It’s already April in Australia, you know…   


It’s been a while, my friends… my last contribution to IMK was in January, but better late than never. Here I am to give you a little tour of what’s been happening in our kitchen for the past three months. This fun monthly event began years ago thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and is now hosted by the one and only Maureen, from Orgasmic Chef.  Whenever I participate, I like to start by talking about gifts… So let’s get this party started, shall we?

From our graduate students who came back from a trip to India…


These are dangerous goodies. Bake Bites are addictive little morsels with a punch of spice and just the right amount of heat. I usually allow myself to have four and then move the bag away, which is tough to do, but I believe it builds character. Soan Papdi is impossible to describe. It is sweet, it melts in your mouth, but it has a super complex mixture of flavors. If you think about edible perfume, that could be a good way to put it. It sounds odd, I admit, but it is absolutely delicious.  We cut very small slivers, and savor them in complete silence. If you ever find yourself in India, search for these babies, and put a few bags in your luggage.  ;-)

From Phil…


One more coffee cup for our collection… he keeps searching for pieces from Mary Rose Young to be available online, and whenever he finds a great deal, he is quick to act. This one is particularly adorable with the flower on the handle.

From my stepson Alex…

Two amazing books from The Modernist Cuisine, that include a beginner’s kit to play with molecular gastronomy. I do molecular biology for a living, and can tell you one thing, these gastronomic experiments are a lot more fun and involve zero frustration.  Stay tuned for a drink using Blue Curaçao “caviar” made with calcium lactate gluconate.



This very simple gadget is a life-saver! I saw it recommended by America’s Test Kitchen and decided to order one. If you stumble on that bottle that simply will not open, get this baby and be prepared to be amazed. It works by releasing the vacuum so that the lid opens with no effort. I was skeptical. Then I needed to open a bottle of roasted piquillo peppers when Phil was away and the dogs were obviously of no help whatsoever. Worked like a charm! You can order yours with a click here.



A very good quality matcha tea powder. Of course, I go into eye-rolling mode with the benefits listed on the package. Natural this, natural that… Natural mood enhancer? Yeah, right. But apart from the hype, I love the taste of matcha and this in particular is better than all the ones I’ve tried. Smooth, perfect with some yogurt or added to a smoothie.



Found this labna in a special grocery store in town. OMG! I inhaled that whole thing in less than a week. Phil did not even have a taste. I made sure to describe it to him as salted yogurt, and left it at that. He twisted his nose, and I said to myself “Labna, you are mine, all mine….. “  (insert evil laughter here).



From the same store, date syrup. Another OMG, this is delicious and you can use in many ways: marinades, added to yogurt, smoothies, salad dressings… If you like pancakes in the morning, a drizzle of date syrup could be a nice change from the usual maple.


Last acquisition from the same store.. pomegranate molasses.  I always have some in my pantry and my old bottle had just a tiny little bit left inside. Time to bring a new one, this brand seemed nice enough, haven’t tried it yet.




A jar to keep my sourdough starter in the fridge and also at room temperature during feeding times. I love the large opening, because my 1/2 cup measuring cup fits right through it. Less flour mess = more joy in the Bewitching Kitchen. Found it at, recommended in a bread baking forum.



A great way to store cilantro that I also learned in a cooking forum and put to test. Cut the stems close to where the leaves start, add the bunch of cilantro to a container with a lid, and just a little bit of water inside.  Close the lid and store the whole thing in the fridge.  Amazing how much longer the cilantro lasts, in perfect state!  I imagine it would work as well for basil or other herbs, but cilantro is the one that gives me the toughest time. It goes funky before I have a chance to use it all.



The simplest and most succulent shrimp!  Made sous-vide. You can even start from frozen, increasing the time of cooking slightly.  I prefer to defrost them first, add a little bit of butter, salt and pepper to a bag, vacuum seal.  Into the sous-vide the bag goes at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes. Open the bag, drain it if you want, or use the liquid as part of a pasta sauce or risotto.  Am I allowed to use one more Oh Em Gee in this post or would that be too much?  Oh, well…




Truffle honey. Yes, you read that right.  I haven’t tried it yet, in fact I’m waiting for the right opportunity to crack this special bottle open. I read that this honey drizzled over a nice Roquefort is a non-stop ticket to paradise. Will let you know once we try it.


And now it’s time to allow our furry friends to say hello, they’ve been quite anxious to be on the blog after three months away from the spotlight…



Chief, after the milestone of turning 17 years old, has had his share of health issues. He is hanging in there like the trooper he is, even playing tug-of-war when he feels up to the challenge.  Mom knows she has to be gentle with him, the days in which she could hold the toy up in the air to see Chief furiously dangling without letting go are over…

buck bath

Buck got tricked big time. His Dad offered a Happy Easter hug, but the hug turned into a strong grab followed by a fast walk to the laundry room. There, some soap torture was waiting for this brave Jack Russell. How unfair is that?


That does it!  I am never EVER leaving this bed.
To think I’d worked so hard to develop my unique fragrance, and now it’s all gone!



