In My Kitchen, April 2015

In my kitchen I have two golden passionfruit.  Just two.  That’s because while there have been plenty of passionfruit on the vine, the possums are eating them, skin and all, before they even ripen.  Every now and then, they either miss one and Alfie is able to quickly grab it and bring it to safety, or they’re kind enough to leave us one.  Or two.

Saved from the possums

Saved from the possums

In my kitchen I have a cookbook by Suzanne Gibbs that has 80 pressure cooker recipes.  Handy if you have a pressure cooker.  Must get one.  Suzanne is the daughter of Australia’s first celebrity chef, Margaret Fulton, and since graduating from Le Cordon Bleu school of cookery in London, she has had a thirty year career as a cook and food writer.

Pressure cooker cooking

Pressure cooker cooking

The cookbook was sent to me by Suzanne’s publisher, Penguin Australia and it contains everything from starters to desserts.  When I buy a pressure cooker, I’m most looking forward to making the Hainan Chicken and Rice dish.

Haian Chicken

Hainan Chicken

In my kitchen I have a vase full of blooming roses.  Alas, they’re not mine.  They were given to Arabella.  But she’s sharing them with me.

Blooming roses

Blooming roses

In my kitchen I have the world’s worst hot cross buns.  I tried a new recipe and spent hours making these yesterday.  I didn’t make buns, I made rocks.  These are so solid, hard and heavy you would think I made them with a cement mixer.  I’m having a day off bun-making today but tomorrow I’ll be back in the saddle making hot cross buns with my very old but very reliable recipe.

Worst hot cross buns in the world

Worst hot cross buns in the world

In my kitchen I have Rosie who is looking after Ruby.  A few weeks ago Ruby had oral surgery and while the surgery has gone well, the vet told me she was very concerned about the thickened tissue in her mouth and jaw.  It looks cancerous.  A biopsy has been taken and I’m awaiting the results.  Back at the vet on Saturday, I asked what her treatment options would be if she does have a tumour.  The vet said alas, it would be too difficult to operate.

Rosie's love for her mother

Rosie showing her love for her mother

Right now she is on painkillers, antibiotics, a pureed diet and a lot of love.  We always want our beloved pets to journey through life with us and it’s such a harsh reality that they’re not given as lengthy a lifespan as we are.

Keeping each other company

Keeping each other company

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  1. Charlie that’s annoying about the hot cross buns. Long, long sighs when you spend hours and hours baking only to be disappointed by what comes out. Damn new recipes! 😉
    (Give Ruby a soft scratch behind the ears for me too. xx)

  2. The passionfruit look so lovely and plump and fresh. The ones I’ve seen all seem to be shriveled looking. I actually have my mom’s pressure cooker someplace but I’ve never made anything in it. I’ve just never found a recipe that I wanted to make had no alternative cooking methods.

    I hope for the best for Ruby’s biopsy results. Mother and daughter look so sweet and loving together.

  3. I love peeking in your kitchen…sorry about the cross buns…tomorrow you will have a better result. Rosie and Ruby are so cute..I wish the best for Ruby…
    Have a great week Charlie 🙂

  4. Hi Charlie, hope Ruby is okay, my chocolate lab is my companion and probably one of my best friends and we have had some cancer removed last summer. Love your in my kitchen series.

  5. Too bad about the passion fruit but two is better than none! I’m going to make hot cross buns too, I’ll search your blog for your tried and true recipe. That chicken looks intriguing but it also looks a little raw. I have an old pressure cooker from JTs Mom, it’s probably 50 years old (I took it to the cottage), the lid screws on and it weighs a tonne. My newer one has a much more sophisticated closure but even still, I’m always terrified the lid will blow off.

  6. Those roses are just stunning, Charlie, and I love the passionfruit. Darn those pesky possums!

  7. The book looks lovely although pressure cookers scare me I have to say. I’m afraid I’d damage the kitchen. I’m much more of a slow cooker. How is Miss A doing? Have I missed an update? Poor Ruby – wishing you good news when you get the results.

  8. So very sorry to read about Ruby. Sending love across the ocean xxx

  9. Danielle says:

    Last month you had only one passionfruit, so I guess two is doing well! So sorry to hear about Ruby and I hope the biopsy results come back better than expected. It’s so horrible waiting for these. What a sweet daughter Rosie is!

  10. That’s a pain about the hot cross buns! I’m sure your tried and tested recipe will be massively better. I love Suzanne Gibbs books – I didn’t realise she was Margaret Fulton’s daughter! And I’m so sorry to hear about Ruby. I hope she’s ok.. 🙁

  11. Oh those cheeky possums! At least they left two but I must admit that golden passionfruit are so delicious so I don’t blame them for trying it on. Sorry to heart about your buns Charlie!

