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In My April Kitchen, 2015

Back into the cooking vibe again after a month long holiday in New Zealand, in my kitchen I have souvenirs, memorabilia of my time revelling in fresh organic food, good cooking (by others), fine wines and great coffee amongst some of the friendliest and most easy going people on this planet.

Tea towels are my go to kitchen souvenir when I travel. They are light weight and take minimal space in already bulging luggage. Gone are the days of ugly tea towel graphics and gaudy colours printed on poor quality fabrics, now it’s possible to choose top quality cloths with attractive designs in subdued tones. Using my souvenir tea towels will remind me to stop and reflect on my wonderful visit to NZ.

Tea towels

Photo props are never far from a bloggers mind. For ages I’ve been thinking about a toast stand and the many uses it would have as a background prop. I found this little cutie in a secondhand shop in Greytown. It’s a tad skewiff, but that just adds to it’s charm.

My quirky toast rack

Pau shell is quintessentially Kiwi, as is the timber of the kauri tree. We were cursing our luck at encountering an humungous cruise ship and all the  passengers that issued forth from it while we were in the Bay of Islands. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The local enterprising craftspeople ran a market on such days and that’s where I found this magnificent serving board, a slab of ancient swamp kauri inlaid with resin coated pau. I got a bit edgy about losing my board after declaring it to quarantine upon our return but thankfully they didn’t bat an eyelid.

Kauri board with pao shell

Rachel from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ recommended we visit Black Barn Winery. Not only is it a great winery but a foodie hub as well. An avenue of fruiting fig trees leads to the tasting room. We discovered a well stocked kitchen shop at the opposite end as we turned to leave. I couldn’t resist buying a copy of “Hawkes Bay On A Platter.” Compiled to raise funds for two local private schools this classy publication encompasses all that is good about what we encountered in the region, fresh, local, organic and seasonal. Standby for wintery venison, port and rosemary pies….

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And on my kitchen bench is a list of the dishes and ingredients I feel inspired to cook from a month of foodie exploration and eating out three meals a day.

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The ever generous Celia hosts the monthly IMK series at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Happy belated birthday Celia, you sweet young thing!

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

80 comments on “In My April Kitchen, 2015

  1. lexklein
    April 27, 2015

    I have a very similar checked tea towel from New Zealand, full of kiwis and other NZ themes! It’s one of my favorites!

    Like

  2. Your toast rack is charming, I love that it is a bit off tilter, all the more interesting.
    And tea towels, you can never have enough can you? It’s lovely to have something that you use every day remind you of places you have visited.

    I can’t wait to see your pictures using the serving board, magnificent is a good descripton!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 19, 2015

      Thanks Liz. I love having holiday memorabilia to use everyday. I’ve used the board a couple of times. I really love it’s organic shape. I’ll use it as a photo prop some time soon!

      Like

  3. Beck @ Goldenpudding
    April 15, 2015

    some fabulous souvenirs Sandra – I love souvenir tea towels too, but find that I never what anyone to use the nice ones so they don’t get dirty, which defeats the purpose a bit 🙂 I also agree with everyone that the kauri board is just spectacular, and also pretty impressed by the pav on the cover of your book…

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 15, 2015

      Thanks Beck, you could use your treasured tea towels as photo props.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beck @ Goldenpudding
        April 15, 2015

        Good idea! Though I’m still working towards the whole props thing…I’m more at the ‘keep the kids mess out of the background stage’, but I can dream 🙂

        Like

  4. we love NZ. they have such great souvenirs too. love the tea towel and the kauri board with the paua inlay. so pretty. that cookbook looks marvellous. i just checked it up- i am debating ordering it online but it is quite pricey to Australia. eek!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 15, 2015

      No exchange rate advantage any more Sherry….. I like to have useful memorabilia too

      Like

  5. Kavey
    April 12, 2015

    That serving board is truly a think of beauty! Stunning.

    Like

  6. Sandra, LOVE the board!! How stunning is the pau shell inlaid into that magnificent piece of old wood – I wouldn’t have been able to resist that one either! Your wonky toast holder is very cute too – I can’t remember the last time I used one! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. EllaDee
    April 8, 2015

    Wonderful souvenirs… I love all things old and kitchenalia but the magnificent serving board is indeed that, what a fantastic find 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 8, 2015

      I like to find unique pieces on my travels, I hit the jackpot this time!

