In My Kitchen, January 2016

It’s Noah’s flood here in Sydney at the moment.  It honestly hasn’t stopped raining for days and I’ve been living in my knee-high gumboots.  Not only that, it’s cold; today I’m seriously back in winter clothes.  I have a very good friend who booked a family holiday for one week in an apartment on the beach at Manly.  They packed up their sunscreen, beach umbrella, esky and surfboards and headed to the coast.  As soon as they arrived the clouds came over and the rain came down.  They haven’t been to the beach once.  Instead of swimming in the surf and worrying about sun exposure, they’re indoors getting on each other’s nerves.  Fortunately for Annie, she’s a subscriber!  She can take her mind off the weather by checking out what’s happening in my kitchen this month.

Mount Coolum in the background

No blue skies for Annie on her holiday!

In my kitchen I have some gorgeous earrings made by the very thoughtful and talented Celia that she posted to me as a Christmas gift.  They are a very pretty shade of blue and go well with a lot of my summer wardrobe.  I’ll look forward to wearing the earrings when I can next put on a summer frock.

Blue earrings

Blue sparkling earrings

Celia also made me a Christmas decoration that is very sparkly and has a touch of Ruby about it.  It looked beautiful on the tree especially when lit up by all the flashing lights.

A Christmas decoration

A Christmas decoration

In my kitchen I have a parcel sent to me by Maureen.  It was meant to be my secret santa gift however, Maureen had a few challenges in December causing her to fall behind and so this gift didn’t arrive until after I’d already left for the Sunshine Coast.  Can you believe we booked a house only a few minutes away from where Maureen lives – she could have given this to me in person!  Alas, with so many family functions celebrating Christmas it just wasn’t possible for us to get together.  Next time!

Champagne on arrival

Holidaying on the Sunshine Coast

Maureen made me some beautiful shortbread.  It was made in Christmas shapes of wreaths and stars.  The wreaths were iced with crushed, crunchy candy canes (try saying that three times), and the stars with icing and giant silver cachous.  I tried one of the shortbread and it was so buttery and melt-in-the-mouth, I took the rest into my office and ate the lot sneaky style.

Maureen's Christmas shortbread

Maureen’s Christmas shortbread

In my kitchen I have a cookbook also given to me very generously by Maureen.  It’s written by Margaret Pomeranz and her daughter-in-law.  A few years ago I met Margaret at a film review.  We were chatting and she became worked up into a terrible fluster as she discovered she’d lost her car keys – I had nothing to do with it!)  I’ve admired Margaret’s career reviewing movies and will look forward to reading this book that has over 80 recipes and is about food, film, family and friends.

A new cookbook

A new cookbook

In my kitchen I have some festive cookie cutters that were also given to me by Maureen.  They’re very cute and no, you can never have too many cookie cutters in your collection.  I’m sure I will use these more often than just at Christmas time.

Festive cookie cutters

Festive cookie cutters

Don’t you just love it when you come home and find a beautifully wrapped package on your doorstep!  This arrived from the Billington company.

A sweet basket

A ‘sweet’ basket

So In my kitchen I have the full range of Billington’s products.  I’ve always been a fan of their quality sugars and I’m never without a box or two in my pantry.  I’m really looking forward to cooking with these sugars that can elevate a cake, brownie, muffin or dessert to a new level.

The Billington's range

The Billington’s range

In my kitchen I have a Kitchen Aid pastry cutter.  A few weeks ago I was reading Kristy’s blog where she was making a pie and using a pastry cutter that was photographed.  I commented that when I was growing up my mother had a pastry cutter and then when food processors arrived on the scene, somehow the pastry cutter disappeared.  I told Kristy I would love to have a pastry cutter but hadn’t seen one in the shops for years.  Well can you believe, Kristy, as busy as she was packing up to move herself and her family from Chicago to Poland, went to the shops and bought me one and sent it to me with a beautiful Christmas card.  I was really touched by her thoughtfulness and I’m all inspired to start making pastry – and lots of it!

A pastry

A pastry

In my kitchen I have Rosie.  Here she is on high alert guarding the entrance to the house.  Evil-doers beware!

Beware the guard dog

Beware the guard dog

If you’d like to write an IMK post, please link up with Maureen from Orgasmic Chef.