  12. So sorry to hear about Ruby, hope the news is good…

  13. Shame about the hot cross buns – sometimes I wonder why I try new recipes out when I have so many that I know work and yet I still have a hankering to try a new hot cross bun recipe this year – lovely roses and so kind of the possums to share a passionfruit or two. Hope that Ruby is ok – must be a stressful time for you waiting to find out!

  14. Have you tried netting your passion fruits as soon as they appear on the vine? Very generous of Arabella to share her gorgeous roses with the family, you have such lovely and thoughtful children. Hope Ruby is comfortable and not suffering too much.

  15. I wish our pets could have the same life span as us, selfish as that sounds. I hope Ruby is comfortable. What a disappointment after slaving over the baking, just shows that old and reliable is often best. GG

  16. I’m with the possums — passion fruit are delicious. Too bad it’s YOUR passionfruit they are devouring. I met a couple in Hawaii who had such a bountiful crop they could hardly use it up. I guess there were no marauding animals in their yard.

    Very sorry to hear about your dog.

  17. What are these two doggies? They took all the protagonism of your post 😉

  18. Possums in the yard stealing fruit seems a bit frightening. I think they are the most ugly creatures. Many years ago we had one in our yard. Not spotted since.

  19. Charlie, I am so sorry about your baby not feeling well. I came back from the vet yesterday, and my GSD is showing some signs of wear and tear, and I couldn’t sleep last night. It’s so hard….but as long as they are around, they fill every pore with their love. Bless Ruby. Love the post.

    Possums are yuck, and yet cute.

  20. Always enjoying peeking into your kitchen! Squirrels, as you know, fulfill the place of the possums at our place. 😉 Rosie and Ruby are so cute! Always good to see photos of them. Hope everything will be OK with Ruby. Anyway, fun post — thanks.

  21. Ruby and Rosie are adorable, and how lovely that they have you and each other. 🙂 Hope Ruby feels better soon. Thank you for the peek into your kitchen.

  22. Oh Charlie – I am hoping Ruby’s tumor will not be cancerous – I am so sorry to hear she is in pain – my daughter shared this story with me and I am passing it on –
    You are right – they are like family indeed!

  23. I had a bread flop this week, too. Boo, hiss. And hope Ruby is OK. We’re puppy shopping—Bill has changed his tune about Lambeau being our one and only dog. And I didn’t know about Drew and his disdain of cabbage. Bill is not much of a fan, but I can sneak it into a few things 🙂 Have a terrific Easter if I don’t get back before the holiday! xoxo

  24. A quiet thought and wish that Ruby will have another painless Easter with the family who loves her so. Am very much thinking of Rosie and her feelingworld at the moment: have been in that situation myself. Gad, years must be passing ’cause remember Suzanne cooking with her Mom . . . . I still look up my Margaret Fulton books at times: such lovely simple recipes which at the time were so avant garde! Oh, and a very happy Easter to all of you . . .

  25. Aww poor Ruby. Fingers crossed the results are all clear.
    Rock cross buns has a bit of a ring to it. Maybe you could market them?
    Damn possums eating your passionfruit! I’m still yet to see any fruit on my vine but it has climbed at least 5m up into the trees so hopefully when it fruits the possums can have the high stuff and I’ll get the stuff I can reach.

  26. Fingers crossed for Ruby too Charlie!
    Sorry about your hot cross buns, but maybe the birds will be happy?
    Love flowers as they always brighten my day!
    Thanks for this month’s IMK view too!

  27. So sorry to hear about Ruby, Charlie … my thoughts are with you and I dearly hope the new is positive and good x

  28. How annoying about the hot cross buns. It makes me so cross when i spend ages making something and it just doesn’t work, especially when I have a perfectly good recipe that I know works. Still, I suppose we’d never progress if we didn’t try new things.

  29. Poor Ruby. I agree with you that dogs and humans should live the same number of years. I don’t want to say goodbye.

    The flowers are beautiful and the less said about the hot cross buns, the better. 🙂 xx

  30. i hope Ruby is ok. so sad when our animals get old and sick – a bit like our parents:) love the roses- such a pretty colour. i have always liked suzanne gibbs. and her daughter cooks too i believe. what a dynasty! and hooray for your beaut passionfruilt – they look as pretty as a picture.

  31. Aww fingers crossed for happy biopsy results! Thinking of you!

  32. Oh Charlie, poor Ruby. They are so precious. i hope she can be comfortable as possible and hugged a lot.I had Suzanne’s first pressure cooker book years ago. i wonder if it is a reprint?. It’s time to get my pressure cooker out now. I love using it.

  33. You’ll have to look up the Instant Pot Programmable Pressure Cooker. It’s supposed to be absolutely amazing and easier than traditional pressure cookers. I haven’t purchased one yet but plant to.

    I’ll pray for Ruby! Pets are as much our family as anyone else and they hold so much of our hearts!

  34. Poor Ruby. I hope the test turns out negative. Such sweet pictures of the two of them.

    At least your hot cross buns look nice!

