Happy New Year! New beginnings and closures, opportunities and challenges, learnings and reflections await. I can feel just a hint of excitement and anticipation is in the air. Bring on the 2016. And bring on more adventures, in and out of my kitchen. 2015 finished in the blissful warmth of family togetherness for us and left me feeling content and at peace. And that feeling is continuing as I welcome you into my kitchen this month.
Thirteen year old tree – has kept us company and provided welcoming, homely glow until just a few days ago when we said goodbye and packed it away for another year. It looked particularly lovely this year because that empty armchair was occupied by my Dad and the room was filled with our laughter and giggles. I enjoyed standing by the stove and glancing across the room towards the warm glow, remembering different people, places and moments that are marked by each one of the decorations. A tree full of history and love.
Spice racks – are now on the counter top and are my new addition to the kitchen. I use a lot of spices and herbs in my cooking and the dedicated cupboard was seriously overflowing. Couple of falling jars bouncing of my head, counter and the kitchen floor were the tipping point – literally! I invested in these acacia spice racks which came with cute spice jars. Because I cook from fresh everyday, my spices and herbs get used up quickly so there is no risk of them staying around and being spoilt by the light.
Old cabinet full of glassware – is now tidy with few new additions in it. It felt good to be standing in the kitchen on a rainy morning and finally sort it out. It’s been in constant use over the festive period, with crystal ware, glasses, serving platters and dishes in rotation. I am planning on making few changes to its appearance later on in the year but this second-hand find is serving us really well.
Almond and milk hand cream – is sitting on my kitchen dresser and I use it everyday. Since most of our special occasion china and crystal glasses as well as plated cutlery are hand wash only, we have spent a number of evenings washing up. My hands really suffer and dry out so my girl gifted me with this hand-cream. It smells incredibly delicious and is richly nourishing. I can see and feel the difference almost immediately after each use and my habit of using hand-cream is no longer limited to my office only.
Spanish chocolates – are on the kitchen dresser. These floral and fruity handmade chocolates are works of art, each one of them glossy and full of incredibly intensive flavour. Pure indulgence in the form of violet, raspberry, passion fruit and rose.
Lebkuchen from Nuremberg – are still in my kitchen and hiding away in their metal tin. We have received so many wonderful edible gifts this year that I think we will probably finish them sometime around May. Which is quite all right. I love these tender gingerbread biscuits, full of spices, baked on a rice paper and covered in a crunchy sugar glaze. Alongside of an Italian panettone (of which we have 3 large ones remaining), a Polish piernik, an English Christmas pudding, these German biscuits are a necessity in this household during the festive season.
1st Birthday celebrations – were happening in my kitchen earlier this week to mark one year of my blogging adventures. I baked a white chocolate and a raspberry galette des rois to mark the occasion. And there might have been a few cocktails too…because there is no such thing as dry January in this kitchen!
Provence rose mugs – are hanging on the kitchen dresser. I love this particular pattern from Cath Kidston in my favourite colour, so bright and cheerful. As I wrap my fingers around one of these when I return home at the end of the day, I stop for a moment to catch my breath and this little pause has been particularly welcome earlier in the week.
Tete-a-tete daffodils – unusually mild winter in the UK means these dwarf daffodils are out already and almost at the point of flowering. I had to bring this pot inside though as the constant rain and strong winds kept lashing it and knocking it over in the garden. So as quickly the Christmas decorations had disappeared from the kitchen, as quickly the spring had burst in.
A new book – is fuelling my longing for a long overdue trip to France. It’s full of inspiring recipes and stunning photographs that convey the author’s love and passion. A visual feast for senses that has been keeping me company late into the evenings this week.
Glowing fires – are in the kitchen too this week since the temperatures are dipping below zero at night with a spell of snow expected later next week. I will believe it when I see it but for now we are keeping the cold at bay with the warm glow of fresh fire each night. We are using eco-logs and Mr A’s briquettes instead of wood as they burn well and give out quite the heat. Meaning the marshmallows are toasting really well too.
Minestrone soup – was on the menu tonight too. Little bowls full of vegetables and hot broth with the cutest little conchigliette pasta disappeared quickly with my hungry wolves. I made it in the attempt to use up most of the vegetables before my grocery shop tomorrow. The cubbing blade on my Magimix made cutting a child’s play – I continue to be seriously impressed with the Magimix, especially after being sceptical for many years at the tool’s usefulness. The soup was ready in no time. I served it with some pumpkin sourdough croutons that came out the freezer to create further space. I am good at freezing leftovers but absolutely rubbish at using them at a later point. So this year I am determined to actually use my frozen produce a lot more.
Sleepy puppy – or a dog, I should say since Amber turns one today so is no longer considered a puppy. She has spent the day toasting in front of the fire and snoozing under the blanket, only lifting up her tassel covered nose to sniff the air when the hot croutons arrived at the table. Happy Birthday gorgeous girl, we love your naughty ways x
That’s my kitchen at the start of January. I am now popping over to Maureen from Orgasmic Chef who is the new host of IMK as of this month and looking forward to seeing other IMK community kitchens around the world. Thanks for reading x