Sunday, 10 July 2022

In My Kitchen July 2022

This IMK post is part of Sherry's In My Kitchen series, and is mostly set in our Daughter's kitchen in Cairns, in Far North Queensland, where we have been for the past month or so, partly house sitting,  partly travelling around, doing lots of gardening and cooking, and loving the Northern Winter, until it started raining.  If you read my last post, you might remember that we drove home to Mackay from Cairns during the week, and as this is a 10 hour trip, and that's if all is going well, and always it seems with road works and lots of traffic, we now break the trip. Which means, we can take time out and stop and indulge at our favourite haunts along the way for some refreshment and some shopping. 

Oliveri's Continental Deli, a wonderful Italian shop in downtown Innisfail is one of our favourites. Innisfail, is another sugar cane town on the Cassowary Coast, also known for it's bananas and high rainfall, and with a large Italian population. Entering Oliveri's is like walking into little Italy, with shelves laden with all kinds of authentic Italian  products and also locally produced items just beckoning to be taken home to my kitchen. Locals are drinking coffee and eating pastries outside on the footpath.  It's a great place to buy gifts and have a splurge. Some items make it back to my kitchen pantry, and some are enjoyed on the way home.

The front window is laden with a marvelous selection of cheeses, olives, salamis and preserves, all very reasonably priced. It's worthwhile saving up just to buy these. Bring on the pizza. 

The shelves inside are stocked with everything you could want, perfectly packaged preserves ready for antipasto platters, Italian baked sweets and delicious condiments and jams.

So many different vinegars, sauces and oils tried to tempt me.

Of course I always leave Oliveri's with some delicious Nougat.

I'm looking forward to trying this Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar.

We thought this Whiskey Maple Syrup looked like fun. The instructions say to use it on meat. It's not Italian, but it looks like a delicious BBQ sauce from Kansas City.

The Spice Girls are a successful Cairns food company producing lots of different spices, teas, and quality cooking ingredients. I bought these from the Jonsson's Farm Market in Stratford in Cairns, which prides itself on a paddock to plate philosophy, bringing the freshest produce and meat and groceries sourced from all local producers and businesses. We loved shopping there, for the local produce in season. 

I bought these during one of my shopping trips which became gifts for friends who kept an eye on our place while we were away.

Far North Queensland is the real home of the banana, and Babinda just down the road from Cairns, besides having the famous boulders and the best bakery ever, is also home to these Sublime dehydrated Bananas.  Delicious to nibble on while travelling.

And I've become quite a fan of a Chai Latte for morning tea, as a coffee substitute.

I  did some cooking and baking in Cairns, however a lot of my cooking and eating was essentially comfort style food designed to be very kind to my gut, as for the first few weeks I was unwell. This led to a course of powerful antibiotics, which caused a painful skin reaction, so I wasn't a happy chappy. However one must eat something, and whilst for a "whole very long week" I eliminated all foods containing histamines, as the antihistamine tablets weren't working, and yes that means cutting out red wine as well, it's a challenge as all the foods we love, including citrus, tomatoes, eggplant, cheese, yoghurt, bananas and alcohol and many other Italian ingredients contain histamines. If you look it up  you will be surprised. We take all of those foods for granted when we are well. I eventually moved onto some very soothing and tasty meals,  however I am still treating hot curries and anything spicy with caution. 

So, when I was feeling on the mend, I made this delicious Creamy Chicken Pot Pie, ticks all the boxes for a comforting meal on a cold Winter's night. It was perfect. You can find the recipe at this link:

There was another Chicken tonight meal, with this very easy and delicious Chicken and Celery casserole, very soothing for the soul and the gut, and it's a family recipe evoking fond memories. It's also a very economical meal, with most of the ingredients except for the chicken and celery being  pantry and freezer staples. When everyone is becoming concerned about the cost of fresh produce and meat, casseroles can be suited to most budgets.

Last night I made these Tuna and Potato rissoles, they were so tasty. These are a great way to use up leftover mashed potato and canned tuna. 

Pears and apples are in abundance at this time of year, so Pear Tarte Tatin became a favourite. I made three of them in Cairns, so quick and easy and uncomplicated, Mr. HRK didn't mind one little bit. He even volunteered to make the custard. I also love making the more conventional Apple Tarte Tartin.
l'll publish the Pear Tarte Tartin recipe when time permits.

This is my curveball segment. A visit to a lovely plant nursery in Cairns called Limberlost, and I met Danny the Dinosaur. I would have loved to take him home, but $500.00 was just a touch expensive. Have you noticed lately that a lot of plant nurseries have quite the collection of very large and very tame animals and birds just waiting to be adopted for a price?

If you like Yotam Ottolenghis recipes, and who doesn't, you will love this book by Greg and Lucy Malouf, "A Chef's Journey through Persia". I have a copy on order, after a good friend lent me his for a while. 

I'm sending this to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings who hosts the monthly IMK series. Thanks Sherry.

Warm wishes


  1. So many wonderful stuff this month. I too love balsamic vinegar, plain, fig or raspberry...they are all good. The chicken pot pie looks fantastic, Pauline.

    1. Angie, the chicken pot pie is just so good in Winter, Thanks for your comment.

  2. Un bel giro insieme a voi per conoscere nuovi posti e gustosi piatti!

  3. That pot pie looks so delicious, as does the tart!

    1. Jeff, Winter brings on delicious dishes with pastry in my kitchen. Thanks so much for your comment.

  4. I’m finally able to comment on the follow it blogs! Yay! That is some beautiful deli, but not as beautiful as that pear tatin.

    1. Mimi the Pear Tatin tasted as good as it looks. Should I report to Follow it that there is a problem for some people replying?So pleased it is working for you now.

  5. you had me drooling pauline! that chicken pot pie ... Yum. i would definitely come out of Oliveri's with a full basket :) Hope to see you down here some time. let me know if you're in the area. Thanks for joining in this month. always lovely to see your kitchen things. I often buy raspberry vinegar from the granite belt. it's delish. Love the dinosaur. hope your gut is feeling better now. I drank a choc peppermint cocoa bomb the other night and the peppermint essence gave me stomach problems. i used to have an iron gut! cheers S xx

    1. Sherry I always took my gut a bit for granted, and made the most of it, but now I really need to be careful and look after it, still we all have something going on to be ware of at our age.Thanks for your lovely comments and for hosting IMK.

  6. Oliveri's looks wonderful! I could spend a fortune in there. :-)

  7. I nearly did KR, but each time I visit there, I buy a few more treats. Thanks so much for your comment.

  8. That deli looks fabulous, what a find. And your chicken pie had my mouth watering. I hope your gut has recovered, it's quite unfortunately a long list of foods to be avoided...especially red wine.


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