Monday, October 1, 2012

In My Kitchen - October 2012

Wow, I think this is the first In My Kitchen post that I've managed to get out at the start of the month! Maybe I'm a little excited about some new toys, or maybe I've been doing way too much baking (and eating) that I'm feeling in touch with my kitchen this month. Either way, here's what's in my kitchen this month.

My recent discovery of The Book Depository has been a little dangerous. My debut purchase involved a heap of kids books, put away for Christmas, some running/exercise books and of course some foody books. I'm a sucker for fast, easy recipes, so couldn't say no to Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food. This book is great for ideas when you've got some staples in the pantry, are short of time and lack inspiration. Slater shows you how to prepare common ingredients, several different ways which I love. His recipes are also open to interpretation so you can totally work with what you've got in the fridge. There are no pretty pictures, so if that's your thing then it might not be for you, but if you often find yourself preparing dinner shortly before you want to eat it, this book is great!

Because I am an unashamed sweet tooth, I couldn't go past Slater's dessert version: Real Fast Desserts. I have already tried out his Chocolate Almonds and they were a big hit, so I'll be giving a few more of these recipes a go soon.

I normally order my dark chocolate two ways. Callebaut brand 54% callets in a 2kg bag, which I use for muffins and biscuits as the callets are small. I also buy a two-pack of Sicao Classic Dark (also 54%) 1.5kg bags. The Sicao brand is a little cheaper than Callebaut but I consider the quality to be comparable. The Sicao callets however are large (akin to Nestle melts) and while they don't work well in bite size treats, they are perfect for melting. Sicao have recently changed their product coding, and confusion at the distributor meant I received 1 packet of 54% and 1 packet of 70% (which happen to be the smaller callets). This is great for me because I haven't before experiemented with 70% callets. If I can stop myself from eating them all straight from the container, I might test out some darker recipes.

Another exciting part of my recent chocolate delivery was a Callebaut flavoured sampler pack of chocolate buds. This includes about a cup measure each of cappucino, strawberry, lemon (interestingly these are green, not yellow), caramel and orange flavoured buds. I lifted my self-imposed chocolate ban today and made some Apple Caramel Muffins (below).

Apple Caramel Muffins
These are a variation of my favourite Banana Choc Chip Muffins, made this afternoon because I was out of bananas.

60g butter, melted
2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour 
1/3 cup raw caster sugar 
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 apple, grated with skin on
1 cup caramel buds

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. Mix flour, cinnamon and sugar together in a large bowl.
  3. Lightly whisk eggs with milk, add to flour mix along with apple and melted butter.
  4. Mix with a spatula until batter just comes together.
  5. Add caramel buds and mix to combine.
  6. Spoon mixture into muffin cases and bake for 12-15 mins or until just beginning to brown.

I kind of added lib with this recipe and hoped it would work. It did. I'm not a massive caramel fan so find the caramel buds a little sweet but the combination of flavours definitely works. Now I have to think of some interesting recipes for the other flavours.

Head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and check out what some other bloggers have in their kitchens this month.


  1. Goodness, why did you have a chocolate ban? ;-)

    Did you like the flavoured Callebaut? Lots of people rave about them, but I've never been a big fan. Thanks for letting us know that the Sicao is a good alternative - I've never tried it, but it definitely is a lot cheaper. And I love Nigel Slater too! I have the first book, but not the dessert one, so I'll be on the lookout for that!

    Lovely stuff in your kitchen, Pam! Hope the belly bub is going well! xx

    1. The chocolate ban was to stop my behind growing at a faster rate than my belly! I don't mind the flavoured Callebaut, but they are very sweet. I assume it's white chocolate that has been flavoured and I'm not the biggest fan of white chocolate. I am keen to use the orange ones though, because I think orange is a great addition to sweet treats.

  2. Hi Pam, I am also from Perth and would love to know where you order your chocolate from. I have been looking for a local source or a good mail order place. Thanks.

    1. Hi Passionfruit! I get my chocolate from the eBay store "Paragon Shop Online". A local distributor called Maison Felix ( do stock some Callebaut and they will deliver but I found them to be more expensive and with less range than the ebay store. Hope that helps :)

  3. That much chocolate would be dangerous in my house.... and I would have to buy larger clothes! I'm a fan of Nigel Slater too...

    1. That amount of chocolate in my house IS dangerous Lizzy, hence the ban!

  4. Both the Nigel Slater books are very well used in my kitchen. The muffins look good.

  5. Those muffins look delicious- I am a caramel and apple fan- and I'm going to make them- thanks for the recipe!
    I usually go for cookbooks with pictures- but when a book is recommended highly will try it- thanks for the review.
    I've enjoyed this little visit in your kitchen, Thanks, Pam!

  6. the chocolate buds look very interesting!

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