In My Kitchen – December 2014

I was MIA from this series last month, but it’s been a busy couple of months in my kitchen – come and take a look..

In My Kitchen December 2014 | Selma's Table

Blue and White serving dishes

In my kitchen, I have scored some bargains! I love scouring charity and thrift shops for tableware – most of the time there is nothing but sometimes, there be gold… The first two dishes in the top row,  I spotted locally for a grand sum of £4 and the last one I found on eBay – starting price £1.99 and no one else bid!

In My Kitchen December 2014 | Selma's Table

Silver servers

Another eBay find – I was looking for salad servers and came across these, being sold as a pair of salad servers. Obviously they aren’t – I think that they are most probably cake or pie servers – what do you think? Both are silver plate from the 1920’s, the ivory handle is bone and the brown handle is bakelite. Again, no-one bid for them so I got the pair for the starting price of £3.99! I just love the detail on them.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Elaine of foodbod’s spice blends

In my kitchen, I’ve had some incredibly generous gifts from my fellow bloggers. Elaine of foodbod sent  me a a selection of her homemade spice blends. I recently used her foodbod #1 blend in scrambled eggs, which turned out quite delicious!

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Tina of Madamoiselle Gourmande’s cutlery wrap

Then, Tina of Mademoiselle Gourmande sent me the most stylish cutlery wrap (for picnics, said her note!) which she made herself. Isn’t it lovely? What a thoughtful and clever thing to make and send me – I am very touched.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's TableI’ve been sent some wonderful Tetley’s Green Tea to try out – I had no idea how involved the whole process of tea blending is. I’ve written a post about it with information that is sure to surprise you! These green teas are just lovely – for me, the trick is not to let the teabags steep for too long otherwise the resultant tea is just too bitter. The fruity Peach and Apricot Green Tea is also fantastic for steeping dried fruit for bakes and the Mint is very refreshing.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar and Wookey Hole Goats Cheese

Elaine and I went to the BBC Good Food Show as guests of Barber’s 1833, England’s oldest cheesemaker who use live cultures to make their cheeses.  I’ve written a post about their cheese making process which is steeped in history and tradition; their fabulous cheese which can be bought in Australia as well as the States and really shouldn’t be missed if you get the opportunity to get your hands on some.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Holy Lama Spice Drops

While we were at the show, I picked up a few things – of course! These Spice Drops were actually samples from the press room (we had press passes – swanky or what?). The Mulled Wine is very nice in a cuppa and I am looking forward to using the cardamom in baking and in rice too.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Lime Leaves

I bought a bag full of lime leaves – the dried ones – which are just so lovely in any Thai style dish, especially anything with coconut or shellfish in it. I pull out the central rib or stem and finely slice the leaves before stirring them in to the sauce to simmer and impart that gorgeous perfume.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Dakos from the Olive Branch

I also stopped by the Olive Branch stand to say hello and got my hands on a bag of Dakos – these are the hard rye biscuits that Ottolenghi loves and uses in his salads.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Win a copy of Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Speaking of Ottolenghi, I’ve been sent a copy of his eagerly awaited and much coveted book, Plenty More for one of my readers to win. It is full of the most wonderful recipes; inventive and so full of flavour that you don’t even realise that they’re vegetarian.  The competition ends on Tuesday Dec 09  – take a look at the post for more details on how to enter the draw.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Dried Limes

One of the ingredients Ottolenghi uses is dried limes – you cook them whole in sauces where they lend and musky deep lime flavour to the dish. I found a bagful in my local Mediterranean shop and I just wish you could smell them – absolutely gorgeous. I can see how Jo Malone was inspired to come up with the fragrance for her iconic Lime Basil and Mandarin Cologne, to which I am addicted!

In My Kitchen December 2014 | Selma's Table

Vietnamese Cinnamon

In my kitchen and very appropriate for this time of year, I have a large bottle of Cinnamon – and this is one of my favourites. It just has such a lovely flavour. I stock up on it whenever I see it at TK Maxx as I do get through quite a bit with all the baking I do.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's TableIn my healing kitchen…..I may have arthritis in my ankle – I will find out next week what the results of all the tests and scans are but in the meantime, I have taken matters into my own hands to effect a cure. Years ago, I was told that drinking a mug of hot water into which had been stirred a spoonful of organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) and a little honey was a fantastic remedy for arthritis. In those days, my finger joints used to get achy especially if the weather was changing. I started to drink a mug of this every morning and I have never suffered from achy fingers since. Even Ralph Fiennes, the intrepid explorer, champions this drink. I did stop drinking this at some point but the minute I heard that my foot may be affected, I hunted down a bottle of organic ACV and have started to drink this again.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

In Wholefoods the other day, they had some fresh turmeric root in which I bought. This is meant to be an anti-inflammatory and since my ankle has been swelling up as well as aching I’ve been making Turmeric Tea which consists of 1 tsp of grated turmeric root and 1 tsp of grated ginger simmered in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes. Strained into a cup with a little honey and a splash of ACV, it is actually really delicious! And it has done an incredible job in keeping the swelling down. My fingernails look like I smoke 4 packs a day – grating turmeric will do that but it is well worth it!

