so excited to bring you the next instalment of the lovely Celia’s brainchild ‘In My Kitchen’ May 2013. I must confess my fridge is quite empty, we have been living frugally and making do with what we have already half opened or making dishes that are simple, contain few ingredients and eating less meat.

So what’s in my kitchen this time round?

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Magnets from our travels around the world, adorning my fridge.

They are a constant reminder of where we’ve been, the stunning food we’ve eaten (and on some occasions regretted!) and how beautiful and small the world really is. We absolutely love to travel and explore the city as the locals see it. We almost never take bus tours or eat in hotel restaurants. Give me street food any day!

Stopping at tacky commercial souvenir shops has now become a tradition and I’ve paid up to $12 (!!) for fridge magnets most likely made in China, however I really don’t care. I still reminisce about my travels every time I open the fridge door.

The three photos on my fridge are also three happiest days our our lives; Our Wedding Day, Honeymoon in Fiji and our first family picture, my daughter is about 5 minutes old.

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Pureed and frozen baby food

My daughter is now 20 months old and eating solids, all textures crunchy and soft however I still have an abundance of baby food in the freezer stored in ice cube trays that was basically a pureed version of whatever we had for dinner. In retrospect I probably should’ve labelled and dated the bags (Silly me!) but I’m fairly confident these are no older than 3 months old ( A nice lucky dip!). Little Miss doesn’t mind the odd puree as its easier for her to swallow, and as I hate wastage, we’ll continue to use these up for when we’re eating out or if I’m making something like steak that is still quite hard for her to eat.

I take 7 ‘ice cubes’ and thaw it over a double boiler. Dinner is served in under 5 minutes! All the dishes are made using a minimum of 5 vegetables and chicken/meat/fish/lentils or pureed cooked down fruit for dessert.

Terrier Tea Cosy

My West Highland White Terrier Tea Cosy from Inverness, Scotland

Being a tea drinker, it’s imperative the temperature of hot water remains toasty warm and this tea cosy certainly serves its purpose. I adore this tartan tea cosy, a generous gift from my beautiful Sister on her travels through the UK.  It’s incredibly thick and insulated and I can see great uses to put it over my homemade yoghurt mixture to keep it warm and snug as it snoozes and grows (recipe for that another day!)

 Nargileh Hookah Hubbly Bubbly

Nargileh water pipe.

 Also known as Hookah, Arghila, or Hubbly Bubby’s, they’re essentially Wog Bongs! I don’t smoke cigarettes, but do occasionally light up my Nargileh with some apple flavoured Shisha tobacco and puff the night away. Shisha tobacco is flavoured syrupy tobacco mix with molasses and vegetable glycerol, quite frequently flavoured with apple essence. The tobacco doesn’t contain nicotine and certainly isn’t addictive in nature but I do find it completely relaxes me and I crave it every now and again wanting my sweet apple hit.

To light a Nargileh, place the Shisha tobacco in the ceramic head, cover it with foil and place a scorching hot charcoal pieces ontop. Fill the glass bottle with water and bubble away!

 So there you go, dear reader! Another sticky beak of what’s In My Kitchen. Please head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial (right side column)to see the contents of other Foodies and their kitchens around the world.

Read my other In My Kitchen post here