in my kitchen – May 2014

It’s the beginning of the month, so time to join in with Celia and the world round up of kitchen happenings.

In my kitchen …

lilac flowers
… lilac. I’d fill the house with lilac but others rein me in. A jug filled with lilac, cow parsley and crab apple blossom has sat on the dresser for the past week but this morning I carried it out, drifting apple blossom petals onto the floor and leaving a circle of pollen where the jug had stood. I cut more lilac and brought it in but ended up stripping the flowers to use in lemonade because

in my kitchen …

lemonade with lilac
… pink lemonade. Just the usual lemonade recipe but with 2 cups of lilac flowers added to the syrup to turn the cordial a delicate shade of pink. The lemonade doesn’t taste of lilac, but on the other hand, it doesn’t taste like the normal recipe as the lilacs add an almost spicy hint. I’m tempted to make lilac jam. Tell me if you’ve made it and whether it’s worth making.

In my kitchen …

rhubarb
… rhubarb freshly cut and brought in from the garden. The other day my mother and mother-in-law were wandering around the garden and deemed my rhubarb too green, too leafy and too thick stemmed. Yeah, so what. Some of my rhubarb stalks are pink and slender. Anyway, once the rhubarb had been poached in rose syrup and rose gin, nobody complained. Maybe one year I’ll remember to force some rhubarb.

In my kitchen …

sourdough starter
… a little pot of neglected sourdough starter just taken from the fridge, ready to build up for baking the following day.  There was a conversation on Twitter last week about uses for leftover sourdough starter, which left me a little perplexed as I never have any leftover sourdough starter. A little probing revealed that some people treat their sourdough starter like one of the family; they’re given names, fed every day and given a special place to rest. Mine just gets dumped in the fridge.

sourdough bread
I make bread every week or so and simply take my starter from the fridge the day before I want to bake and double its size (by adding equal quantities of flour and water two or three times over the day) until I have a big enough batch. Next day, I scoop three or four spoonsful of starter back into the pot with an additional spoonful each of flour and water and return the pot to the back of the fridge for another week. I use all the remaining starter to bake with, at a rough ratio of 1 part starter to 1 part water and 2 parts flour. The idea of feeding and throwing away excess starter seems a waste of good flour and anyway, I’d never remember to feed it, which is of course, how I ended up with my present routine. As ever, my motto is to find out works for me and stick with it.

In my kitchen …

safe food practice
… homework. Safe working practice for working in the kitchen in The Barley Barn. Page after page stating the obvious, the bleedin’ obvious and the odd thing that makes me hold my head in my hands. Forms to fill in, boxes to tick, procedures to write. Hey ho. However, that will have to wait until tomorrow, because if you’ll excuse me, it’s my wedding anniversary and I’m off to eat chocolates with my beloved.

In My Kitchen is hosted by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Be sure to drop by and catch up with what’s happening in her kitchen and follow the links to other bloggers who join in with IMK.

 

56 thoughts on “in my kitchen – May 2014

  1. thegardendeli says:

    Happy anniversary Anne – hope you both enjoyed the chocolates. I hadn’t realised that lilac flowers were edible. Lilac jam sounds like a very good idea… I’ll look forward to hearing how you get on.

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  2. thelandroverownerswife says:

    Oh my your sourdough starter section made me chuckle with the memory of the sourdough circle that was operating in the playground a couple of years ago.

    Several mums all using starters that originated from one mums original starter. Each starter offspring was named and weekly updates were shared.

    I’ve never made sourdough and wouldn’t know where to start but sure as eggs is eggs I wouldn’t name my starter …… I mean you just don’t do you? Name something you’re going to eat, or regard as a pet I mean, it’s just wrong …… 🙂 😉 😀

    As for rhubarb, mine appears to be taking over its’ corner of the garden and I really need to pull a load 🙂

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  3. Glenda says:

    Lilac, who can grow lilac? Not me. Clearly it is too hot and dry for them here. My baby James MacFarlane kicked the bucket this summer. I am so jel, jel. I guess every climate has its advantages and disadvantages. I also throw out very little starter, especially if I am making bread that needs at least 400g of starter. I am usually scraping the bottom of the jar to get enough to feed up. Lately I am keeping 160g of starter and feeding 160g of each to get 480g which is enough for my bread and some for the fridge. Do you think there are advantages for a successive feeds? BTW My starters are called Petal, short for pet alive. The landroverownerswife would love that 🙂