      Like

  8. All gorgeous! I love NZ and have had many far too short holidays there. My mother used to buy me a tea towel every time she went somewhere new – I have many that I cherish. It’s a tradition I keep thinking I should continue…

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 8, 2015

      Hi Mel, I figure I’m always going to need tea towels and when I get too old to travel, at least I’ll have the reminders, a good reason to but them as souveniers

      Like

  9. Francesca
    April 7, 2015

    Oh No, I saw that beautiful board at the craft market in the bay of islands and hummed and ahhed and didn’t get it- damn, it is so gorgeous. Love that little styling prop- the toast rack too.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 8, 2015

      My first reaction to the pao inlay was too much bling for me, but I then the more I looked, the more I loved it, the shape especially. Served a ploughman’s lunch on it the other day, it looked a million dollars. I have the makers contact details, you could always mail order!

      Like

      • Francesca
        April 8, 2015

        I could. I think the bling factor initially deterred me but then they had some subtle ones too but resisted. That and all the soft possum wear!! That little neck of the woods was very touristy I found…

        Like

      • ladyredspecs
        April 8, 2015

        We stayed in Russell which was gorgeous, especially after all the day trippers left, but Pihia was very commercial. We drove to Russell along the old coast road, it was gorgeous!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’d love the maker’s details, please! I think it’s stunning. What is this “too much bling” thing you speak of? 😉

        Like

      • ladyredspecs
        April 10, 2015

        Celia, I am so sorry, I thought I had his details but all the stuff he gave me, care instructions, info re the Kaura plus receipt have no contact details. Clearly a craftsman not a businessman. I had you hadn’t got your hopes too high. We have eveN trawled the internet in hope of uncovering his ID

        Like

      • Oh thanks for trying anyway!! It’s ok, I’ll just admire yours. 🙂

        Like

  10. thesnowwoman
    April 7, 2015

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! You have some lovely souvenirs, so nice. I love the drawing at the top of your blog, very cute.
    Lori

    Like

  11. Moya
    April 7, 2015

    At one point we must have been in New Zealand around the same time… it is a wonderful place and the people so friendly. I see you bought some tea towels and some native wood too. Love the toast stand. 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 7, 2015

      March seemed to be full on tourist season In NZ, we loved it and it’s nice to have memories holiday memories in my kitchen

      Like

  12. Jhuls
    April 6, 2015

    This is the second set of tea towels in the April IMK. I am thinking of getting myself new ones. And I agree with you with the props in blogger’s mind.

    I am looking forward to seeing the toast stand with toasts. 😀

    I hope you have a lovely week.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 7, 2015

      Thanks Jhuls. Tea towels have improved so much in the last year or two. Our living area is one big room, they are always on display so I insist they blend in. Have fun choosing…

      Like

  13. Anne Wheaton
    April 6, 2015

    That pavlova on the book looks incredible. I thought the NZ pavolvas were amazing and much better than our poor UK imitation.
    I always have to declare to Australian immigration that I live on a farm so they insist on checking all my footwear for any speck of dirt. My cleaning obviously isn’t to Australian standards as I once had a pair taken away that came back sparkling clean and washed. I wish UK border controls had such standards.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 7, 2015

      But Anne, I’m not sure how you would cut and serve that pav without making an enormous mess!

      Like

      • Anne Wheaton
        April 7, 2015

        True! But who cares if it tastes as good as it looks.

        Like

  14. Napoli Restaurant Alert
    April 6, 2015

    Whitebait fritters, let me know when you make those, I may have to visit!

    Like

  15. mscate
    April 6, 2015

    That pavlova looks amazing and i love the little toast rack, so sweet!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 6, 2015

      There a bit of rivalry between the Aussies and the Kiwis about

      Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 6, 2015

      Sorry, touch screen way too touchy! As I was saying we both claim ownership of pavlova, the one on the cover of that book is a thing of beauty…

      Like

  16. I love your toast rack. I keep collecting things for “props” too and am fast running out of space. That pav on the cover of the book is amazing. A lovely peek into your kitchen, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ladyredspecs
      April 5, 2015

      It’s a pleasure Vicki. I think a photo prop library would be a good idea…..

