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May in My Kitchen

It’s the beginning of May, time to clear away my mess and open the kitchen door to show you what’s been happening here recently. As always thanks to the lovely Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting this inspirational forum. Click on the link to see what’s happening in Food Blogger’s kitchens all around the world.


My regular readers will be aware of our apple tasting adventures in an effort to find the perfect apple for making apple pie. All up 15 varieties were tasted with surprising results. Here’s the taste tester at hard at work, and leftovers of the miraculous crumble made with the apples that were liked least. Read more about our apple tasting here and here.


I’ve been experimenting with roasting rhubarb too. This batch was with orange and cardamom. I love the deep crimson hue of this roasted rhubarb, but roasting accentuates the oxalic acid to the point that it almost unpalatable. It needs something sweet and creamy to balance it out!


I’m having a love affair with kohlrabi. I had never tasted this curious vegetable until earlier this year when Sally from My Custard Pie encouraged me to give it a try. The flavour is quite mild, faintly reminiscent of raw cabbage. It has a fabulous fresh crunchy texture. I like it best eaten raw, finely julienned and dressed with a lemony vinaigrette.


While travelling in New Zealand during March I discovered Speights GMA beer. It has become my new favourite. It’s a full flavoured ale with a clean fresh taste. Luckily Speights is readily available from my local bottle shop.


The Domaine Chante Cigale Chateauneuf du Pape on the other hand was not so easy to come by. After reading a post by Stefano at Clicks and Corks about this French wine style I decided I’d like to taste it beside Nine Popes made by Charles Melton in the Barossa Valley. I’m a big fan (and consumer) of Charlie’s wines. Nine Popes is a blend of grenache, shiraz and mouvedre, a copycat of Chateauneuf du Pape. Stefano recommended Domaine Chante Cigale to use as a comparison. Fortunately I easily sourced a single bottle online. The first bottle went astray(?) with the courier, the next bottle despatched then took 2 weeks to arrive. I’m curious to see how they compare and plan to taste them side by side using Stefano’s tasting and assessment guidelines.


Sichuan peppercorns are indispensable In My Kitchen. I dry roast them on a pan and then grind them to a powder with sea salt, black peppercorns and a few Tasmanian pepper berries for extra bite. This salt and peppery blend is delicious on stir fried pork belly, deep fried calamari, grilled chicken and fish. I like the mouth numbing sensation of Sichuan Peppercorns but especially like their spicy perfumed flavour.
IMG_4977Last but by no means least we have two bars of delicious coffee nougat sitting in our fridge until we can no longer resist. Made with toasted almonds, the body of this nougat is rich with the flavour of espresso. This wonderful treat is made locally by Larder Fresh, and is available from our favourite Farmer’s Market at the Abbotsford Convent.

So, what’s been happening in your kitchen?

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

38 comments on “May in My Kitchen

  1. The apple tastings look very serious indeed! 🙂 I find rhubarb too sour without added sugar, but my Pete quite likes it. We were growing it for a while, and then the crowns died and never came back. We used to grow kohlrabi too – I love it, but the boys are iffy. To me, it tastes like broccoli stems! Lovely things in your kitchen this month, Sandra! 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 29, 2015

      Thanks Celia. For a minute I thought my June IMK which I had just finished scheduling had posted! I’ve had a very busy month too loads of big plans, a wedding , and a house shift, we’re moving to Brisbane to be close to Leah who’s going to present us with a new grandchild late Sept. Cooking has been my only “down time.”

      Like

  2. i have never had kohlrabi – i had better try it:) The nougat sounds so yum. and i love tassie mountain pepperberries. so delightfully crunchy and give such warmth to a dish.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 19, 2015

      Tonight I made a kohlrabi gratin. Personally, I much prefer it raw. Cooked, the flavour is reminiscent of very mild sweet cauliflower, but Sherry it’s worth tasting

      Like

  3. missfoodfairy
    May 17, 2015

    Sichuan peppercorns are amazing aren’t they Sandra! I remember the first time I tried them – I actually hallucinated, I had too much! Speaking of apple & rhubarb, my sister wants me to make a crumble using those two ingredients – it’s on the cards for sure now you’ve given me some inspiration with all your apple pies! x

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 19, 2015

      Apple and rhubarb are delicious MFF, but rhubarb with banana is better! Thanks for dropping by!

      Like

  4. Kavey
    May 9, 2015

    Ooh I love the idea of the apple comparison, just the kind of thing I love to do, must go and read those posts right now!

    Like

  5. Kim Bultman
    May 9, 2015

    Sandra, thanks so much for your “taste test” posts (and links) to your apple experimentation. We recently tried Jazz apples, but the Pink Lady’s definitely live up to your recommendations! (This from a die-hard Granny Smith fan. 😉 FYI, Chateauneuf de Pape is one of my fave wines… tasted it almost 40 years ago and fell in love. Now all I need to do is find some of those Sichuan peppercorns so I can make some “homemade” Chinese 5-Spice. 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 9, 2015

      Hi Kim, just deciding what to cook to accompany the wine taste testing. I expect to love Chateauneuf du Pape too, I love the Aussie version!

