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In My (borrowed) Kitchen: January 2014


Happy 2014 to all my wonderful followers and inquisitive visitors. I hope the New Year brings you all renewed energy, inspired creativity, recipes to drool over and a clean up fairy for the kitchen.

My long time followers will know that we home swap. is a wonderful site with listings from all around the globe, homes of like minded people who are planning to travel to your hometown and would like experience life as a local. They may be tourists or adventurers or maybe they are like us who have family to visit without imposing long term hospitality on their nearest and dearest.

We are currently on a month long exchange in the hills to the west of the Brisbane a beautiful family home named “Heartland.”

The heart motif is evident everywhere, especially in the kitchen. The queen of hearts is a red “Le Creuset” cast iron heart shaped casserole dish.

In my borrowed kitchen I discovered in the back of a cupboard an aluminium cake storage tin reminiscent of my childhood. These tins were common in Australian homes in the 1950s and 60s a relic of time before cheap moulded plastics were common.

In my home swap kitchen I have not one, but two Chef’s Choice grinders filled with Himalayan Pink Rock Salt and organic black peppercorns. Ten cents of the purchase price of this fantastic product aids the McGrath Foundation, a charitable trust set up by Aussie test cricketer Glen McGrath and his wife Jane while they were struggling with Jane’s breast cancer. The Foundation works to raise breast health awareness and provides personal nursing support for all woman who are diagnosed with a breast malignancy. Sadly Jane McGrath died in 2008 aged thirty two.

In my kitchen I had an uncooked piece of Wagyu corned silverside. This blog was initiated by Leah asking me how she should cook a piece of corned silverside. It had been years since I had last prepared it so my instructions were hazy and the end result dissatisfying. Last week we talked about corned beef again and the merits of cooking it in the slow cooker then while browsing through a new paddock to plate butchery in Indooroopilly, the cuts of corned silverside caught my attention providing the perfect opportunity for me to redeem myself as the conduit of family recipes, albeit using a different method. Here’s what we did using the slow cooker.

The piece of corned silverside weighed a fraction over 1 kg. To the slow cooker bowl we added 2 roughly chopped carrots, 2 sticks of celery, 12 black peppercorns, 6 whole cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 3/4 cup of malt vinegar. We added the meat to the cooker then covered it with warm water. We then cooked the silverside in the slow cooker for 2 hours on high, 6 hours on low. At the end of an exhausting, long, hot and often frustrating day in the kitchen we served the corned beef simply with steamed baby potatoes and some greens. The best condiment we could manage was hot English mustard straight from the jar. The corned beef was melt in the mouth tender and incredibly tasty. It had disappeared before I even thought to take a photo!

In my kitchen are three fabulous new (for me) cookbooks, a Christmas gift from my chief taste tester. I have read many, many posts on WordPress referring to Ottolenghi and I’ve made a passing acquaintance with him on the TV, but now I’ve had a little time to peruse his books, I’m besotted. Three salads from the “The Ottolenghi Cookbook” graced our New Years Dinner Table, all were a fabulous.

Best of all, in my borrowed kitchen is my eldest daughter Leah, from Sharing the Food We Love. We came to Brisbane to spend some quality time with her. We have cooked and eaten together, shared wine and beers, we’ve talked and talked and talked some more. It has been, and still is quality time of the very best kind!

Thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the monthly IMK, a round up of what’s happening in the kitchens of food bloggers worldwide. Why not join in the fun!

About ladyredspecs

I wear two blogger hats, food and photos. My inner Melbourne kitchen, the heart of my home, is concurrently art/craft studio, workplace and sweatshop. I am a slave to my cooking passion and to my cameras. My love of good food holds me in a lifetime of bondage, as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I feel privileged that my sixty years of experiences have mirrored both the cultural homogenization of Australian food and the digital progression of photography. While my love of food is acquired and my creations transient, the artistic genes I inherited and my photographic record permanent. These two loves are a natural yin and yang. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating, respect for ingredients, an abhorrence of artificial additives and a good palate, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

33 comments on “In My (borrowed) Kitchen: January 2014

  1. ohlidia
    February 21, 2014

    Oh, so glad to see a photo of you Sandra! Now I can see you in my mind every time I read your posts. I have got to get me one of those heart Le Creuset!

    • ladyredspecs
      February 21, 2014

      I generally prefer to be on the other side of the camera!! I know what you mean though, it’s nice to put faces to the names of bloggers you’ve become virtual friends with!

  2. gillian
    January 22, 2014

    Oh yes home swapping is on my bucket list once I retire! I just discovered IMK – will have to look at joining in soon… such a lovely list of (new to me) bloggers.

    • ladyredspecs
      January 23, 2014

      Yes IMK is a lovely list of bloggers, do join in! We highly recommend home swap holidays, our recent 4 week swap in Brisbane was a huge success from every perspective!

