In My Kitchen July 2019

My July post will be rather brief and I’ll let the pictures do the talking for a change. Winter has been unusually busy, but some lovely foods have passed through my kitchen on their way to my mouth. I’ve mentioned quite often how much I depend on my orto, my back yard super fresh supermarket of herbs and vegetables. I can’t imagine life without a daily pick. The header photo above captures a radicchio in the frost- this is one vegetable that loves winter.

I’m rather keen on Spanish/Portuguese caldo lately, a soup which uses winter greens along with smoky flavoured vegetables and yellow split peas. I could live on this soup. I’m considering posting the recipe soon as it is so delicious, as well as vegan, and extremely cheap to make. Frugal food is the way to go, and more so when the ingredients arrive plastic and container free. There is an unfortunate trend with the emerging popularity of vegan food- much of it comes wrapped in plastic or other non environmentally friendly containers. This aspect of vegan food really annoys me.

Another of my favourite dishes has always been popular with guests. One of my old dear friends used to hide her empty mussel shells from view in order to eat just a few more. These are Mt Martha mussels stuffed with a mixture of cooked spinach, garlic, parmesan, lemon zest, egg and breadcrumbs, then liberally blessed with EV olive oil.

The pics above were taken before being dressed with dry sourdough bread crumbs and olive oil. It would be impossible to take snaps once they are cooked, as I would miss out on my share. Watch these bite sized morsels disappear.

Another favourite dish, seafood risotto, made with Carnaroli, snapper stock ( frozen from last month’s episode of IMK) a handful of mussels, along with a few small flathead fillets. Splurge!

Thanks once again to Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings for hosting this monthly series. My kitchen posts for August and September will come to you from my kitchen in Bali, as well as a daily post via my instagram account at  The daily posts will highlight where to eat, Balinese scenes, Hindu ritual, and daily life from the point of view of a semi -expat.

Please also consider following my blog by clicking on the Follow Me button on the side, as I am slowly scaling back my doubling up with Facebook.

22 thoughts on “In My Kitchen July 2019”

  1. Short but sweet, Fran, on a Sunday afternoon. Wow, ‘my kitchen in Bali’ . . . and that for two months – absolutely and utterly fantastic and sounding almost permanent ! Oh, methinks we’ll all be there with you . . Can work out your mussel recipe I believe but may we have the Portuguese soup one . . . no vegetables in my garden and bought ones will just have to do, but . . . great to hear from you . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll see if I can pump out that recipe before I leave next weekend Eha. It’s one I’ve been meaning to post so I can remember how I first made it.


  2. Delightful, delicious, diligent… words coincidentally each beginning with the letter D… are what I admire about your IMK posts and which apply doubly… to the food you take the care to source/grow, make and to the posts via which you share the inspiration. Wonderful you’re escaping the deepest winter months for Bali, and will be popping up in my Insta feed as well blog. While you’re away I’ll continue to work with your lingering influence in my own kitchen… that soup sounds good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We live very far from the ocean, so mussels like that just aren’t on our table, but I’m enjoying yours by proxy, and have just signed on as your follower on Instagram! Looking forward to what you do in Bali.

    best… mae at

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hi francesca
    thanks heaps for joining in IMK this month. those mussels look very tasty indeed. i bet they disappear fast.:) have a wonderful time in Bali. i look forward to your posts. cheers sherry oh yes that soup looks very delicious and healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The photo of the frosted radicchio is so beautiful. We’ve had almost two weeks of chilly rain here on our little mountain. I like to squint into the winter garden on those grey, overcast and windy days and imagine it with a dusting of sparkly frost. Your food is always so enticing, Francesca, I use your recipes quite often and enjoy them enormously. I look forward to following your Bali kitchen. Safe travels and happy landings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jan, I can’t wait. Although I’ve enjoyed the chill of winter and the wood fires, my bones are ready for some warmth. So pleased my recipes are useful.


  6. Take 2. I just lost a long comment on this post so I will try again, with a shorter version. I am interested in the mussels. My Italian family make mussels in a tomato sauce with parsley and garlic etc and we dip crusty bread in the fairly watery brodo afterwards, it’s delicious. One of these days I need to stand in the garage kitchen with my brother in law while he makes it, so I learn how. I do know its cleaning and preparing them that takes a lot of time, although he is usually cooking for twenty people.

