In My Lucky Kitchen with Family

Sitting on my kitchen windowsill next to the pots of basil is my new ceramic chicken from Puglia – said to bring good luck in the kitchen. I call her Caddina, meaning hen or chicken in the Southern Italian Salentino dialect. It as a gift from my lovely “Sicilian Informant” (AKA my husband’s PhD student) after she returned from a recent trip back home.

lucky_chicken_feature

Caddina has been overseeing the whirl of activity this past month – preparing for and hosting visitors from abroad. My sister and her family arrived from Pennsylvania for a short visit, so, naturally, we’ve been cooking up a storm. A fresh fruit tart made with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries on top of a base of lemon curd in a sweet pastry crust was a joint sister effort to celebrate their arrival. Very red, white and blue.

fruit_tart_berries
fruit_tart_berries_feature

We’ve also been revisiting recipes from the blog – “Moravian” cinnamon swirl buns (for nostalgia), ajvar (everyone’s favourite), pizza (including a new one to me passed to me by my creative sister – will blog about soon), lemon barley water (which seems to be one of the most popular of my blog recipes at the moment), barley pancakes (after replenishing flour supplies when visiting the mill), and Damson cheese served with a variety of English (and Welsh) cheeses. The latter was made with the last of the pulp from the 2014 harvest. All of these made and consumed before the cameras came anywhere near the kitchen. What can I say…there was too much talking and laughing going on to even remember to take photos. Also, it explains my recent silence on the blog.

Although we did a lot of revisiting, it did not preclude new experiments. A recipe featured on Aglaia Kremezi’s blog, Aglaia’s table in Kea, Cyclades, was someting I wanted to try for some time. It is a 4th century AD Greek recipe for grilling fish wrapped in fig leaves. Yes, you read that right: fig leaves. And, served with a lemon and olive oil sauce. It was very good and the wild sea bass was subtly flavoured and tender, although I suspect I didn’t lay on enough fig leaves to cover the whole fish. I will try it again, but for now my personal preferance is to wrap fish in vine leaves as I think they impart a more pronounced flavour.

fish_figleaf

With the weather turning warm (AKA British “heat wave”), I laid on a lot of new ices – berry sorbets and frozen yoghurts. The ice cream machine was kept busy! Recipes to follow in future blogs.

blackberry_sorbet_topBlack Currant Sorbet

gooseberry_spoom_bowlRed Gooseberry Spoom

apricot_frozen_yoghurt1Apricot Frozen Yoghurt

The family’s visit was all too short. But, a packet of Muriel (daughter of Priscilla) sourdough starter went back with them to the US. Meanwhile, list making and plans of what to pack for our removal to Greece resume, which includes more drying of Muriel – for me and extra for Athenian friends. Muriel will be well travelled, although not approaching the milage racked up by Priscilla (yet!).

dried_sourdough_starter

With my own Muriel starter, I made a sourdough pumpkin bread, originally posted by Glenda @ Passion Fruit Garden in her IMK post. It was made from pumpkin pulp from last year – more attempts to use up things in the freezer – with soaked currants, pumpkin seeds and spiced with a little cinnamon. I know, it seems the wrong season to be eating things made with pumpkin, but those winter posts from Australian bloggers can be seductive. Makes a great breakfast bread, light with an open crumb, almost brioche-like. Although, my oven heats on the high side and the loaves came out a bit more browned on top than I would wish. I will adjust for next time – and there definitely will be a next time. The recipe is a keeper.

sourdough_pumpkin_bread

And…experimental soft wheat tortilla shells made with sourdough for all those future fajitas we plan to grill during the brief British summer. The recipe needs a little tweeking, but it is almost there.

tortilla_wraps

I’m looking forward, also, to making my red currant salsa to go with those fajita wraps. I made this salsa last year based on the classic Latin American condiment, Pico de Gallo. Just waiting for the red currants to ripen. Shouldn’t be long.

red_currants_almost_ripe

A monthly IMK (In My Kitchen) post. Check out the fabulous Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who lists all of us IMK bloggers, writing about what’s been happening in our kitchens each month. A chronological listing of my In My Kitchen blog posts can be found on a separate page, just click the link or look under the heading of Diaries in the Menu bar above.
Advertisements

36 comments

  1. I love the plate the wraps are on. Grey is the ‘in’ colour at the moment How fab to have red currants Not something we see a lot of in Oz. sounds like you had a wonderful time with your family. And I love Caddina. So cute.

    Like

    • The plate is Spode. They have been reproducing old “heritage” patterns from their ceramic library and this one is called Delamere Rural (a Scottish inspired design) originally created in the 19th century. What can I say, it called to me at a time when my old plates were beginning to craze and chip. It is a lovely design, but then, I adore all things Victorian. But unusual is good, too, and Caddina falls into that category! Yes, she is cute.

      Like

  2. Hi Debi. I am interested in the fact that your bread is not yellow. Wasn’t your pumpkin very orange? It sure looks nice and fluffy. It is amazing how different it looks to mine when it is the same recipe. You always seem to be busy in your kitchen, I don’t know how you do it. Love your chicken, she is so cute.

