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In My Kitchen December 1018

It’s been pretty quiet In My Kitchen for a little while. Aside from time away discovering Vietnam and Cambodia, the pace of life seems to have stepped up a notch. Since returning home from my trip, meal prep has been done in the most expeditious manner possible as I endeavour to find some sense of normality. Is life ever the same after time in a new country? 

I am not without good intentions though…….…

In My Kitchen I have a new, fabulous super sharp julienne peeler, an important tool for easily making Asian salads. Most similar tools I have tried have been rubbish but this Savannah brand is incredibly efficient. I tested it making Green Mango Salad which demands lots of shredded green mango and carrots

In My Kitchen I have a new Cambodian Cookbook. Not much has been written about Cambodian Cooking and I was keen to find a book of recipes that were uniquely Cambodian. Not sure how well I have done choosing “The Food and Cooking of Cambodia” by Ghillie Basan, but will report back in the fullness of time. If all else fails I do have the recipe handout from the  Cooking Class we did at Urban Ventures in Siem Reap.

In My Kitchen I have Kampot Pepper from the source, Sothy’s Pepper Farm in Kampot Cambodia. Kampot Pepper is a uniquely Cambodian product thanks, in wine speaking terms, to terroir. The nutrients in rich red clay soils of Kampot give the pepper berries an spicy heady fragrance and flavour with a punchy pepper flavour that’s much more assertive than the average peppercorn. I brought home green and black peppercorns, the black to be crushed and green, which are preserved in salt to add whole to sauces. The Cambodians make a dipping sauce of lime juice, fish sauce and a lot of ground Kampot pepper, delicious for drizzling over grilled chicken.

In My Kitchen I have coconut juice caramel. We took a tour to the Mekong Delta while in Vietnam and there visited lots of cottage industries including a coconut processor. Sweetened coconut water is simply boiled until it caramelises into toffee. Once cooled it’s hand stretched, cut, folded into a piece of rice paper then wrapped. Some toffee is left plain, and others have ginger, peanuts, cocoa or coffee added. It’s chewy but very delicious.

And on an entirely different note, In My Kitchen I have just received a shipment of olives and olive oil from Mount Zero in Victoria. I have tried very hard to accept that the olives and oil available locally here in Queensland are just different but, in the end, I decided to swallow up the food miles and buy a stock from my reliable source in Victoria. Now I am in olive heaven. The single variety oil is sensational, much too good for cooking so we will be enjoying beautiful salad dressings this summer. The biodynamic oil is super buttery, so I’ll use it sparingly for extra special dishes. As for the olives mmmmm. I love them gently warmed.

And to finish things off I wanted to show you the oldest still used tools in my kitchen. This plastic scoop C1955 was in a box of goodies my parents received from friends in the US one Christmas all those years ago. Plastic domestic products were still rare in Australia then. The scoop lived in my Mum’s flour canister and now it’s used every morning for scooping homemade muesli. It was accidentally washed in the dishwasher at some stage and that’s what has given it a unique shape.

Thanks to the lovely Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings for hosting this monthly blogger forum.

Now I need to think about Christmas…….

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

29 comments on “In My Kitchen December 1018

  1. marymtf
    December 10, 2018

    Dashed to Myer for a Savannah peeler and julienne tool. Nice and sharp.
    Think of you every December, Sandra, when I go to Books for Cooks for a gift voucher for my daughter in law.

    Like

  2. Conor Bofin
    December 10, 2018

    Cambodian cooking would be a new one on me too. I must look into it. I have been on a bit of a Thai binge in recent times, an offshoot of a restaurant marketing and photography job I have been enjoying.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 10, 2018

      Cambodian food is strongly influenced by both Thai and Vietnamese. Similar aromatic ingredients, lots of fresh herbs but less chilli and coconut milk, milder flavours. All the food in SE Asia is delicious

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Travel definitely changes what and how I cook, even how I approach the market. I have not heard of Savannah tools, that hand shredder looks much more convenient than dragging out the spirillizer. And I definitely have olive oil envy. Welcome home and happy holidays.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 7, 2018

      Thanks Liz, long time no see. We both seem to have slowed our pace of blogging. As I process what I experienced I realise Cambodia made quite an impact on me. A Cambodian breakfast of fried rice is becoming my norm, just rice veg and a little fish sauce for seasoning.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. mae
    December 7, 2018

    Reproducing exotic flavors in a kitchen far from the food origins is really challenging, and I am impressed by your determination and your collection of authentic foods and spices. I just did a big search for brined green peppercorns — had to mail-order the Madagascar product. Yours look great.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 7, 2018

      For me the recipes and food ideas I bring home from travels are the best souvenirs. The green Kampot peppercorns are fresh, straight from the vine, preserved in salt. They pack a mighty punch. I’ve never seen them available in Australia, even from our best spice purveyor.

