In My Kitchen, February 2015

Here we go; back into the routine of another year.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

In my kitchen I’m trying to adjust our diet to fit-in with Drew’s restrictions and so I’m coming up with new ways to present chicken.  A few nights ago we had wing-tip chicken breasts with a herb butter rubbed under the skin.

Plated for dinner

Plated for dinner

And yes, again, we had a Mediterranean salad so the meal would have had the tick of approval from Drew’s doctor as long as he didn’t see the bottle of red wine under the table.

Another Mediterranean salad

Another Mediterranean salad

In my kitchen I have something that’s 7.5kgs (16.6lbs) and rock-solid frozen.  It’s a turkey.  I know I’m late to the party but I’ll tell you how I acquired it.  On Christmas Eve I beetled down to the butcher where I had a fairly large order as I was picking up things for not only me but my mother as well.  My order was packed into two boxes and two butchers carried it out to my car.  As I was about to drive away I checked what was in the boxes and found I’d been given a fresh free-range turkey by mistake.  I took it back to the shop and the owner of the store was so grateful he said he would like to give me a turkey for less than half price.  I’m not one to turn down a bargain so I agreed and paid $40.00 for this monster of a turkey.

A big weight on my bench

A big weight on my bench

I’m actually really looking forward to cooking it, not because it’s good quality produce but because it’s taking up all the freezer space and I can’t even fit in a tub of ice cream.  Em is coming back to Oz in the first week of March and so this bird will be cooked for a family get-together.  Stay tuned!

In my kitchen I have black peppercorns, white peppercorns and vanilla beans.  I bought them in Vanuatu.  They’re from a company called Venui that represents over 300 indigenous Vanuatu farmers who specialise in organic spices.  I am loving how the vanilla beans are so soft and fragrant.

Organic peppercorns and vanilla pods

Organic peppercorns and vanilla pods

Just outside my kitchen I have some passionfruit.  I bought the vine a couple of years ago and it’s been somewhat neglected to the point where I almost forgot about it.  But a few weeks ago I was in the backyard and I suddenly saw passionfruit hanging from the vine.  I thought by now I’d be able to show them to you in a fruit bowl but alas, they’re not ripe enough to pick.  Any day!



In my kitchen I have a very sweet girl who’s had a bit of an upset.  When she was staying with the breeder she suddenly was unable to stand on her feet and was losing her balance and vomiting.  The breeder thought she may have had a stroke but the vet didn’t think so yet couldn’t diagnose the problem.  We thought her days may have been numbered but like Lazarus, she has come back to life and has almost made a complete recovery.

It's been a tough couple of weeks

It’s been a tough couple of weeks

And we are very grateful.

If you’d like to do an IMK post, please link up with Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.


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  1. I was wondering how you could fit the turkey in the freezer – we could barely fit a drumstick in ours! V exciting to have passionfruit in your garden. And pleased to hear your old girl is hanging in there.

  2. What a great bargain with the turkey – and quick thinking from the butcher. Is that Rosie who had the scare? Glad she’s feeling a better – she’s certainly looking very happy in the boat there.

  3. I’m glad Ruby (is it Ruby?) has recovered – what a stressful thing to happen while you were away. Perhaps she was just missing you! I love the look of your spices from Vanuatu and how fantastic that you are nearly up to picking your passionfruit. Hopefully you’ll have room for ice cream in the freezer before long as I always found passionfruit on top of vanilla ice cream a great summer treat!

  4. The chicken looks delicious, Drew is lucky to have such a thoughtful wife. I could have that salad every day, it looks that good. He long des Drew need to remain on the diet? At least the red wine is good for you, but still, hopefully his Dr doesn’t read the blog! What a deal for the turkey and such a great dish to have for Em’s visit.

  5. Every single time I click over here, my tummy growls!
    The chicken looks AMAZING. I never thought of putting something underneath the skin!
    And that dog! OMGOSH, he looks like he’s SMILING 🙂 xxxx

  6. Sorry to hear that your girl wasn’t feeling well but very relieved that she’s on the mend.

    I think your wingtip chicken looks delicious. You don’t have to have a health issue to eat healthy though the snug pants are encouraging me to try to do so. I wish raw tomatoes didn’t make my stomach turn (sorry for the vivid imagery) cause your Mediterranean salad is very attractive.

