In My Kitchen – February 2015

Emergency Fund Raiser for Kim and Russ Bultman.

The devastating aftermath of the electrical fire which razed the Bultmans’ home to the ground.

I would like to start this post saying how grateful I am to have a kitchen from which to show you my lovely bowls on the window ledge, my favourite pots and pans, my old china, my best knife, my latest foodie discoveries and share with you the joy of my sourdough starter, Twinkle. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to not have any of it. To lose not only the things in my kitchen but everything in my home. To literally only have the clothes that I am standing in. Take a minute and imagine not having your photos, your child’s first shoes, your books, possessions that have been handed down through the family…This happened to fellow blogger, Kim Bultman (of the blog, A Little Lunch) whom I “met” through Celia’s IMK series. She and her husband, Russ lost everything on the day of their wedding anniversary, in November as a result of a devastatingly fast electrical fire which swept through their lakeside home in Oklahoma and razed it to the ground in a matter of an hour. Luckily they are both fine and have been incredibly positive about the whole thing. Their daughter Pamela set up a fund raising site and in an absolute testament to Kim’s selfless nature, she asked her daughter to put off publicising it until after Christmas so as not to affect anyone’s enjoyment of the festive season. They are insured but as you can imagine, the insurance does not cover everything. One of the things that Kim would like to buy with any money raised, is a new cooker/stove. Please do consider donating even a small amount to help Kim and Russ. There are only 20 days left and not even half their goal of $5,000 has been reached. Imagine yourself in their situation and show them some love. This is the link to where the smallest of Paypal donations will make a difference –  Kim & Russ Bultman Fundraiser

In My Kitchen – Elaine (of the blog, foodbod) and I met up in Shepherd’s Bush the other Saturday, as it is a Middle Eastern treasure trove of food shopping and eating. Elaine wrote a fabulous post all about it, which many of you will have read, so I won’t detail it here – take a look at her post if you missed it – it was such a lovely day out with fabulous food and wonderful people!  I did come back with a few goodies!

In my kitchen there are the most fragrant of dried rose petals. The man at the check out asked me what I intended to do with them and, as I mumbled something about harissa, (how could I say they were for pretty pictures?!) he told me that his wife makes something, “even better than what you eat in a 5 star hotel – a little thick yoghurt, a little honey, a few almonds and a few of these petals.” Raising his hand and kissing the tips of his fingertips he proclaimed, “Delicious!” It is.

I also picked up a bottle of a Palestinian first, cold pressed, extra virgin, olive oil by a Fair Trade company called  Zaytoun.  I was touched to think that trees were as old as friendships and a lifeline for the children and was immeasurably moved to read that …”Beyond conflict and upheaval, runs the thread of a vibrant culture and we proudly share its gifts…”

In my kitchen - February 2014 | Selma's TableA friend of mine since Jake’s prep school days has finally started a blog called Happy Street London. Anita has a very popular Instagram feed which led her to blogging. She is one of the most nurturing and caring people I know and her blog is just another way for her to reach more people and share the love. She recently wrote a post about a quinoa salad that just looked and sounded so delicious that when I saw a box of this Black Quinoa, I had to pop it in my basket!

I was just about to walk over to the cashier when I realised that there was a butchery counter in the shop. I stopped to take a look and saw piles of merguez – the North African spiced sausages. I asked if they were made in-house and was told that yes, they were made fresh each day! Bingo! I bought a few of each flavour – Chicken, Spicy and Original. They are wonderful on the barbecue but also fabulous in a Shakshuka which is just what I made the next day for brunch.

We went on to a shop called Nut Case which Elaine had already scouted out – it was filled with lots nut based delicacies including these gorgeous pastries – Ma’amoul are filled with dates and these pistachio ones were not too sweet at all.

In my kitchen - February 2014 | Selma's TableWe rounded off the shopping with a wonderful mezze lunch and all I can say is that I plan on visiting again when I run out of tahini because, as you can see, there is no shortage of it on the Uxbridge Road!

I was asked to review a new cookbook called FIVE by Rachel de Thample and sent a veg box from Able and Cole to come up with a FIVE inspired recipe. The book is just fabulous – there’s not a thing that I wouldn’t make from it and have already ear marked lots of recipes. For my review post, I made a Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom and Chestnut Tart. I have a copy of the book to give away and will post this week with all the details and a new recipe too.

