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In My Autumn Kitchen

I’m welcoming autumn into my kitchen with open arms. Sweet juicy tomatoes, taut heavy eggplants red peppers and blood plums are all at their peak. It’s time to be making tomato chutney, kasaundi and eggplant pickle, passata and tart fruity blood plum sauce and jam. The cupboards are bursting with recycled jars I’ve been collecting for the past 12 months. It’s time to start filling them.

tomato relish jars
In my kitchen is the fourth loaf of bread I’ve made with 100% spelt flour leavened with the starter that was fermenting in kitchen last month. The flavour is wonderful, the crust is thin and crisp but the texture is dense and slightly sticky, heavier than I would prefer. I’ve changed my flour source, that’s helped a little, but this bread dough is fickle, the last batch was so sloppy after the initial fermentation it was impossible to shape. I just glooped it into a tin and kept my fingers crossed. I thought it  had over proved, but ironically, it’s the best yet. I’ll keep working on it, I don’t give up easily, but my reality may be that this bread will always have a similar characteristic to 100% rye. Any input from baker who read this will greatly appreciated!!

IMG_1504
In my kitchen there is a constant supply of white corn tortillas. We have just discovered quesadillas, the Mexican answer to a cheese toastie. These tortillas, filled with sharp cheddar, brushed with a little oil and pan fried come out crispy, with browned cheese edges and a moulten cheesy centre. Who needs wheat, this gluten free treat rocks!!!

IMK Tortillas
In my kitchen hanging around the bench is Monty, just waiting for tidbits to drop. He’s especially keen on carrot, oh, and chicken wing tips.
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In my kitchen, I was squeezed for space so I made the decision to remove my heirloom silver cutlery from it’s bulky, space greedy canteen hogging a large kitchen drawer. Conscious that the knives, forks and spoons needed to be protected from getting scratched, I made wraps with label bands from some faded, but still robust cotton twill napkins. The bundles all fit singly into the smallest drawer now. The canteen has gone into storage.
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In my kitchen I had an empty drawer. I’ve moved photography props into the newly acquired space.
IMK props2
In my kitchen I have a bowl of Meyer Lemons from my daughter’s tree. They may be small in stature, but they are full of juice.  I need to decide if I should make pickled lemons, marmalade, lemon curd or cordial, lemon cake, lemon tart, lemonade or lemon chicken. There are so many ways I can enjoy these lemons. Thanks Yvette
IMK lemons
Until 2 days ago this snapping fresh iceberg lettuce was in my kitchen. Inspired by a series of recipes in a recent edition of the Australian Gourmet Traveller, I stir fried my lettuce in a little peanut oil. I seasoned it simply with a smidge of oyster sauce. It was fantastic, the flavour was a little like that of bok choy. Lettuce cooked this way will now be a regular on our dinner plates!
iceberg lettuce
Celia at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial host this monthly forum of life in food blogger’s kitchens. It’s fun to read, fun to be part of this worldwide community! Thanks Celia

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

43 comments on “In My Autumn Kitchen

  1. Stacey Bender
    April 1, 2014

    Monty is precious. My pups love carrots too but Buddy prefers peas.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 1, 2014

      Monty thinks anything that is round and rolls is a ball. He plays with peas, blueberries and cherry tomatoes, but doesn’t eat them

      Like

  2. Glenda @ Healthy Stories
    March 13, 2014

    I need to get a dedicated space for all my food photography props. At the moment they sit on top of the buffet, the end of the dining table, or wherever I manage to stash them.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 13, 2014

      I’ve had to get creative with kitchen storage to free up extra space needed for all the interesting pieces that have found there way to my house from the charity shop, all in the name of creative photograph. Thanks for visiting my kitchen

      Like

  3. nancy@jamjnr
    March 9, 2014

    Do you have a recipe for your eggplant pickle? I’ve tried a couple but not with any success. I miss having a dog in the kitchen – one of these days fingers crossed! So many lemons too – I’m quite jealous.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 9, 2014

      There will be an eggplant pickle post in about 10 days. I have made and photographed the pickle but I’m yet to prepare the post. We love our dog in the kitchen, he’s a very important part of our family!

      Like

  4. ardysez
    March 9, 2014

    What a clever idea to wrap your sliver in napkins and label them. You have a photo props drawer???? Wow, that is dedication. I agree, I don’t have anything I keep for ‘best’, it all gets used or it goes! Nice post, thank you.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 9, 2014

      Thank you! Because generally my blog is about food, and often it’s my dinner, I got tired of eating a cold meal after spending too much time running around the house trying to find a photo background that did justice to the food on the plate. I’ve gathered all the useful things into one place now.

      Like

  5. Ladyredspecs, spelt is a fickle flour to use. It’s nothing really to do with your process, it’s all to do with the flour. Traditionally, it’s supposed to need lower water in the dough, but I’ve made fabulous 100% spelt loaves with the texture of ciabatta, and others which were like bricks. If you really want to keep making 100%, keep trying different brands – years ago I bought some very good white spelt from Santos Trading in Byron Bay, but I just had a look and they’re now stocking flour from a different mill to the one I bought. Otherwise, you can get a more consistent result using 50/50 bakers/spelt.

    Here’s a post I wrote a couple of years ago on spelt loaves – haven’t really used it much since then: http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2010/08/13/baking-bread/

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 9, 2014

      Thanks Celia, unfortunately I have wheat intolerance, but I can handle spelt. Do you remember the name of the mill that the spelt flour you liked came from? I need to buy more flour this week. The loaf I made yesterday was better, it had a much more open texture. I mixed that dough by feel and used less water, but it still went a bit gloopy at the end of kneading.

