Friday, February 10, 2012

In My Kitchen - February 2012

Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, regularly posts about new or fun things in her kitchen. She kindly invited me to do a similar post, so here are some of the interesting things in my kitchen at the moment.

For Christmas, my mum bought me this very cute Joseph Joseph utensil carousel. Each utensil has a different coloured, rubber handle. Having some of the regularly used tools on the bench top certainly helps to declutter the second drawer, whose spewing contents hubby detests!


On the bench next door to the carousel lives my Breville Wizz Mix Professional. Another present from my mum, for Christmas a couple of years ago. Secretly, I think she was sick of me borrowing hers. I use this machine all the time, and it's central to most of my baking experimentation. I make gingerbread, cookie dough, cakes and bread using this regularly, and it's even been put to the test with fudge and nougat. It impresses me everytime.


What kitchen would be complete without some good quality vanilla extract? After balking at paying the earth for some decent vanilla in the shops, and failing to settle for a cheaper artificial version, I did a bit of reading and found out how easy it is to make your own. Vodka, vanilla beans, a bit of patience and viola! On the left is some decanted from a previous batch, and on the right a new bottle started last weekend. A 700ml bottle of vodka 6 vanilla beans have provided me with enough vanilla extract to last about 18 months. Most of my friends think I'm "wasting" the vodka, but as I don't drink the stuff I like to think I'm improving it!


Somehow, no matter how many times I insist, a collection of toys always ends up in my kitchen. Inevitably the girls want to help with baking, but more often than not they bore quickly and end up standing on a chair next to me, playing.


Something that does keep there attention for a few minutes though, is a babycino. Sometimes for a special treat, I'll make them some warm frothy milk with this battery operated milk frother, sprinkle it with chocolate powder and serve with a marshmallow. I've had this cheapy gadget for about 10 years, but it's still going strong.


Something else I've had for a very long time is my copy of Cooking: a common sense guide by Family Circle. I'm pretty sure my mum bought me this one too! This time for my kitchen tea party, just before I got married. Do people still have kitchen tea parties? They should, you get some great, useful kitchen gifts. This book is by far the most used cook book in my kitchen, as illustrated by the splatters of grease and dough on almost every page, and the way the inside of the book is hanging out of the cover, no longer attached. I haven't made all the recipes in here, but I certainly have made a lot, and it's often the first place I turn for inspiration, be it for dinner or a sweet treat.


As an open chocoholic, I am very particular about which chocolate I eat, and cook with. About a year ago I bought some Callebaut 54% callets to try, after hearing nothing but praise for the brand. A year later I won't use anything else, and here is what a regular delivery looks like. Don't worry, this batch will last me quite a while. I always make sure I have on hand some Callebaut dutched cocoa, some 54% (dark) callets and some 34% (milk) callets. The Callebaut brand is difficult to get in Perth. There are a couple of local distributors but they either only distribute commercially or the charge the earth. I get mine delivered from Paragon Foods in Melbourne. To save a bit of money I buy Sicao brand dark buttons for melting. Sicao is a Callebaut brand, but as far as I understand is it produced and distributed from Singapore, so is a little cheaper.


Like all other items I've talked about in my kitchen, the following is a much loved, much used, much needed part of who I am, and part of this blog. My Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS running watch. It lives in the kitchen so I always know where it is. Since I bought it from Wiggle in June last year I've worn it on almost every run, logged over 600kms and burned 30,000 calories. These stats drawn only from running (I also wear it while I cycle, and with a heart rate monitor at for other aerobic activities) are just part of the awesome service Garmin provide. I (almost) can't run without this watch. It deserves its own post, and I think I might give it this justice one day soon, but for now, isn't she lovely?


There is always a lot going on in my kitchen, but these things are constants. I'll talk about some of the more trinkety items in my kitchen another time.

8 comments:

  1. Your kitchen is very lovely and full of love!
    The gifts from your mother, the toys your children bring to the experience, and the respect you have for you cooking utensils must make the cooking/baking that you do taste even better!
    (My husband hates cluttered drawers,too- but I thrive in a cluttered kitchen!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Heidiannie. I do have a fairly cluttered kitchen, but I know where everything is, most of the time ;)

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  2. Love your milk frother. I've been told Coles stock them (or did in the recent past) - they make mixing up albumen powder and water for royal icing mix a breeze and I've been itching to get my hands on one for months, if not years!
    I've been wanting to do the vanilla extract via vodka thing myself but I can't seem to get past the 'drinking it' stage! one day...
    Thanks for the peek into your kitchen! :)

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    1. I've never thought to use my milk frother for much other than frothing milk, thanks for the tip about royal icing Shelley! I think I might have gotten mine from Woolworths, but it was a very long time ago. I'm sure they're still around though, even if you have to go to a more "kitcheny" shop :)

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  3. A cluttered kitchen is the sign of a busy (and good) cook. There is nothing worse than a show kitchen where everything is pristine and put away. Love the idea of the vanilla extract, I haven't tried that yet, but you make it seem very easy. Thanks for sharing your kitchen. You are my kind of cook!

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    1. Lizzy, the vanilla extract is very easy. Waiting the 3 months to use your first batch is the hardest part. Celia blogged about the process a few years ago (http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2009/05/28/homemade-vanilla-extract/). You can try different spirits but since Celia did the experimentation for us, I just go straight for vodka.

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  4. Pam, thanks for playing! How fabulous to see what's in your kitchen this month - we have a small frother as well, and love it, it gets used daily. Homemade vanilla extract really is the best! I'd love to know what you think of the Sicao - I only buy the standard Callebaut, but the Sicao is a much cheaper option!

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    1. Celia, your comment worked! The Sicao is comparable to standard Callebaut in terms of taste. The reason I don't use it full time is its appearance. It comes in large buttons rather than small callets so doen't work in muffins or cookies very well. It's also less glossy than the Callebaut (maybe not tempered??) so presentation-wise isn't great unless melted/cooked. For melting though, I reach for the Sicao first.

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