      Like

  17. My life is run by photo props and I’m sure most of us food bloggers feel the same. I love your Toast holder? The mroe skewwhiff the better.

    Like

  18. MamaD1xx4xy
    April 5, 2015

    Looks like you we truly inspired by your travels. Can’t wait to see everything you make on that list!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 5, 2015

      I love learning about new ingredients and new dishes when I travel, they are best souveniers of all..

      Like

  19. Ania @ Milk, Toast and Honey
    April 5, 2015

    Sandra, oh my, that is a gorgeous serving board x

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 5, 2015

      Thanks Anne, it is a beauty, I bought it directly from the craftsman. He fossicks for the ancient swamp kauri, his wife collects the pau. I love the organic shape of the board….

      Like

  20. Kirsty
    April 4, 2015

    Sandra, I totally agree about tea towels. So many snappy designs that are a pleasure to show off, either in the kitchen, or creatively styled (just so) as a photo prop! We honeymooned in NZ and yep, I bought a vibrant pop art style one covered in kiwi birds, love it.
    I like that your toast stand looks likes like its taken a hit with a hefty slice of sourdough! Cheers, Kirsty xx

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 5, 2015

      Yep, something solid has hit the toast stand hard. I used my new tea towels to protect it in my lugguge..

      Like

  21. Fae's Twist & Tango
    April 4, 2015

    What wonderful shopping you did. A couple of years ago, I was searching for toast stand (nostalgic memories of my childhood). Finally I found one in a kitchen goods store. It is modern and comes with its tray for the crumbs. I like yours better. 🙂
    (BTW, I published a post a few hours ago. Can you see it in your Reader? If you do, I’m glad. If not, and you are willing to sign up for e-mail notifications, please do so at fae-magazine.com.) Thanks, 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 5, 2015

      Rest assured Fae, your post arrived in my reader, though quite a few hours after your comment. Yet to catch up with my reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Sally
    April 4, 2015

    Can I come and eat that menu? Sounds like you had an amazing trip. My cousin lives in NZ and I really should start plotting. That toast rack is beautiful and the grain on that beautiful board. Always a pleasure to see what’s in your kitchen.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 5, 2015

      Amazingly beautiful scenery and a fantastic food/wine/coffee culture and super friendly people are good reasons to visit NZ.

      Like

  23. missfoodfairy
    April 4, 2015

    Hope you had a lovely time in NZ, it sounds like you had a relaxing time enjoying NZ’s fine produce & wine. I’m loving your serving platter, very unique indeed. And that toast holder is just the cutest – love it. Good luck with your recipes for the month x

    Like

  24. lizzygoodthings
    April 4, 2015

    Sandra, that little toast roast is so sweet, I love it! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip too! Happy Easter xo

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 4, 2015

      We loved NZ Lizzie, the jaunty angle of the toast rack keeps catching my eye…..

      Like

  25. Cecilia
    April 4, 2015

    I like your memorabilia, it sounds that you had a good time in New Zealand. Your pics are just great. Thanks for sharing and have fun with the NZ cookbook!

    Like

  26. Funnily enough, I’ve been keeping my eye out recently for a toast stand too Sandra – yours is beautiful! Lovely to come home with great memories of a much enjoyed holiday, along with a few little extras that down the track will keep those memories flooding back. 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      Some of my most treasured possessions I have bought whilst on holiday, unique, non tourist and great reminders

      Like

  27. Eha
    April 3, 2015

    I am peagreen with envy about your serving board also of course: what a beauty! I usually very much agree with our quarantee laws: methinks the country of origin does play a part and I always have had all the doubtful items on top of the case and offered to show! The officers have invariably been courteous and altho’ I brought ‘doubtfuls’ in from Malaysia, Thailand et al, I was always allowed to keep them after inspection. One nifty way if in doubt is to phone up the Consulate: in KL I was even asked to come to the Consulate for ‘show and tell’ and was given a ‘letter of approval ‘ by the office staff . . . and now, Happy Easter!!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      Happy Easter to you too Eha. I believe cooperation is the key to getting stuff through quarantine, get caught smuggling and who knows what might happen…

