In My Kitchen, February 2016

The summer holidays have come to an end, kids are back at school and in a couple of weeks, uni studies will commence for another year.  So life, although still busy, is settling into a bit more of a scheduled routine.

In my kitchen I have new salad servers.  I saw them in a homewares shop in Leura in the Blue Mountains and had to have them when I saw the dragonflies on the handles.  In a previous home we had a large pond with lots of water lilies and dragonflies would hover over the lily pads.  I used to sit on the edge of the pond and watch them fly around like tiny helicopters.

New salad servers

New salad servers

In my kitchen I have Sriracha hot sauce that Archie got stuck into before I’d even had a chance to photograph the bottle.  It boldly states on the bottle that this is ‘The best hot sauce on earth’.  I have to say, having tried the sauce, it really is an outstanding hot sauce and now I really want to make a bowl of pho.  The sauce is authentic and natural and made with non-processed ingredients.  I’m very lucky to have a bottle as at the moment, it’s only available in the USA.

The world's best hot sauce

The world’s best hot sauce

In my kitchen I have a new cookbook created by Stockland Merrylands called A Slice of Life.  Stockland is a shopping centre in Merrylands and Merrylands is an area in Sydney with a very heavy migrant population.  Stocklands asked people from the area to submit recipes and the best of those recipes were compiled into a cookbook that features cuisine from all around the globe.  As well as the recipe, you get the owner’s story of how they came to call Australia home, their family life and the food they serve.  The cookbook is a wonderful celebration of life in Merrylands.

'A Slice of Life' Cookbook

‘A Slice of Life’ Cookbook

In my kitchen I have date vinegar that comes from the Middle East and is now being distributed throughout Australia.  Date vinegar has a lot of health benefits and one of them is that it eases the pain of childbirth.  That would have been handy.  I found the taste of the vinegar to be a bit like apple cider vinegar and it is interesting how both products have similar health benefits.

Date Vinegar

Date Vinegar

Last night we had a baby spinach salad with pan-fried halloumi and it was dressed with the Sweet Date Vinegar.  I found the cheese and the vinegar went very well together.

Baby spinach and halloumi salad

Baby spinach and halloumi salad

In my kitchen I have products given to me by celebrity chef, Miguel Maestre.  I recently met Miguel at an event and I’ll tell you all about it in an upcoming post.  He gave me a copy of his recently re-released tapas cookbook, a bottle of his non-alcoholic sangria, and two boxes of ingredients to make paella.

Miguel's cookbook, sangria and paella packs

Miguel’s cookbook, sangria and paella packs

Just outside my kitchen was this…

Backpacks plus the 'essential' hat

Backpacks plus the ‘essential’ hat complete with cattle tag

It’s two backpacks and a favourite hat that’s been to more continents than me.  Last Christmas Archie broke the news that he’d booked a trip to South America.  I said, ‘Archie, you are the best travelled poor person I know’.  And then he told me it was a backpacking holiday and he’d be staying in youth hostels in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru, and that he would be ‘checking out’ the Amazon, Iguezu Falls, Machu Picchu, Carnivale, and even travelling down to Patagonia.  As I stood there grabbing hold of the kitchen bench for support, I said, ‘Archie, South America has been ranked the most dangerous tourism destination in the world’.  And he said, ‘I know all that mum, don’t worry, I’ll be fine’.   Because boys his age believe they’re invincible.


Au revoir

And not in my kitchen but out on our boat is Rosie.  We took her out on the weekend and she just loves it when we pick up a bit of speed.  Here she is with her eyes closed because of the rush of wind in her face.  I must get her some little goggles.

That's her smiley face

A bit windswept

If you’d like to do an IMK post, please link up with my lovely friend, Maureen, from Orgasmic Chef.

Related Post


  1. says:

    Know the feeling when your son announced your son he was going off to South Africa. I survived that when my first born son went to South America after going to college in the US and then again when he went to Ghana for an internship! Second born just studied and worked in the US and now third born has announced his world trip by motor bike starting in Africa! Hard work being a parent of Intrepid sons but am sure will be fine?

  2. Hi Charlie, kids sure keep us on our feet, good for Archie he will have a blast. Rosie looks like she is in seventh heaven, love the salad servers.