A little round up of some of the food I’ve made, remembered to snap but haven’t blogged….I made some delicious spicy Butter Beans – recipe on Instagram if you are interested!  I bought a happy chicken from our local Streatham Farmer’s Market and we had it simply, stuffed with thyme and lemon and roasted surrounded by potatoes and garlic – a recipe of sorts is on Instagram – good ingredients just need to be cooked simply to let their flavours shine. These mussels are a bit of a favourite – cook the spaghetti for a couple of minutes less than you would normally and let it finish cooking in the mussel juices. I used some Elaine’s  Creole blend to spice it up and they were delicious! I made a dairy and egg free chocolate cake but didn’t like the texture enough to blog about it – this one needs some tinkering but doesn’t it look gorgeous?! A lovely way to enjoy tomatoes at this time of year, is to slow roast them so that their tomato flavour intensifies. I made a second batch the other day for sandwiches and salads – they are gorgeous in a toasted cheese too!

Well, that is it from my kitchen – huge thanks to the lovely Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hosts this monthly event – peeking into everyone’s kitchens all over the world is so inspiring!  Make yourself a cuppa and have a little browse – all the links to the participating blogs are on the right hand side of Celia’s post. I have linked her post to  her blog name so click on it and take a little tour!

Have a wonderful December, everyone!


48 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – December 2014

  1. Thank you for sharing whats in your kitchen this month. I love thrift stores too. The blue and white china is beautiful. Reminds me of something very similar that my mum collects. I am very jealous of your home made spice blends, I expect you’ll have a lot of fun with those. I like green tea but have never tried the peach and apricot one. Sounds delicious. I will have to look up your post about England’s oldest cheese maker. Take care. Emma xx


    • I was in Wimbledon Village the other day and the stuff in their thrift shops is fantastic but it’s also a lot more expensive in comparison! I’ve always been such a purist when it comes to china – it’s always been white. But I do rather love the blue and white serving dishes these days, especially when it’s old and faded…


    • Roger, it’s your sort of thing – a few ingredients, cooked to bring out the best in them! I did the butter beans in a slow cooker but you could do the same in a covered Crueset or similar in a low oven. x


  2. The blue and white dishes are beautiful, good scores! I have some that I inherited from my mother and grandmother, they are cherished.

    I have a question about the lime leaves. Are they from a regular lime tree or some special kind?

    And, I just purchased some of the dried limes as well, but haven’t used them yet. I’ll look forward to reading about your cooking adventures with them.


    • Hi Liz, how lucky that you have inherited yours.My mum has some spectacular Meissen china from the great-great-greats but it’s literally museum quality – I wouldn’t dare touch a plate because I just know that I would drop it! The rest of her stuff was just bog standard ironstone that she bought when we moved to Canada in the 70’s. The lime leaves are from the Kaffir Lime trees that are indigenous to Asia – it’s not the same as the regular ones from what I understand. I should have said that they were kaffir lime leaves! I am planning on making a stew soon, using a dried lime. If it works out, I will write up the recipe.


  3. I so love visiting your kitchen, Selma! I’m not sure I could have resisted those plates and cake servers – the cake servers in particular are stunningly intricate! What wonderful pressies you received from blogging friends! And is *that* what dried limes look like! Thank you – I always wondered but never knew! :) Have a glorious, sparkly, festive December darling Selma! xxx


  4. I went crazy buying odd pieces of ornate silverware when we were in the UK a few years ago, the likes of which you’s never see in Oz. I love your thrift shops and bric a brac stores. The plates were great pick ups! I’m still looking for Barber’s cheddar… Thanks for the peek into your kitchen Selma


    • It’s easy to go completely overboard on the old silver and china here – there is just so much of it! I love going to the big antique/bric-a-brac fairs but I’ve had some really good deals on eBay and the thrift shops. The dealers at the fairs can be a bit shark-ish! Hope you come across the Barber’s cheddar at some point, Sandra xx


