Please Pass the Recipe

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In My Kitchen – July ’14

It’s the beginning of July and my kitchen is in chaos. It’s winter school holidays and I have my darling grand daughters to stay for the duration. They are both budding cooks. “Masterchef” is high on their agenda and I find myself being asked to judge their kitchen creations.

Miss E who is 10 years old is fortunate to attend a school which is involved with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Scheme, a program dedicated to teaching kids about growing vegetables and cooking healthy food. She has developed firm opinions about cooking. Eight years old Miss S on the other hand takes direction graciously, though she needs to learn that cooking is fun and that right and wrong are fairly flexible kitchen concepts. All this said, we’re spending quality time together, eating simple but good food and learning to communicate as well as cook.

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There is a basket of mandarin skins in various stages of dryness on my kitchen sideboard. Star anise, cassia bark and dried mandarin peel make a delicious braising and poaching stock for beef, pork and chicken with added ginger, garlic, soy and brown sugar. I need to replenish my pantry with mandarin peel so there’s enough to take me through to next year’s season.

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I like to marinate my own olives. The Mount Zero producers sell 2.5kg jars of olives at my local Farmer’s Market. I bring them home, strain off the brine and empty the olives into a bowl. I pack the olives back into the jar layered with fresh thyme, oregano and rosemary, garlic cloves and lemon zest. I pour most of the brine back into the jar then add enough olive oil to cover the olives by about 2cm. After about a month I have delicious olives with herbal notes, yum.

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In my kitchen I have all the ingredients to make a delicious wholegrain natural muesli, no added fat or sugar. Puffed buckwheat, amaranth, rice, kamut and millet, rolled spelt and oats, oat bran, linseeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, sultanas and almonds. You’ll find the proportions I use here.
Last month I started a batch of lemon infused olive oil which I shared with you. I’d like to report that after infusing for 4 weeks the flavour is super delicious, fresh, zesty and lemony. I’ve decanted the lemon oil back into it’s original bottle and now my one litre, wide necked mason jar is busy playing host to a collection of parmagiano regginano rinds infusing another bottle of olive oil with their wonderful flavour. I will leave the rinds in the oil for a couple of months, add more as they come available and taste the oil to judge the time to strain it.

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High summer for some, dead of winter for others, what’s happening in your kitchen this month?
Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial gives food bloggers a chance to share their kitchen space on a monthly basis. It’s fun, it’s free and it’s fertile ground for recipes and ideas.

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

63 comments on “In My Kitchen – July ’14

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  3. dunelight
    July 28, 2014

    I saw the orange peels and thought, “Ah, she’s gonna dip that in dark chocolate.” How do you use them for braising stock? I’m intrigued.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 28, 2014

      Chinese master stocks that also have star anise, cassia bark, szechuan peppercorns and ginger call for orange or mandarin peels, delicious with beef, pork, chicken, duck

      Like

  4. ardysez
    July 21, 2014

    I’m really late reading IMK this month due to being away… but enjoyed reading and seeing photos of what you and the granddaughters are up to. The best marinated olives I ever tasted were in France, using fennel. Now that you have told me your method, I may have a go at it. I love the taste of fennel and it was a sublime combination with the taste of the tiny green olives. Of course now I will have to work on sourcing the small olives! And I have a couple of mandarins awaiting my attention so will definitely dry the skins to use for later, wonderful idea. Recently I was bragging to someone overseas about the Stephanie Alexander Garden Scheme and they were intrigued. Wonderful project. Thank you!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 21, 2014

      Sounds as if you had a great trip! You’ve inspired me to try a batch of olives with fennel. Mount Zero has tiny mild flavoured wild olives which would go well with fennel, they might supply to AS. You are right to brag about the SAKG, the kids just love it, and a big plus is that they are stepping outside their food comfort zone in the process.

      Like

  5. emmabarrett1508
    July 14, 2014

    Those olives look delicious. I really enjoyed this post. I am new to what’s in your kitchen, so my post is a bit late. It is up now if you would like to read it. Emma.

    Like

  6. Your lemon infused oil sounds delicious; I shall have to give it a go. I dry orange skins to use as fire starters but never thought to use them in poaching stock. Another IMK tip to remember.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 11, 2014

      and orange skin firelighters is an IMK tip for me, thanks Anne

      Like

  7. Selma's Table
    July 10, 2014

    So many wonderful things in this post! How lovely that you are spending such quality time with your grandchildren – precious memories for all of you. Dried mandarin peels – why have I not thought of this – we go through bowlfuls of them. So happy that your lemon oil is delicious! And now you have introduced me to parmesan rind oil. Can’t wait to try it – I have a feeling that it may have an almost truffle flavour…thanks for a brilliant IMK post! x

    Like

  8. Glenda
    July 10, 2014

    Hi Sandra, I am interested in your dried mandarin skins. I am always looking for something to dry.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 10, 2014

      Dried mandarin peel is wonderful with Chinese flavours Glenda, happy drying!