      Like

  6. Oh, yes…I love Melton too. A few weeks back we went to an event at the cellar door called ‘Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues’ with a blues band and a lot of wine…. The next day the band were on the back of a float dressed as ‘9 Popes’. Meanwhile, Charles was dressed as a nun. I’m imagining that even the least like apple crumble is still better than no crumble at all! xxx

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 8, 2015

      We’ve had some amazing times at the winery with CM Fiona, he’s an incredibly generous host and a lot of fun! An amazing thing happened with the least likes apples, when all mixed together they tasted fantastic!

      Like

  7. Moya
    May 8, 2015

    Apple crumble and roasted rhubarb, delicious. I wouldn’t mind being one of your tasters. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My goodness, you are organised with that apple testing! I love roasted rhubarb and agree with you that it needs a sweetener to balance it out. Interesting that you paired it with orange & cardamom (note to self: must try this). I’ve always avoided kohlrabi in the supermarket, but you’ve now made me curious. Your kitchen is an inspiration as always, Sandra!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 7, 2015

      Thanks Debi. Do try kohlrabi, it really is good. i was surprised! I used the rhubarb in a dessert with some very ripe bananas, it worked brilliantly

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nancy |Plus Ate Six
    May 6, 2015

    I’m a big kohlrabi fan too – and I was most surprised to see them here in Shanghai. Shame the roasted rhubarb didn’t taste as good as it looks – it’s a very pretty intense colour.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 6, 2015

      Hi Nancy, nice to see you. The rhubarb was wat too intense on its own but it made a brilliant crumble with bananas

      Like

  10. You’ve got to be happy with a kitchen with beer and wine in it.

    Like

  11. lapetitepaniere
    May 6, 2015

    Love this post Sandra. It seems nougat is loved in all places (I mean kitchen)!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 6, 2015

      Thanks Linda, I agree the whole world loves nougat, it’s super delish with the flavour of coffee

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Michelle
    May 6, 2015

    Sally is right: kohlrabi (alien though it appears) can be grand. I like it raw, too. But have you tried using it like potatoes in a gratin? That’s good, too.

    Like

  13. Eha
    May 6, 2015

    Have never been an ‘apple person’ but oh so love kohlrabi and cannot get it here in the country too oft. Learned to eat it and reach for it in Europe as a child: mmm, I kind’of love it steamed . . . that rather delicate taste really comes to the fore then . . . And thanks for reminding me a love letter to Herbies is due again: have found a few delightful Sydney firms for interesting mixes but for single spices I still wander over to Rozelle 🙂 !

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 6, 2015

      Herbie never lets me down, next day delivery when ordered online, everything so so fresh! OK you’re the second person who has suggested I try cooking kohlrabi. I must!

      Like

  14. Gather and Graze
    May 6, 2015

    Always lovely to read these posts of what’s been happening in your kitchen Sandra! I particularly look forward to hearing your thoughts on the CDP wines when you do your tastings! 🍷

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 6, 2015

      Thanks Margot, if the tasting works to plan I think there’ll be a post in it!

      Like

  15. MamaD1xx4xy
    May 6, 2015

    I have enjoyed the apple testing posts! We are huge kohlrabi fans. We’ve been growing it in,our garden for several years now. I also prefer it raw in a thin julienne, usually in lettuce wraps.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 6, 2015

      I’m a very late starter on the kohlrabi front, lots of catching up to so!

      Like

  16. tinywhitecottage
    May 6, 2015

    Fun post! I love seeing your kitchen Sandra. Can you imagine the Coors Brewing Company put out a gluten free beer? They are testing out the market and it can only be found here in Seattle Washington and Portland Oregon. It’s pretty good. Well, I’d love to try NZ brews.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 7, 2015

      Yay, a big brewer responding to the market, about time! We have a boutique brewer here O’Brien’s which make fabulous sorghum beer, GF naturally, but so far that’s it

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Selma's Table
    May 5, 2015

    Love that you have been apple taste testing – it’s looking very methodical and organised. I often roast rhubarb with sugar, the zest of an orange and it’s juice squeezed over it. Served with homemade stem ginger ice cream – mmmm!. We used to eat a lot of raw kohlrabi in Canada when I was younger. It’s great as a crudite for dips and my mum loves it with a sprinkle of salt, chilli powder and a squeeze of lime juice. Those nougats sound so delicious! Thanks for the look in your kitchen!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 5, 2015

      You’re always welcome in my kitchen Selma. I’ll try some powdered chilli on the kohlrabi dressing next time.

      Like

  18. Joanne T Ferguson
    May 5, 2015

    Love your roasted Rhubarb Sandra and Herbie’s Spices are always great!
    I could go for a piece of the almond nougat now and thanks for this month’s IMK view too!

    Like

  19. Francesca
    May 5, 2015

    It is wonderful to see your research on apples, and also on roasting rhunarb. I have tried Chateau Neuf du Pape but never 9 popes. it will be interesting to read about the result. Are they growing pepper berries in Tassie? Great news.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 5, 2015

      Tasmania has native pepperberries, very firey! We’d be very happy to taste test your apples, we could swap a bottle of Nine Popes!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. cheergerm
    May 5, 2015

    Lovely things in your kitchen as per usual! Yeah NZ beer! 😊

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 5, 2015 by in Food, In My Kitchen and tagged , .
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