IMG_In my kitchen - February 2014 | Selma's TableMy Sutton Community Farm veg boxes have been great this month. I’ve had acorn squash as well as celeriac which we have had as Remoulade as well as roasted under fish.

IMG_In my kitchen - February 2014 | Selma's TableThere has been sweet, crisp purple kohlrabi which I love, cut into batons and served as a healthy vehicle for houmous or to dip into a little EVOO, balsamic vinegar and sea salt.

IMG_In my kitchen - February 2014 | Selma's TableThere have also been rainbow carrots which have an incredibly intense flavour when roasted. Here they surrounded a chicken on a bed of thyme.

From the leftovers of the roast chicken, I made a delicious pot pie, inspired by one of Anita’s posts on Happy Street London.

I was invited to coffee at a friend’s house and offered to bake something. I had seen a recipe for chocolate chip cookie and brownie tarts. Of course, I left it until the last minute to bake them the night before. They were an absolute disaster – the cookie dough was too greasy and filled up the mini tart tins too much. Then when they baked  they were a hot, crumbly mess with no hope in million years of coming out of the tins intact. I tried to make a few in shallow patty pans but again the cookie dough proved to be a problem. By this time, it was far too late to bake anything else so I ended up rather sheepishly buying a couple of toffee muffins from Marks & Spencer as well as taking over a loaf of Twinkle sourdough which I had intended to anyway. Bah!

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 and take a little tour!

Please remember to donate a little something to Kim and Russ’s emergency fund raiser if you can – if you haven’t already clicked, this is the link –  Kim & Russ Bultman Fundraiser

Have a wonderful February, everyone!


51 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – February 2015

  1. Oh my, I know I follow Kim’s blog, but somehow I missed reading about this devastating event. Good for you for mentioning it. I can’t imagine such an event, but glad everyone is safe. On another note, one of the things I love about blogging is the opportunity to meet other bloggers, which I’ve done in Dallas, Texas, in London, and in France. So much fun!! I love foodbod!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Mimi – thanks for your comments – yes, it’s so sad to hear and see what has happened to Kim and her husband – and she has just stayed so positive and upbeat throughout – it’s just heartbreaking. I’ve properly met a few bloggers now and look forward to meeting another when I visit Cape Town in a few weeks!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love seeing the things from our day trip all over again!! It was such a great day xx how was the rose petals with the yoghurt – as good as he said it would be??
    I always love the monthly trip to your kitchen, one day I’ll be there in person xx


  3. Such a beautiful post and lots of treasures. I’ve been to an Arab souk at Doha once (on a stopover on our way to the US). I saw the most amazing spice shop full of treasures (dried flowers, saffron, you name it!). Sadly, I couldn’t get any, as our bags were already checked in and you know how they are about bringing stuff in carry-ons.
    I’ve never found a place that sells authentic edible rose here. Most of the stuff seems cheaply made and full of fillers. It must be delicious over the yogurt and honey!


  4. I can’t imagine the heartache Kim and her husband have experienced in these last months. Thanks for bringing the loss of their home and contents to my attention. As for your kitchen… it appears to be extra yummy this month! Lovely…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nancy, thanks for the kind comments. I felt that I just had to let everyone know about what had happened and hopefully help them reach their goal. Wouldn’t it be lovely to think that the food blogging community has helped to fund a new cooker…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Selma, as your tagline so aptly expresses: “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful…” yup, that’s how I feel, too! Thanks so much for the shout out and for your friendship and support. (I also keep going back to the yogurt, honey, almond, & dried rose petals suggestion you shared — wonderful story and idea — and your kohlrabi ‘batons’ recipe.) Simple and spectacular! Plus, the EVOO you featured (mid-post) involved trees, friendship, and children… the lil’ ones deserve help the most. (But thanks again soooo much!!!) xo ~ Kim


    • Kim, you are an incredibly strong woman – I am just in awe of your positivity and hope that everything works out for you this year. The yoghurt would also be nice with a little rosewater if the petals cannot be found! Sending you lots of love from across the pond xxx


  6. What an interesting month in your kitchen, Selma! Eating rose petals on yogurt sounds very exotic! I had a near baking disaster myself a few days ago… did everything wrong… but somehow it still turned out looking nice and tasting nice! I guess you have to get lucky sometimes, and the rest of your efforts looked amazing. Thank you for sharing, and for looking after Kim and Russ. x


    • Hello Ardys! I so rarely have kitchen disasters now (mainly because I just seem to make the same things over and over again!) that I had to document it!! I always start the IMK posts thinking I have nothing to share and then start going through photos…


    • Sandra, thanks – such a devastating thing to go through and if you read Celia’s post, Kim has just had a terrible year. We can thank the very sweet man’s wife for the rose petal idea – she must be doing it with so much love – he was so proud!


