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/ …