  3. Love your new salad servers!! 🙂 And I’d like that Baby spinach and halloumi salad for lunch right this very second. 🙂

  4. Wow, those salad servers are something else…. lovely!

  5. I’m sure you’re a little shaky about Archie’s travels, but we’ll all be sending up some prayers for his safety and that he thoroughly enjoy an amazing adventure! I’m sure you’ll be hearing from him, so be sure to let us know how he’s getting along! And sweet Rosie the boating enthusiast is adorable, as always. There’s a sriracha processing plant not far from where I work, and the locals nearby do a lot of very loud complaining because apparently the peppers and spices burn their eyes. I have no idea how true it is, but it makes the local news from time to time. We use a lot of sriracha in our house, and now I want to source some quality date vinegar. Your salad sounds fantastic!

  6. Love, Love your kitchen this month Charlie, The Marylands cook book sound wonderful! I met Meigel in October at eh good food and wine show in Brisbane and he was such a character 🙂 and very flirty 🙂 I’m looking forward to getting his book! (not that I need it) 🙂 I’m sure Archie is invincible, but it will make him better appreciate all that he has travelling to those countries! and what a wonderful photo of Rosie, so cute 🙂
    Liz xx

  7. Archie’s quite the travellers. Guess you’ve got to do that while you’re young but I wonder if he’ll ever really settle. Kids. 🙂

    Rosie is so cute with her fur and ears flying back like that.

    I love the dragonfly servers. My nephew bought my dragonfly marcasite pin one year. He knew, as a biologist, I’d like it. And I do.

  8. Rosie would look so cute with goggles!! And the Sriracha packaging has really changed!

  9. Oh goodness lots happening. Gorgeous salad servers (dragonflies remind me of being in Darwin and being told it was the end of the wet season because there were lots of dragonflies about). I am intrigued by your sriracha – I have only ever seen it made by one brand and had thought it was their thing. The Slice of Life cookbook sounds an interesting read. And I hope Archie returns with lots of entertaining stories but without coming too near danger himself.

  10. OK, then a good thing I didn’t know South America is considered the most dangerous destination in the world as my second daughter has been to Argentina three times. And, yes, once she was mugged.

  11. The new salad servers look great! Also, the spinach salad with haloumi looks so yummy! I never heard of Sweet Date Vinegar, but it sounds really good!

  12. Rosie is a beauty! I just love her face, look at that smile. Heart feels! 🙂 My Little Chef doesn’t like the wind, he walked past a fan the other day, the screechy bark he made was so funny, and trying to calm him was difficult when giggling uncontrollably.

    Love Archie’s kit, I bet he has an amazing time. So jelly! But…. I am going shopping for my very own backpack and walking shoes on the weekend, so excited.

    Your kitchen (outside your kitchen) looks amazing. 🙂 Have a happy week lovely lady. xox

  13. What an exciting holiday! I’d be shit scared but I’d do it. Your spoons are adorable and I have some sriracha envy going on. Rosie is adorable, as always. I could look that happy on the back of your boat too! 🙂

  14. how cute is Rosie?! Salty seadog 🙂 And as for Archie’s adventures I am uber envious. The back to school stress is already weighing me down, must be time for another holiday 😉

  15. I would have snatched up those salad servers, too! They’re lovely. And just look at Rosie—she’s on cloud 9! I worried when Nick went to NYC with his friends over the holidays—I can’t imagine how I’d fret if he went to South America. But I’m a worrywart! I’m sure he’ll have a blast!

  16. Get Archie a SPOT device and track that boy!!! LOL it has SOS and all kinds of great features and it is one more layer of security for him to call for help. We got one for Andrew my youngest when he spent 30 days tracking through Alaska and yes I too was scared.

  17. What an amazing experience Arche is going to have! I’m so envious – I’m surprised there’s not a bottle or two of gin in your kitchen this month 🙂 The dragonfly servers are just gorgeous – I could have gone past them either.

  18. LOVING those new salad tongs! That salad looks pretty awesome too! I am wanting to start participating in “In My Kitchen” but I just didn’t get it done this month! I LOVE that it is summer somewhere in the world because it is kind dark and rainy and cold and gloomy here. Thank you so much for including some photos of the lovely outside sunshine and your sweet puppy enjoying the boat!