    As to the turkey … I have 2 in my basement freezer. A cheaper one and a Butterball, cause I felt guilty for always buying the very cheap ones. Trouble is that it’s a LOT of turkey to be cooking for one person (I mean one turkey at a time NOT both) so I’m planning of butchering a turkey and doing different things with different parts . ONE of these days. 🙂

    Fresh vanilla pods, and passionfruit … I bet the dessert ideas are percolating already. All I have is a little jar of passionfruit preserve that a friend from Hawaii sent me and I’m stumped for inspiration right now. Mundane things like chicken livers, spinach and rice balls and a batch of caramelized onions are the highlights of the last couple of days. After making 2 kinds of tiramisu in 3 days, I needed to get back to basics. 🙂

  7. So pleased your ‘sweet girl’ has rallied. Oh, you have reminded about the turkey carcass I have got in the freezer to make into stock!

  8. I love your In the Kitchen posts! I can almost smell the vanilla beans. Glad your baby is feeling better.

  9. What a bargain that turkey! It just proves that honesty goes a long way. Pleased to ready your baby is feeling better, it’s such a worry when they are poorly! She looks very happy on that boat 🙂

  10. Hi Charlie… looks like you’ve hit the ground running back home after the holidays… love that you a passionfruit vine… I ALWAYS wanted one. Poor Ruby… that’s how my Libby spent her last day, with a massive stroke. Thanks for the peek into your kitchen… and happy turkey baking xox

  11. Those vanilla pods are the best, fresh and delicious 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. Sorry Charlie: just passing by – honestly the red wine under the table IS OK, but never ever leave the skin on any chicken dish [or whichever poultry] . . . you can cook the bird pieces with it on, but remove ere serving: much, much worse than a steak or lamb chop!! Just wishing you well!!

  13. I can’t tell mother from daughter but I’m really glad she weathered the storm and is back to normal. The chicken looks swish and I love a Mediterranean salad. I laughed at the turkey story and I wonder how many Americans would say, “You paid half price for a turkey and it was FORTY DOLLARS making a full price turkey EIGHTY DOLLARS??” The first time I bought a turkey in Australia I was gobsmacked. Then I think, if you shopped for lamb in the US you’d find a similar shock.

  14. What delicious looking chicken and salad. Nothing beats fresh moist vanilla beans! Glad to hear your dog recovered. We thought our dog’s days were numbered as well but then found out she had Addison’s disease. Now she just costs us a fortune in medication.

  15. Oh, poor pup – perhaps she was homesick?
    I can’t wait to see what you do with the turkey.

  16. Glad your little dog has proved resilient, and how wonderful to have passionfruit growing! I’ll look forward to seeing what you do with them. I made your gluten-free bread again yesterday, this time with a proper loaf tin, and it looks just like yours and tastes fantastic. I’m not a reliable cook, but this one I can do. I’ve mentioned you and put a link to your blog in my latest post. It’s now on my website (as well as blogspot):
    (You can comment on either site)

  17. I’m so glad your sweet girl is feeling better. I emailed a breeder about getting a new puppy just today–I’m thinking we might be nuts, but we do miss Lambeau 🙂

  18. I am so glad your little girl made complete recovery. Lovely things in your kitchen Charlie.

  19. Holy smokes … You have a passionfruit tree/plant/vine. Waaaaaannnnt! 🙂
    Good to hear your puppy is on the mend too.

  20. A kitchen full of organic peppercorns and vanilla beans sounds like heaven.

  21. Like so many others, I definitely taken by those peppercorns and vanilla beans.

  22. glad to hear your furbaby is getting better. so sad when they are ill. how lovely to have a passionfruit vine. i am thinking of planting one myself cos i love them. and those vanilla beans look very nice too. it is always nice to get local ones that are soft and plump rather than all dried out. i buy mine online from up north Qld so i am supporting local growers too:)

  23. I hope you get to the passionfruit before the possums Charlie- they love them! What a great bargain with the turkey, at least that fits in with the doctor diet 🙂 His lovely to support the local growers on your holiday, I bet the produce is wonderful. I hope your girl continues to improve, perhaps she should tag along to Drew’s next doctor appointment for a consultation 🙂 xo

  24. Those chicken breasts look amazing. Like roast chicken only just my favourite part of it! I’m so jealous of the passionfruit vine. Mine is still yet to give fruit.

  25. I’ve never tried passionfruit. Not even sure you can buy it in Minnesota. Next time at the grocery store, I’ll need to search.

  26. You are a proud owner of a passion fruit plant! How awesome is that?! I’ve never seen passion fruits in any supermarket in Dallas, Texas, unfortunately. Happy to see white pepper corn in your kitchen. We south Asians are very fond of that spice.
    Hope the new year is treating you nice and kind, Charlie 🙂

  27. I love cooking a turkey AFTER the holidays. So much less stressful than having to rush and prepare a meal for numerous people right in the middle of the busiest holiday. Don’t forget to make bone broth with carcass after you’re done roasting it!

    So happy your your sweet girl is OK. She must have been very stressed about you being gone or maybe another puppy at the breeder’s house played with her a little too roughly?