      Like

      • Unfortunately the good spelt flour I was using in 2010 was from Canada. I’ve tried Weston Milling spelt but wasn’t happy with it. I’d suggest white spelt over wholemeal if you can tolerate it, and roller milled over stone ground.

        Like

      • ladyredspecs
        March 9, 2014

        Thanks Celia, I’m not ready to give up yet. Hopefully flour from a different source will make the difference.

        Like

  6. saucygander
    March 6, 2014

    Thanks for the glimpse into your kitchen, I like the tip about stir fried lettuce!

    Like

  7. thecompletebook
    March 5, 2014

    What a fantastic IMP post. Lovely to have a look into you rkitchen.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 6, 2014

      Thanks Mandy, it’s always fun to decide what to include in the monthly post

      Like

  8. Sally
    March 5, 2014

    So many dogs in kitchens this month. Hazel and Rosie would love to meet Monty. Will try stir frying lettuce for veggie daughter (without oyster sauce).

    Like

  9. Selma's Table
    March 5, 2014

    Lovely IMK post. I have Meyer lemon envy now and how adorable is Monty?! Rolling up your silver is genius and you have made the wraps look so pretty too. As I hefted our canteen of rarely used silver from place to place I realised that I needed to take out the cutlery and just use them everyday. Been doing that for about 10 years now and I am so glad that it is being used instead of being saved for best…Love quesadillas – also nice with a few slices of roasted red peppers scattered inside.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 6, 2014

      Nice to meet you Selma, thanks for the red peppers tip, we love roasted red peppers. Question, do you put the silver in the dishwasher? I’m reluctant to use it everyday if it means having to hand wash.

      Like

      • Selma's Table
        March 6, 2014

        I do put silver cutlery in the dishwasher (but not if they have bone handles) and they have been absolutely fine. I use Goddards Silver Dip to get the tarnish off every 6/8 months or so – it is fabulous stuff. It’s just a matter of dipping the cutlery in the solution for about a minute and then rinsing it off.

        Like

      • ladyredspecs
        March 6, 2014

        Thanks Selma, I firmly believe that nothing should be kept for best, might be dead tomorrow, some reassurance certainly makes me feel more confident about daily use.

        Like

      • Selma's Table
        March 6, 2014

        Same here – As I have get older, I see no point in having stuff just for a few occasions a year (well other than Christmas decorations and even then I am tempted to leave some of them out as they are so pretty!) Life is too short – you are quite right!

        Like

  10. tinywhitecottage
    March 5, 2014

    What a fun In My Kitchen post. Very entertaining and fun to take a peek into your kitchen. Love Monty! and also love the way you wrapped your silver cutlery.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 5, 2014

      Thank you Seana. You know, we’ve had several pets over the years and Monty has been the easiest going, most loyal, intelligent and obedient of them all.

      Like

  11. It’s so lovely to meet you, your kitchen and your lovely pup Monty! I must live vicariously through you on the southern hemisphere with your beautiful produce harvested!! We are just eking into spring now! xx

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 5, 2014

      Nice to meet you too Barbara. I don’t envy you the severity of winter. In Melbourne we complain if it’s only +10C, we call that cold. We’ve also complained a lot this summer, no rain and temps in excess 40C!

      Like

  12. Cute labels – how did you do the lettering? So envious that you have so many lemons to hand.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 5, 2014

      I stamped the lettering, a cheap little set of type faces from a craft shop. It took a while to come up with such a simple and long lasting solution, but I’m extra happy with the result!

      Like

  13. Joanne T Ferguson
    March 4, 2014

    G’day! Your bread looks amazing, yum, true!
    I can almost smell it through the screen!
    Thank you for this month’s kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne

    Like

  14. I have to try stir frying lettuce! Love the visit to your kitchen, thank you for sharing 🙂

    Like

  15. ChgoJohn
    March 4, 2014

    A great IMK post! Those jars in that first photo look like an afternoon well-spent. You’re really going to enjoy them come Winter. Meyer lemons are worth their weight in gold. How lucky that your daughter has a tree. My Max, much like your Monty, is always at my side when I’m cooking. Opportunist!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 4, 2014

      Hah, opportunist indeed. I have to say though he’s very good if I drop something he shouldn’t have, like chilli or chocolate, he obeys my sharp “no!” Yes busy filling up dozens of jars with sauces and jams, more happening this week, but we all think it’s worth my effort.

      Like

  16. heidiannie
    March 4, 2014

    You have been busy! Love your blood plum sauce- and I love quesadillas, too, I always add some refried beans to mine- I love the flavor and texture they add.

    Like

  17. Glenda
    March 4, 2014

    Hi Sandra, You should try Monty on cucumber, my dogs love it and everything I have read indicates its good for them. I love your idea of moving your cutlery into a smaller drawer. Space is critical.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 5, 2014

      Thanks Glenda, I tried Monty with cucumber, he was a bit reluctant. I often think he scoffs food without a thought, then occasionally he’ll hold back so maybe he’s discerning afterall.

      Like

  18. Francesca
    March 3, 2014

    Beautiful lemons- everyone I know has hard dry lemons this season. And they loook so stunning with the blue backdrop.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 4, 2014

      It’s a funny old lemon tree, quite contrary really, it seems to thrive on neglect!

      Like

  19. marymtf
    March 3, 2014

    xxxx

    Like

  20. Leah
    March 3, 2014

    yay… love that Monty got a look in. I would love to have a plum sauce recipe… the tomatoes aren’t cheap up here at the moment but the plums are and I love your plum sauce. xxx

    Like

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This entry was posted on March 3, 2014 by in Food, In My Kitchen and tagged , , .
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