Friday, April 4, 2014

In My Kitchen, April 2014

Autumn is finally here.   The light is gentler, the mornings are cooler and the weather is perfect for cooking.  This month I have used every available opportunity for baking.
 
This sourdough focaccia is always a winner and cooking it in the wood oven gives it plenty of colour.  It can be very dangerous to wander away for too long when the oven is hot!


As some of you know, sourdough is my usual bread of choice and I don’t often cook yeasted bread.  However, after a recent croissant baking venture I had some leftover fresh yeast in the fridge.  Not wanting to waste the yeast I baked this soft white sandwich loaf from The Bread Bible.  Naturally, the kids declared this to be some of my best ever bread.  It was deliciously soft and moreish and with butter in the actual dough it smelt and tasted a little like brioche. 


A tray of home raised, home killed chicken with garlic and herbs from the garden and a splash of our own olive oil.  Although we have always killed our own red meat, ten years ago I would not have dreamed we would get to this point with home produced chicken, olive oil and herbs.  


Round zucchinis, not home-grown but purchased from a local grower in Mildura.  As I completed my transaction the friendly stallholder enthusiastically shared her favourite way to cook these and asked me which colour I would prefer.  Seriously, is there any better way to shop?


Zucchini, barberry and hazelnut loaf loosely based on this recipe.  This was just one of those things I had to try and it was tasty, especially lightly toasted with a generous swipe of real butter.


Cucumbers are rampant in my garden at the moment.  After a very lean summer vegetable season I finally feel like the garden is almost productive again.  Tzatziki or Greek salad anyone?


What is cooking in your kitchen?
Do you have a favourite way to eat cucumbers?

Thank you to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting this fun kitchen tour.

33 comments:

  1. Oh look at your stripey cucumbers Jane!
    And your perfect loaf of white bread too. My girls would kill for a loaf of white bread!, or so they say (said!). Last night I had to turn the loaf I bought after INCESSANT nagging, into bread and butter pudding. Which isn't a hardship in itself - to make OR eat, but they have been trotting out the "why do we only have brown bread?!"
    line for ever. Now it seems the white stuff isn't as good as they remembered it was! Ha! (you know I'm talking shop bought here don't you? I have never made a loaf of bread in my life. Apart from damper, and that's not bread, is it?)
    What's a barberry?
    What is a barberry?

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    1. That is funny Kylie. Yes, my children happily eat all of my experimental bread and store bought brown bread too. But, at the end of the day a loaf of soft, white stuff is still their favourite. A barberry is a little red berry used in some Middle Eastern cooking. It is a little sweet and a little sour. I am not sure why I even have them in my pantry...but they are tasty :)

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  2. Gorgeous pics as per usual Jane. Special. I love cucumbers in Greek Salad - divine. Although my hubbies Dad likes his in vinegar! :)

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    1. Thank you Julie, good to hear from you.

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  3. Love the look of the stripy cucumbers. Would look great pickled in a jar. Being in the deep south of New Zealand we are very much winding down in the garden and there is not much growing. However with the cooler weather it is a great time for baking.

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    1. Thank you, I agree...it is a great time for baking!

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  4. What great things you have in your kitchen, love the zucchini and hazelnut loaf.

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    1. Thank you, that loaf was tasty!

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  5. Just gorgeous Jane, as ever. Those cucumbers look amazing! x

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    1. You are kind Michelle, thank you x

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  6. Oh Jane, I can almost smell that sandwich loaf from here! Especially as you said it was like brioche... I can see that in the texture. That's a stunning photo of the golden zucchini. And wow to the cucumbers! I have never seen those before! Another beautiful post, and, as always, a delight to visit your country kitchen xox

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  7. G'day Jane! I can almost smell your bread from here and love cucumber too!
    Thanks for your kitchen view this month!
    Cheers! Joanne

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  8. Wow, your own olive oil?! Very cool! That zucchini loaf sounds interesting and I have some hazelnuts on the shelf (a first for me)! Just used them for the first time this week. But barberries? We don't have those here in the US. Oh, and cucumbers. I like them in a yogurt sauce, sort of like Indian raita, atop my husbands red lentil curry dish.

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    1. Your husband's curry dish sounds delicious Katie! Thanks for calling in.

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  9. I'm with everyone else... those striped cucumbers are really something special.
    What variety are they? x

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    1. Thanks Zara, they are called Sweet and Striped and I bought the seed through the Diggers Club :)

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  10. Home produced chicken, herbs and olive oil - life doesn't get much better than that! Always so many beautiful things in your kitchen Jane. Did you use a special loaf tin for that delicious looking loaf? Lurve the striped cucumbers.

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    1. Thanks Anne, yes I have some big, heavy bread tins that a friend purchased at a bakery closing down auction. They are perfect for these loaves.

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  11. i'm so impressed by your homegrown chicken, garlic, herbs and oil jane..i bet the chicken tasted so much better than any shop bought one..x

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    1. Thanks Jane, the home grown chicken tends to dry out more quickly than the store bought type chicken. I suspect because it is more lean. So, I just cook it accordingly :)

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  12. Love those stripy cucumbers. How typical that the children preferred that loaf. Mine favour some instant packet risotto I bought once in a weak moment. Galling when you've stirred non stop for 25 minutes!

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    1. Thanks Sally, I am hearing you!

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  13. That bread looks divine Jane. I have been doing a lot of meal preparations on the weekend to lighten the load during our busy weeks but I feel some hot cross buns coming on I think...xxx

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    1. Thanks Kate, meal preparations on the weekend really make a difference don't they? Even though I am home all day during the week this trick even makes our weeknights run more smoothly. In fact, right now I am making chicken pies for weeknight eating. Hot cross buns sound like such a good idea. We might see you this week...with our Easter hats! xx

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  14. Stripey cucumbers! How cool are they! We failed at cucumbers this year - I think we got about four in total, and then the plant died off. Your focaccia looks fabulous, and your white loaf textbook perfect! No wonder the kids loved it! And congratulations on reaching such a milestone Jane - homegrown chook, olive oil and herbs. Just the best thing ever. xxx

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    1. Thank you Celia. I know you understand these things! x

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  15. i envy that you can produce a complete meal with your own produce. chickens, herbs AND olive oil. i'm sure you bask in the glow of just how wonderful that is! more proof of what a wonderful life you have. as always, thankyou for allowing us to dream of a lovely life thru your beautiful photos.

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    1. Thank you e, you are kind. I try not to 'bask' too much! But, any food we can produce ourselves is rewarding and great for our children to see too. Have a great week!

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  16. Everything looks mouth-watering but what is barberry? And those striped zucchinis, what type are they? Cook up well? I have been perusing the latest Diggers catalogue but mostly for flowers, the first time in years that I've cared about the flowers.

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    1. Thanks Katie. A barberry is a little red berry which I believe is used in some Middle Eastern cooking. It is both sweet and quite tart. It looks a bit like a cranberry. Those cucumbers are called Sweet and Striped and I bought the seed from Diggers. Happy flower ordering and planting!

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  17. Those cucumbers are so cute - I've never seen striped ones. You say Autumn is here but still 33c here today. Wish it would cool just a little. Thanks for the tour.

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Hello and welcome. I will try to reply to all comments eventually because I love the conversation! Jane