  35. I smell Arabella’s roses from here – just about:) Pesty animals those possums – I didn’t know they liked passionfruit!

  36. I have a pressure cooker and no cookbook. You have the cookbook and don’t have a pressure cooker. Wish we were neighbors. 🙂 And I hope that you won’t get a dreaded diagnosis for Ruby. I know you’ll let us know! ox

  37. Oh poor pup. Hope you get good results back from the vet. I know how you love your girls.
    The last time I made hot cross buns I too made rocks. Haven’t made sine then – I cheat and buy them now.
    Have a beautiful Easter Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  38. What with the possums and the parrots, I’m surprised any of us manage to harvest anything from our gardens. It’s totally worth it when we do though! All the best wishes for Ruby. It’s awful when one of your family members is unwell.

  39. Hi Charlie, poor Ruby I really hope she is ok. I’ve been trying out hot cross buns for the first time this year, I don’t know why I haven’t before, shame about your rocks but good that the tried and tested recipe won through! I’ve never used a pressure cooker either so am interested to see what you create eventually. Happy Easter

  40. Hi Charlie, I must conquer my fear of pressure cookers! I am sure the new ones work a treat compared to the hissing, heavy as, beasts of yesteryear… like the one I grew up with. Whipping up a weeknight nosh would be done in no time… I must ponder. Good luck when you get yours, I’m sure you’ll be cooking up a storm. Oh and I just love Hainan chicken, such a yummy dish every time I’ve eaten it out. Hugs to your fur babies Cheers, Kirsty xx

  41. So sorry to hear about your dog. They are part of the family aren’t they.

  42. Agreed. “‘Tis the cruelest cut” that our pets do not tarry in this life…Old English is on my mind – going to see King Lear tonight =) Seriously, Charlie, saying prayers for both your doggies…I’m grateful everyday for this precious white kitty Kiku on my lap….Anyway, lucky you to have been gifted with Suzanne Gibbs’ cookbook…I admire that you are so savvy with a pressure cooker!

  43. Hi Charlie, nice to meet you

  44. Charlie, you’re so right about the pet lifespans. I hope you get good news about Ruby. Thanks for the peek into your kitchen. Enjoy your next batch of buns.

  45. It’s so hard when pets are unwell, we had to put our 18 year old kitty down in January, very sad.

    I’ve never seen golden passionfruit before, do they taste any different?

  46. Lovely to have a daughter who shares her roses- now ask for her shoes, and any clothes that happen to fit too. Funny looking buns Charlie- nice to see some honest food on an IMK post. we all have bad food days.

  47. Wow, your passionfruit look beautiful. I have a variety of vines but no fruit yet, maybe next season. I have a Suzanne Gibbs cookbook, published in1974! Oops, I’m showing my age! It was one of my first cookbooks, called ‘French Cookbook’. I still use it for my crepe recipe, clafouti and many other classic French dishes. Also one called ‘Sweet Things’ from 1994.

  48. Losing pets is hard. We have our beloved wolfhound and they don’t last long at all. Our current girl is 6 years old – we lost our last one at 7 years.

  49. I hope Ruby is not in so much pain. We lots our lovely lab Spud last year and it still upsets to this day. Fresh flowers are so beautiful and alway a welcoming gift… even if you share 🙂 How wonderful to have your own passionfruit tree.

  50. How very nice of Arabelle to share those gorgeous roses with you. The cookbook looks quite interesting. I use mine to make beans, but that’s about all. It would be nice to use it for more things. I’ll check it out.

  51. Love Hainanese chicken and rice. Let us know how it goes!

  52. I haven’t used my pressure cooker in years. Think I need to pull it out again!

  53. Your roses look gorgeous and your buns look yummy too, never imagine they are like rocks :):):)

    Thanks for sharing!

  54. My husband and I made hot cross buns — the buns were good but my crosses were a car crash — thick gluey tough ropes that almost shackled the buns together!!
    Kavey (fellow IMKer)

  55. Nothing wrong with a good Hot Cross Drop Scone! Beautiful roses and I feel for your doggie’s health issues. Just awful for all.

  56. Best wishes to Ruby, it’s always very sad facing that decision 🙁 Good luck with the pressure cooker book, I only really use mine for cooking dried beans occasionally, but always feel I should use it for more…and about the passionfruit, all I can say is aaaggghh, bloody possums!!

  57. I hope Ruby has a happy verdict. Our beloved animal family members add such love, joy and richness to our lives. It’s so sad to think of them in pain or leaving us. She is lucky to have you and her daughter to comfort her.

    I know pressure cookers are the new “thing” and the newer ones are safe, but they always made me nervous.


  1. […] hot cross buns are served.  It’s actually not that difficult to make your own although, earlier in the week I did confess to a bun disaster.  I’m not posting that recipe.  This recipe is adapted from […]

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