Sunday, February 2, 2014

In My Kitchen, February 2014

Here we are, back in my kitchen with the blinds mostly down and air conditioner turned on. Although we sweltered our way through January with some careful planning I still managed some baking.

My first attempt at croissants.  Starting with the croissant ferment the process took several days of mixing, chilling, laminating, folding more chilling and finally shaping, cooking and taste testing.  I am sure that technically I need a lot of practice at this incredible pastry art form, but for a first attempt I was happy. 


Australia Day is low key at our place.  Although we acknowledge the day it is normally business as usual.  But, I do love a lamington and so this year decided to bake this recipe thank you to the lovely Brydie.  I made the little gum tree flag only to be called away to the paddock for smoko.  The cake was served to my farming family on the back of the ute, sans flag.  It doesn't get much more Australian than that I suppose. 


I am slow to jump on board the cider trend as normally I steer clear of sweet drinks.  I must admit it was the cute apple label that persuaded me to buy this South Australian made cider from McLaren Vale Orchards.  At the end of a hot day this is certainly a refreshing beverage.


A big bunch of fragrant basil heading for a batch of pesto.


In my mind, adding naturally dried sultanas and organic rolled oats to any back to school snack makes them feel instantly healthy and wholesome.


Lastly, these two sweet little vintage toast racks have found a place in my kitchen.  We don’t use a toast rack, perhaps now would be a good time to start?


What is happening in your kitchen?
Do you use a toast rack?

Linking up with my friend Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

73 comments:

  1. That toast rack! It's soooo cute!

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    1. Thanks Melissa, great to hear from you!

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  2. I'd definitely use a toast rack Jane if I had one such as yours.
    Your croissants look amazing, as does the lamington cake, in fact all your photos always are. Sorry I don't comment often (if at all), but I do always find your kitchen tours inspiring.

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    1. Thanks so much Fiona! I peek at your blog too...I need to comment more! So many gorgeous blogs...so little time :)

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  3. Hi Jane, what a lovely round of up of goodies in your kitchen this month. What's the temperature out your way? Have you hit the 40s?

    Your croissants look divine... I can just image them with ham and cheese... or perhaps butter and jam! Oh my. Your oat and sultana cookies look yummy, have you posted the recipe? We used to have those enamelled plates... our dog ate of one too! : )

    The lamington cake is very Aussie... as is the flag. And the toast racks are lovely!

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    1. Hi Lizzy, yes we have had several weeks of 40+ degrees, yesterday hit 44. Very hot! I have not posted that recipe as it is a Donna Hay recipe and I am just not sure about posting recipes that are not actually mine...any thoughts? I hope you are having a lovely weekend.

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  4. I've never used a toast rack - but I like the look of that one! I don't mind a cider or two myself, but I'm more of a pear cider girl myself. Love the lamington cake for Australia Day and those croissants look just the ticket! Hope you have a great week! x

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    1. Thanks so much Naomi...pear cider sounds good to me on this hot Sunday afternoon!

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  5. I love toast racks but we don't use one! I love the look of your 'back to school biscuits'. I might have to get that recipe if you'll share Jane!

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    1. Thanks Kate, great to hear from you. I will email you that recipe...it is a winner x

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  6. A wonderful celebration of summer from your kitchen and garden Jane. Our whole family has enjoyed sharing this experience. Well done and a well deserved beer after all this cooking in hot weather! x

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    1. Thanks so much Sarah...your support is amazing x

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  7. I love cider, but it must be dry, not sweet. Thanks for the peek into your kitchen :)

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    1. Thanks Tandy...dry cider sounds good me!

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  8. wow jane..your croissants look absolutely amazing..i'm really impressed ..they're on my endless mental list of things to make..everything else in your kitchen looks cool too..in the perfect world picture in my head i eat toast from a toast rack but in the real world i don't often get around to it..i sometimes served toast this way for the children when they were young though..x

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    1. Thanks Jane...I just know you would make an incredible croissant! Toast racks are a funny thing aren't they? I used one of these this morning and it was fun, usually our toast is just tilted up against something random like the honey or the Vegemite!