I’ve always suspected I am the Special One. See? I get professional grooming, and have a bow-tie to prove it. No laundry room dirty maneuver works for me. I am the Dapper Duke of Manhattan!



Not so fast, Dapper Duke!  I get to play with my ball on the sofa when Dad is not around.
Who’s special now?

oskytripleDo I really need to answer?


Actually, Dapper Duke, we think you do need to get some answers ready….

NaughtyWhat has the toy done to deserve this?

(He wouldn’t even look up…. Guilty as charged!)

OskyupsetWell, first let me say that the toy started it all, but you were not around to see what IT did to me. And, even if I got carried away in my revenge, nothing justifies Mom getting all hysterical and cutting short our walk because Dad pointed out that a bunch of “cool bats” were flying over us. I have no idea of “cool bats” are, but they certainly ruined my evening.


That’s all for now, folks!  Hope you enjoyed this little tour of our kitchen…

Until next time, keep calm and cook on!


ONE YEAR AGO: Spring has Sprung with Suzanne Goin

TWO YEARS AGO: Chai Brownies

THREE YEARS AGO: Pomegranate-Molasses Glazed Carrots

FOUR YEARS AGO: Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Peach Glaze

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Real Vodka Sauce

SIX YEARS AGO: Spring Rolls on a Spring Day

44 thoughts on “IN MY KITCHEN, APRIL 2016

  1. Hmmm: oh yes, oh em gee!! {feel about that the same way as you do and have to do fast ‘deletes’ almost every day!]. Was to talk about those moreish prawns [oh, you know what I mean!!] when the boys came on scene and all else kind’of disappeared!! . . . . Methinks you make all of us remember or presently know about ‘those’ shampooing sessions . . . [But actually just recently ‘discovered’ some local frozen ‘marinara’ mix so dry one can separate all the seafood and cook each separately . . . . well, for those who do not have sous-vide, sautéing with herbs etc in just butter for just a couple of minutes, will give one quite a taste sensation . . .


  2. Date syrup makes an interesting substitute for regular molasses in cookies. I’ve also used it as the sweet component of a stir fry sauce – in carefully limited amounts.


    • Lots of people in the @eat cooking forum tried and loved it – I wish I could have kept my cilantro longer to see how well it would stay, but I used it all up within 10 days and it was excellent until then


    • Oh, I am sure you are not the only one to scroll down, Maureen…. I know that the pups are tough competition for anything I might try to share with my readers…. what can I say? They are pretty cute…


  3. Love seeing your furry babies 😀😀
    I love the coffee cup…and the bottle opening device looks a bit rude at first glance…love your middle eastern ingredients..but I especially love your jar for your starter, the opening of my jar is not as wide at all and it gets sooooooo messy!! Drives me mad!
    Lovely to see into your world xx


  4. love the sound of dangerous goodies😉 and Phil’s pursuit of mugs… I can totally relate except mine are not from a particular line but rather a motley crew of randomness – what can I say, some people like shoes, I like mugs :o) Your pooches… has it really been 3 months? that’s way too long Sally… Buck after his bath is beyond cute (and looking squeaky clean I might add) Happy birthday to Chief – lucky 17 – amazing! ps: I need to discover labna.


    • Kelly, you will go NUTS for labna… sometimes labeled as labneh, and I am sure there are other spellings too. It is out of this world delicious, and I am salivating just thinking about it – with your butternut squash recipe… wow, that would be AMAZING!


    • That was awfully cute, wasn’t it? I need to write the blog post for it soon before it disappears from my own radar…. let’s say it made the drink a lot more fun to enjoy (which can be dangerous…. )


  5. I have one of those jar opening thingies too! Many years ago I bought a jar of salsa and actually hurt my hand and wrist trying to open it (despite the whole hot water to make it easier thing, husband couldn’t open it either etc). I complained to the company and they sent me one of these as compensation. I use it all the time🙂


    • isn’t that amazing? I cannot believe how well it works! To think that they sell those huge electric gadget to open tough twist caps, and this is much much better!


  6. Such a lovely IMK post! I love the fact that you’ve introduced your furkids and other ‘kitchen reps’ from the household (maybe I should do that in my next post, too!). Those indian snacks look absolutely moreish… and the date syrup would be used up in no time in my house! So nice to get to know you, I’m new to IMK so it’s nice to find your blog through the link up🙂 -Laura


  7. Love the look of the molecular cookbook and drink. Date syrup also sounds great, I’ll have to keep an eye out for some. The jar spfor your sourdough is is great find. I use my Weck tulip jar because it also has a wide opening.


  8. i have had a jar key for ever and yes they are so useful in the kitchen. they really do open stubborn jars don’t they? date syrup is all the rage at the moment – i keep seeing it on lots of blogs. love the photos of your dogs – so sweet. that coffee cup is so lovely..


    • THanks for stopping by! I do think date syrup is catching up, I see it everywhere, and that is a good thing, since my bottle is pretty big and I like to find new ways to use it… it’s great in a simple stir fry of ground chicken… just a tad


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