In My Kitchen – August 2012

Farmers Market

In my kitchen in August we’re enjoying an incredible bounty of beautiful produce from the Capital Region Farmers Market.

I don’t get there as often as I’d like – damn those early starts! – but when we do manage to roll out of bed early enough on a Saturday morning, we are always richly rewarded.

All this lovely fruit and veg supplements the wombok, broccolini, beetroot and other produce we’ve been getting from our home garden.


I’m ever so grateful to our generous friends Carolyn & Ian for this huge bowl of delicious lemons. With a lot of egg yolks in the fridge leftover from my daughter’s baking session, some lemon butter is calling!

CupcakesDid I mention Alise’s baking session?

She must have turned out at least 8 dozen cupcakes in a variety of flavours and toppings, all in a good cause – to raise funds for the RSPCA.

I have to admit to sneaking one or two to enjoy with a cup of Café Hue.

Hue CoffeeThis is a deliciously smooth coffee from the Central Highlands of Vietnam, brought back by my sister Alison after her recent visit.

Speaking of baking, I’m delighted to show you the speculaas mould that I bought many years ago on a trip to Holland (where my father was born).

It shares a corner of my kitchen along with a crystal jar from my in-laws, a cast iron teapot and a rice container that I bought in north-eastern Thailand.

I was inspired to show you the speculaas mould after reading Glenda’s post in her Passion Fruit Garden blog last month.

Glenda has some beautiful handmade moulds for baking speculaas and other cookies. Did you know the word cookie comes from the Dutch word koekje, meaning little cake?

Speculaas Mould

Another blog that has inspired me this month is Fig & Cherry, in which Christie featured some fabulous vintage Weight Watchers cards.

I still have the box of recipe cards that I collected more than 30 years ago. I guess you could say they are vintage too.

Recipe Cards

And finally in my kitchen this month is an assortment of products including Pukara Estate Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar (courtesy of my friend Jan), Dionysus Olive Oil, Voyager Estate Grape Juice and Voyager Estate Dukkah.

The last two were in a take-home pack given to travel writers at a lunch in Sydney hosted by West Australian winery, Voyager Estate.

Their dukkah is a delicious blend of nuts and spices, and I love dunking some crusty bread into the balsamic vinegar and oil and then the dukkah.


Don’t forget to check out Celia’s Fig Jam & Lime Cordial blog to see the growing list of other bloggers who are inviting you into their kitchens.

Tags from the story


    • Glenda, I have to confess I’ve never actually used the speculaas mould. I’ve always just had it on the wall for decoration to remind me of my Dutch heritage. Looking forward to hearing how you go with yours!

  • Can you share a speculaa recipe with us? Even without a mould, they are still a terrific koekje (cookie)!!!

  • I have a mold very similar to yours- I got it at a garage sale 20 years ago for $2- but I’ve never used it other than to decorate the wall in my kitchen. Have you used yours? Does it need special preparation? I’d like to use it but am not sure how.
    And I love the Pukara Estate Olive Oil- Pepper – it is my favorite bread dipping oil!
    Thanks for participating this month- I enjoyed your post!

    • Thanks for your kind comments, Heidi. The moulds are certainly intended to be used; I would probably oil it a little first. A project for a rainy day perhaps?
      I haven’t tried the pepper-flavoured oil from Pukara Estate but have had some of their other flavours and they’ve all been great.

      • Hi Christine
        The instructions with mine said to dust the moulds heavily with icing sugar before the first use and then to dust lightly before each additional use.

        It also suggested to get a piece of cloth and put a couple of spoonfuls of icing suger on it and then tie up the cloth to form a little ball of sugar. Then use it to dab icing sugar over the dough.

        Last hint is to keep the dough cold.

        Hope this helps. We should all do a ‘show and tell’ of our Speculaas.

      • Hi Glenda, These are great tips. Thanks so much! I agree that we should do a ‘show and tell’ of our Speculaas. I’ve got loads of Dutch cookbooks so when I get the chance to do a weekend of baking, I’ll be sure to post a recipe.

      • Christine, I made some speculaas the other day. The mould worked perfectly but I can’t say the same for the finished product. I left them dry for about 12 hours but still they spread and they also cracked during cooking. My little book of hints said margarine works better than butter but because I only ever use butter I ignored that hint. Today I bought some margarine for the first time in 30 years:) I’m trying again. The hint about keeping the dough cold was spot on. The dough came out of the moulds much more easily when the dough was cold. Good luck!

    • Hi Christie, I couldn’t bear to get rid of my recipe card box (which, as you can see, I decorated with a cute little sticker when I was in my teens). I still dip into the recipes occasionally! And yes, the lemons not only look beautiful but taste great as well (not mouth-puckering sour, just a lovely sweet-sour flavour).

  • Christine, I love your speculaas mould! I’ve never managed to make them work properly, but I really must give the recipe another go! Your market haul looks amazing! Thanks for sharing your kitchen with us this month!

Leave a Reply