      Like

  9. theintolerantchef
    July 9, 2014

    Lots of lovely goodies indeed!

    Like

  10. Maureen
    July 8, 2014

    I love the dried mandarin peelings. Looks like a busy time in your kitchen right now!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 8, 2014

      I’m never idle Maureen and the kitchen is always at the hub of activity. Thanks for visiting…

      Like

  11. missfoodfairy
    July 8, 2014

    OMG!! I have found so much inspiration here – thank you. I’m going to try some different infused oils seeing as they’re flavours I wouldn’t have tried before! I’ll have to get my sister to keep mandarin peels so I can use them – they’re good in stocks you say? What else could I use them for – could I grind them to a powder? It’s great meeting you through IMK

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 8, 2014

      and nice to meet you too Miss F. I haven’t thought to process the rinds to powder but I think it’s a great idea. Have fun infusing oil…..

      Like

  12. G’day! Love mandarin peels and its versatility!
    Thanks for this month’s kitchen view too!
    Cheers! Joanne

    Like

  13. Karen
    July 7, 2014

    Your kitchen may be in chaos but delicious chaos. Love the idea of the dry mandarin peel.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 8, 2014

      Thanks for dropping by Karen. Dried mandarin peel really adds an extra dimension to lots of dishes.

      Like

      • Karen
        July 8, 2014

        I’m looking forward to trying it and really appreciate that it was “in your kitchen”. 🙂

        Like

  14. marymtf
    July 6, 2014

    That’s what I love about food blogs, Sandra. They’re like living cook books. You get to ask questions, get answers and learn new things all the time. That mandarin peel suggestion is such a great idea. The ultimate in recycling. It’s what I admire about those mysterious packages in Asian grocery stores.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 6, 2014

      I love IMK, I learn so much from the other foodies, much more than mere recipes. Any dried citrus peel is far more intense than fresh, it does lack that zesty freshness, perfect for savoury dishes

      Like

  15. Jennifer from Milk and Honey
    July 5, 2014

    I tried to leave a comment the other day, but I think Blogger is not friends with WordPress at the moment and my comment went MIA. Just wanted to say that I love your goodies. I’ve just made master-stock lamb and the braising liquid has a base similar to the one you mention. Thanks for the tour.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 6, 2014

      Thanks for visiting Jennifer. I agree about the lack of cooperation between the blogging platforms. I have just about given up attempting to comment on blogspot, it’s so frustrating! Master stock is so under rated don’t you think? It imbues the best flavour into the meat you immerse in it. Interestingly your comment doesn’t come with a linked URL, another anomoly?

      Like

  16. What a blessing to have your grandchildren with you! I am inspired now to infuse some olive oil, thank you 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 5, 2014

      Go for it Tandy, having oils with different flavour notes adds interest to so many dishes. I love having my grand daughter to stay over the school holidays, I also love taking them home at the end!

      Like

  17. Selma’s got all of us marinating lemon oil! I’m so glad to hear yours worked, mine’s still going! I’ve never marinated my own olives, good for you! And enjoy the grandkiddies – how wonderful for you to have them visiting! x

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 5, 2014

      The lemon infused oil is such a good idea, and one of the huge pluses of this IMK forum Celia, the cross pollination of ideas..

      Like

  18. Elizabeth
    July 5, 2014

    I have never thought of marinating my own olives… but I love the mount zero one… they are delicious, especially the little wild ones! My lemon oil is about to begin tomorrow! I am looking forward to it… now I need to start a Parmesan one! You are so creative!!!! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 5, 2014

      Oh yes I love the little wild olives too, but I buy the jars of mixed olives so I have kalamatas for cooking too. Enjoy your lemon oil, and the parmesan oil when it’s ready..

      Like

      • Elizabeth
        July 5, 2014

        Thanks…. Can’t wait! 🙂

        Like

  19. Aneela Mirchandani
    July 5, 2014

    Ms. E and Ms. S sound very sweet and I’m glad you are imparting the lesson that cooking is fun and that there is no right or wrong.

    Like

  20. Veganopoulous
    July 4, 2014

    I’m spending my days in the kitchen lately in my dressing gown, it’s so cold! I keep meaning to make some lemon infused olive oil so thanks for the reminder! Your olives look great, my mum is making up a huge batch from olives she picked from the tree my grandparents planted but I can’t handle olives straight up, I have to have them sliced and in another meal like pasta or pizza (despite my username!)

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 5, 2014

      With “opoulous” in your name I’d have thought you’d have been weaned on olives. Lucky for you that there are plenty of other yummy foods to enjoy…

      Like

  21. My Kitchen Witch
    July 4, 2014

    I love that your granddaughters play Masterchef! Drying mandarin peel sounds interesting. I’ve only ever used fresh peel and your solution for preserving them sounds very economical. I’ve also been using your Parmesan oil all summer for salads – wonderful!

