In My Kitchen – May 2014

Another month has flown by with lots of lovely produce making an appearance at the greengrocers which is always such a pleasure to see! swiss-chard-and-herb-tartIn my kitchen I have Rainbow Swiss Chard – I’ve recently discovered this vegetable and now cannot get enough of it. These beautiful leaves arrived in my vegetable box which was bursting at the seams with all sorts of goodies. I made a delicious Swiss Chard and Herb Tart which went down a storm. Click on the link to see the recipe if you missed it last week. in-my-kitchen-may-2014In my kitchen I have rambutans. These prehistoric looking tropical fruits are in season now and are native to Indonesia and Malaysia. I got them from a a young man who sets up trestle tables outside a shop on the high street. His produce isn’t always in the best shape but he sells bowls full of all sorts of fruit and vegetable for a £1 and I do like to support him – he is out there every day of the week no matter what the weather. Rambutans have a thick but soft shell which splits easily to reveal a large opalescent fruit with a large woody seed in the middle. The fruit looks similar to the more familiar lychee but is not quite as juicy and tastes more like a grape. These are lovely in fruit salads. in-my-kitchen-may-2014In my kitchen I have another exotic fruit – loquats,  bought from the same vendor. I buy these more for their nostalgic value than anything else as both my grandfather and great uncle had trees in their Nairobi gardens. I have fond memories of sitting outside in my great uncle’s front garden; there would be a great many aunties and cousins milling around, enjoying a gossip and a catch-up. Trays of samosas, chutney, tea, home made cakes and biscuits would appear from the kitchen, passed round as the afternoon wore on. And these loquats which my cousin brother would have climbed up the tree to shake down for us, amidst much shouting to be careful and to watch our heads! My great uncle also had some enormous ferns growing in pots and invariably, older school boys would stop at the gate and ask if they could have a couple of seed filled fronds for their classwork…they always left clutching a samosa too! These fruit are at their sweetest when very soft. Othewise they are quite tart (hello salsa!) and with their high pectin levels, are brilliant in chutneys and jams. In Japan, the dried leaves are used to brew an anti-inflammatory tea which combats eczema and asthma… in-my-kitchen-may-2014In my kitchen I have the most adorable bottle of Limoncino, a lemon zest liqueur, given to me by friend who just got back from Italy. He travels a lot for work and pleasure and I am tasked with keeping an occasional eye on his business premises. For this hardly onerous task, he rewards me with wonderful food gifts from where ever he has been. The flavour of Limoncino or as it is more commonly known, Limoncello, really depends on the quality of the fruit. This is a really good article which illustrates brilliantly the passion Italians have when it comes to their produce – http://www.capri.net/caprireview/article.php?cod=49&lang=it&tr=1

“ the lemon makes the difference … Femminiello from Massa Lubrense (oval in shape, smooth skin, very juicy) and Sfusato from Amalfi (tapered shape, large with a thick, yellow peel and almost no seeds) are … characterized by the intense aroma of essential oils that it inherits from the environment. The unique nature of these fruits depends on the microclimate, the proximity of the sea and protection from the cold winds thanks to the use of traditional pagliarelle (straw matting) covering the groves and held up with chestnut poles”  The flavour also depends on when the lemons are picked. The first blossoming lemons, picked at dawn have the most concentrated flavours. Limoncino is best sipped, near frozen, in shot glasses.

in-my-kitchen-may-2014In my kitchen I have not one but two books which I won separately! Roast is a busy restaurant in London’s Borough Market and the book is full of the most mouthwatering photos and recipes. I won this by joining a competition on FaceBook. The Creamery Kitchen has brilliant recipes on converting milk into dairy products and I can’t wait to try some of the recipes out. I won this one through a Twitter campaign! Social media does have it’s good points!!

