Friday, 2 November 2012
a friday in my kitchen with strawberries and gingham
I thought it would be nice to show you my house. Today I am starting with my kitchen, something of a work in progress. These are from a couple of Fridays ago, when I had a morning doing Serious Grown Up Things and then had some friends over for dinner. It started off pretty cold and pouring with rain, and I wasn't going to give up my curls that easily – hence the scarf. I was thrilled to find this vintage gingham apron a few months ago. I wouldn't say I was overly uptight about being careful when it comes to cooking, stirring and what not, so an apron that protects my vintage dresses is most welcome. I do love a bit of kitch every now and then, too, and what better place for it than the kitchen? It is only two letters off, after all. This ruffled, country cottage girly apron makes me smile. Smile at whisks, no less. And at bowls of vegetables. What can I say? I was in a very good mood but I admit, I did feel a bit awkward taking pictures in my kitchen! These were on the menu: bread and tomatoes for the Tuscan tomato salad, and broccoli and asparagus for the garlic-y, buttery spring greens component. And these were for dessert! Strawberries were so cheap and I got four punnets from the market. This is just two of them. The eggs are from my mother-in-law's chickens, who have started to lay. They're quite small eggs, as the chickens are still quite young, and they are often double yolked. The yolks themselves are so beautifully rich and orange when raw, and perfect when poached. I am so happy, and so lucky, to have hen access again. Main course: roast rosemary chicken and potatoes. A big tumble to go in to the oven. The cold, wet morning turned into a very warm, sunny afternoon, and I had to change into my new sundress, from my last post. And I could take my curls out. Now it was time to smile at cubed bread..! While we're here, let's have a look at the living room. There are no windows in the living room or kitchen – well there are, but they are high up above ceiling height, making the straight join to the pitched part of the roof. I'll have to show you what I mean with photos next time! Anyway, it does mean the kitchen and living room, which make up one big space, get very dark in winter during the day. I'd LOVE to have a kitchen window! If I open the back door in the afternoon, we get lots of golden sunlight streaming in. My plant stand is from the hard rubbish day a few months ago. It was a bit sad and rusty, so I roped John in to help me sand and paint it. He wasn't too willing, to begin with, and to be honest painting it became a bore – so fiddly – but we both love the result. Now I have to find more plant pots that fit it, and then fill them with trailing, leafy plants. I want a jungle! I want that in the kitchen, too. Where there should be, I think, a window on that wall, we put up some plant racks instead. I can't wait for the herbs to start spilling over the edges of those pots. I have been surprised with my herb patch in the backyard. I let it go over winter, and as it is not in a very sunny spot I thought that everything would die, and that we'd remove it to make room for a bike shed. Instead, the herbs have been thriving. My once tiny sage plant is now a good sized bush, and I use the flowers from it – which can't be good for the plant, to let them grow on there, surely?! – for a touch of free floral table decorating. I like the purple against the mustards, blues and greens. Vintage saucers, for the starter: oysters! And cheese, and olives, and dinner, and wine, and then the best bit: pudding. I made Nigella's vanilla mousse with strawberries and pistachios. It was easily the tastiest thing of the evening and everyone wanted seconds. I'm going to tinker with the recipe a little, and make a lemon vanilla version – and I'll post it for you when I do. I think it will be so summery, and so good!