  3. Saskia (1=2)
    January 17, 2014

    Happy New Year Ladyredspecs! So many things to love in this post! LOVE corned beef, especially the leftovers. Nothing better than a corned beef sanga with crunchy pickles, especially in this unrelenting heat. PLENTY is one of my favourite cookbooks – so many beautiful, inspiring recipes.
    Your borrowed kitchen looks amazing, and very well-stocked! Very intrigued about home-swapping; something we’ve been curious about for quite some time. We do an unofficial house-swap with my coast-dwelling mum every Christmas. Love it, and she enjoys her ‘urban escape’ too.
    Great photo of you and your daughter – quality mum/daughter time is the best.

    • ladyredspecs
      January 17, 2014

      Home swapping is a fabulous way to have a “comforts of home” holiday, we have never been disappointed. It’s such a great way to see the world. It’s was just wonderful to have a month hanging out with Leah, we miss her so much!

  4. Mel @ The cook's notebook
    January 11, 2014

    I’ve never done a home swap but would love to. Great idea. I love all heart shaped bowls and dishes. Especially that Le Crueset dish – wow! How great are the Ottolenghi books? He is one of my favourites.

    • ladyredspecs
      January 11, 2014

      Oh, home swapping is a wonderful experience! Have to get to know Ottolenghi better, that’s the project for January.

  5. tableofcolors
    January 9, 2014

    What a wonderful borrowed kitchen you have! Happy New Year!

    • ladyredspecs
      January 9, 2014

      Happy new Year to you too, yes it ha been a fabulous borrowed kitchen, sadly we leave for home today

  6. heidiannie
    January 8, 2014

    House swapping sounds like a great way to be near those you love for extended periods! And how very welcoming all those hearts are in the kitchen at Heartland.
    That is how I make my corned beef as well- it is one of my husband’s favorite meals- especially when I have enough left over to go in his sandwich for lunch the next day.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • ladyredspecs
      January 8, 2014

      It’s a pleasure Heidi Anne. Our corned beef was a great success this time! Thanks for visiting

  7. Loving that cake tin! I have a similar ‘rice’ tin in our bathroom that I keep cotton balls in. We’re big home exchnagers too – wewent to the UK & Europe and did over a dozen in 2009/10. Can’t wait until we can do it again. I look forward to reading throughout 2014.

    • ladyredspecs
      January 7, 2014

      It’s amazing how everything old is new again, especially in homewares. Home exchange is fantastic. We spent 5 months in the UK/Spain in 2011, did 3 exchanges it was wonderful. This is our 3rd local swap, all have been a rip roaring success. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Kim Bultman
    January 6, 2014

    Mother-daughter time is the best and your heart-shaped prelude shows a lot of love happening in your borrowed kitchen. (Home swapping sounds like fun!) Thanks for your recipe and tips, too… I’m imagining how good it was as we “speak.” Happy New Year!

    • ladyredspecs
      January 6, 2014

      Thanks Kim, yes, spending time with my daughter is the best Christmas present I could ask for!

  9. Misky
    January 6, 2014

    Oh, hearts! I love that!

    • ladyredspecs
      January 6, 2014

      Yes, a lovely ambience in a strangers kitchen, most welcoming!

  10. Sally
    January 6, 2014

    I have all of those Ottolenghi books and they are a joy. Lovely nosing around someone else’s kitchen even if it’s just on loan.

    • ladyredspecs
      January 6, 2014

      Thanks, I think Ottolenghi and I are destined to be great mates!

  11. Glenda
    January 5, 2014

    Hiya Lady Red Specs, I would be putting that cake tin into my suit case. It is stunning. I love the idea of house swaps, if only we didn’t have three dogs.

    • ladyredspecs
      January 6, 2014

      House swapping is amazing, dogs are included by mutual consent!

  12. lizzygoodthings
    January 3, 2014

    Is that really a heart shaped pot from Le Creuset? I used to sell cookware for a decade, but have never seen on of those! Happy new year to you and may 2014 bring good things to your kitchen : )

    • ladyredspecs
      January 4, 2014

      Happy New Year to you too Lizzie, yes a large heart shaped cast iron Le Creuset no less! Thanks for visiting

  13. Francesca
    January 3, 2014

    That heart shaped Le Creuset is rather special.

  14. Hooray for spending time with family in the kitchen! And how wonderful to be able to spend time in such a lovely place! Ottolenghi’s books are fabulous – we cook a lot from Plenty and his signature book, but I haven’t got my hands on Jerusalem yet.. :) Happy New Year!

    • ladyredspecs
      January 3, 2014

      We are VERY lucky Celia. We miss Leah soooo much it’s been wonderful to be able to spend good quality time together in such a lovely environment. I’ll be exploring Ottolenghi thoroughly once I return to my own kitchen.

  15. G’day! Happy New year to your family and for your blog in 2014, true!
    What a unique kitchen view and really enjoyed your post…love the heart Le
    Le Creuset and the photo and you and your daughter…family and friends are priceless to me…thank you for your kitchen view too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  16. Leah
    January 2, 2014

    beautiful! I love the hearts… and having you In My Kitchen to play for a while xxx

  17. saucygander
    January 2, 2014

    Thanks for the peek into your borrowed kitchen! I’m going to feature some cookbooks in my IMK post too!

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This entry was posted on January 2, 2014 by in Food, In My Kitchen and tagged .

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