In My Kitchen – February 2014

I can’t believe it’s the second month of the year already.  I really should take down my Christmas lights.

On with the show…

In My Kitchen I have booze.  It’s not all mine.  But duty free alcohol is very cheap in Port Vila so we stocked up on a few things.  I’ll confess to the gin.  I just had to have it because of the colour of the bottle; it reminds me of reclining in a sun lounge and holidaying in the sun.

What's your poison?

What’s your poison?

In My Kitchen I have vanilla beans.  I bought them in the same duty free store in Port Vila.  They are organic and there are nine in the packet and I paid $20.00 for them.  They are worth every cent.  They have the most wonderful aroma; as soon as I opened the packet the vanilla scent hit me.  These beans are soft and broad and very, very fragrant and I’m looking forward to cooking with them.  The first one will be used tomorrow.



In My Kitchen I have coconut vinegar.  It’s in the Top 5 of my most favourite ingredients.  You absolutely have to have coconut vinegar if you’re going to cook Thai but yes, it’s difficult to source.  I literally hiked across two suburbs (on foot) to buy this from the closest supplier for an impromptu dinner party.  And I don’t know why I didn’t buy more.  I’ve used half the bottle already and I only bought it two weeks ago!  If you are trying to find it, it’s only available in Asian supermarkets but I’ve found the Chinese-oriented shops don’t stock it.  You have to go to a Thai-oriented Asian supermarket.  For those of you in Sydney, I have found this in Dee Why and Neutral Bay.  Tonight we’re having marinated chicken with a Thai dipping sauce and I used the vinegar to make the sauce.

Coconut Vinegar with a hot and spicy dipping sauce

Coconut Vinegar with a hot and spicy dipping sauce

In My Kitchen I have pig’s ears.  They’re not for human consumption.  I have to buy them almost weekly for my girls.  Ruby is a very loving dog but not when she has a pig’s ear.  Heaven help you if you try to come between her and her pig’s ear.  When I give her a new one, she carries it away to her den then guards it and if anyone comes within a few metres they’re greeted with a low growl.  Step any closer and the lips are bared to expose the vicious fangs.  Another step closer and there will be gnashing of teeth and a developing crescendo of growling and yelping and barking.  When she has a pig’s ear she can turn on a dime.  What’s so amusing is, in all her 13 years (about 100 dog-years) when has there ever been an occasion where one of us has ever gnawed on a pig’s ear?  We’re waiting for her to have that epiphany.  Patiently waiting.

These cause Ruby to 'turn like a robber's dog'.

These cause Ruby to ‘turn like a robber’s dog’.

In My Kitchen there is a sign.  It’s not for me; it’s to remind everyone else.  Lest they forget.

Lest we forget!

Lest we forget!

And that’s what’s happening in my kitchen this month.  If you’d like to write an IMK post, just link up with Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

If you liked this post, you’re welcome to share it!


  1. Love the sign, Charlie… every mum needs one of those in the kitchen! The coconut vinegar sounds interesting! And I can almost smell the vanilla from here!

  2. I love coconut vinegar too! I found it fairly far out in the Western suburbs where I also found chocolate graham crackers (also hard to find).

  3. I love the sign Charlie 🙂 And – coconut vinegar! I have never seen or tried it but will have to seek some out. Vanilla beans are amazing too – $20 for your pack seems quite good value compared to what you can pay in Australian supermarkets.

  4. I’ve never heard of coconut vinegar it sounds intriguing. My poison’s the Baileys thank you very much – if you had vodka I’d have a shot of that too.

    • I did have vodka and plenty of it. It was Miss Arabella’s purchase. She has it hidden in her room somewhere amongst the piles of mess and I wasn’t able to find it for the photograph. Rest assured, we have PLENTY of vodka! Let me know when you’re coming by Sydney!

  5. That’s so funny about Ruby and the pigs’ ears! So intrigued by the coconut vinegar and a bit jealous of your bumper pack of vanilla beans. Great IMK post, thanks for the peek!

  6. I need to ask you about the vanilla beans. every year when I travel though Asia, I don’t purchase vanilla beans cue to Australian customs issues. Can we bring them in? I have seen mention of vanilla bean purchase on another blog and I am keen to know the answer.

    • Hi Francesa, a few years ago I went to Tahiti where the vanilla beans are incredible. I bought quite a few and was told that there would be no issue in getting them through customs. I just had them in my luggage and went on through assuming there wouldn’t be an issue. I didn’t have an issue with coming in from the South Pacific either. As far as I’m aware, you can bring vanilla beans in from OS but I didn’t clarify that with any authority!

