It’s officially summer and I feel like people (us included) are finally starting to ease into lazy outdoor weekends and it’s good to see. Here’s what’s been happening in our kitchen this past month.
Banana bread. I love that banana bread comes together pretty effortlessly. This is a recipe I’ve been making for years and I thought it was time to revisit it. The texture of this bread is dense but soft with a golden brown top that is delightfully crispy. The good stuff: dark chocolate chunks and walnuts.
Cast iron cookware. Our AUS-ION Skillets finally arrived in the post. B is one of those cast iron zealots and I’m turning into one too if I’m honest. A properly seasoned piece of cooking iron is a beautiful thing to cook with. I like the fact that they’re free of chemical coatings and should only get better with age and time. The bare metal of cast iron pans are extremely porous so food will stick easily, not only destroying ingredients but damaging the pan. This is why seasoning is so important.
The best oils for cooking are not always good oils for seasoning (and vice versa). Seasoning is a polymerisation process which depends on the release of free radicals – bad for cooking food in but no problem for seasoning as its all burnt off and hardened after high-temp seasoning. Flaxseed oil is the ideal choice for seasoning for its high iodine count.
Here’s the nutshell version to seasoning cast iron. Put your skillet or pan in the oven at 200°C for a while. Pull it out and coat entirely with flaxseed oil to form a thin layer and then wipe off as much as you can. Put it back in the oven, upside down, with the temperature increased to maximum (hopefully 250°C). Set the timer for 1.5 hours, then turn it off and let the pan cool slowly in the oven. Once the pan has cooled, repeat the process until you can’t stand it any longer (at least 5-6 times).
Home grown herbs and vegetables. There is so much joy to be had in the simple tasks. Like tending to a little herb and vegetable garden. It’s not an easy thing, trimming away healthy growth on a vegetable plant, sometimes with flowers blooming. But you must steel your nerves. Our tomato plant is so much better for it.
Our jumbo rosemary plants are thriving – loving the direct sun all day long. Oh and our little basil plants are happy too…
Greek-style BBQ quail. The smoky chargrilled flavour of quail from the barbecue is delicious. This mid-week marinated quail dish transports me straight to the Mediterranean with oregano, dill, lemon, garlic and olive oil.
Old school chocolate chip cookies. Cookies that are chocolatey and wonderfully chewy (thanks to the addition of coconut). The only trick is to not over-bake them – they can get dry pretty quickly in the oven.
The days really are warming and I’m all into the pleasures of summer. But December is a month that always makes my head spin. I feel like I’m barrelling full force into the end of the year, into planning my life for the next year and keeping it together during the hectic festive season.
A thought as we near the end of this year. Let’s all try to move forward with the grace and love that makes life so extraordinary. And let there be lots of cookies.