in my kitchen February 2014

Wind and rain have dominated the weather recently and just in case that leads to more power cuts, I’ve been trying to use up the contents of the freezer. Food shopping has been limited to the necessities as I try not to put into the freezer more than I take out in a week (bread excepted) and meals have been inventive, if not always terribly inspiring. This isn’t helped by the fact that vegetables from the garden have now dwindled to artichokes (not a good idea to eat too many times in a week), leeks that make a squelching noise as we pull them from the wet ground, a little perpetual spinach and a few salad and herb leaves.

Nonetheless, in my kitchen this month …

duck eggs

… eggs

One hen has valiantly laid through the winter, giving me a lone egg most mornings but now her sister has joined in for the odd day and the ducks have started to lay. I’m not sure if egg laying takes ducks by surprise, but one of them lays her eggs in the middle of the run, almost as though she just sat down for a moment and hey presto an egg appeared. Unfortunately, the run is awash with mud at the moment so I pick up the eggs as soon as I can, clean them up and use them as soon as possible for baking. Luckily the layer of the beautiful duck egg blue eggs, has the sense to lay under the shelter in the dry.

in my kitchen this month …

plain cake

… cake

There’s nearly always some sort of cake in my kitchen and cakes like this are perfect for using the duck eggs. I’ve never been a fan of cardboard tasting cupcakes decorated with a turd of buttercream icing and increasingly I like to bake simple cakes with good ingredients. Equal quantities of butter, sugar, eggs and flour beaten to a light airy mixture and flavoured with no more than lemon zest and nutmeg doesn’t need coating in chocolate or icing. Actually, it might be rather good with a little decoration, but for the moment, plain is fine. Using a recipe that weighs the eggs to determine the weight of the other ingredients is particularly useful when using large duck eggs and small bantam eggs that don’t conform to normal sizing.

in my kitchen this month …

bread bowls

… bowls made from bread

No washing up because you eat the bowl! These were small bowls for dips and I made them by pressing a circle of bread dough over a metal tin (the sort used for individual steamed puddings) and baking in the oven. I tried larger ones that we ate soup from, which was fun. No second helpings though.

in my kitchen this month …

… Thank Yous

I’m often enthused by food on blogs. Sometimes a photo inspires me to try something similar, like the bread shots inspired by Jane’s tiny sourdough rolls at The Shady Baker or I read a recipe and think it sounds so wonderful I’ll give it a go. But I’m not very good at going back to the blogs to say “thanks, it worked!” So, thank you for the three most recent that I’ve made. Unfortunately, I didn’t think far enough ahead and take photos, but take a look at the original posts to see what they should look like. So, Thank You to:

Lisa at Gourmet Wog for chocolate coated candied orange peel. I never realised how easy it is to candy orange peel.

Misky at The Chalk Hills Kitchen for homemade dog biscuits. Morris the fox terrier thinks they’re delicious.

Celia at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial for butterscotch bars voted “best snack for workers in The Christmas Tree Barn” and which now appear regularly on the table.

And Thank You to Celia who hosts In My Kitchen every month for bloggers around the world. You can find a list of everyone taking part and details of how you can join in at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial.


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40 thoughts on “in my kitchen February 2014

  1. Pat Machin says:

    Lovely eggs! That duck egg is not duck egg blue as I know it! It’s much richer.

    I like the idea of the bread bowls. I’ve done the larger ones where you scoop out the centre from a round loaf but always felt it was wasteful, even though I used up the centre for breadcrumbs. This looks more sensible.


  2. dianeskitchentable says:

    I love those duck eggs and since I used to make eggshell ornaments, I was thinking how pretty they would look for an ornament – normally I paint the chicken eggs that I use. For some reason I was thinking that they’d be bigger than the chicken eggs but I must be thinking of goose eggs. I’m laughing thinking about your duck squatting down going “ooops – sorry bout that”, and waddling on.
    I’m going to have to try your idea of the bread bowls. I’ve cut a larger round loaf and scooped out the inside but this looks like a great idea. The way you describe making them reminds me of the parmesan cheese bowls that you shape with bowls or cups, toast, then fill with a chili or thick soup.


