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Too busy to be in my kitchen…

October 1, 2015

…well actually that’s not strictly true. But life’s for living right? And cooking, and travel, eating out, eating in, making food for friends over Eid and popping out for a few gorgeous gourmet events. I’ve jotted down so many notes, half-written posts, my head is churning with ideas – I wish I had some electrodes that I could pin to the side of my head to get it all down in word form by just thinking. But here we are back in my kitchen and what have I got to show you this month? Zero blog posts – oops.

In my kitchen from Hyderabad

I touched down from the UK early September then traveled to Hyderabad at the beginning of the month for a dear friend’s wedding. When I asked KP what he wanted me to bring back he requested a famous Hyderabadi biryani. Thinking this was an impossible whimsy, I tried to silence my lovely driver who was keen to persuade me to buy bracelets and gem stones by telling him  that there was only one thing I wanted to take home with me. “That’s easy” he said “when I take you to the airport we phone ahead to the a restaurant near the airport and ask them to ‘pack for flight’. We collect it on the way.” This all worked like a dream and I was able to present KP with this city’s famed dish from my suitcase before running out to Book Club that night. My only regret is that I didn’t bring more.

Gaumarjos

On my way out to India I put in an order from Le Clos – it feels like you are being given gifts when bags full of wine are handed over just before you get to passport control (well it is duty-free).  Couldn’t resist slipping a bottle of Williams Chase in to add to my gin collection. And talking of wine… while this is not new in my kitchen I’ve been sorting through my collection of bottles for the first Georgian wine day. Please do get hold of a bottle and join me in a virtual ‘gaumarjos’ on October 4th.

12 weeks until Christmas

Getting ahead for Christmas is essential and enjoyable (well I think so) and I now have fruit slowly steeping in fruit. I used raisins, currants, prunes, dried cranberries candied peel and brandy this year but the full Christmas cake recipe (with variations) is here; just do it – rewards for patience I promise. And all those cookie cutters can only mean one thing … a festive gingerbread project in the offing.

Cheese nerdiness

I was at the Lafayette Gourmet Food Fest this month (lingering by La Cave a Fromage) and somehow with Elie Makhlouf, the most knowledgable man about cheese I have ever met, got into a mutual homage to cheese which saw him unwrapping wheels of the stuff and forcing me to taste, contrast, compare and take home. What I had to endure (ha ha)! The real revelation was how different Comte made of milk from cows grazing during May and June tasted versus the same producer’s cheese from July and August milk. Phenomenal.

Fruit in season

A massive Union Coop supermarket opened round the corner from me during the summer and it’s very good for seasonal, regional fruit. Plums from Lebanon and Tunisia in several colours have dripped juice in my kitchen and not cost an arm and a leg. At the other extreme of retailer (my eyes water every time they tell me the total bill at the till) I picked up some of my favourite Pelagonia stuffed peppers from Waitrose. Sadly they don’t seem to stock the fabulous ajvar (roasted pepper relish) any longer.

Bread sagas

I made bread from my sour dough starter at last – hooray! And then had to throw both inedible loaves away – booooo! To boost my confidence I went back to a favourite Dan Lepard recipe, tweaked it a bit (due to a lack of some ingredients including inexpensive red wine) and tucked into it with abandon. Bread making mojo restored.

How wonderful to attend a baby shower where the pregnant mum to be gives you a jar of homemade lemon curd to take home. Good luck guys (birth imminent).

Here are a few more highlights of this month on Instagram*:

If you are wondering what is in other kitchens around the globe, visit Celia’s page and follow the links in her side bar for this monthly event. Thanks so much to Celia for sourdough encouragement via Whats app – especially given the time difference. You can look back on past goodies in my kitchen here.

What’s in your kitchen this October?

*Dubai-dwellers alert to an Instameet this Saturday morning. See igersdubai on insta – plus details for Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. See you there?

27 Comments
  1. October 1, 2015 9:24 am

    What a lovely month you’ve had and great photos. I love Comte. There’s a brilliant French cheese and charcuterie stall in a Richmond market on Sundays where they sell Comte of different ages – aged up to 36 months – and it’s wonderful.

  2. October 1, 2015 9:44 am

    I’ll take a slice of the honey and walnut bread please….?!

