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…”
A 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.
We 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.
My 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.
There 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.
There 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!