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Saturday, December 7, 2013

In My Kitchen, December 2013

Welcome to another tour of my kitchen where it is starting to feel a little bit like Christmas.

Happily, I have been baking bread.  A sourdough olive loaf with some of our own olives and a piece of cheese that was a gift from my mother in law. 


Sticky sourdough fruit buns made with currants that I had previously soaked in Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado sherry.  I don’t know much about sherry but this particular drop tastes like heavenly, liquid Christmas cake.  The fruit buns tasted good too.


Are these pebbles or little eggs?  This was actually part of 150 tiny sourdough bread rolls that I recently made for my friend Paula, who served them at a local wedding.  For my baking friends, each roll weighed in at a whopping 20 grams.


Our first ever tiny crop of apricots.  Even with a few blemishes home grown fruit is something special. 


I really do love making small gingerbread men.   Every Christmas I make a big batch using a recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook. 


My first attempt at a gingerbread house.   Every time I look at this sugary little home I feel calm.  Life is tranquil in gingerbread land. 


A basket of freshly harvested garlic.  I feel very happy to have my own garlic supply and some lucky people may even receive a piece as a Christmas gift. 


Would you give garlic as a Christmas gift?
Is it feeling like Christmas at your place?
What are you cooking or making?

I am linking up with Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Please call in and visit other vibrant kitchens from all around the world.  

48 comments :

  1. Wow Jane, I love your gingerbread house and gingerbread men. So cute. You are very clever.

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    1. Thanks Gill, it has taken me years (literally!) to find the head space and patience to make this little house!

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  2. Oh Jane, bravo and much admiration for your baking skills! The bread! The gingerbread men! The rolls with PX. Wow! Is it Christmas at my place? Well, sort of. We have our free range ham purchased… and two boxes of frozen prawns direct from the Prawn fishery. And we made our annual Christmas photo yesterday… but having been off work for ages, it just doesn't feel like Christmas, or December. Love your garlic too, BTW. Happy baking.

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    1. Thank you Lizzy. Your Christmas food sounds absolutely delicious!

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  3. We are off to Europe in a week, so no Christmas baking happening here at all. I'm getting my fix from the pictures of others - and yours are just lovely!

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    1. Wow Amanda...Europe or baking?? I would choose Europe too! Have a lovely trip.

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  4. Hi Jane, You take such beautiful pics. Your Christmas baking looks like heaven - and those fruit buns?? Divine!! Gingerbread house is gorgeous. Hope you enjoy the rest of the run up to Christmas. x

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    1. Thank you Donna, you are very kind.

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  5. It must be the season...for garlic! This is the second IMK post I've seen with some. I've been inspired. Life is tranquil in gingerbread land though those little men walking around the house look eerily like a scene from Dr Who. Thanks for the tour!

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    1. Thanks Fiona, I am not really into Dr Who so I had not even thought of my gingerbread men in that way!

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  6. Cute gingerbread house! I just planted some allium bulbs and garlic, so hopefully I'll have garlic to gift next winter :)

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    1. Thanks Dayna, garlic is a wonderful thing!

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  7. Wow, olive bread with your own olives - very cool! Harvesting the "first" of something is always exciting - congrats on the apricots. Love the tiny gingerbread men - might have to give them a shot this season.

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    1. Thanks Katie, you would have fun making little gingerbread men I am sure!

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  8. That little gingerbread house would make me feel happy too Jane!

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  9. I love the gingerbread fantasy too. We didn't have it as a family thing when I was growing up but Jake's family had an Aunt who always brought one up from Adelaide for our children and it was a highlight. Even better when you make your own and the children get to help!

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    1. I bet that was a wonderful Christmas tradition at Pine Creek! As I said to another friend it has taken me years (literally!) to find the head space and patience to make this little house!

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  10. Your gingerbread house is beautiful. I live in Poland. Polish Christmas food is fried carp , beetroot soup with ravioli and for desert makowiec and compote of dry fruits for a drink.
    Ewa from Poland

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    1. Hello Ewa, I am certain you are my first visitor from Poland. Polish Christmas food sounds very interesting and so different from the things we eat in Australia. Thank you for calling in.

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  11. I haven't baked gingerbread before, but this Christmas i'm hoping too. I shall have to borrow the Bourke Street Bakery book from the library and get to it.
    They will be lucky recipients of home-grown garlic.x

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    1. Thank you Zara. Do try to find the Bourke Street Bakery book, it is guaranteed to inspire your inner baker! x

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  12. wow jane..i'm not sure what i love most..everything looks so stunning..how did you manage to make 150 bread rolls on one day? that's an awesome feat..the gingerbread house is stunning and i bet your children just love it..and the little ginger bread men look cute..

    by the way i have one of those fruit dipping baskets that you have your garlic in that was given to me by a friend whose family come from mildura..i've seen them for sale in trendy melbourne shops for about $45..

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    1. Thank you Jane, you are a kind friend. The 150 rolls were not especially difficult but it does require a fair bit of forward planning and a guaranteed chunk of uninterrupted time to complete the shaping!