  3. October 1, 2015 10:11 am

    So many great things happening in your life and kitchen. I’ll soon have to think about Xmas too (mincemeat, cake, etc…).

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. October 1, 2015 12:13 pm

    Lovely Sally!
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  5. October 1, 2015 1:51 pm

    You have been a busy bee! Aged Comté is my absolute favourite. 🙂

  6. October 1, 2015 4:21 pm

    I can’t even begin to contemplate Christmas! I guess a gin or two might make it easier😉

  7. October 1, 2015 4:39 pm

    Can I just say you have the best Instagram account ever:-) I don’t know how you do it!

  8. October 1, 2015 5:18 pm

    Hooray for sourdough… and lemon curd.

  9. October 1, 2015 7:28 pm

    This is such a lovely post. I really enjoy following your on instagram and it’s nice to get more background on your travels and exploits in this post. I can’t believe that it’s already time to sort out the Xmas fruit!

  10. talkavino permalink
    October 1, 2015 8:49 pm

    I’m with you on those electrodes – if you find where to get them, will you share, please?! Your note on the cheese just hit a nail on the head – never thought of that, but it makes so much sense, wow!

  11. October 1, 2015 9:44 pm

    Lovely post!

  12. October 2, 2015 1:45 am

    You’re too much fun, darling. I hope Prudence is well on the road to her old self again. And I LOVE that you can order and ask for it to be “packed for flight”! I’m intrigued by the seasonal differences in the Comte! xxx

  13. October 2, 2015 6:27 am

    Oh, happy travels! xxx

  14. October 2, 2015 1:40 pm

    I wish I could help you with your bread. So sorry you threw it away.

  15. October 2, 2015 5:36 pm

    Sally, you’ve definitely been “living life” — yay! It also sounded like you got in the right taxi for take out tips on biryani to-go. Incredible what comes home in suitcases. 🙂 Thanks, too, for the heads up on Christmas Cake preparations. (I bookmarked your post and need to start “soaking” NOW.) Loved your photo collages… a feast for the eyes, palate, and soul, xo.

  16. October 2, 2015 8:34 pm

    You must have been in complete heaven with the bespoke cheese tutoring and tasting. I would have loved to tag along! And how sweet are you (and your driver) to collect a Hyderabad curry for KP. I hope he knows how lucky he is! Great post and keep on making the bread!

  17. October 5, 2015 12:16 am

    What a fabulous, busy month! Alas, I could have done without the reminder that Christmas is a mere 12 weeks away — already?!

  18. October 5, 2015 10:50 am

    I hope you persevere with the sourdough! And I am sure you found it very difficult to taste all of those cheeses 😉 I know that the same style of cheese tastes different if it comes from a different country so interesting to learn that the time of the year can also make a difference 🙂

  19. October 6, 2015 12:20 am

    A lovely cool post! I also have a lot of cookie cutters! What a lovely special bread too! nom nom!

  20. October 6, 2015 1:39 pm

    Love your beautiful photos Sally and you certainly have lots of cookie cutters 🙂

  21. October 8, 2015 5:22 am

    Oh goodness, I can’t even begin to think about Christmas yet!

  22. October 9, 2015 11:42 am

    i am amazed that you can bring food with you on the plane. we are not allowed to take food on or off the plane!:) so interesting about the cheese tasting different in diff. months. love the cutters.

  23. October 9, 2015 2:31 pm

    No blog posts and then this lovely one with a bit of everything. Looking forward to reading about your Christmas projects

  24. October 11, 2015 4:07 am

    I’ve been reading a lot about Georgian wine recently but I think it will be some time until it makes its way to our shores. Unbelievable that you can pick up a biryani and transport it home. It could never happen in Aus ; )

    No time for blog posts but time to by gin? I see how it is…

  25. October 16, 2015 8:26 pm

    A very eventful month makes for a fabulous post Sally. I’ve been planning to join Celia’s event for ever, and I think I just better just dive into it!

  26. October 17, 2015 1:22 am

    I actually came to check if you had written a post for blog action day, it’s been so manic here and I’m moving my blog that I haven’t been able to post, but I am going to, it doesn’t matter if it’s later, freedom of speech is an important topic for this year’s blog action day. Hope you’re well Sally xx Regula

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