in-my-kitchen-may-2014In my kitchen I have a delicious Japanese Green Tea with Brown Rice. As much as I adore coffee, I find that if I have one after 3 pm in the afternoon, I am unable to get to sleep until the wee hours – and I mean the wee hours – 2 or 3 in the morning! In fact, I was out for dinner the other night and asked for a decaf expresso to round off the meal. It tasted so good that I just knew it wasn’t decaf, then promptly forgot about it until I was in bed wondering why I wasn’t tired! I was introduced to this tea at a wonderful local cafe – I asked for a pot of green tea (it was 3pm!) and was asked if I would like to try the brown rice version. It tastes like popcorn, has a mild green tea flavour and is very moreish indeed. Now, my son, is a Japanophile and has been since he was 8, loves going off to Soho to buy proper Japanese Sencha tea from a little shop on Brewer Street called Arigato. Arigato is an Aladdin’s Cave of Japanese foodstuffs – fresh, packaged and prepared. They have even carved out a little space where you can sit and eat their sushi, salads, gyoza and kare-age. I happened to be passing by and was pleased to find this tea, which Jake informs me has always been there!

Well that is it from my kitchen this month.What have you been up to? Let me know via the comments box below.

In My Kitchen is is hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial where she is joined by bloggers from all over the world affording us a glimpse of what they’ve been up to that month. Many thanks to Celia for hosting this series. Pour yourself a cuppa, click on the link and take a look at what others have been up to in their kitchens!

This week, I am so thrilled to be co-hosting Angie’s Friday Fiesta with Jhuls  of The Not So Creative Cook –  we would love to see you – it’s a fantastic way to read new blogs, make new friends and gain followers too! All you have to do is write a post for specifically for the party and  link up to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #15 post (you can post up until the following Wednesday) to join the party . The post can be about anything you like – food, travel, musings, photography – do join us – it is going to be so much fun! The guidelines are here… http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/ …

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71 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – May 2014

  1. I love chard too, or silverbeet as it’s more commonly known in Oz, it can be added to so many different dishes. Well done, such nice prizes. Rambutans are always so expensive here, but such a delicious treat

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  2. Selma, aren’t these IMK posts fabulous! I love whizzing around the world to see what everybody has to share.
    I have a teapot very similar to yours and use it often.
    Have a beautiful day.
    :-) Mandy xo

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    • Thanks Laura! It’s nice to have these in every so often! Just so you know, I had to retrieve your comment from the spam queue which is so weird as you have commented before with no problem…

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  3. I wish the things in my kitchen looked like yours, Selma! Beautiful produce [the rambutans are new to me], bedtime reading [I always have at least 3 cookbooks on my nightstand] and a delightful Limoncino [I wouldn’t mind a sip of that right now]! Lovely…

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  4. Selma, reading your post took me back to those days in Nairobi when loquat trees were in abundance. Add limoncello to the mix and you’ve created a mouth-watering post for sure. So I see this is another site I’m going to have to join “In my Kitchen”. Love it :)

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    • Feeling very nostalgic this month with all the produce is that is available at the green grocers here! Yes, Celia would love it if you joined in Loretta! Deadline for these posts is the 10th of every month.

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  5. How wonderful to win two new cookbooks. However you are a bad influence 😉 as I’ve just ordered The Creamery Kitchen simply by seeing it here! It is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’ve never heard of brown rice tea – sounds interesting. I keep my limoncello in the freezer – the perfect summer drink over ice. Love the cute bottle.

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  6. Aww.. this is such a fun post and brown rice green tea- never seen that. During my stay in Singapore I saw a lot of rambutans but found them a bit creepy and so never tried them :/

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    • Aditi – one of the names for rambutan translates as “messy hair”! They do look formidable and if I hadn’t have seen the lychee like fruit inside, I don’t think I would have tried it either! The brown rice green tea is really nice – especially if you like popcorn! You should join this series – go over and take a look at Celia’s blog – on the right are all the current bloggers who have posted – it’s so interesting to see what is going on everywhere….deadline is the 10th of every month so you could either get your skates on or start collecting/photographing items and writing them up for next month …

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  7. One thing for sure, I wanna be in your kitchen now ;). Will go through your post once again and read more carefully! The loquats being back good memories. Miss lychees! Will pick the rambutan do next time, when I see them!