  5. I hardly know where to start, what an interesting kitchen tour! Love the blue plates and yes Sandra is so right, we seldom see those kinds of silver and plates here in Oz, and certainly not cheaply. I have arthritis, too, Selma, and I started taking organic cider vinegar about 4 or 5 months ago and it has helped a lot. I take it straight, 1 T in a large glass of water first thing in the morning. I have read about it and several sites say that there is no evidence to support that it works, and yet, I have lots of anecdotal evidence that says it does, and my own experience has proven it to me as well. I hope it helps you. Thank you for the great IMK post. (BTW, I tried to comment on your previous post but WordPress was playing up that day and it wouldn’t work!)


    • Oh, Ardys! I am so pleased – not that you have arthritis, of course – but that you know about this cure! I had great success with it 8 or so years ago and I hope that it will have the same effect on my ankle. I feel like a cripple today after an a couple of hours out and about! Apparently, Ralph Fiennes’ mother was completely bedridden with arthritis in her back but after a couple of months of drinking this, she was up and about, walking the dogs and everything. A lot of these ‘alternative’ remedies can’t be proven scientifically but they do seem to work.I am so, so glad to hear that it is working for you as the alternatives are not great. I must say that the turmeric has been amazing in keeping the swelling down. (I have started taking supplements now as the constantly yellow fingernails were beginning to gross me out!!) When I got back today, I thought that I would have a very swollen ankle but there is nothing at all!! I am slowly getting round to reading everyone’s IMK posts and look forward to seeing what you have been up to! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing post!

    Firstly,good luck with the test results.

    Secondly, dried limes? Really? I’d be lucky to find dried grapes (😉) in Ireland… how exotic! I’ll have to try and get hold of some…

    Dr Doolittle and I are looking forward to using Elaine’s spice blends, I can’t wait to see what you do with them?

    And as for Celia’s sour dough…. Woohoo! Can’t wait.



    • Melissa – I’ve told you before – I have a Mediterranean shop literally a 5 minute walk from where I live and I have a big Indian shop another 5 minute walk away. If there is anything that you would like me to find for you ping me an email and I will be so happy to send them to you!!

      You have to try foodbod #1 in scrambled eggs – just delicious! I put a spoonful of creme fraiche in a bowl and whisked in a tsp of the blend, some salt and pepper and then whisked in 4 eggs, one at a time…so simple but so tasty!

      I can’t wait for Twinkle (Priscilla’s daughter!) to wake up once I start feeding her – it’s gonna be a sourdough December!! xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sherry, the ACV has really worked for me in the past and if it can get Ralph Fiennes bedridden mother able to walk the dogs then there must be something in it! It can take a while to work but keep at it. It’s actually a very refreshing drink to be honest!


  7. Great informative post Selma. Firstly, just love all your finds, isn’t it amazing how someone else’s junk can become a treasure in your home? For that reason, I’m always trawling the Goodwill and charity type shops for kitchen items, I’ve had great luck and now all the more I’m interested in gathering kitchen bits and bobs for the blog. I must admit, I’ve never gone on eBay though, I’ll have to give that a shot. Secondly, I too just recently seem to be suffering from arthritis, and I have read about the organic apple cider vinegar, I tried it, but didn’t stick with it. Now, having read your article, I must say I’m pumped to give it another shot. Lastly, I do like the idea of IMK, it’s a nice way to take a peek into other kitchens, if I’m ever back on track again, I’ll join in. Just got back from Canada, so it seems like I’ve been taking a hiatus from the blogging world, but I must get my act together and get blogging. Great post!


    • Hi Loretta! Glad to hear that you like thrifting too! Some people have such a knack for it – I used to have a friend who within seconds would find the most gorgeous things in the charity shop – where I would have given the shelf a good look and found nothing! Sorry to hear that you are suffering from arthritis – I had no idea how debilitating the pain can be and cannot recommend more strongly that you tie the ACV a go – it may take up to 3 months for you to feel any different but really, what have you got to lose in that time? I am chugging down 2 to 3 mugfuls of the brew a day and feel that there is an improvement. I am sure that Celia would love to have you join IMK – it’s such a great idea and takes away from the pressure of recipe posts too! Entries have to be in by the 10th of each month. Sounds like you had a great TG and trip to TO! Hope to see you back blogging again though xxx


    • Yay!! I am so happy to hear that! I was just sitting here thinking that I had better pull my finger our and start writing my post – deadline is the 10th of each month! Can’t wait to see what you post!


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