  7. What a fabulous share Selma!
    One indeed feel blessed after seeing such mishaps as burnt down houses.
    When I read Elaine’s post, I was so jealous of both of you, and thought if oy if I could join you girls on tha trip to Mid East market.
    Those carrots look amazing. Will look forward to your review on the book.


    • One of the joys of big city living is the enormous diversity of people, cultures and the food and London is just fabulous for that. And yes, it’s good to stop and take stock of what we have and really appreciate how lucky we all are. Your plum tart looks amazing, by the way x


    • Thanks Francesca – I did think of you as I was writing up this post. It was your post about your loss, which I read nearly a year ago that moved me so. The tart was really good and the flavours all worked so well together – I can’t wait to see your interpretation of it!


      • What an extraordinary memory you have Selma. Thanks for those thoughts. We just passed our 6th anniversary of Black Saturday on Feb 7th here and the day is never a happy one. Our thoughts hark back to our fire and loss but also to the 170 people who lost their lives in that bushfire. Only yesterday, another young researcher rang me, wanting information ( probably for her PHD) on peoples reactions to pets and wild animals and saving them from fire. These reseachers really have no idea what a fire storm is about.
        I am so pleased you followed up Celia with another reminder re Kim’s stove. it would be nice if the IMK world can offer one small thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. My prayers are with Kim and the family. I am so saddened with what happened to them. :(
    On the other hand, I can see that you acquire a lot of things in your kitchen, Selma. The story of you and Elaine met was really beautiful and a happy one – I am really glad.
    I love everything about here, Selma, and thanks again. See you at the next IMK post. :D Have a safe and blessed day! xx


  9. – I don’t know Kim, but I am deeply sorry for her devastation. I’ll pray for their life recovery as smooth as possible.
    – I read about your outing at Elaine’s. You two ladies ROCK! I wonder if the store keeper (rose petals) was an Iranian? The first time I had yogurt with rose petals (fresh) were at my friend’s house. It was made exactly how this store keeper described. Petals are from a special kind of rose, very aromatic and sweet. I have not seen this product at our Persian market. May I ask how much you had to pay for this good sized bag?


  10. Thank you Fae – Devastation can hit at anytime and to go through it with the positive attitude and resilience as shown by Kim and Russ – it is so inspiring. The checkout man may well have been an Iranian – I should have asked! He was very proud of his wife which was lovely. The bag was £1.99 – very reasonable in my view – but this is the real Middle Eastern area of London, so the prices are extremely reasonable.


  11. It was a horrible thing to have happened to Kim and her husband, but you are right, they are so upbeat. Her posts since it happened look on the good things life has brought. Also hoping that they will raise enough to buy that stove! Your kitchen this month looks very very busy! Love everything – even the fact that you had a failure. :-) I have too many! A grand day out with Elaine makes up for it.


    • Debi, I really hope that we as bloggers can help them out – they are so positive – true proponents of the glass half full! I was so annoyed about those tarts – such a waste of good eggs, butter and chocolate but it does give me a recipe to work on and make do-able! Elaine and I had a wonderful day, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh such a catastrophe Selma, and how very kind of you to bring Kim’s mishap to the forefront. I can’t imagine how a fire would just completely shut one down. Where does one begin to pick up the pieces again? A cousin of mine in Toronto had something similar happen, they were on a cruise in Hawaii when their house burned to the ground. Love all your picks in your kitchen, you are indeed pretty fortunate living in London and being surrounded by such great ethnic stores. Great post :)


  13. Selma, you write the best IMK posts! And I love how everything you make is always so gorgeous – like all the extra details on that beautiful pie at the end! Sounds like you and Elaine had a most fabulous day! I doubt I could resist an olive oil pressed from olives harvested from trees seen as close friends – how incredibly moving to think of such a strong bond extending over generations. Thanks for supporting Kim. Much love xxx


    • Thank you Celia. I am sad to see that there hasn’t been much in the way of donations though. Elaine and I had a really fun day and will hopefully do it again soon! Wish we could do it with you – one day….x


  14. Pingback: Fattoush – The Perfect Summer Salad | Ginger&Bread

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