  28. How upsetting to get home from your lovely vacation and find that your little girl was in such a precarious condition. We were only away from home 8 days and I was concerned about Zena the whole time…these family members we leave behind sometimes struggle when we’re away, I think. I hope she’s made a complete recovery. And I’m glad to hear your sister is returning in March. You have had a lot of stress it seems, and it’s wonderful to hear that yo have some happy family times to begin planning toward and anticipating. I am going to loo forward to seeing your passion fruit!

  29. As always everything is wonderful in your kitchen Charlie, although, poor little pup. Shame, maybe she just really missed you and is loving having you back home.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  30. Oh, my, I’m so glad your darling girl (four legged one) is recovering. Also glad your darling two legged one is coming to visit. What a bargain on the turkey! My Mother always thinks I’ve lost my mind when I tell her how much I pay for turkey here. In the USA they are much cheaper. I think she said the last time she bought one, 7 or so years ago now, she only paid $2.50 a pound!! I can remember when they were only 75 cents a pound! Thanks for catching us up on life around your kitchen, Charlie.

  31. Your frozen turkey monster reminds me I have a huge pork shoulder in my freezer, It too is taking up waaaay to much space. I might just have to thaw it out and just cook the darn thing! I love your passionfruit. We looked at seedlings on the weekend and passionfruit will be one of the next things we plant. Fingers crossed!

  32. yeah something green growing great. 🙂
    wow I had no idea how expensive turkey can be, you are such a great person and customer by the way for going back to the store. What are you going to make with the vanilla pods?

  33. That chicken looks fab!! Snap on the white peppercorns, they made my kitchen post this month too 🙂

    Cheers, Jan x

  34. Great looking chicken and salad…diet or no!

  35. I like the look of those white peppercorns, my favourite pepper. And the passionfruit vine- how lucky – soon you will have too many all ripe at the same time.

  36. Oh I am so jealous of your backyard passionfruit vine. How many fruits are on the vine? looking forward to photos. Glad your girl has completely recovered.

  37. Wonderful things in your kitchen.

    By chance did you or someone treat your dog with a topical flea medication? One of our dogs had neurological difficulties due to it (we tried a new brand). We had to wash her very well to remove the fluid. She was ok after a couple of weeks but it was very scary.

  38. Is Drew tired of his diet yet? There’s only so many times a week you can eat chicken, I get tired and I’m not on a diet! Great deal on that turkey, which reminds me that I have a huge block of beef bones and shanks in the freezer taking up precious space…I need to cook them.
    And I’m so jealous of your passion fruit! So hard to come by here and if you can get them, you pay two arms, a torso and a leg.

  39. That is a huge beast of a bird to have hidden away in your freezer. How are you going to cook it? I’m not sure that I’ve ever cooked turkey. I wouldn’t know where to begin!
    (ps. Glad your dog is doing better CL.)

  40. Surely red wine is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet? And such a big turkey – I buy them at Costco when they’re on sale and then I cut them into quarters (THAT is a palaver) because 1/4 is enough to feed my entire family for dinner. Can’t wait to see you how you cook that enormous bird, Charlie! So glad to hear your furry baby is ok! x

  41. What great food… I love the idea of butter with herbs on chicken… I put some under the skin of a roast I made the other night. I’m on an eating plan, to shift my last 20kg at the moment and boy… it is hard going… But I will be happy when the last bit of weight is off 🙂 I’m glad your baby is feeling better. Maybe next time you go away you should get a dog sitter to come and look after them in your house 🙂 hint hint… Thanks for sharing… Liz x

  42. Is the diet a temporary thing, or a forever lifestyle adjustment? The salad looks amazingly tasty… no deprivation with that dish!

  43. Your baby girl missed you while you were away! Too cute! My cat doesn’t like going anywhere when we go away, we have to have somebody babysit everyday. She’s getting old & they don’t really like change, do they? Good luck with your passionfruit – looks plump, I’m sure it will be perfect! I’m loving your spices, I’m a bit of a spice hound too. Look forward to seeing you next month for IMK

  44. Charlie, you are a master at incorporating “restrictions” into flavorful, palatable menus. Hopefully you’ve been told that a time or two! (Smiling about the bottle of vino under your table. 😉 Can’t wait to see what you do with that gigantic turkey! (And sorry for coming ’round so late… the craziness continues, but we’re getting there… eventually.) Yay for your sweet girl’s stroke recovery — a topic near & dear to my heart — even when it’s canine related. Give her a hug from me! xo


  1. […] had a 7.5kg (13 stone), free-range turkey in my freezer and while delighting in how I was able to purchase it at cost price, it’s actually started to annoy me because it was taking up 85% of my freezer space.  I was […]

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