I was not surprised to find that the last time I completed a blog was around 6 months ago. In that time my family life has changed dramatically, which may explain my absence from the keyboard. I have a desperate need to continue writing, but find most of my thoughts land in hand written journals, never to become completed stories. Our home now consists of 3 generations, with 6 members ( fluctuating ) ranging in age from 12 to 75. Shared housing as well as multi- generation living is definitely on the increase in Australia, the cause being multi-faceted and a topic in itself. Shared housing involves many adjustments from all parties and certainly has enormous benefits when it comes to food production and waste. There are rarely leftovers these days: the chooks are annoyed about the lack of interesting kitchen scraps. The time we spend at the table, from around 7 to 8 pm is heartwarming. The rest of the day involves various comings and goings and random conversations in passing, as everyone seems to be busy, or reclusive or working.
Hot cross buns, they don’t last long around here.
I do the cooking. Mr Tranquillo is my kitchen hand and my daughter and partner clean the kitchen after dinner. The teenage girls seem to avoid most domestic duties, but then their lives are rather full, with eary starts at school for music lessons and late nights with ballet and music performance. My daughter employs a cleaner once a fortnight which is a bonus and has made such a difference to my life. These days Mr T and I can go AWOL more often, knowing that there are people at home to feed the chickens or tend the garden. Our solar panels have enabled 6 months of almost free power: we run two split systems, two fridges and a bar fridge and lately there’s a lot of washing machine action. Hot water is supplied by two heat pump hot water systems. Our vegetable garden supplies at least 50% of our vegetables, and the overwhelming fruit glut ( plums, apples, passionfruit ) is preserved in the freezer for winter use. The eggs are very popular, and the sourdough bread in high demand. There was a worrying time back in February when it didn’t rain for a month: the water tank on my daughter’s studio ran out and we began to save water from showers and kitchen for re- use. Fortunately, the last few weeks has seen some decent rain and a return to full tanks and a full dam, the latter being the key link to our vegetable production. Dry months are a reminder of the importance of water in our lives.
Freezing passionfruit pulp, an Autumn activity.
Shelled fresh borlotti beans make a wonderful side dish.
I usually purchase books second hand from op shops or Savers. I have a room full of cookbooks, all of them loved and read and returned to for inspiration or just left around the place in little stacks as a reminder to change the food diet, to keep things challenging yet simple. My library is now Charlotte’s bedroom, but she likes her four walls covered in books, I’m sure. Some recent cookbook additions feature below.
A great find from Habitat Op Shop, Rosebud. AU$2.
Also from Habitat op shop, Rosebud, $2. Unused. What I like about this book is the vegetarian content, as most slow cooker recipe books are very meat-centric.
Maurizio Leo’s new book, a wonderful purchase.
I did lash out and buy a couple of new cookbooks recently. My latest purchase is The Perfect Loaf by Maurizio Leo. I love this book for Maurizio’s dedication and very detailed instructions. I’ve been following Maurizio’s blog for 8 years or so and find his recipes always work extremely well. Two other cookbook purchases feature below, both interesting but yet to be used. I suspect that these two would be more suitable for couples or small families.
April is the month to say farewell to our lovely beach camp on the Mornington Peninsula and return to St Andrews full time, before we nick off somewhere again. Goodbye beautiful black swans, Nairm ( Port Phillip Bay ), and country of the BoonWurrung People: it has been a time of discovery for me this year, finding more amazing walks in the bush, and learning more of the indigenous history of this place I have frequented for most of my life.
The mouth of Chinaman’s Creek, Capel Sound, Mornington Peninsula, Boon Wurrrung Country, Victoria, Australia.
Thanks Sherry for continuing the IN MY KITCHEN monthly series. It has got me back on the keyboard again. I hope to keep it up more often.