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    2. Hi Jane. I'm Jane too! your blog looks so lovely, I think I might follow along for a while if that's ok. Lamington cake is classic. gum leaf bunting is genius. No, don't use a toast rack because I like my toast hot-buttered! have a good week ahead! Jane x

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  9. We don't eat toast, so no toast racks here, in fact I have never heard of them, but yours are just adorable! Oh, the basil looks wonderful - we had pesto pizza last night, but it was store bought pesto. Having the parents over for breakfast this morning, so baked some apple streusel bread last night and making up some scrambled eggs with feta, kale, and sundried tomatoes this morning. Its been cold here, so lots of bread and soup here this week - sweet potato, carrot, and coconut with fresh ginger was my favorite.

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    1. Hi Katie, it sounds like you are cooking some delicious food in your kitchen! Thanks for calling in.

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  10. Wow. I've only seen toast racks in the UK, but I'd buy one if I found a cute green ceramic one like yours! Love the lamination photo! Your basil makes me wish for summer...

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    1. Thanks Mimi, basil just smells of summer doesn't it?

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  11. Enjoyable post. Can't think of a more Aussie way to spend Australia Day. I agree, SA cider is delicious. Gorgeous little toast racks, lovely photos, thank you!

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    1. Hello and thanks for calling in with such kind comments!

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  12. I've been wanted to try making croissants for ages! Yours look great, what recipe did you use?
    As usual your kitchen looks so yummy!
    Sarah x

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    1. Thanks Sarah, I used a recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook. I bang on about this book a lot but truly it is my baking bible! x

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  13. Super pics as always .. those croissants look divine. :)

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  14. oh oh oh love the toast rack! no, i don't use a toast rack... i would use it to hold postcards or pretty pictures (i hardly receive letters these days).
    but i really love your lamington cake - the thought of fiddling about with lamingtons is always off-putting, but i could handle a single large cake! simplicity itself! and i love your croissants. i hope they have a little saltiness in them. the best croissants i have eaten were (of course) in france, or baked here by a french person, and they were flaky and buttery and just a little salty - just enough to complement a slather of butter and strawberry jam to perfection.
    oh, i am dreaming now of your croissants!

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    1. Thanks e, storing letters or cards in a toast rack is a great idea. I hardly get any 'pretty' mail these days either. My croissant were not particularly salty, maybe that is something I need to work on. I can only imagine what a croissant in France would taste like!

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  15. Hi Jane!

    I just love your post! How I wish I had a paddock to take my cake to - and a ute to serve it from!!! Your croissants are amazing - I do hope you share the recipe later! Hope this finds you keeping cool in this sweltering weather!

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    1. Hello Marian, I am indeed lucky to have not one, but several paddocks at my back door! I probably wont share the croissant recipe as it is rather long and I wouldn't want anyone out there to think I was some kind of expert! But, I used a recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook which is a book I use constantly, and love.

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  16. Gorgeous photos and I have to say I loved your gum tree flag for the lamington. So many nice things in your kitchen this month - especially all that basil.

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    1. Thanks Nancy, that is very kind of you!

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  17. You may croissants?!?! I bow down before you oh pastry goddess (and you NEED to get yourself to Paris, you will go nuts over there)!

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    1. Oh Mel you are funny...yes I think Paris is in order!

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  18. Ohh the lamington cake is very sweet. The gum leaf garland is a fitting addition.
    We're not toast rack users here, though if I had pretty ones like your new additions we might have to be. x

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    1. Thanks Zara, I thought you might like those toast racks! x

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  19. Yum croissants are my favourite thing to have for breakfast - wish the waist line could cope with them on a daily basis. Love the lamington.

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    1. Thanks Jacana, croissants are not exactly health food are they? Most of the batch I made went into the freezer so we can eat them occasionally over time!

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  20. That lamington cake is just wonderful! It makes me smile. :)
    But ohh your croissants - I am so impressed! Yep, Melanie is right, you are a pastry goddess indeed! Geez I think I'm going to have to whip down to the bakery in the morning to pick some up for brekky... ;)

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    1. Thanks Amber, it is good to know my pre-school style creativity made you smile!

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  21. Very impressed with your croissants but they are a pain to make aren't they? Once in a blue moon I make and freeze a batch and they're much better than bought. I use a toast rack because (oddly some may say) I like to eat my toast cold. Love the photo of your biscuits - I'm pretty sure that the health benefits of oats and sultanas cancel out the butter or sugar.

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    1. Thanks so much Anne. They are fiddly aren't they? This was part of the reason I chose the school holidays for this project, with plenty of time on my side and minimal routine to follow as I progressed through the steps! Oats and sultanas do have butter and sugar cancelling power, I agree.