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  4. heidiannie says:

    I love lilacs but never used them in a culinary fashion. I have to google this and see what I’ve been missing!!!
    Your rhubarb looks great to me- I cook it up with lemon juice and sugar and then freeze it to add to gingerale and make rhubarb fizz.
    And your sourdough routine sounds a lot like mine. I have named it though, because Celia asked me to- mine is named Thing Two- and I mourned it when my husband threw it out, but am not squeamish about eating it?
    Thanks for sharing, Anne. 🙂

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  5. nanacathy2 says:

    I didn’t know you could use lilac in cooking. Mine isn’t out yet so time for some research. I do have lots of rhubarb and am wondering about some more chutney. Lovely inspirational post.

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  6. nancy@jamjnr says:

    I’m rubbish at maths so I guess I’ll never work out the whole sourdough ratio thing. My mind goes blank just reading that paragraph. I’ll have to stick to soda bread!!!
    I can’t imagine the guff you have to read in that folder – but I bet it’s hilarious.

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  7. sophiezest says:

    I had no idea you could eat lilac. We have a lilac tree in our garden.
    Laughed at your sourdough paragraph and the folder of ‘safe working practices’. You strike me as someone who is overflowing with common sense, unlike many these days.

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  8. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:

    Oh Anne, your lilac has brought back so many memories for me! I almost have tears in my eyes. My parents always grew it! Looks like spring is on its way in your part of the world. Happy cooking xox

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  9. Mel @ The cook's notebook says:

    your lilac is GORGEOUS! Wish I could grow some here but suspect it’s too hot! Love the bread too – I’ve never made sourdough because I have a totally brilliant bakery down the road that makes it for me 🙂

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  10. ladyredspecs says:

    I’m new to the sourdough thing, treat the starter with great reverance although it is unnamed. I often have too much or maybe my brain which is numbers challenged calculates incorrectly, but I never waste the excess, I make pancakes to use it up. Lilac is gorgeous, I consider it to be “terribly British” glad it more than decorative

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    • ladyredspecs says:

      Ann Igot thinking after reading your post. I had been struggling to make a good loaf. My 100% spelt bread was heavy and gluey. I tried using your recommeded method, feeding the starter 2-3 times to activate and I increased the proportion of starter to flour that had been suggested to me. My loaves are so much better, thank you so much 💐

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      • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

        So pleased it works! I’ve decided the best way with sourdough is to take bits from lots of recipes to make a recipe that works for me. Despite what some professional bakers and cookbook writers say, it doesn’t seem an exact science. Thank goodness.

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  11. Jenny says:

    Happy Anniversary. A lovely kitchen round up as always. We’ve certainly had quite a few sourdough starters that we’ve forgotten to feed – looks like you’ve got into a good routine with yours.

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  12. thecompletebook says:

    Aren’t these IMK posts so much fun. I absolutely love your lilac and my hubby’s favourite from childhood is rhubarb. It is slowly growing on me, and poached in rose syrup and rose gin sounds like it will definitely win me over.
    Have a wonderful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

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  13. dianeskitchentable says:

    I LOVE lilacs! Ours usually start blooming mid-May but with the winter we had, things are a little slow this spring. I fill the house & just love the smell but I had no idea that you could use them for flavoring. I know I’ve tried hard to dry them for potpourri & never had much luck with that. I remember my grandmother’s rhubarb patch – we used to go cut some & just dip it in sugar – excellent snack.

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      • dianeskitchentable says:

        I think the buds just have too much moisture. I tried drying in the microwave and the attic which gets scorching hot but is dry with good air flow. I even bought a preserving desiccant but that didn’t work. The flowers turned brown and sort of smelled like dead grass. If you ever hear of another way, I’d love to hear from you.

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  14. Manuela says:

    Happy Anniversary!
    Beautiful lilacs. I had no idea they were edible. The lemonade looks delicious. Most of my rhubarb died over the winter. Had to smile while reading about your homework. Your sourdough starter sounds like mine. I have a tendency to neglect mine and only feed it when I need it!