    Your stuffed mussels look delicious. Do you put them in grill or the oven afterwards?

    Francesca I am really interested and surprised to read that you are going to Bali for two months. Especially as I read a back post of yours saying goodbye to Ubud and lamenting the old Bali? Maybe it was goodbye just for that year , not forever? I can’t remember if I commented on this post or not. I intend to re-read your Balinese posts as we have booked 18 days in Bali for the next school holidays spilling over into the first week of term. We haven’t been there since the 80s ( I’m getting a strong feeling I may have commented on this, but I am not going to check in case I lose this comment again). We’ve booked 10 days in Ubud , 5 days on Gili Air and are thinking of the last 3 days nearer Denpasar because we will be flying out, in Seminyak. I did read about a quieter place further out than Seminyak starting with a C ? Is there somewhere you would recommend? As usual my husband has been doing all the research as he’s retired and the time. He has been studying his second year Indonesian at La Trobe so he’s keen to get out and practice with the locals.

    Any thoughts are appreciated. I will be re reading Bali your posts over the next few days. Can you recommend a cooking school/ class in Ubud ?



    1. Finally getting back to you Louise, now that my brain fog has lifted. About the mussels. Mussels are really easy to prepare and there’s no art to cleaning them, just a light scrub and then pull of the beards. The cook quickly in a pot with whatever flavours you love best, but the thing to do is to have your tongues ready so that the moment they open, pull them out into another big bowl. The Preston Market sells mussels for around $7 a kilo. I am loving the mussels from Mt Martha- they tend to be pretty clean and always tasty. Just check the label on the string packet for harvest date before you buy them.

      I go to Bali every year. I am still in love with Bali and this year will spend around 3 months here. That negative post was about Ubud. I will not return there ever! I used to stay there for part of the time up until 2017, when I finally made the decision that Ubud has been loved to death and now the place is so choked with traffic, concrete and tourists ,I didn’t enjoy my time there and found it hard to tap into local culture and spiritualism. the centre of Ubud is devoted to tourist restaurants and shopping- even starbucks set up next to one of the major cultural sites there. Having said this, I am sure that if you stay well away from the centre, you will experience a gentler time, but then you may end up being too far from some of the things you like- eg restaurants etc. Up Jalan kajeng in the centre of town, you can get to the rice paddies quickly but the concrete is encroaching. when you went there in teh 80s, all the villages near Ubud were separate, now they have all joined up. The street I loved, Jalan Bisma, was once semi rural- I watched all those duck paddy fields disappear over the last 5 years.
      Cooking school in Ubud, Janet de Kneefe runs one in Honeymoon guest house, a lovely place to stay, despite all of the above.
      We are now located in Sanur in a large garden. Sometimes we go to Pemuteran, and have a great friend, who is our driver, take us around. I am happy to pass on Wayan’s mobile number to you for meeting at the airport and or the drive to Ubud. All my friends have Wayan for driver now, we all love him. He is honest and a very good driver as well as a kind soul. Let me know if you need that and I’ll email it to you Louise. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A couple of things to add and correct. Autocorrect changed tongs into tongues on that paragraph about mussels. Made me laugh when i read it back.
    I did do janet de kneefs class at honeymoon about 9 years ago, it was very good but there’s not much hands on stuff. Although by birth an Australian, her knowledge of Balinese food is vast, having lived there and run businesses there for 35 or so years. The course includes making a very rich curry paste, but too much time is spent on showing the spices. …the setting is amazing. I’m sure there are many others around the district.
    Theres also a french woman in town running a great restaurant, the flaming wok i think its called, you beed to book well in advance.
    I visited seminyak two tears ago. I don’t go over to there much, its all about shopping. But again, my bias is what it is, everyone has different taste. Good luck in your search louise.


  8. I so love mussels. They are a real fave for me. Mr Tiffin tolerates them but would prefer not to partake. That’s why I often order them we we go out (or in NZ!). That’s a gorgeous photo of the radicchio with the frosted edge but it makes me understand why you are headed to Bali. We are also headed there at the end of August, though only for a week. I am looking forward to Mr Tiffin being free of work, this time next year so we go on some longer holidays. Looking forward to your Bali observations.

    Liked by 1 person

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