  3. Misky says:

    I’m glad that Morris likes them. I’ve started making them for all the neighbourhood dogs too. The chihuahua across the street loves them also, but I make itsy-bitsy ones for him because he has wee little teeth. 🙂 Thanks for the mention, Anne.


  4. heidiannie says:

    Love the eggs- I’d be tempted just to look at them- but then they are even more lovely to eat (especially in a cake).
    I laughed long and hard over the turd of icing- that is exactly what it looks like- and really? WHY do we need every sweet thing to be covered with more sweet stuff?
    Thanks for sharing, Anne.


  5. thegardendeli says:

    Not sure I should admit this in public, but I didn’t realise that duck eggs could really be blue… only seen white ones before now! The bread bowls are a great idea – a good way to encourage slow eaters to slurp their soup down before the bowl disintegrates


  6. Jane says:

    ‘a turd of buttercream icing’ oh I just love how you call a spade a spade. I hate buttercream! And why is there always a tonne of it, generally in some appalling colour? I’d go a big hunk of your plain cake though.


  7. Sarah says:

    Plain cakes are the way forward – no faffing about with icing and easier to put into lunchboxes. BTW, if you did want to feast on artichokes on a daily basis but had concerns about it’s “side effects” then grow some winter savory. Apparently, if eaten together, wind will be a thing of the past!


  8. Glenda says:

    Hi Anne, I too have made a bowl for a cheese dip by scooping out the middle of a cob. You then cut up the middle into cubes and use that for dipping into the dip. It is very yummy and 70’s. I like your idea of actually making the bowl. And I love your blue eggs. You know, I have never seen a blue egg before, Where have I been? In the city maybe ….


  9. says:

    I hate things on top of cakes too and always leave off sugary glazes and what not. Most times just a dusting with icing sugar is enough for me. Now I’ll always think of a turd of buttercream whenever I’m tempted…..


  10. tableofcolors says:

    Lovely post. I’m sure you’re eggs have a wonderful flavor. What a great idea to make bread bowls…perhaps I could make them today to go with the butternut squash soup I was thinking to make. And the cake looks fantastic! I too am not a fan of dry cake! 🙂


  11. theclevercarrot says:

    Hi Anne! This post was so sweet… I love the thank you’s at the end 🙂

    We are experiencing some miserable weather as well, so I can definitely relate (snow, snow and more snow… then rain). It looks like you’ve been keeping busy baking the winter blues away. I love the look of those bread bowls! Very clever.

    Glad to take a peek into your kitchen this month! Stay warm xx


  12. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

    “cardboard tasting cupcakes decorated with a turd of buttercream icing”?? You DO know I adore you, don’t you, Anne… 🙂 Beautiful bread as always, and I love your blue eggs. And thanks for letting me know – so glad everyone likes the butterscotch bars! xx


  13. TIFFIN bitesizedfood (@TIFFINbitesized) says:

    Well those duck eggs are just to die for aren’t they? I agree about the cake – though I love it all, a simple butter cake is my favourite. Just yesterday I made the cinnamon swirl cake from Lambs Ear & Honey. Delicious! Thanks for the tour Anne – your blog always inspire me hence the shrubs, bitters and more. Cheers!


  14. Lisa the Gourmet Wog says:

    wow Anne, those eggs are just so beautiful! You wouldn’t need to dye them over Easter!! Thanks so much for the shout out too, hope you enjoyed the oranges! They’re delicious and if you go through a 3kg bag every week like we do in our household, that’s a whole lot of peel that could be candied!


  15. andreamynard says:

    What utterly beautiful eggs! And I can just imagine how buttery and delicious that cake is – totally with you on preferring simple cake with good ingredients to one with mounds of buttercream. Sadly my daughter doesn’t agree.


  16. Kim Bultman says:

    Anne, you duck egg laying story was a hoot! Mid-run? That’d be something to see. The blue colored eggs are gorgeous, and I can see why you’ve taken to weighing ingredients proportionate to their size. Thank you for sharing your bread bowls, too — haven’t made any for a long time and it’s soup weather here. An edible inspiration! Happy Valentine’s Day!


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