When I looked through all of my photos for the past month, and all the food I have created out of my kitchen, I realised it has been a busy month, it certainly feels like it, and this past week for example has gone so quickly. Christmas is just around the corner, so the next projects will be Plum puddings, Christmas cakes, and Mango Chutney. Could we just extend November though please? I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event. If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month. Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens.
A recent dinner party for 12 people, and I brought out the Big Guns in my cooking repertoire when catering for a crowd. Curried Beef Lasagne, Moroccan Chickpea salad, and Chocolate Mousse. All can be prepared well in advance which I love, and were delicious. I also made a big green salad, just because we need our greens my friends.
A Moroccan Chickpea salad is the perfect partner for this Lasagne.
And then for sweets there was Chocolate Mousse based on Nigella Lawson's recipe. I worked on this recipe for a couple of days as I found it too rich to start with.
Stovetop cooking certainly improved for me when we installed our new stovetop this month. It has made me realise just how fast and very hot two of my stove elements were, and now I need to be patient to achieve that level of heat if I need it. Here's a photo of Mr. HRK preparing to remove the old stovetop, with screwdriver in place of course. It became a major operation though, when we lost power, which was caused by a green faulty fuse box located two doors up the road, which our power runs from. Who knew our fuse box was there, not us? The fuse box hadn't been maintained for 30 years apparently, because of a huge and very happy plant growing in front of it. Of course nobody admitted to planting the plant. The electrician arrived, our Power Company, Ergon, was called in, a convoy of vehicles lined the road, the plant was removed using a winch, and all was well by dinner time that night. Phew, what a drama. However because of the issues we had encountered, we had to wait for a specialist electrician to call the following day to install the stovetop, much to the chagrin of Mr. HRK, who had planned to do the job himself.
There's been an exciting development at our family. We've have invested in another Beehive, during this last month, Italian bees, not native bees although we have plenty of the latter in our garden all of the time. Farming bees is a real learning curve and a wonderful interest, and our friend and bee mentor whom we bought this hive from, told us that beekeepers who have had problems in the past become the best beekeepers. Well thanks Keith, here's hoping. We lost our hive last year when some Robber Bees infested it with a killer American virus, called American Foul Brood, which is eventually fatal to a hive. It was a big year for viruses in 2020. So we had to destroy the hive and every piece of equipment associated with it, which was so tough, and then wait until we felt strong enough to take on another hive.
Here's a photo of Mr. HRK and Dylan, a young friend who lives nearby, preparing to smoke the hive to pacify the bees so they can check on their progress. By all accounts the bees are going well, and we should be able to add a "half super" box soon which is where they start making the delicious honey that we hope to harvest in the future. The weather here at the moment is hot and windy, and we saw a few of our bees on the bird bath yesterday trying to cool off. We have high hopes for this hive. The Queen bee came from Duaringa in Central Queensland so she has travelled quite a distance to be with us and her new hive. Beehave Lady Queen Bee, we need you and some homemade honey.
|Adding bark to the smoker|
|Lighting the smoker|
|Checking our hive. I didn't get close to take photos of the inside, but the bees seem to be very calm|
Here's a lovely little bouquet of flowers in my kitchen that a friend gave me for cooking her dinner. The frangipanni perfume is quite intoxicating, and is one of my favourite flowers and contrasts beautifully with the blue flowers.
Halloween brought us a scary but lovely surprise this year. Generally we don't have any trick or treaters knock on our door, but this year we did. These two dear little girls have recently moved into the neighbourhood, we know their family well and it was lot of fun when they called to trick or treat with their Mum. Thankfully I had some chocolate on hand in the refrigerator so they were happy.
This morning, for a camping trip we are planning, I made a version of my Beef, Mango Chutney and Sauerkraut Goulash, however I seared the flour coated meat in a hot pan, and then added red wine and stock and simmered that down to capture all of the delicious beef scrapings. This is a step I sometimes omit if I am pushed for time, but I want this stew to be full of flavour, some of which might end up in pies.
I made a delicious Vietnamese chicken salad recently, which was perfect as the temperatures rose. Here's the link to the recipe if you missed it.
One of the highlights of my cooking adventures this month has been this Beef Brisket with prunes and vegetables. You can find the recipe at this link. Such a great recipe from Monday Morning Cooking Club, so tender and full of rich flavours.
Last month, 4 weeks ago in fact, when we said goodbye to our beautiful Border Collie, Locky. Our dining room table overflowed with beautiful flowers sent by our family.
There's a very funny story attached to the table runner that you can see on our family dining room table, well we can laugh about it now. We purchased it in Istanbul during a trip to Turkey about 6 years ago, during which of course we embarked on a compulsory carpet buying spree. We were targeted by a supposedly well meaning tourist guide, and taken to a questionable Government Carpet wholesaler. Mr. HRK and I still think we were lucky to escape with our lives in tact, slightly inebriated and well fed though, but we still don't believe this is the actual carpet we purchased. However it was shipped home to us very quickly, and we weren't in a position to take the matter any further, despite our doubts. All of the Lonely Planet guides and Turkish tourist books can't prepare you for what really happens during a carpet buying adventure in Istanbul. Older and wiser they say. This Magic Carpet is the curve ball of my story.
