In My Kitchen, June 2018

Winter announced itself rather dramatically last week with a fine frost, the first of the season on the first of June. The last of summer’s basil wilted in disgust while the bright yellow zucchini flowers on the remaining happy plant closed their petals tightly in protest. New hungry birds are now visiting our back door, competing with our gregarious King Parrots. Can I detect a different kind of plea in the warble of the magpies lately? One has taken up the morning watch, staring at me through the kitchen window, singing for his breakfast.

Late winter tomatoes, mostly yellow, ripening in the window

On the second day of winter, Mr T picked most of the remaining tomatoes which now happily sunbake in our north facing windows. As the sun streams in during winter, thanks to the passive solar design of the house, I am enjoying the taste of these winter jewels. The small yellow pear tomatoes seem to ripen very quickly this way.

Gentile pasta from Gragnano, Napoli. Delizioso.

I’ve been experimenting with different pasta varieties, then the recipes are posted in my Pasta della Settimana series. This pasta brand, Gentile, from Napoli proved to be quite tasty and different in texture. More about this soon.

Orecchiette Napolitane, un tipo diverso dall’ orecchiette Pugliesi.

I’ve been de-cluttering madly but when this old plate turned up at the local second hand emporium for $5.99, I felt compelled to nab it. Nicely crazed with age and a little faded, the stamp on the back reads ‘Jabez Blackhurst’ and the design is Rhine. The dish was made in 1867 in Tunstall, England. I have given it a quick clean but I enjoy a serving dish with a bit of patina and history.

Made by Jabez Blackhurst. 1867

There was an over supply of jam in my kitchen pantry after I made this season’s fig and quince jams. Time for those old fashioned jam and coconut slices, a treat after working outside in the garden or renovating. They went in a flash and the oats suggest at least one healthy element. This lot was made with spiced plum jam through the middle layer, and tasted a lot like Christmas.

Jam and Coconut slice

Left over pizza dough always means foccaccia a day or so later.

Foccacia, salvia e olive

We recently gathered the pumpkins from the vegetable garden. I let them stay attached to the vine until late Autumn so they continue to ripen and harden. As they are self sown, I never know which varieties will turn up. This year, we had more Queensland Blues.

Pumpkins live on the outside table under shelter.

Limes are funny things. When you want them in summer for drinks and Thai food, they’re scarce. In winter they thrive in our garden. Other than lime delicious pudding and the occasional lime syrup cake, I tend to use them instead of lemons. I’m resisting making lime marmalade due to the aforementioned jam build up but might consider an Indian lime chutney. Good lime recipes are invited, dear readers.

Lottsa limes in winter.

And now for some Happy Birthday snaps and an insiders look into my kitchen when my kids and grandchildren are around. We are now 14 in total, and so it’s often a busy event for me when they come here for dinner. Three of the grandchildren celebrate their birthdays a few days apart. I still like to make three cakes and each year, the cakes are getting stranger. The children love it.

Three crazy cakes for Noah, Charlotte and Daisy.
Tanti auguri a te.

Thanks Sherry once again for keeping the IN MY KITCHEN series going, despite the difficulties involved ensuring that all the participants are now GDPR ready. Rest assured Sherry, that mine is now displaying the appropriate privacy warnings for our European readers.

30 thoughts on “In My Kitchen, June 2018”

    1. Mae, this is the comment I tried to post on your blog. It failed. Len’s breads are impressive. I must look into his favourite book Nice post Mae and hope this comment gets through as the options on the comment form have disappeared, and I refuse to use my google identity. We will see. Cross fingers.


  1. Great post Francesca and lucky grandkids too. I have decorated one of the walls of my verandah with old blue and white plates from the op shop, your find is a beauty. I keep thinking about the stories these old plates could tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That platter is a beauty. De-cluttering is about to become my pastime for the next few weeks, but I would have found that one difficult to walk passed too. Having had five nights in a row of frost earlier this week, we are now having a reprieve with Autumn weather! Those cakes are amazing and I’m sure will long stand in your grandchildren’s memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we copped that frost for at least 3 days. But then the upside is lovely sunny days once the frost burns off. Yesterday it reached 18c here so quite nice. That plate wanted me to give it another 50 years. It was unceremoniously shoved under a pile of 1990s cheap platters, its blue crazed edge just peeping out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You bring all smiles and teachings as usual 🙂 ! Just love the 19th cent Brit plate and could not have
    left’ it either . . . . nice, nice, nice . . . wonderful when the grandkids came into the fray : well, methinks they are aware they have a magical grandmother . . . . blessings to all . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wish you could send a little cold weather our way… we have a heatwave at the moment and it is sweltering in Bahrain. Just love the old faded plate, a lovely find. I am in the process of decluttering at the moment but haven’t got around to my kitchen stuff… that will be a real challenge . As always your cakes and breads look homely and delicious, bet the grandkids love coming around 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How good of you to rehome the gorgeous old platter… special old objects transcend minimalism imho. It seems like everyone I know has an over abundance of limes except the local pub last week when we asked for a Corona with slice of lime in the neck to enjoy with lunch. And the rest of your IMK I’ve enjoyed glimpsing immensely, mentally filing away a plan to bake jam and coconut slice on a cool day to warm up the house, and wishing I had winter tomatoes on my window sill. Maybe next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your harvest of pumpkins is incredible! It still feels weird to me even after 20 years that pumpkins are around at this time of year and not October-December. Not unwelcome at all, but weird!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lorraine, you inspire me with your crazy cakes. I watched a show about a woman in the US ( New York?) on Netflix ( chef’s table maybe?) who makes these crazy tall cakes. One cake I made had batter full of hundreds and thousands which is cut in rounds to expose these colours. I tried to do that but it looked like a rat had gnawed it so then I iced it with pale mint butter icing, and through the layers, and covered the top with smashed up Aero bars and other green lollies.


  7. hi francesca
    thanks muchly for joining in IMK this month. Oh I’m very glad to see you say that about the GDPR – i don’t think many aussie bloggers have taken it seriously. there is a whopping fine if people don’t conform and while i don’t think they are going to be racing after someone like me or you in far off AUS, you just never know!:) LOVE that vintage platter. and the foccacia and your tomatoes and pumpkins. have a great month. cheers sherry x


  8. You are amazing in that kitchen of yours Francesca! Im so jealous .. I hauled my tomatoes out ages ago. And that focaccia .. looks particularly yummy! You have inspired me to hunt for some old plates 😃 I absolutely agree about the limes, as it happens Hubby made the best Indian lime pickle not too long ago .. Love those cakes girl …

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That platter is a gem! I wouldn’t have walked past it either! My tomatoes are still growing happily and I’m extremely envious of those pumpkins. Your oat slice looks particularly delicious, perfect for alongside a hot coffee. I second the cocktail idea for an excess of limes! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Such a delicious post Francesca! That big serving plate could tell a few stories I am sure. I love your jammy slice and foccacia, oats make everything healthier I am certain of that. Beautiful pumpkins. I have a great Indian Lime Pickle recipe, you have just reminded me. If I can find it I will share the link with you. My boy turns 9 tomorrow so we are also in full on cake mode x


  11. I don’t know why I didn’t come across this post until now Francesca, but just wanted to let you know your pasta posts have inspired me to try some different pasta brands from the deli and local friendly grocer, and also I love that plate – what a find!
    If you’re feeling patient I also have a fermented lime pickle recipe which takes a few weeks but is very simple – no sugar or vinegar, just limes, salt, spices and oil

    Liked by 1 person

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