  7. The Bombay gin and the bailey’s would suit me very well! I only have vanilla essence and have never purchase coconut vinegar and as I don’t seem to have cooked much Thai food, mostly chinese have not come a cross it in a recipe. Now I am on the look out for it! Pigs ears I could live without but my max would love them. And love the sign! Of course!

  8. I’ll join you for a hit of that gin please Charlie- should we put it in our sports bottles to avoid detection? 🙂
    The vinegar is delicious and does make a real difference. Your other goodies look great too, thanks for the sticky beak! Xox

  9. Whoa. I’ve never even SEEN coconut vinegar! On the lookout!

  10. Love that sign. But the pigs’ ears not so much.

  11. LOL, I need that sign!!! And the vinegar…YUM. I do admit to having a bottle of that gin…and I must agree about the lovely colored bottle 🙂

  12. Great stuff in your kitchen! I noticed the bottle of Bailey’s. If you like that, you should try a Brandy Alexander sometime (if you haven’t already). Very similar taste. Recipe: equal parts of cognac (or brandy), crème de cacao, and heavy cream. Shake with ice, strain into glass, and dust with ground nutmeg (very optional). Anyway, fun post — thanks.

  13. Hehe… Love the sign! It’s so true! You’re gorgeous! Love the blue liquor!! Dogs are funny creatures aren’t they? We used to have a yellow lab that was afraid of her own shadow, until it cameo protecting our property when we were gone. Then she turned into this vicious attack dog. We would have never believed it, but DH came home one day in a vehicle she didn’t recognize and she came unhinged until she realized it was him and became herself again… Silly dog. Loving your kitchen this month, Charlie! xo

  14. I’ve always wanted to try coconut vinegar- now I’m determined to! And I’m also in awe of your lovely smelling vanilla bean stash. I can’t wait to see what you do with them.

  15. My dog would also go batsh*t crazy when given a pig’s ear. She would have to bury it. She would have to bury it. She would walk around for an hour with it in her mouth, waiting for everyone to leave the room so she could hide it in the couch cushions. Ridiculous.

  16. I bought a large container of vanilla beans at Costco a while ago. Every once in a while I take it out and chortle with glee. (OK, that sounds a little creepy … moving on.) Love the bottles of booze. I moved (most of) my alcohol bottles to the secondary pantry off the kitchen as I started to get a bit of free space there. I have yet to buy any gin (ever) but it, and kirsch, are next on my ‘alcohol to buy that I’ve never tried’ list.

    PS: Even though you’ve never tried to eat her pig’s ears, Ruby is afraid that one of these days you’re going to clue in about how amazing they are (humans are not very bright) and take hers.

  17. I am highly envious of your vanilla beans!! They look so luscious, fat and juicy. Can’t wait to see what you use them for. Coconut vinegar is one I haven’t tried but it’s quite readily available here now because of the whole Paleo movement. I’ll be sure to grab some next time. I also love the sign, rightly so, they should be reminded often 🙂

  18. Good stocking that should help you get through a couple of months. I did laugh about your Ruby. I can’t see the kids chowing down on a pigs ear anytime soon. You can get coconut vinegar in a few of the Asian shops in Marrickville and also Fiji Market in Newtown ,,,for all the people in the inner west.

  19. Kinda love the photo with all the liquor.

  20. How great is the smell of vanilla beans! And duty free alcohol is always a winner!

  21. Millie our cocker spaniel used to be like that… I gave our puppy one today and making sure she does not growl when she is eating them, I don’t want another Millie, so am hoping what we do now will work 🙂

  22. Coconut vinegar is so exotic! And I love how your girls enjoy gourmet pigs ears 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  23. Something decadent about booze, foreigned sourced vanilla beans, an exotic vinegar and pigs ears, Is there anything coconut can’t do – never heard of the vinegar but it does seem like the wonder ingredient – who know when we grew up with boring old dessicated coconut that it could do so much. And love the sign

  24. G’day and yes Charlie, WHERE is this year going already, true!
    I used to know someone in the States that used to keep their Christmas tree and decorations up throughout the whole year, so they didn’t have to take them down and put them back up too!
    Never heard of the coconut vinegar, but it intrigues me!
    GREAT kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne

  25. I just fell in love with the sign…..and never heard of coconut vinegar. I am going to hunt for that one.

  26. Your sign makes me laugh. 🙂 It is brilliant. 🙂

  27. There’s such thing as coconut vinegar? I didn’t know! I’ll totally go look for this and want to try cooking something! By the way, love your sign!!

