In My Kitchen February 2022

It’s been quite a while since I ventured into bloglandia. The constant bombardment of bad news stories has had a profound effect on my outlook. But there’s some hope around lately on many fronts, so I’ll take a deep breath and dive right into a February blog with an In My Kitchen post.

Today’s beaching lunch. Grilled saddleback snapper, kipfler potatoes, green beans, salad of Cherokee purple tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Diet notes. One tiny spud for me, fish marinated in oregano, salt, pepper and 2 teaspoons of oil prior to grilling, then dressed with lemon juice. No dressing on salad. Good ingredients speak for themselves.

My cooking has taken a drastic turn lately. Gone are the weekly cakes, desserts, cheese and biscuits, butter, pasta, sourdough bread, white rice, rich curries, unmeasured amounts of olive oil, snacking, ice cream, cream, and dairy. Enter the Noom diet. This was a necessity, as after 2 years of pandemic style stay- at -home eating, drinking wine and generally slothing around, my waistline was expanding, my interest in physical exercise declining and I began to feel quite unwell with mysterious ailments. For me, radically changing my approach to food meant relearning how to cook. It has been challenging but rewarding too. I’m sure there are heaps of diet and exercise apps that help people along this path. The one I’ve chosen works for me, with a massive drop in cholesterol and 5 kilos in weight over the first month. I’m sure the next month will be more testing, especially during the holiday season.

Mt Martha mussels, home grown tomato, chilli and garlic, wine, fresh herbs. A little grilled sourdough.

During February and March, we have two kitchens, one camping kitchen by the sea and our home kitchen. I prefer cooking in the camp kitchen as the food is simple and always tastes better outdoors.

After years of using a two burner gas stove which was hard to regulate, I now use a gas wok burner and a cylinder stove, the first for long, slow cooking or fast wokking. The canister stove is best for simple dishes that need a low flame. I grill on a breville electric griller found in an opshop. It’s a treasure.

Every year we find our old treasures hiding in the bowels of the van. This year I’ve decided to avoid the communal camping ground bathrooms and now really enjoy my old style bath basin and jug. Not in my kitchen, but close to it. Beach salty hair is a challenge though; I may relent.

Another corner of the van. Cherries, grapes and water, making the ‘diet’ bearable.

Meanwhile back at home, the vegetable garden is booming. We return home every 4 days or so and the glut keeps us busy.

Every day pickings.
The first fruit is always always so alluring. Rosa Bianca eggplant resting on Japanese bowl.
The black long variety of eggplant, curling into a delicate Japanese bowl from Okuden in Hurstbridge. I began buying these lovely bowls last year in the interests of supporting such an amazing local shop.
Two golden sourdough loaves cool under the gentle gaze of Ganesha. I allow myself a slice every second day. Life is cruel.
A few prawns, a mountain of veg, wokked in minimal oil, some sauces, ginger, garlic and spring onions. No rice for me.
Summer soups, such as Soupe au Pistou, are wonderfully restorative. Produce from the garden plus canned borlotti beans and basil. Definitely diet friendly.
Mixed tomatoes, torn bocconcini, mixed basil leaves, salt, balsamic and not much oil. Another Japanese bowl gifted by my beautiful daughter in law Maxine.
Cherry frangipane tart in the making. But none for me, well maybe just a bite.

Thanks of Sherry for continuing this wonderful In My Kitchen series.

26 thoughts on “In My Kitchen February 2022”

  1. Lovely to see you posting – have truly missed receiving, looking and reading ! The photos are special . . . That said – to each their own – whatever works ! Personally I abhor ANY of the diets . . . I don’t keep ‘unhealthy’ ingredients at home and make whatever exciting I think of from what I have 🙂 1

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s right, each to their own. So pleased to hear about your exciting and healthy diet. Sometimes life gets in the way of those things. It has been rather trying, without going into all the sad details.


  2. I have missed you, Francesca. One slice of bread every second day?! Life is way cruel–but I know what you mean. I hope the diet goes well…I miss all the cakes, butter, pasta, desserts…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois – I feel a little sad reading your comment and I do speak from a professional point of view ! We may know more these days but absolutely nothing has changed as far as eating for a long and healthy life is concerned since you and I were born ! It has always been a case of roughly 40% healthy carbohydrate, 30% healthy fats and 30% proteins of which most of us get too many !! Why should you cut down on healthy bread – I dont mean the commercial white rubbish – and why can’t you have normal portions of wholemeal, rice, barley etc pasta and indulge in healthy desserts, if you really ‘need’ them ! Personally I live to eat and wander all over the globe for exciting, flavourful dishes and have daily fun . . . where are there any new problems . . . “