  19. You really do need to get Rosie some googles. Great picture! And fun stuff in your kitchen this month. I need to try that Fix hot sauce — not familiar with that brand. Must. Hunt. Down.

  20. You have some lovely things in your kitchen! That Merryfields book is a great idea and seems a brilliant way to celebrate the cultural diversity of an area. Good luck for Archie’s travels too…fingers crossed there are no dramas!

  21. I just love dragonflies! We have them at the cottage and they are HUGE, must be very well fed (we do have a lot of mosquitos!). The salad fork set looks wonderful, I wouldn’t be able to resist them either!
    I’m always a little surprised at the start and end of the school year, although I shouldn’t be — I’ve been following you for quite some time. It doesn’t sound like you’ve had as hot a summer as in the past but I may be wrong, I just don’t see as much of the heat on the Aussi blogs I read.
    The gifts from the chef look wonderful, as does the date vinegar — I recently received some coconut vinegar that I’m looking forward to using. The halloumi salad sounds like a lovely way to use it.
    Rosie looks like she is really enjoying herself, what a spectacular day you had.

  22. Date vinegar! I live in the land of dates and have never seen that before. Hmmm… sounds like an entrepreneurial endeavor waiting to happen…

  23. I love your cookbook and paella making package!!!! After this last month in Spain I have declared that we will be making tapas on a more regular basis and that I’m learning to make a killer paella! You will have such fun with those! Best wishes to Archie in his travels! He will no doubt see some amazing things. South America is on my list someday as well – although preferably not backpacking (perhaps in my 20’s I could have managed that – now I need a good bed and shower). And your date vinegar sounds delicious!!!

  24. Yum!
    I would love a splash of that hot sauce!! Looks so fiery!
    Great photo of rosie 🙂
    Thanks for sharing
    Gourmet Getaways

  25. Those salad servers are gorgeous, Charlie! And I m so intrigued by that sweet date vinegar! I hope Archie has a wonderful trip – I hope he slathers on mosquito repellent with the zika outbreaks there and is back safe soon. And I ADORE that picture of Rosie – makes me wanna abandon work and go get on a boat somewhere!

  26. LOVE your kitchen! How fun.
    The salad servers are GRAND.
    And the Baby spinach and halloumi salad. OH, my!
    Of course, the puppy is the star! xxx

  27. What a great job in throwing everything together to have such a great salad! Love those servers. I do so envy Archie as he takes off on his adventure. Understand your concerns, but there are some people that just have to do it. Hope he sends back lots of pictures.

  28. I always love your “In My Kitchen” posts! So many fun things to see. Love the salad servers and they looked gorgeous on your platter with your delicious salad.

    Boys and their adventures. To have just a little of their “throw all caution to the wind” attitude! I prayed that the Lord would keep him safe!

    And Rosie…oh my goodness, I could just kiss her. ~ April

  29. Your kitchen is full of wonderful things! My favorite is the salad servers with the dragonflies. Rosie looks so happy with her ears flying!

  30. I don’t know how I missed this post before now!
    I’m a little envious of your gorgeous salad servers – I have thing for bugs.
    Good luck with Archie on his travels. My son went to South America last year (there is that whole parallel lives thing again Charlie). We were fairly uncomfortable about it, too. He went with a bunch of mates and they all ran out of money in Peru, costing their parents a fortune to get them shipped back home. Sigh.

  31. I love that Sriracha hot sauce bottle – more modern and cute! Your new salad servers look beautiful. I have wooden and plastic ones and I’d love to get something fancy like yours! And Archie, have a very safe trip! He’ll be so grown up after he comes back, Charlie!

  32. Oh Rosie is so cute. my gosh your fella has travelled a lot hasn’t he. I have been to south America and it is fascinating. Love those salad servers. the non alcoholic sangria is surprisingly good i have to say.

  33. lovely salad servers charlie. ooh has archie returned safely yet? 🙂 how wonderful to meet Miguel; he always seems so lovely and warm and friendly. ah rosie is such a sweet gal.

  34. These look delicious, perfect to take to work or pop in the lunch box!

Speak Your Mind