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  1. Happy new year to you Charlie… enjoy all those good things in your kitchen xx PS weather crap here too! May it pass soon.

  2. You have the best things in your kitchen especially that fierce guard dog at the threshold.

  3. Happy new year to you and your family. Poor Annie, this must be very frustrating for her. Liked what you’ve had in your kitchen … lucky you 🙂 specially Maureen’s cookies.

  4. I can’t get over how much you bake. Happy new year!

  5. Hi Charlie. Aren’t you a lucky thing. I loved those earings that Celia made. I haven’t taken mine off for a week. Your little Ŕosie has a very important job and looks to be doing it well

  6. The weather is all over the place in Australia at the moment isn’t it? Crazy! I bet that molasses sugar is beautiful in cakes & brownies – yum! I’d have been sneaky about those shortbreads too!!!

  7. I can’t wait to see the pastries you whip up. I have no doubt they will be delicious and beautiful! And I have to say that is my favorite picture of Rosie. She is too sweet. Great stuff in your kitchen this month Charlie! Hope the rain stops soon. Sounds like our last two summers – cold and wet. It’s no fun. Hopefully it’s short-lived for you. Cheers!

  8. The earrings are just gorgeous, as is the ornament. That Celia! So many talents. 🙂 I do think you’d better consider building that Ark. What a surprise to see this much rain. It’s kind of crazy when it all comes at once. I am so sorry that your friends are experiencing all this rain when they had hoped for a beach vacation. Fortunately, your kitchen creativity isn’t disturbed by rain! With all the good things in your kitchen, I suspect you’ll have plenty to keep you busy! ox

  9. The earrings are just gorgeous, as is the ornament. That Celia! So many talents. 🙂 I do think you’d better consider building that Ark. What a surprise to see this much rain. It’s kind of crazy when it all comes at once. I am so sorry that your friends are experiencing all this rain when they had hoped for a beach vacation. Fortunately, your kitchen creativity isn’t disturbed by rain! With all the good things in your kitchen, I suspect you’ll have plenty to keep you busy! ox

  10. Hey Happy New year. You have very useful things in your kitchen; especially the Billington’s products. Thanks for sharing this post 🙂

  11. Hi Charlie, so many wonderful things in your kitchen, love the earrings Celia made you, so nice. Rosie looks so regal guarding the house, what a wonderful dog.

  12. You have the most thoughtful friends to send all of those lovely gifts. I don’t have a food processor, thus rely on an old-fashioned pastry cutter for making pie dough and other cutting of butter/shortening into flour.

    I hope sunshine blesses your days soon.

  13. Hope your weather has improved. Lovely and thoughtful gifts from your friends, I would most likely polish off Maureen’s butter cookies as soon as I get my hands on them,

  14. You put on the Wellies and winter clothes: I had the blessed heater on for two days 🙁 !! Coldest January with highest daily rainfall ever! So sorry for those north and south of us with damaged homes ! But the neglected gardens sure got a proper watering . . . Lucky you to have met Margaret Pomeranz: someone I would like to have next to me at dinner!! Happy New Year VERY late to you and yours: glass always half- or more full for 2016 . . . tummy-rub to Rosie . . .

  15. Your kitchen is filled with much magic, I can’t wait to see what you make, much inspiration comes from you and your cooking adventures Charlie. Rosie has the nicest eyes, you can feel the love coming from her. Think the rain has gone for now, fingers crossed, its 30 here today…. YAY! Happy Friday and weekend to you. xox

  16. I felt really bad that the rellies took my spot but next time we’re going to get together for fun and laughs. I love little Rosie and the ‘purring’ video on Facebook cracked me up.

    Poor Annie and her family – we’ve read about the flooding down there and the fires out west and almost feeling guilty for having wonderful weather up here.

  17. Happy new year to you and yours, Charlie.
    I was just thinking of you when I read a news story about a Sydney family who hired a Queensland holiday house and were raided by the drug squad as, unbeknownst to them, there was a marijuana crop in the locked spare room!
    They were nowhere near as lucky as you in their choice of holiday accommodation.

  18. It is always fun to peak into your kitchen, Charlie–wishing you and your family the best of 2016

  19. What fun things to have in your kitchen! I love those blue earrings, they are so cute! Maureen’s shortbread look so yummy!