  28. You’ve got nifty things in your kitchen this month – except for the pigs ears. Love the sign and that dipping sauce has me quite excited.

  29. There is no shame in have a bottle of Bombay in the kitchen. Excellent gin and the vibrant color lights up any room. 😉

    And I had no idea there was such a thing as coconut vinegar.

  30. Such a lovely array of different goodies Charlie. What a pity we can’t buy at duty free more often and seeing I am afraid of dogs, I will not go anywhere near your girl while she has her pigs ear. I doubt I could get coconut vinegar here.
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  31. What a terrific selection. The booze was nice enough, then I drooled over the price of the vanilla beans, and I coveted the coconut vinegar. ( of course my dogs would love the pigs’ears best 😉 )Well done. And that last photo–too perfect!

  32. Charlie, is *that* what coconut vinegar is for! I’ve had a bottle in the pantry for ages, and never knew what to do with it. What sort of dishes do you use it for? Does it go into curries, or stir fries? Love your vanilla pods, and what a great booze haul, bring on the cocktails.. 🙂

    • Hi Celia, I’ve only used coconut vinegar with Thai dishes and usually it’s the main ingredient in a dipping sauce that I serve with marinated chicken cooked on the BBQ. The recipe is 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 1/5 cup sugar, 1 tspn salt. Place in a saucepan, bring to the boil then simmer until it reduces 50%. Remove from heat and add 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2-6 finely chopped red chillies, a handful of chopped coriander. Allow to cool then serve with marinated chicken. I also use it to make a quick dipping sauce for spring rolls – 1/5 cup sweet chilli sauce, 2 tbspns vinegar, a handful of chopped coriander. Mix and serve! Good luck!

  33. Wow coconut vineagar…interesting. If the pigs ears are anything like crackling, I can understand the pooch being a little protective. Yum


  34. Wow I have actually never heard of coconut vinegar and didn’t know it existed and it was so important to Thai cooking 🙂 That’s amazing! I’ve gotta try and get a bottle down here in Melbourne!

    LOL it’s funny before I got my little puppy I never looked at pet stock lol pig ears, lamb ears, chicken necks all didn’t make sense to me but now it all makes sense haha xx

  35. Hahahahah,..there is a lot good things happening in your kitchen! I love the different booze too! And I love vanilla beans too! I never used coconut vinegar before , I must change that! I love the last pic, the most, a beautiful sign! 😉

  36. Don’t the months just fly by. I love you sign…everyone should be reminded of how lucky they are to live with you. 🙂

  37. $20 for all of those vanilla beans!! What a deal! Fun peeking into your kitchen!

  38. Oooooo def going to have to check our Neutral Bay to find that coconut vinegar – it looks awesome!

  39. You mentioned February and thought of your lights. I thought of the wreath on my front door. I rarely use the front door, preferring to go out back to the garage. These days, the only time I head out the front is when I’ve a snow shovel in-hand. The last thing I’m thinking of is a Christmas wreath. Max loves those pig ears, too. It seems the more disgusting the product, the more he wants it. What a great deal on those vanilla beans!!!

  40. The vanilla is gorgeous! Now I have to go see what you made with them.

  41. Hehe, my mom just took down her Christmas decorations. I love, love, love your booze of choice…some of my favorite. 🙂

  42. Another never heard of coconut vinegar here reader! But with the explosion in interest in food ingredients here I am sure someone has it, will keep eyes peeled. Thanks! Lovely read Charlie xx

  43. Charlie, you suddenly made me crave a sapphire martini at 8 in the morning, ha! I’m also eyeing those vanilla beans and coconut vinegar. (If you say it’s one of your top 5 favorite ingredients, it MUST be good!) I also agree with your kitchen sign. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  44. Coconut vinegar, how exciting! I’ve never even heard of it. I use coconut oil and milk, I will have to do some research and see if I can find some coconut vinegar. Oh and fresh vanilla beans! Every time I use my home made vanilla extract (Ciroc vodka and vanilla beans), it just gives me the warm fuzzies. It’s all I can do not to pour myself a shot. 😉


  1. […] also tried the pig’s ear schnitzel roll.  You probably will remember that my dogs just love pig’s ears.  For that reason I struggle with ‘mind over matter’ to think of pig’s ears as […]

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