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.

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Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Ok, now let’s set things straight, this stuff is potent. I mean ‘brush your teeth eight times and you still have garlic breath’ and ‘garlic is coming out of every pore’ potent. You will be burping garlic for 12 hours and cursing yourself the following morning. But fear less, it tastes SO good you will make this again time after time.

If you haven’t tried Toum before, I’m so sorry you poor thing. Grab yourself these pantry essentials, blend and emulsify then come back and praise me. Lebanese Garlic dip is a gastronomically sensation, and must be experienced by all!

All Lebanese restaurants will serve up their version of fluffy and creamy garlic dip with charcoal chicken or shawarma, along with pink turnip pickles. They also usually sell the stuff on the side for about $5-$8 for a small 100ml pot. Now you can make your own for a fraction of the price, but be warned, it’s truly addictive and you may never be able to eat chicken without it.

I have found through experience there are two ways of making this. Those scared of raw egg can make the first version (however it takes a lot longer and requires a lot of patience) and those who aren’t really concerned about raw egg can make the easier and quicker version that takes less oil

The first version requires a heavy duty food processor. The food processor will be on continuously for ten minutes so please use a good quality processor so that the motor doesn’t burn up. The second variety uses a blender and can be made in 3 flat!

I have also found through experience that Sunflower Oil is by far the best to use for this recipe. Please do not use olive oil. It is too strong and will completely change the taste of the dip. Also, try to buy local garlic, not the Chinese variety. It makes all the difference. Unless of course you live in China and Chinese garlic IS your local…

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Version One: Eggless ‘Food Processor’ Toum:

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups Sunflower or any other neutral Oil. Do not use olive oil
  • ½ cup peeled whole garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Put salt and garlic cloves in food processor and pulse. Scrape the sides until all the garlic is the same in size.

Turn on the food processor once again and do not stop it until done. In a very thin stream, add ¼ cup oil very gradually. Please do add it very slowly, don’t rush it or the sauce will split. Once you have added ¼ cup oil, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice also very slowly, drop by drop. Add another thin stream of ¼ cup oil then 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Keep doing this until you have used up your lemon and oil. The process will take 10 minutes. Be patient. If your sauce has split by the end of it and isn’t a fluffy dip, you can try to add 2 teaspoons of cold water or add 1 icecube and wack on the processor again for a few minutes. If that hasn’t worked, abort mission or *gulp* add a raw egg white and process for another 3 minutes.

Version Two: Quick and Easy ‘Blender’ Toum

  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and whole
  • 1 egg white
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons iced water
  • 1 cup of Sunflower or any other neutral oil. Do not use Olive Oil

 Put the garlic cloves and salt along with ¼ of the lemon juice in the blender, and blend on medium, scraping down the sides. Add the egg white. Add ½ cup of oil in a slow and steady pour.

Turn the blender onto its slowest speed and add the rest of the lemon juice slowly then once again add the second half of the oil slowly and steadily.

Finally, add the 2 tablespoons of ice cold water and it’s done.

If the dip has split, try adding another egg white and blitz on high for a couple of minutes.

Slather and spread. Devour. Burp. Regret. Eat some more.

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Braised Silverbeet stalks with Garlic, Olive Oil and Vinegar.

Silverbeet stalks

I hate waste. I really really do.

So when my Dad reminded me of a wonderful way to enjoy the woody Silverbeet stalks without throwing them into the compost bin, I was thrilled!

My Dad, what a trooper! He really is something in the kitchen!

Silverbeat is also known as Bietole, Chard in America and we know it here in Australia as Silverbeet.  I speak the International language 🙂

While Silverbeet leaves are great for filling gozleme, bouregs, or really in any recipe that calls for spinach, the woody stalks are almost certainly thrown out in most kitchens.

Here, they are transformed into a tasty side dish, a star in their own right.

Braised Silverbeet stalks with Garlic, Olive Oil and Vinegar.

  •  1 large bunch Silverbeet
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup White Wine Vinegar.
  • Sea salt

Silverbeet stalks

Wash your Silverbeet stalks well. If you are not using the leaves for another recipe, reserve them by blanching them and popping them into the freezer. Remember, food waste is not on!

Trim stalks and lightly peel any fibrous exterior like you would with celery. Chop them into rough 7cm pieces.

Place them into a saucepan with plenty of boiling water to submerge the stalks and boil them, covered, for 10 minutes until tender.

Silverbeet stalks

Drain the Silverbeet well and quickly return to the pot together with 2 crushed garlic cloves. Turn off the heat, place the pot cover back on and let the garlic steam together with the stalks for 5 minutes.

Serve the stems with a dressing of vinegar and olive oil. Season as required with a bit of sea salt flakes.

These are equally good straight out of the pot warm as they are cold. Even better the next day

Enjoy!