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  22. those croissants look awesome! they're making me hungry :)

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    1. Thanks for calling in Virginia, I am hungry now too! Perhaps I could find something healthy than a croissant?

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  23. gorgeous toast rack and I love the gum tree flag- now that is so creative.

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    1. Thank you Francesca, you are very kind.

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  24. What an awesome toast rack - so very cool. Jane I am completely jealous of your first attempt at making croissants - they look amazing. They do look fluffy and light.

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    1. Thanks Lizzie, my husband just suggested putting the toast racks on e-bay given the interest in them. I think I will hold onto them for now! Plus, I feel very civilized using a toast rack in the mornings.

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  25. Jane, I am with everyone else. I love your toast racks. Your croissants look fantastic. I would be happy with them no matter how many times before I had made them.

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    1. Thanks for calling in Glenda, great to hear from you.

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  26. It all looks lovely. Looks like you succeeded at your first attempt at croissants! And those vintage toast holders are quite cute! :)

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    1. Thanks for calling in, I appreciate your comments!

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  27. Jane, that seriously doesn't get any more Australian. Lamington cake eaten on the back of the ute, enamel ware, gumtrees and smoko. Love it, and so perfect. (Thank you for giving the recipe a crack too.)
    Now those croissant, hooley dooley! I know one day I want to tackle them but they scare the pants off me. Yours look awesome though! A little bit of butter and a tarty marmalade and yes indeed, that's the business.

    (toast rack...hmmm, doesn't it just get cold? My grandparents are firm 'toastrackers' but I've never seen the appeal. Saying that I've never had cute ones like these. You'd have to!)

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    1. Thanks Brydie. So lovely of you to comment so generously on 'your cake'! You would make a delicious croissant, I was surprised how my bread making skills/techniques really helped me with the pastry making. Marmalade on croissants is a great idea.

      Toast rack...yes it just gets cold. But, it does look pretty and I quite like cold toast, particularly in the hot weather. My grandparents are toast rack believers too! x

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  28. Jane, you are just too clever when it comes to bread shaping - your first attempt at croissants look textbook perfect! We didn't make any lamingtons this year, but now I wish we had! Basil looks glorious, ours is tall and lush as well, although it's not liking the sudden cool weather we're having. And a toast rack! I can't remember the last time I saw one, but they certainly weren't as cute as yours! :)

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    1. Thank you Celia, as I said to Brydie I was surprised how many of my bread making skills/techniques I used while making this pastry. Perhaps it was beginners luck. Your comments are always valued x

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  29. G'day Jane, you had me at your croissants and gum tree cake, true!
    Thanks for this month's In My Kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne

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    1. You are kind Joanne, thanks for calling in!

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  30. Now you're just showing off! For first-time croissants, they look seriously professional. Your lamington is too cute for words, as are those vintage toast racks … how cute are they? Don't use a toast rack, but would - every day - if i had one like that! Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks Rachel, really I do not wish to show off! Perhaps it was beginners luck? Thanks for calling in.

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  31. What a wonderful round up this month Jane. I just adore your toast racks!!

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  32. That toast rack is sooooo cute!
    It sure was a hot summer - and our basil went crazy wild in the heat too!

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  33. I wish I could have been having a low key Australia day with that yummy lamingtion, instead had to spend the day at my brother in law's BBQ just a whole bunch of 20 something boys getting wasted, so gross.

    We're travelling at the moment so trying to perfect the lentil casserole and corn bread over a camping stove. Not too bad. Do you have any camping favourites?

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    1. Your travels look wonderfully exotic and your camping food sounds delicious. Camping favourites...bacon and eggs and fire toasted toast for breakfast. Chops and onions on the BBQ. Toasted marshmallows. So much yummy camping food!

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  34. Adorable toast racks. I'd suggest using them to sort bills and letters but who gets snail mail now days either?! The croissants look pretty bloody good to me Jane - much better than anything you'd get in most bakeries. Thanks for the tour.

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    1. Thanks Fiona, that is a great suggestion for the toast racks. I am having fun using one of them for toast at the moment, I don't mind a piece of cold toast in the warmer weather!

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  35. G'day HOW cute is that toast rack, true!
    I could go for some of your apple cider and thanks for this month's kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne

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