    Like

  22. Kim Bultman
    July 4, 2014

    Sandra, as much as I love olives, I never thought to marinate them until I read about your delectable infusion! IMK is not only entertaining, it’s educational — and edible! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and how-to’s!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 4, 2014

      Oh Kim, I’m with you totally, I’ve learned heaps from other IMK posters. It’s a valauble cross pollination of cooking ideas.

      Like

  23. my lemon infused oil is coming along well too. only a few more days to go. very exciting. love the idea with the olives.

    Like

  24. Eha
    July 4, 2014

    Am sitting here after rather a moreish lunch feeling like the proverbial village idiot! Thought I was a fairly accomplished cook. Love mandarins especially of all the citrus fruit: eat lots! Guess where the peels have gone – compost heap naturally! Do not have any Master Stock within a cooee of me! Well, I didn’t until beginning today thanks to you 🙂 ! [Hate to admit it but have found this year’s ‘Masterchef’ here in Oz most instructive . . . so it is not just your granddaughters! ]

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 4, 2014

      Haha, sometimes I miss the most obvious stuff so don’t feel too bad. I adore master stocks and find Kylie Kwong’s THE best.

      Like

  25. Fig & Quince
    July 4, 2014

    I love these series! Really inspired by your infused oils – have got to try one for myself, the lemon infused one in particular sparks my interest. And ha ha, I also have a predilection for saving orange peels, they come in handy as garnish and for making a couple of Persian rice dishes.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 4, 2014

      The lemon oil is so easy. Here’s the recipe, wash a 2 lemons, immerse in 500ml of good quality EVO for 1 month. Remove the lemons which can then be quartered and salted to preserve. Enjoy..

      Like

  26. Fae's Twist & Tango
    July 4, 2014

    I love your monthly series. 🙂 I save all the orange peels (w/o the pericarp) and freeze them julienned for all kinds of rice dishes (i.e. jeweled rice) or desserts. Thank you for the info… and lovely photos,

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 4, 2014

      Thanks Fae, I freeze citrus zests too, but many Chinese dishes list dried mandarin peel as an ingredient so I save them when in season

      Like

  27. My French Heaven
    July 4, 2014

    My mom uses oranges skins like this whenever she can. To me they smell of home. Lovely post my dear!!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 4, 2014

      Thanks Stephane, i like another reader’s idea to use dried citrus rinds as fire lighters….

      Like

  28. dishnthekitchen
    July 4, 2014

    great idea with the parmesan rinds! Since it IS high summer here and I won’t be making soup for a while I am going to try this for sure!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 4, 2014

      Thanks Bernice. It’s simple to put together, you just need to wait for the flavour to develop.

      Like

  29. suej
    July 3, 2014

    Fascinating! It’s great to see how others get creative 🙂

    Like

  30. Sally
    July 3, 2014

    I freeze Parmesan rinds for putting into soups but have never heard of putting them in olive oil. Will try this on return home 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 3, 2014

      Parmesan oil is wonderful on salads, for dipping bread into, for dressing cooked veg, a thousand and once uses, enjoy! And have a great holiday.

      Like

  31. Francesca
    July 3, 2014

    It is great to see a gorgeous Melbournian kitchen using Victorian olives and referencing ‘our’ Stephanie.I also buy Mt Zero Olives in the big jars from the Vic Market and they keep well in the fridge in their brine. I tart them up as required, a few scoops at a time. Such a good thing to do with the dried mandarin peel. Must make a batch- inspiring. I use dried citrus peel as fire starters. The oil sparks up the kindling. And as for your budding cooks in the kitchen- it’s a wonderful time together. They will be teenagers soon enough and things often change. Enjoy the mess.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 3, 2014

      We are so lucky to have beautiful produce and inspiring teachers in Melbourne. Too true about the kids growing fast. It’s chaos here, but I’m loving it!! Today they cooked their own pancakes for breakfast, made salad and apple crumble to help me with dinner. They cook because it’s fun! I must try the dried citrus peel fire lighters, so much better than paraffin!

      Like

  32. nancy@jamjnr
    July 3, 2014

    I’m sitting here now wondering why it’s never occurred to me to save the mandarin skins like you have instead of paying for dried ones…..I’m going to give your lemon olive oil a go over the summer and hopefully it will be ready to brighten up a few autumnal salads. Thank you for the peek into your kitchen this month.

    Like

  33. Saskia (1=2)
    July 3, 2014

    Lots of things leapt out at me from this post: your Mount Zero Olives (my favourite!); and also your mention of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Scheme – my sons are lucky enough to have this at their school too. The 10-year old is well on his way to earning his keep by knowing how to cook quite a few meals for us from scratch, thanks to Stephanie! Popped amaranth sounds good – have only experimented with the unprocessed grain. LOVE the idea of reserving mandarin skins for drying – definitely going to give it a try. Great post!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 3, 2014

      Thanks Saskia. It’s nice to have real help in the kitchen! I think I’ll be able to take the day off soon. I’m sure you’ll agree that the SAKG is a brilliant and valuable concept.

      Like

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