    Like

    • I also noticed the differences between our breads. I suspect Priscilla off-shoots operate in different ways in different places as well as in different weathers. My bread was wonderful and light – great airy texture. But, the pumpkin was very orange, although it might have been a different sort of pumpkin. What you showed on one of your posts were green skinned pumpkins. The ones I turn into pulp are like the American ones that are carved which may account for the colour difference in the finished product. Loved the taste of it, though and have permanently bookmarked it for future use. Yes, Caddina is cute! Can’t decide if she stays here or goes to Greece with me.

      Like

  3. Nice roundup of kitchen activity Deb. I love having guests from overseas, a great opportunity to play tourist in my home town. Your berry tart looks seductive as does the apricot frozen yoghurt. I look forward to the post!

    Like

    • Playing tourist was fun. Actually, it forced us to go out and revisit places we hadn’t been to for a long time. My brother-in-law is an architect, so showing him some of the historic buildings in the area as great. London, however, was also a must and really doesn’t count as our home town, but a good train ride away. That was a long, tiring, but satisfying day. Their visit, however, was the watershed for preparations for the move. Am now in the midst of chaos, and like you, using up food supplies. Luckily, however, not all has to be used up or packed as my son will take over here and he is a good cook.

      Like

  4. The colours in the fresh fruit tart are beautiful. So bright and cherry. Thanks for the peek into your kitchen! I hope your removal to Greece goes well.

    Like

    • Thanks Maggie. The berry tart was pretty as well as delicious. Packing resumed after the family’s visit. Luckily only a minimum of personal things go as we will be relocating to a fully furnished and functioning house. Fingers crossed nothing goes pear-shaped!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Johanna, that chicken is definitely full of personality. I’ve been loving my ice cream making, but then, this is the right season for them (at least here in the Northern hemisphere). The pumpkin bread was great, however, whatever the season!

      Like

  5. Love a bit if tart, especially with berries. Caddina looks right at home there on the worktop. Glenda’s pumpkin ideas are certainly getting around, I am to have a go at one soon. Tortillas with sourdough, mmmmm. Those ices look so inviting and from what I’ve heard will be very much in demand.

    Like

    • The tart was not only beautiful, but it really tasted good! It was so easy to do – pre-baked sweet pastry shell (from Richard Bertinet’s book, Pastry) spread with lemon curd and topped with fresh berries. And, those tortillas are great. I’ve now perfected them. Luckily my family love them – they have had no choice, but we’ve been eating them a lot lately!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The black currant sorbet looks great. I love your red currant bush. I have a large black currant bush that has only 1 berry on it. It has never given fruit. I may dig it up and replace it with a nice red currant.

    Like

    • The sorbet was delicious. Why not dig up your black currant and put it in another location? Sometimes it is simply a matter of finding the right place for it. It likes deep planting and can even be grown in containers. Then, you can plant a red currant as well!

      Like

  7. I have been wanting to try to make my own tortilla shells for awhile, but have not tried it yet. Looking forward to your recipe, if you post it! Also, your fruit tart looks beautiful!

    Like

    • Amanda, I’ve been very busy – both in the kitchen and getting ready for our temporary move to Athens. Amazing really that I manage to keep posting, even though commenting has slipped somewhat. Will catch up eventually!

      Like

    • The chicken is great! She makes me smile whenever I look at her. And, the colours go perfectly with my kitchen. Am really enjoying the ice cream making, although there have been a few failures, although this is to be expected when you experiment.

      Like

  8. What a great sounding visit Debi, it’s always a great opportunity to eat and do something a bit out of the ordinary!
    I’m also very envious of your berries, but hoping to plant some in my garden very soon πŸ™‚

    Like

    • It was an outstanding visit. My sister and I both love cooking and experimenting. It was also fun to show them a few of our favourite places. Berries are coming in daily now and will continue for a few months. Trying to use the fresh rather than jam making or preserving in other ways. Getting very creative!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That fruit tart looks quite stunning and is making me feel like I need something sweet right now. The birds ate all of our berries this year, so I guess we’re going to have to bite the bullet and net them next year. I’ve been making my own rye sourdough for six years now, but always make the same thing. I really ought to experiment more.

    Like

    • So sad that the birds ate all your berries. For some reason they leave mine alone, but it might just be the two neighbourhood cats that have taken to visiting my garden on a regular basis. Sourdough bread making is addictive, but there is a lot more that can be done with the starter. I’ve been experimenting with those tortillas and I think I finally have it down – next IMK post will reveal all!

      Like

  10. you have such gorgeous crockery! Love the bread and the icecreams and yoghurt, perfect for hot weather-Such a good IMK this month!

    Like

  11. So much still happening in your kitchen while simultaneously considering the packing issues. I don’t know how you do it Debi. Now the big question is: will the icecream maker go to Greece? I hope so. And I think your gorgeous bowls should be packed away. Muriel will travel well. Celia, daughter of Priscilla in a dried form awaits me at home.
    Looking forward to reading about your sister’s version of pizza.

    Like

    • Ah, packing! The spare bedroom has been turned into packing central. Luckily we are going to a fully functional house and only need to take a few (ha!) personal things. Somehow, personal things extend to kitchen things…. Yes, ice cream maker is going as is Muriel the sourdough starter (dried, of course). Crockery is not going, but then Greece is noted for its pottery, so the acquisition impulse is revving. I see more bowls in my future!

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.