    2. Thanks Lois. My health issues snowballed during covid And so by avoiding sugar and carbs for a while, I’ve avoided the needing to take medication for cholesterol, reduced my gut size and am finding exercise much easier as a result. Thus diet won’t be permanent and I’m sure once my weight has returned to a healthy range, I’ll enjoy my sourdough again and the odd cake.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Covid has really wreaked havoc in so many ways, hasn’t it? Good-bye medication is wonderful, Francesca. Your photos are still gorgeous and the food, as always, looks delicious.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I so enjoy your posts, Francesca. Your photos are beautiful and your food so interesting and enticing. You must feel so good having lost 5kilos, that’s a lot. I had a bout of Covid and lost 3kgs. I felt so virtuous and good when I realised the weight loss, and then i felt better and put it all back on! I’m only now back into exercise and whereas BC (before Covid) I could do 9ks in half an hour on my bike I’m struggling to do 6 – luckily for Maleny my bike is stationery😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jan. Sorry to hear about your Covid experience and hope that you aren’t experiencing any residual issues. The stationary bike and the 6 to 9 km will keep you fit. I prefer long walks. I’m pleased with my weight loss to date, maybe 5 more kilos to go and the local doctors are also impressed! Tge Noom app is handy as I need that kind of daily reinforcement.


  4. The humidity is slowly dissipating and the cooler evenings are much more enjoyable for cooking Asian soups of which we are spoiled for ingredients. Warm Vietnamese seafood salads are just to go for the season. And I love the look of your quick stir fry sans rice which is on our menu tonight thanks to your inspiration. We are very fortunate to have a very keen foodie group around us and revisiting old Asian recipe books has been a huge amount of fun cooking some of the meals. No secret is using seasonal food for ingredients and growing what we can. Abiu is one of our favourite fruits but low yields prohibit us from sharing.
    Same can’t be said for our avo’s, ruby grapefruit, chocolate sapotes, finger limes, mangosteens, tropical passion fruit and red dragon fruit which are all in abundance in our tropical on-site orchard. However, I do pine for the joy of being on the Peninsula with you to join in the amazing way you spend your time there.
    Love your blogs.
    Cheers Peter

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I enjoyed you photos when they were on Instagram, and I was delighted to learn more. It’s good to have you back to blogging with more details and more stories. Good luck with the healthful eating, no matter which approach you take.

    best… mae at

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mae. I really do like blogging and am determined to return to it this year. Instagram is a bit like the world really. Everyone wants something quickly. All very pretty but not much substance.


  6. I have been bombarded by Noom ads, so it is interesting to hear of someone who is benefiting from it. It must be an advantage to have a starting diet that is already full of healthy ingredients, and to have a love of good food. Your food certainly looks delicious, as always. As for the camping, it must be lovely down on the Peninsular during this balmy weather we are having.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There were so many diet apps to choose from. The CSIRO one looks good too. I’ll ditch the app after the 2 month payment period is up. It is a good motivator but a bit too American in discussing food and examples given for calculating calorific values. Basically, if you limit your eating to 12000 calories and are reasonably active, you’ll shed weight. It’s harder after one month. I need the help of an app but I also find it annoying.

      The Peninsula is gorgeous this time of the year. We’ll do the walk down at Point Nepean next week and I’ll look out for your trees Anne, I can see your paintings in my mind.


  7. A feast of food, photos and details for the senses. I’m pleased to see you employ other means for camp cooking than the seemingly standard Weber/Ziggy. We have a trusty electric lidded frypan that also serves as an electric bbq, and a 2 burner Primus cooker that accommodates various cooking implements and styles.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Francesca, I hear your dilemma. Sometimes we have to bite the bullet and do what is necessary, no matter how painful. I’m so glad you have lost weight and you would be feeling much butter, so all that food denial must be working. I too have cut out lots of potato and sugar – just eat protein (small amount), fruit & veg, bread and an occasional piece of cake. No more lollies (confectionary) and hardly any chocolate. Only one piece of toast for breakfast and a cup of tea, but pig out once a week on a big breakfast! It is making a difference as I have lost 3 kgs. Just trying to muster up the energy to use the exercise bike because walking is out for me atm. Went over on my ankle in Queens Park and have a bad leg and back. So glad you are posting again and feeling better, but yes, life has been a bugger.


  9. Bentornata Francesca. I was starting to worry something had happened to you. Glad to see you are back. Yes, life is cruel. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. I can’t believe you lost 5 kilos in 1 month!!!! Wow. It sounds like Australia is starting to open up more, so hopefully everything will get better. Your Biancarosa eggplant resting on a Japanese bowl photo is spectacular-it looks like an Old Master painting. Definitely frame-worthy. The mussels are also gorgeous and drool-inducing. In bocca al Lupo with your nooming. Ciao, Cristina

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am happy to see you posting again Francesca. And, I understand the weight gain as mine is up as well, it’s all the Covid cooking and eating and drinking. But, it’s hard to break the habits built up over the past couple of years. I will look into Noom, I see ads for it cropping up everywhere. How do you think it compares to WW?

    I love the peek into your camping kitchen, I think I would want to spend most of the time there as well. And I drooled over those fresh tomatoes, ours are midwinter boring…not worth the trouble.


Now over to you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.