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  8. So many interesting things in this post, Selma. Congrats on the cookbook prizes, as you said ‘snap’ we have both been lucky this month. That Limoncello brings back a very vivid memory for me, sitting with my husband in Amalfi at a little table sipping and chatting, after a hectic bit of travel. Thank you for helping bring back that lovely memory.

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  9. Always good stuff from around the world IMK’s :) I love being able to zoom around the globe for visits. I’m fond of loquats if I can get them off neighbourhood trees before the birds do. I’ve never eaten rambutans but I am very fond of lychees. A previous boss introducued me to Japanese Green Tea with Brown Rice. I love the nutty flavour – it’s somehow comforting. And chard, is a new foodie thing for me this year. I love incorporating it into my breakfast eggs.

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  10. That tea looks great – I’m not a tea drinker myself and happily, can still drink coffee in the evening but the puffed rice intrigues me. Loved your story about afternoon tea (Tiffin) at your Uncle’s. Thanks for sharing your story and kitchen this month.

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    • Aww, thanks so much! I just have to see a loquat and be transported to that front garden. It had a brick wall fence, with broken glass shards set on the top in cement to deter burglars. At one point my mum used to live there and she said that she ruined many a sari getting over that wall if she and her brothers missed the curfew!!

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  11. Two cookbooks! Win win! :) I believe the Japanese rice tea is called Genmaicha, and it’s absolutely delicious. I try to buy it in small quantities though, as it can get buggy (I think it’s the puffed rice that attracts them). Rambutans are a fruit I grew up with, and I adore rainbow chard – over here, it’s easy to grow in the garden. Enjoy your limoncello! :)

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    • Thanks Celia – waiting for the sun to really shine before I bust it out of the freezer! I had a horrible bug problem some years ago and ever since, store everything in glass jars or sealed plastic bags. I didn’t realise that you can bring bugs home in the packaging of dry goods so now I am very vigilant as I hate throwing food out. I don’t have the packaging for the tea but will check when I am next in the shop. Thanks for the tweet by the way!

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  12. I have tried rambutans once and yes they were clearly cousins to the lychee. Wish I could find them more often. And the loquat is still a mystery to me…thanks for the intro, I wish I could taste them through the screen :)
    I love your pictures.

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    • I think that the fruit just look so similar to each other but I find lychees much more flavoursome and juicy too! If you come across any loquats, make sure you get them as soft as possible otherwise they will be quite tart! You should think about writing a post for the IMK series – it makes a nice change and you can just focus on getting a nice shot! Hope you can join me for Angie’s Fiesta Friday#15 – I will post my entry tomorrow with all the links and details – you have until Wednesday to submit a post…it would be lovely to see you on there!

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  13. Selma, You should try growing silverbeet, It grows like a weed. At times I have had a freezer full of the stuff. Those two cookbooks look like a great prizes. Well done.

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  14. Love the chard and all that wonderful exotic fruit that you have in your kitchen. Coffee can keep me awake too if I drink it very late at night. Your Japanese tea with brown rice looks interesting… how does it taste? The Creamery Kitchen looks like an interesting cookbook. Thank you for letting me have a peek into your kitchen. :)

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    • Thanks Sally – I love getting my veg box as the produce is harvested locally and is only a couple of days old…both those cookbooks are really quite new I guess and not very mainstream either…thanks for stopping by – I have a lot of IMK catching up to do this month…

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  15. Wonderfully exotic fruit. Maybe the swiss chard and herb tart would be a good way for me to use up my surplus as I’m rapidly running out of creative ideas to use it. The creamery book looks worth buying for the cover photo alone. Good to see that a real person actually wins something in these competitions.

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    • Thank you Anne – the tart is a keeper – really easy to put together, doesn’t have to be served hot, tastes really good and keeps well too! The Creamery Book is beautifully shot and styled inside as well – couldn’t believe that I had won something as this rarely happens to me!!

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  16. Pingback: In My Herb Garden & Dairy [Kitchen] | My Kitchen Witch

  17. Pingback: Rennet Experiments | My Kitchen Witch

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