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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Finally A Kitchen

Finally, after six months, the kitchen is IN!

We hadn't planned to rip the previous kitchen out but the damage from a dozen cats was way more than we had realised. I have spared you a lot of the graphic photos but a couple of before shots help to realise the "journey". Even every power point has had to be replaced as they were wet and yellow inside. We couldn't even save a hinge as they were all rusted. On the left, is the back of the built in oven and cooktop. In order to remediate we had no choice but to rip out what we could, and that included the plaster and architraves, skirtings....everything. The floors were scrubbed at least 15 times with a special solution to destroy the protein molecules. After thoroughly drying, the areas were coated with a special shellac based primer, Bin Zinser to further seal. The walls re-plastered. There are no short cuts and if you have a similar problem then do lots of research as mis-treatment could mean you actually set the protein rather than destroy it.

But lets look at some prettier pictures as we leave the past behind....
A lovely big set of shelves built in to my island bench. So handy for the cookbooks. The island has a bank of drawers either side for extra storage and is a great central working area, perfect for rolling out pizza doughs on Friday nights.

Overhead glass front cabinets reflect light and add lightness. If money had been no object I would have lit the cabinets but that would have been an extravagance and we can live without it. First world problems and all that....!

Again, like our previous home, I've chosen to keep to a classic palate of black and white which can be dressed in so many different ways as styles and tastes change. I'm adding warm copper and natural wood accents for our Georgian cottage.

For quick easy cleaning I have chosen knobs and pulls instead of the D/C-shaped handles. These are by Castella from the antique range and so much more robust and ergonomic than other ranges I looked at.

Just two handles short! But they'll be here on Thursday along with extra pantry shelves that I have ordered in order to maximise the storage space as there is very little in the cottage.

It looks a little white on white but I do love light, especially through our dark long winters. 
The kitchen has been built by Jason Phillips 

The walls are painted in "Hog-bristle" half strength, so not really white but a good light neutral background with warmth rather than cool blue tones.

The tiling is yet to be done, the architraves and skirtings fitted. The floor for now will be painted white until we can afford a timber floor...
But we are IN!
We have unpacked another swathe of boxes and I can again look at recipes and plan preserving. Just in the nick of time as the tomatoes will soon be ripening.
One last piece of advice;
many well meaning friends will tell you that once you "air the place out and paint" it will be fine. Not so. Unless you break the protein molecule you will never get rid of the smell. Air does not destroy it and paint does not cover it. Essential oils and perfumes also will not rid the smell, they merely compete with it. it is very hard yukky work but it can be done. I do think cement style products are the most challenging though and our battle continues at the front door step.

For cat pee remediation I suggest you start

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

BBQ Apricots with Fetta and Mint

Slight hic-cup with the kitchen and it won't be going in today but that's OK, it's been six months so another few days won't matter. We have relied heavily on the BBQ for most of our meals, especially breakfasts.

Apricots are ripe now and there is another glut to add to the zucchini! 
For breakfast we are having zucchini fritters with spring onion and basil (not too much) from the garden and I'm sure you know how to make these or if not type "fritter" into the search box at the side and I'm sure another post will give a method and recipe.

As for the apricots, simply cut in half and pop a wedge of feta in the indent where the stone was and add a little finely chopped mint. I am cooking them in some coconut oil on the BBQ on a med-high heat. After a few minutes, turn gently and cook for slightly less time than the first side. Use a spatula to remove, neatly keeping all the feta yumminess intact.

The apricots are soft and sort of jammy and a perfect summer accompaniment for the fritters. Love this for breakfast but of course it would be suitable for any meal or BBQ  entertaining. Feta is a very handy ingredient in the fridge and makes many a meal special. It seems to go with just about anything!

And don't stop there, take them cold for lunch as well!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Six More Sleeps

This time next week I hope to have most of a kitchen and do you know what I miss the most?
A sink!
We have been managing these past five months between the BBQ, thermomix, slow cooker and small bench top oven that I got at a garage sale but with tomato preserving time just around the corner the oven needs to be installed pretty damn soon!

Tonight we are having slow cooked chicken legs with orange juice, soy, garlic, onion, a tiny couple of drops of sesame oil 

and Western Australian honey, a special gift from Kylie.
She is an interiors/styling/architecture blogger though she is not writing very much at the moment, you can still find a good read through her archives at 
We almost met when she was here for a whirlwind holiday in Tasmania last spring. Face to face or not, she is a dear friend and I'm richer for having our shared experiences.

Spring onions are coming thick and fast in the garden so I am using their plump batons to keep the chicken off the bottom and these will cook on  slow for about 8 hours. In the last hour I will add some zucchini, also in glut!

I always finely chop the tops and pop into the freezer, making them a very easy and brilliant addition to stock, soups, sauces, omelettes etc. I use them straight from the freezer into my cooking and have them all through the out of season time.

We kidnapped the MIL for a few days and teased my SIL sending her photos pretending we were spending all her inheritance! Shortly I hope to really give this a good workout. I wasn't really intending to buy one this big but all the large hot plates/burners are situated in the front now and I felt that was too dangerous for my big preserving pots so chose this one with a central wok burner. The upside is I'll be able to fit four roasting trays in the oven when I'm doing tomato paste. I'm sad that doors don't pull down and slide under anymore but I suppose that has been for a safety reason.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Perfect In-betweens

It's unlikely you will find these cherry plums at your local store but you may find them at a growers market or more probably a friends tree. They are ripening now (just after the height of cherry season but before the plum season, how perfect) and the best flavour is gained from one ripened on the tree and eaten at room temperature and no two are the same. Some taste of vanilla and some of rosewater and some pure classic "plum". This variety is from a green leafed tree and quite sweet unlike my experiences with the purple leafed variety of cherry plums that I find a bit tart. They are perfect for lunch boxes and in between snacks but mostly I pluck as I wander the garden and I share the windfall with the chooks and even Bella dog likes a few de-seeded ones. We have had children visit and fill their T-shirts and what a perfect memory of summer that is.
This style of plum is not great for chutneys or the like as the seeds are too hard to remove without sacrificing precious flesh and are best eaten with passion and seed spitting. I will not attempt to preserve these, this is one of those times to embrace the season and the glut and simply enjoy the fruit in it's perfect abundance.

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