Kitchens, more than any other room in the house, have stories to tell. My kitchen isn’t very old: it was built in the early 1990s by my good friend Ian, a teacher with whom I worked for 10 years. I don’t know how he did it: he had no previous construction experience and managed to build this house, its kitchen and all the fittings, on weekends, holidays and after work.
We acquired the house in November 5 years ago, after living in temporary accommodation, sheds and house sits for around 10 months. I bought this house because I knew how well it was built: home builders often over build. Being made of mud brick, it reminded me of my old ‘muddy’ house where I lived for 30 years. The stars were aligned. He was selling, I was homeless. A perfect match.
In My Kitchen, which was Ian’s kitchen, the benches are generous and too high for me. He is over 6 feet tall and did much of the cooking: I am ‘vertically challenged’ at 5′ 2, and as a dear friend just reminded me, shrinking! Lower the benches, raise the floor or wear high heeled sneakers in my kitchen? Despite these benches , I love the kitchen and don’t plan to renovate: it is such a costly business.
Some of the pine board walls may need whitening and I did replace the stove with a new Ilve. I love the Pizza function and the extraordinary heat for making bread. Most of the other functions are untried as I tend to always use the fan forced setting.
In my kitchen I make pizza once a week. This one is topped with onion confit, white anchovies, olives and fresh oregano.
In my kitchen I make bread, thanks to the mentoring of Celia, host of this monthly event at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. I have finally found the perfect bread for us. It’s an offspring of a few different recipes that came my way. We call this bread ‘son of Craig’. It contains a mixture of white flour, wholemeal flour, rye flour and linseed meal and remains moist and fresh for days. Some days it is perfect: other days, it over proves when I get distracted.
In my kitchen, the meals are simple. Pasta and soups are made with garden produce and a few pantry staples. Lentils, chick peas, borlotti beans and pasta are sometimes garnished with a smoked trout or fetta, oil and Parmigiano.
My Kitchen isn’t ‘House and Garden’: it is often messy and cluttered. It’s warm in winter and cool in summer. And now, after five years, it feels like hearth and home. It works hard for me and I am grateful and satisfied with its flaws and its assets, and I thank the builder and his wife.