Where should I even start? Yes, my favourite juicy, tender and flavourful brisket! I just bought 1/8 of cow (from cow-sharing) and am going to make some next week too. Can't wait! I am really impressed that you even have some homemade honey, Pauline. Lucky you!!ReplyDelete
Can't trust tourist guides at all...anyway, the table runner doesn't look too bad though :-)
Have a fantastic weekend, Pauline!
Thanks Angie, we used to buy bulk meat, but now we don't eat enough red meat to worry about it, however I wonder what cuts of meat come with 1/8 of a cow, Great you are getting some brisket though. I have grown to really like my Turkish carpet,and it has great story attached to it.Delete
Everything changed for me, cooking-wise, when we remodeled our kitchen. New appliances certainly make a difference.ReplyDelete
Thanks Deb, my new stove top has been a real game changer for me in the kitchen. It was worth the wait.Delete
thanks for joining in pauline. lots of delicious tasty dishes there and pretty flowers. how fab to have your own beehives. your rug story reminded me of an artwork i bought online from tassie one time; i didn't get the right piece but it was going to be an absolute pain to wrap and send it back so i just kept it but still not happy after all these years!! Grrrr. keep wellReplyDelete
Sherry, I am not great at online shopping, however I used Amazon France recently to send Christmas gifts to our grandchildren in France and they delivered within 4 days, incredible, although there was an extra item in it that I thought I had removed. Anyway all sorted. Hope you will be really well for Christmas to enjoy it.Thanks for your comment.Delete
Pauline, you were indeed busy this past month. I hope your new stove top works grand for you. We have a new induction stove top and it's driving me nuts as it so sensitive and is constantly shutting itself off. Oh how I'd love to have a gas stove top, but not here, we're all electric...ReplyDelete
Ron, we would probably have gone induction as well, except we couldn't buy one to fit the stove recess. I'm happy with mine, however it is also a lot more sensitive than my other one and will shut off occasionally as well for whatever reason. Anyway, first world problem eh? Love that I can do gentle cooking on it now though. Great to hear from you.Delete
Quante cose buone!!! Vien voglia di assaggiare tutto e condividere in compagnia questi gustosi piatti! Buona serata!ReplyDelete
Thanks you so much Lea, yes it's so nice to share good food isn't It?Take care, PaulineDelete
Your electricity saga sounds extremely frustrating. Did they move the fuse box? And as for the carpet, well, if we ever get to Istanbul I am forewarned. I cannot imagine doing a dinner party for 12 people again. I am more comfortable with only 6 or 8 people round our table.ReplyDelete
Tandy, they didn't shift the fuse box, the plant was removed so everything is good now hopefully. We are in a tennis group and we all take turns to cook dinner after we play, so when it's our turn, there are generally around 12 to 13 people around our table. I'm used to it now. Thanks for stopping by to visit.Delete
So interesting! It must've been tough to have to destroy all your bee-keeping equipment. And that story about carpet buying! That's amazing!ReplyDelete
Hi Jeff, any kind of farming can certainly be challenging at times. However the bees are back. We can laugh about the carpet story now. We were in shock at the time though, and at what we spent.Hope you are well.Delete
All of your recipes sound so good and look so appetizing. I was especially intrigued with the Moroccan salad- yum. Sorry about your bee hive- such a shame. Your flowers are exquisite. Lovely post.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, its great to hear from you. The Moroccan salad has become a real favourite with everyone.Delete
Wow, that electric adventure must have been frustrating! And we've been through a similar carpet buying experience, although we were lucky enough to show major sales resistance (mainly because we already had all the carpets we needed, otherwise I'm sure we would have purchased something!). Great pictures -- thanks.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much KR, our electric fuse box story turned out well in the end thank goodness. Thank goodness I had the candles ready:) Take care.Delete
Oh I do so enjoy your posts, and am envious of how many different tasty sounding recipes you try. I tend to stick to the tried and true, but tonight decided to make chicken cacciatore. That chickpea salad looks amazing, am definitely going to try that.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much africanaussie, hope you aren't feeling the heat too much up there in the North. I love chicken cacciatore. I know you will enjoy the chickpea salad, and it's so simple.Delete
What an impressive variety of meals you had this month. I'm so intrigued by beekeeping - sorry you lost the last lot and hope this lot goes well!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, the beehive seems to be going really well at present, so fingers crossed. Weather conditions are great, and there are lots of flowers around so hopefully they will stay happy and productive.Delete
Your kitchen must smell incredible this month! All those wonderful dishes… I wish I could be on your invitation list! The Moroccan chickpea salad (I think mine came from a different source) looks identical to mine. It’s such a great dish, and we sometimes have it for a main course! Always love reading your post, Pauline!ReplyDelete
The curried beef lasagne smells amazing when it's cooking, so much so that our young friend up the road was riding past our driveway and couldn't help himself, had to come in to check what I was cooking. His Mum is now making it for his dinner tomorrow night. Thanks so much for your lovely comment.Delete