      Like

  28. tinywhitecottage
    April 3, 2015

    It’s always fun to see what’s in your kitchen. 🙂 I really like your toast stand. Good find!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      Thanks Seana, I love my little toast stand with the wonky legs…

      Like

  29. Glad you enjoyed Black Barn – Sandra – and pick yourself up a copy of Hawke’s Bay on a Platter, it has proved to be an excellent fundraiser for the schools – Woodford House (my old school) and Hereworth (a boy’s prep school that my brothers attended) – not sure what reprint they are now up to – enjoy.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      Rachel we had a truly wonderful time in Hawkes Bay. Thank you for all the recommendations. Black Barn is impressive! I bought the cookbook without realizing it was a school fundraiser. It’s a beautiful publication!

      Like

  30. Francesca
    April 3, 2015

    I love your toast stand! It’s cute and sleek at the same time. Sometimes you can really find little treasures in secondhand stores.
    I look forward to seeing your version of the dishes on your list! I’m sure they will be wonderful! 😍

    Like

  31. Selma's Table
    April 3, 2015

    I am fascinated by that beautiful kauri board – why would it be quarantined? The toast rack is a real find and I can’t wait to see what you cook from that book. I love tea towels too and with those adorable kiwis and sheep – who could resist?? x

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      Hi Selma, We have very strict laws about bringing anything organic into Australia. We have managed to stay isolated from many pests from the northern hemisphere, so all organic items have to be inspected to ensure they have no infestation of any sort. Sometimes wooden items are seized, and in other instances they may be taken away, sprayed then returned. I think the country of origin has an impact on the stringency of prohibition. I also had several pau shells that I had collected off a beach in NZ. They checked them to make sure there was no soil clinging on. They would have simply cleaned them and returned them if I hadn’t already cleaned them

      Liked by 1 person

  32. cheergerm
    April 2, 2015

    Oh Mrs Recipe, you are making this NZ born chicks heart just sing. That paua shell cutting board is just gorgeoous and the toast rack? Love! As for the feijoas and tamarillos….can’t wait to see what you do. Tamarillos are one of my mums fave fruity vegetables ever. One of my uncles make the best whitebait fritters I have ever tasted but I have yet to ask for the recipe! Bet yours will be ace.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      My Dad had a tamarillo tree when I was a kidand I’d forgotten their existence until I spied them in NZ. I love them poached, but they make delicious jam too. The feijoas on the other hand will be a new experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Nancy |Plus Ate Six
    April 2, 2015

    I was thinking “how did she get that past customs’ when I saw your board. I’m so glad they didn’t confiscate it – although I have to admit I wouldn’t have told them just in case!!! It’s just stunning. I’m looking forward to seeing your fennel & pork pizza.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      I declare everything to customs Nancy,better than being caught red handed. Just once, they seized some cloves I was bringing in from India. After they’ve satisfied themselves that the wood is not infested, they let it through.

      Like

  34. My Kitchen Witch
    April 2, 2015

    I notice the apple tart tatin on your list! Absolutely love the cutting board with the inlaid pau shell. Really beautiful iridescent colours. And, those cute little sheep on the tea towels are fab. Although, I do have a thing for kitsch tea towels. A great find with the toast rack.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      Oh I have my fair share of kitsch tea towels too, but it’s nice to have the choice of a more aesthetically pleasing design. Yes, the apple tart tatin was the top of the list!

      Liked by 1 person

  35. anne54
    April 2, 2015

    Good to have you back, especially with a suitcase stuffed with lovely goodies. The wood in the kauri board is beautiful! All swirly and golden. How lucky it got through quarantine. I am looking forward to many delicious recipes from your new book.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      Thanks Ann, as soon as the quarantine official knew it was a food grade board there was no issue.

      Like

  36. Joanne T Ferguson
    April 2, 2015

    Sandra …You had me at the tea towels and love Pau shells as used to live in New Zealand too!
    Thank you for this month’s kitchen view also!

    Like

  37. Leah
    April 2, 2015

    love the toast stand, so quirky and simple!!! can’t wait to see what you cook from the recipe book… that Pav looks out of this world! xxx

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      There are some delicious recipe in that NZ cookbook, I think the first I make will be venison, port and rosemary pies xxxx

      Like

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This entry was posted on April 2, 2015 by in Food, In My Kitchen and tagged , , .
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