Where do the months go? It’s a long time since I’ve invited friends into my kitchen. Since I last posted, we sold our beautiful home in Canberra and said goodbye to our much-loved kitchen garden.
We’ve relocated to Queensland and downsized big-time. Anyone who’s been through the ordeal of sorting through a lifetime of accumulated possessions will understand why I’ve been quiet of late.
Our new home is an apartment overlooking Queensland’s beautiful Moreton Bay. The kitchen is half the size of our last one but I’m stubbornly trying to cram in all my prized kitchenalia. Sadly I had to let go of my vintage Kooka stove, though I’m pleased to say it went to a devoted foodie friend who I’m sure will love it as much as I did.
We did however hang onto our woodfired pizza oven which now graces our balcony overlooking the ocean! We miss being able to pick fresh herbs for dinner – we’ve been away more often than we’ve been at home in our new place so even a balcony garden hasn’t been possible.
The upside is that we have a balcony where it’s warm enough to eat outdoors nearly every night of the year – how awesome is that? And we have a great little street market every Sunday just outside our door where we can buy fruit, veg and herbs very cheaply.
The pantry hasn’t suffered from the move – we actually brought lots of our favourite products with us. Ridiculous, I know! We are still benefiting from a lovely hamper of products given to us at Christmas by our very kind (and now much missed) neighbours.
We’re also still enjoying this wonderful Brazil nut oil that we bought from the National Gallery of Australia shop during the Gold and the Incas exhibition. It has a lovely smooth nutty taste and is a great addition to salads and other dishes.
We’ve also been using Dionysus olive oils liberally. I first met Dennis Gizas a couple of years ago and was immediately impressed with his commitment to making beautiful oil from an ancient grove north of Kalamata in Greece. His family has access to trees as old as 1300 years – the average age is around the 350 year mark – and I love the whole story around this artisan production.
Dennis is a determined man, for production during the most recent harvest (November 2013 to January 2014) was down by 80% on average, because of both economic and environmental factors. We are great fans of both his Delicate and Robust oils, which have been snapped up by restaurants and deli’s in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
Dennis had planned to expand the Dionysus brand to Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, but because of this season’s low yield, he has had to put those plans on hold for another year. I honestly can’t wait till Dionysus oils are available in Queensland.
Another product I’ve been enjoying is this deliciously creamy Alpine Coconut Milk Yoghurt, found at our local supermarket. Oh my, I can’t begin to tell you how good it is!
And, finally, in my kitchen is a selection of cookbooks collected on our recent travels in the US. Alabama Food and The Southern Bite Cookbook by Alabama blogger Stacey Little are mementoes of a wonderful week spent in Montgomery and Huntsville, Alabama. I would never have thought of these as gourmet destinations and yet we had some truly splendid meals at restaurants that are creating beautiful food with locally sourced produce. The other little book is one I bought in South Carolina at a cute little shop making old-fashioned cider.
Thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting In My Kitchen each month – go to her blog and check out all the other posts. Now that we’re settled in our new home, I promise to post more regularly!