      Those fruit dipping tins are everywhere around Mildura, although they are probably becoming increasingly rare. They are so sturdy and useful for so many things aren't they? I hope you are having a lovely Sunday x

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  13. Jane, your Christmas kitchen is looking elegant and joyous - I LOVE the ginger bread house and all the little men! You're so patient! And I still have no idea how you make all those little rolls so even and round - by the time I've shaped the last in a batch of 30, the first is already looking a bit overblown. You must work incredibly fast! Beautiful garlic, and it must be so rewarding to be able to bake sourdough with your own olives in it. All the very best for a fabulous festive December! xx

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    1. Hello Celia. It has taken me years (literally!) to find the patience and head space to make this little house! Making those little rolls is still largely a experiment, I was lucky this batch worked fairly well with only a few cracks and blow outs! All the best for your festive season and festive baking too! x

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  14. Hi super post as always. Love your gingerbread men and that wonderful house. Superb! Not I wouldn't give my garlic away at Christmas time - only that I hate sharing it! LOL

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    1. Thank you so much....you are right about the garlic, it will only be given away to a very selective few!

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  15. HI Jane...what an inspiring post!! Beautiful photos and amazing baking...I hope to conquer sour dough next year :) I would be VERY happy to receive garlic for a Christmas gift. Decorating the tree today and have down loaded Christmas carols to the I-pod to get into the spirit....Christmas has come too fast this year. We covered our orchard in this year and put in a chook run...so for the first year we are picking apricots and the plums are just starting...yay win to me and a loss to the bowerbirds and parrots!!!! and I love my chookies...lol! Warm one in Cobar today, I'm sure warmer for you! Stay cool...cheers.

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    1. Thanks so much Suze. Yay for your covered orchard, fruit is too precious to waste on bowerbirds and parrots. Warm here too, it is that time of the year in the outback isn't it? Happy festive season to you.

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  16. Great idea of garlic for gifts! I would knit a little red stocking to put it into- but then I knit little red bags and stockings for most of my gifts!

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    1. Oh a little red stocking would be perfect Heidi Annie! If only I could knit...thanks for calling in :)

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  17. Oh my GOODNESS! That gingerbread house is too cute Jane! It's wonderful, I can't believe it's your first try!!
    Everything always looks so very scrummy in your kitchen!

    Sarah xo

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    1. Thank you Sarah, perhaps it was a little beginners luck with the house? I hope your festive season is looking happy x

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  18. Jane, your first crop of apricots look like a beautiful still-life painting. (So does your bread/cheese board.) I'd never turn down garlic for a Christmas present -- homemade (or home-grown) gifts are the best! It's feeling very Christmas-y here thanks to an unprecedented 6 inches of snow outside. Inside... simple joys are more meaningful... heat, light, and time to enjoy posts such as yours. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thank you Kim, lovely to hear from you. That snow sounds amazing...do you know I have never seen snow?

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  19. sherry soaked fruit for christmas rolls... yum, perfection!
    and i'm sure life indeedd is tranquil in a gingrbread house. do the tenants need to worry about mortgages increases, electricity prices, rotted gutters, weedy lawns...? i want to come back as a gingerbread man :-)
    and for a cook, homegrown garlic would make a wonderful gift!

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    1. Thanks e, I am fairly certain gingerbread men have none of those worries :) Happy festive season to you x

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  20. It all looks so beautiful Jane; I love your IMK posts as there's always something inspirational. I've just added "make gingerbread men" to my list of things to do, even though I'm still pretending that Christmas is months away so have nothing festive hanging up or baking in the oven. How wonderful to make bread using your own olives and to grow your own apricots. How long does it take to produce your first crop?
    Thank you for sharing. Anne x

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    1. Thanks Anne, it has taken 2-3 years to get these apricots. Hopefully next summer we will pick a few more. I hope you find time to make gingerbread men...they just make me smile. This week we have been plunged into crazy, end of year school activities and my festive spirit has almost disappeared. I hope it comes back before the big day!

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  21. I just love this post Jane, you sound so calm and that's just what I needed to read. Those sourdough rolls are adorable! Do you cook them in your wood oven? And you've reminded me to make a gingerbread house. I sent Patrice Newell's Garlic as Christmas presents to family on the mainland every year. Such a wonderful present! xx

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    1. Thanks Michelle, your comment is calming! No, I cook these tiny rolls in my gas oven on hot tiles. Our wood oven is too big for these delicate rolls and the heat is too tricky to monitor. Garlic is a good present isn't it? Happy festive season to you and your family x

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  22. G'day Jane! Gorgeous bread and I LOVE anything gingerbread, true!
    Thank you for this month's kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewed as part of Celia's In My Kitchen

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    1. Thank you Joanne, lovely to hear from you :)

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  23. I would give garlic is I could grow it in pots, my dad quite often gives it to me for Christmas from his garden- which the kids are underwhelmed with, but I love it.
    Also love all your sweet little gingerbread men, they look so good en masse...makes me want to get baking!

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  24. Oh my goodness, what beautiful things there are in your kitchen - gorgeous pics of them too. That bread looks completely wonderful. We always have a bottle of Pedro Ximenez sherry in, since a holiday in Spain got us hooked. It reminds me of Christmas pud and we use it as an easy pud for unexpected guests poured over vanilla ice-cream. How glorious to soak fruit in it before baking though, I bet the bread is delicious.

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  25. I don't even know where to start- everything looks amazing in your kitchen, especially that shot of your fruit buns! And I do appreciate those rolls you baked- they look fantastic. Your gingerbread house looks absolutely adorable as well. I hope you are enjoying this holiday season :)

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Hello and welcome. I will try to reply to all comments eventually because I love the conversation! Jane