      Like

  5. Ron
    December 6, 2018

    A pantry to be proud of. Your Kampot Pepper looks to be very interesting and the coconut juice caramel sounds fantastic. Now, about that scoop, Back in the ’50s and ’60s in the US we got all kinds of things in boxes of food. Glasses in oatmeal and toys in cereal even drinking glasses with jam in them. But I don’t remember a scoop, maybe it came with cereal. I’ll have to look into this.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 7, 2018

      Thanks Ron. I’d be curious to know about the scoop. Whatever it’s original source it has had a long and useful life, and despite it’s wonky shape is still well used

      Like

      • Ron
        December 7, 2018

        When I saw the scoop it invoked memories from my younger years. Then I remembered that it resembles the old Tupperware Rocker Scoop which we had for flour and sugar canisters as a youngster.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Sherry
    December 6, 2018

    thanks sandra! it was great to catch up with you, and thanks for the caramels. very chewy as you say:) love your red plastic scoop. so cute. love the look of those peppercorns. i have tried mount zero oil but didn’t really think it was anything spectacular. just different tastes i guess. have a great xmas! cheers S XX

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 6, 2018

      Viva la difference I say! Have a happy Christmas, Sandra 😘

      Like

  7. Michelle
    December 6, 2018

    Coconut juice caramel?? I MUST find that someday.

    Like

  8. tiffinbitesized
    December 6, 2018

    Wow – that’s my type of kitchen! I have a shredder. It’s *OK* but I think I can do better. Coincidentally, we are just back from northern Thailand where the influences of Cambodia and Laos can be clearly seen on the Lanna and Isaan cuisines. Roasted rice powder is a new favourite. Save some of those caramels for me ; )

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 6, 2018

      Hi Fiona, I tried to comment on your post this am but the site wouldn’t recognize my URL. Was planning to try again later. Check out the new Kitchen Warehouse in FV, for a good shredder, I noticed they have a lot of Savannah tools. Each SE Asian country seems to influence the others but thankfully they still maintain some individualism.

      Like

  9. chef mimi
    December 6, 2018

    This is great. Kampot Pepper. Wow. What a trip! No, life is never the same after visiting a different country. And that’s why we travel!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 6, 2018

      I thought it might have been me that couldn’t find my normal. Glad I’m not alone. I’ll never stop travelling though

      Liked by 1 person

  10. anne54
    December 6, 2018

    I love seeing what’s happening in your kitchen, especially the influences of your trip. The cookbook is a good way to continue the adventures, so I hope it is full of recipes that you want to make.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 6, 2018

      Thanks Ann, I hope the book lives up to expectation, the food we ate in Cambodia was wonderful

      Like

  11. Eha
    December 6, 2018

    Sandra, this is a great ‘teaching post’ from you with Fran’s’ help – thank you! Had never heard of Savannah products but shall check as soon as . . . My olive oil comes from nearby yours – woulds you believe the produce of a Melbourne lady I met on Facebook many years ago . . . golden green and wonderful: but it will be great to try yours!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 6, 2018

      Mount Zero Olives were my “go to” in Melbourne simply because they were at my farmers market. I didn’t appreciate them enough when they were in arms length. Savannah have amazing tools, definitely work seeking out

      Like

      • Eha
        December 6, 2018

        Been to ‘Savannah’ – would not have found without you . . . oops! how much can I pinch from my Yuletide buffet . . . my style for certain . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Ardys Zoellner
    December 6, 2018

    I totally agree with you about looking for a new normal after traveling…especially some place where you have connected deeply with the food and culture. I discovered Savannah products a few years ago and agree, they are very good quality. I will look into the olives…thank you for the tip and for this post.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 6, 2018

      Cambodia is a surprising destination. The people are gentle natured and very industrious, working hard to earn enough to educate their kids and lift themselves out of a life of subsistence. They’re acutely aware of the value of tourism, especially westerners $$ so our experiences were outstanding. A big bonus Ardys, the diet is simple and clean. I didn’t even have a bout of hiccoughs!

      Like

  13. Francesca
    December 6, 2018

    So good to see you back on IMK again Sandra. I have been enjoying your travel posts too. I can’t go past Mt Zero olives either. I throw ordinary old pitted olives on my pizzas, but when it comes to table olives, Mt Zero are the best. That little tool looks really good: I have quite a few collected from markets in Vietnam and Thailand. They work well enough but are a bit flimsy.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 6, 2018

      Thanks Francesca, I’ve bitten into so many horrible olives in Qld, I had to take matters into my own hands. The oil is divine too, almost good enough to drink!

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 6, 2018 by in Cooking, Food, In My Kitchen and tagged , , , .

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