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  15. tableofcolors says:

    What a lovely idea to use Lilac in your lemonade…thanks for the idea. I received some starter from my Dad and was planning on getting it going today and bake some bread tomorrow 🙂 your bread looks delicious!

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  16. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

    Happy Anniversary! Love that you’ve made pink lilac lemonade, and you’re doing much better than us with rhubarb – our “red” variety only ever grew green, and then all the plants died. We might need to find another spot for them to try again. Re sourdough, yes mine is named, Priscilla, Queen of the Refrigerator, and she’s been a baking companion now for nearly a decade. Your bread looks amazing, so whatever you’re doing is obviously working brilliantly! 🙂

    PS. Talking about naming, someone (was it you?) once told me that her family named all their small herd of cows. They were called things like Goulash, Stroganoff, Roast… 😀

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      We name our pigs that we eat, though not with the dishes we’re going to eat them in. One year they were named after dictators (stroppy teenager doing the naming that year). Hope Priscilla, Queen of the Refrigerator continues to thrive for decades to come 🙂

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  17. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    Hi Anne, I love your no nonsense approach to sourdough, rhubarb advice and life in general! Those lilac flowers look pretty and versatile. Your bread looks tasty too! I hear you on the food regulation stuff…I did a two day course on this so I could continue baking for a local cafe. Excruciating isn’t it? Happy cooking and thank you for the tour. Oh and happy anniversary to you and your beloved.

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      At least I only had to do a one day course and to be honest, I did learn a lot; it’s all the form filling and writing down everything that gets me. Still, when I eat out I want my food safe and healthy so I shouldn’t really complain.

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  18. Life at 139a (@LifeAt139a) says:

    Hmmmnn. Rhubarb and rose gin – sounds very good. I also make sourdough bread and never have any starter spare; I don’t feed it but have found a method that works for me. I haven’t named mine either (though know people that have) but I have just taken it on a self-catering break with us…..!

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  19. tiffinbitesized says:

    Another brilliant brew with the lilac tinted cordial. I always think of lilacs as having a spicy smell so was interested to see you comment on that. I can see Spring has well and truly sprung! Cheers xx Fiona

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  20. Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas says:

    You are a woman after my own heart. I am glad to know that I am not the only one that neglects my starter horribly and only feeds it when I need it. And I haven’t named mine either 🙂 I love the colour of your rhubarb. We can only grow green here. Apparently it is to do with the heat. Still tastes good though.

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  21. hotlyspiced says:

    Happy anniversary! And as for that homework – they do make us learn the most mundane things, don’t they. I love the look of your rhubarb! And the pink lemonade sounds wonderful too xx

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  22. e / dig in hobart says:

    for some reason i have not popped into your garden or kitchen for such a long time; it is lovely to return to see those beautiful lilacs! so pretty.
    and i didnot think it was a bad thing for rhubarb to be thick stemmed. mine is positively weedy in girth and i think that is a failure!

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  23. knitsofacto says:

    A belated Happy Anniversary.

    I’d not have thought to use lilacs in lemonade but I’m liking the idea.

    A friend, a vicar, just took a part time job in a local supermarket. She has been given a crib sheet for working at the till she has to memorise which includes the ridiculously obvious ad infinitum. What’s amusing us all is that if anyone follows it to the letter you end up with your arms crossed in front of you and no way back from there. It’d be hilarious if it wasn’t so scary!

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  24. Jane says:

    Just catching up on blog reading after a holiday – I loved your jelly printing! Hmm, I really like your attitude to the sourdough starter. I hate the waste of the continual feeding and dividing and throwing out that some instructions have you do. My husband has tried that a few times and never stuck to it and our kitchen sink started to smell really strange with raw sourdough remains constantly rinsed down it!

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  25. Kim | a little lunch says:

    Anne, belated Happy Chocolate Eating Anniversary! Loved your “motto” — me, too. 🙂 I miss the scent of lilacs… my Mom has a HUGE lilac bush (in Minnesota) planted in 1955 and your lilac blossom-infused lemonade sounds wonderful!

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