In my kitchen – September 2015

Welcome to my September kitchen. As we say goodbye to the lazy days of August that have been filled with summer adventures and chilled out days, I am quietly looking forward to the forthcoming Autumn with its warm days enveloped in chilly mornings and evenings, red and yellow and orange scenery both in landscape as well as in produce, warm blankets and fires on dark evenings and smell of smoke in the air. With the most recent weather, we could almost be there already as the recent days here in the UK felt much more like October rather than tail end of the summer. So this is my kitchen this month, slowly getting ready for the change in the season…

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Sourdough loaves – I have dabbled in the past in baking sourdough but a bit of a hit and miss success has meant that eventually it took a back seat with my starter relegated to the depths of my freezer for later. A recent visit to Northamptonshire down a memory lane of Mr A’s had struck a chord with me and I have made a conscious decision to return to my starter and the sourdough. And in doing so I have learned to be patient and to be intuitive rather than trying to follow the rules. I am getting to know my starter much better now second time around, and in doing so, I have been rewarded in beautiful burnished loaves with chewy crust full of flavours that my family enjoys as much as I do. And I love this rediscovered journey me and my starter are taking together, especially when I hear that delicious crackling of the crust as the loaf comes out the oven.

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Slowly roasted shoulder of lamb – or rather the leftovers from it. I took a full advantage of the last Bank Holiday weekend we just had and spent it enjoying being with my family before we all head back to our day to day routines, some newer than others. The 3 kg cut was roasted slowly with lots of garlic and rosemary from the garden meaning that at the end of nearly 5 hours of cooking time, we had a beautifully sticky and soft meat falling of the bones. Served with some crushed buttered potatoes and a medley of vegetables it made a very tasty and comforting meal. The dogs and the cat were equally pleased with their bones which were devoured in different corners of the garden, each one of them guarding their bounty within their territory. The leftovers will be turned into a quick Moroccan stew with chickpeas and spices and with the addition of fresh flatbreads, tomorrow’s dinner will be on the table in no time whatsoever.

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Falcon enamel bowls – two little lidded bowls that were an absolute bargain and spotted only thanks to my children who insisted on getting 10 packs of wooden skewers which were next to them. Apparently we needed 750 skewers to ensure we have enough sticks to roast the marshmallows on Saturday nights… I’m not entirely sure how many marshmallows they are planning on roasting each weekend! But whilst we were discussing their purchase, I noticed these two and thought how perfect they would be filled with a medley of fresh French beans, courgettes and peas. Which is exactly what they were used for to accompany the shoulder of lamb. Beans and courgettes were freshly picked that morning and I threw in some mint from the garden for good measures too. It is growing in abundance now and I love its fresh flavour both with green veg as well as lamb.

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Mini cocottes –  cute mini casseroles in my favourite colour. Initially Mr A was rather sceptical of their size but when I presented him with baked eggs, he soon realized these are in fact just the perfect size for light dinners like this one. Their non-stick interior also meant all that gooey sticky cheese sauce the eggs were topped with was really easy to clean up. A win win I say.

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Fresh sweetcorn – I initially went to the farm to pick some French beans but then stumbled upon their courgette patch. That then lead me into their sweetcorn field. And I was sold. Seeing the tall, straight stems swaying in the wind and hearing the rustling of the leaves was mesmerizing. I ended up coming home with fresh corn too. I am so glad I did – the ears are bulging with shiny and juicy kernels and their sweetness is unrivalled. And I know just the perfect dish that will show off that yellow beauty to its full potential.

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Lavender sugar – you might recall last month I have blogged about these potent little stems and my plans for them. I decided to make some lavender sugar too by placing few dried stems inside an airtight jar filled with caster sugar. I am really pleased with the results and have been itching to incorporate it into my baking so in my kitchen we have also…

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Lavender shortbread –  short and buttery and flecked with tiny lavender flowers. A little goes a long way with lavender, so my shortbread is made with 50:50 mixture of lavender sugar and normal sugar. And the result is beautifully fragrant biscuit that doesn’t taste like a bar of soap. It goes perfectly well with a good cup of tea and a natter at the kitchen table.

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Gladioli –  tall and proud swords on my kitchen dresser. I love their elegant appearance and this particular bunch is flaming red and just stunning. They complement the little white speckled bowl visible in the picture that was decorated by my daughter whilst she was away this summer. As you can see, my dresser is full of reds and blues and whites with each piece marking a moment of our family history, some more joyous than others.

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Paper briquettes and first fire – Mr A has been busy preparing us for the cold weather whilst trying to recycle the large amount of paperwork our business produces. So he invested in a press and has been making paper briquettes throughout the summer meaning the redundant paper is utilised again and we have the warmth of the fires on cold winter evenings to look forward to. I love their rugged white surface flecked with speckles of colours, so pretty. We have put one of them to the test today and had a first fire. But I had to fight Poppy and Amber to be able to take the photo! These girls don’t miss a trick…

So that is my kitchen ready for September. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to have a look around. I’m popping over to Celia’s and other bloggers to have a look around their kitchens – it’s such a privilege to be able to do so. Have a lovely month ahead x