  20. You have so many special treasures here Charlie!!! I’m curious how the pastry cutter works – but how thoughtful. Happy New Year lovely! Jan x

  21. Celia’s and Maureen’s talents and generosity never end! The weather here wasn’t nice either, it rained most of the Christmas break. Not at all ideal since I prefer to kick the boys,outside to get my peace done and accomplish anything! I never have had success with a sorry blender, I just use the blender or my hands. Happy New Year!

  22. Wow!
    You have a lot of gorgeous things in your kitchen at the moment!
    What a shame about the weather… but at least you have time to cook if it’s raining 🙂
    Thanks for sharing
    Julie Carlyle
    Gourmet Getaways

  23. Aw, I love Rosie! The BEST thing in your kitchen. But I do love all the other treasures, too. Hope the rain stops soon!!! xo

  24. Hi Charlie:)
    Happy New Year!

    Your kitchen sounds full of sparkle and goodness. Love the picture of Rosie.

    Thanks for sharing, Charlie…

  25. Lots of good things in your kitchen! Love those earrings! Didn’t see an umbrella. Sounds like you need one. 🙂 We’re having an unusually wet and cold winter this year. El Nino has definitely kicked in. Of course we’re loving the moisture because we were in a heavy drought. Stay dry my friend!

  26. Those pastry cutters are very useful especially if you don’t want to use the food processor although mine broke (too much pastry making). And hasn’t the weather been crazy? Not much of a summer to speak of!

  27. So much fun always going on in your kitchen. Celia is so talented in her jewelry making, Gorgeous cookies and treats from Maureen! What a fabulous way to start out the new year. The weather has been odd everywhere… at least for me those overcast days are the best photography days.. if that is any consolation

  28. Sorry to hear about all your rain – glad you have some lovely gifts to cheer you up! I love the shortbread and the christmas decoration and I am quite intrigued by the pastry cutter. I had never heard of them til I started blogging and was quite surprised at the idea because before we had food processors we rubbed butter in with our fingers (I think that this is the way you use pastry cutters) so it is interesting to hear your mum had one.

    BTW I have meant to feature the nestle healthy eating pack I won on your blog on in my kitchen but the photo seems to have got lost – can’t work out what my photos are doing lately but they always seem to miss out a few ones I thought I had earmarked for in my kitchen. Sylvia has enjoyed her bits and pieces and I gave a few of the aprons and plates away which were appreciated.

  29. You have some beautiful gifts in your kitchen. And I’m sorry to hear about your rain! Sydney summers are starting to get a reputation for wet weather, which is very unfair given Sydney summers have traditionally been all about sunshine and beaches. I hope you get some respite soon!

  30. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Aren’t you lucky to have so many wonderful gifts? I love the picture of Rosie. What a doll.

  31. Isn’t it nice to have so many lovely things in your kitchen from your blogging friends.

  32. I’ve got a soft spot for Billington’s Dark Muscavado sugar…or a soft spot becasue of Billington’s Dark Muscavado, either way it’s good stuff. Lots of wonderful things happening in your kitchen Charlie, (and I’d expect nothing less! 😉

  33. Tonette Joyce says:

    MY pastry cutter disappeared as well and I couldn’t find one, either. Mine miraculously re-appeared, (maybe they all planned to go away together and mine got turned around!)

  34. I am so far behind with posts. Happy New Year Charlie, if I have not wished you yet. My brain is still on holiday.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  35. Charlie, your rental house on the Sunshine Coast looked like the perfect spot for ringing in the New Year — yay for complimentary champagne! (Obviously I’ve been ogling your Dunes post in between.) Surreptitious shortbread snacking sounds sublime (try saying that 3 times fast, too, lol!) and I’m 110% certain Maureen’s shortbread was as delish as you described. Your other gifts from near and far are evidence of the lives you’ve touched during 2015, and those who’ve touched yours. (The “Ruby” ornament from Celia spoke volumes, didn’t it?) Love ya, kiddo & Happy New Year!

  36. There is a lot happening in your kitchen & I love it all! xxx

  37. I think the weather everywhere is changing, sorry about the ruined holiday though. It’s lovely to have a friend guarding you while you are in the kitchen. My own are underfoot as well.

    Shortbread is my favorite cookie, those would have been quickly gone. Happy New Year.

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