January in the Kitchen – “In My Kitchen”

January In My Kitchen

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had as marvelous a holiday as we did. I wish you all a joyous, healthy, and love filled 2015.

This post is part of a fascinating monthly series about what is new in kitchens around the world, visit “In My Kitchen” hosted by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for the January 2015 update. The holidays have been good to cooks and foodies.

In my kitchen today are the clean platters and wine glasses to be put away after our annual New Year’s Day party. I need the step stool to get into the tallest kitchen cabinets and haven’t gotten around to it. Meanwhile the dishes are happy reminders of a lovely party and time spent with good friends.

I will also be reminded of the party by the leftovers, now safely stashed away in the freezer, of three kinds of chili…all beef (A Bowl of Red), Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, and Vegetarian Chili with Beer and Winter Squash. Those quart containers of chili are a safety net for busy winter days.

Beef Chili

Chili Con Carne

Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Under our Christmas tree I found two new cookbooks and a book of the best food writing of 2014. There will be lots of reading by the fire, and new recipes to try once I have lost my holiday bloat. There is a lovely recipe in the a.o.c. cookbook for a pudding using cornbread, I will put my leftover cornbread to good use.

New Cookbooks - Jamie Oliver Comfort Food, A.O.C. Cookbook, Best Food Writing of 2014

New Cookbooks – Jamie Oliver Comfort Food, A.O.C. Cookbook, Best Food Writing of 2014

I’m looking forward to posting my first entry for the Cookbook Guru, a monthly cookbook book club for bloggers and cooking enthusiasts. My copy of the 2015 January and February choice, “Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book”, was delivered today. It will be fun to decide which recipe to write about. My husband’s first comment when he saw the book was “No pictures!” it made me realize how much cookbooks have changed since her book was published in the 70’s. Would a Julia Child without pictures sell today? At the moment, photography seems almost more important than recipes.

Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book

Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book

In my kitchen is a jar of ghee, a gift from my friend Suzanne who does a lot of Indian cooking. New to me was the fact that it does not need to be refrigerated. I need to find a special recipe for using it. Do you readers have any favorites?



Simmering on the stove is a stockpot of duck soup (isn’t there a movie with that name?). We had roast duck for Christmas dinner and I froze the carcasses until I had the energy to tackle the stock. The weather has been dipping into freezing and it is definitely soup time.

Duck Stock

Duck Stock

Also in my kitchen are some new spices, Sumac and dried Black Lemons (Omani limes). I haven’t used either of them before but have been reading about them in Yotam Ottolenghi’s cook, “Plenty More”. I’m envious of those of you in the UK; I’d love to visit his restaurant.



Black Lemon Omani (LIme)

Black Lemon Omani (LIme)









And lastly in my kitchen are the last of the holiday cookies.

Raspberry bar cookies

Raspberry bar cookies

My husband likes them for breakfast with a cup of coffee.


32 thoughts on “January in the Kitchen – “In My Kitchen”

  1. My copy of the JG vegetable book has been accompanying us on our wanderings around Europe since the late 90s. Indispensable.

    It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a cookbook, would it? I got a very nice book of Paleo recipes with a Swedish twist – that’s my menus sorted out until the spring… 🙂

      • A Happy New Year to you, too!

        My absolute favourite recipes are the cabbage and cauliflower ones, 2 vegetables I really believe are massively under-rated.

        I love reading about the social history of each vegetable just as much as the recipes, to be honest.

        Keep your eyes peeled – I’ll be starting to work through the Swedish Paleo book this week!

  2. LOL, I’m sitting here in the 36c degree day and thinking why on earth would you want with so much chilli ATM. Then it clicked that it may not be that hot for you. I too was amazed about ghee not needing to go in fridge but old habits die hard and at least I know where it is then. I do love chilli, and friends, and parties. Happy New Year! Cheers, Maree 🙂

  3. Yum… Those chillies look delicious Liz, I have been seeing Jamie Oliver’s Comfort food cookbook in a lot of post this month, it might be one to get I think! Thanks for sharing! Liz xx

  4. Hi Liz, Sumac is wonderful, I haven’t tried the black lemon omani, you will have to let us know what it tastes like. I say you can’t have too many cookbooks.

  5. I have a step that sits in the garage but soon I will have a new walk in pantry so the step can migrate there, at last! Though blazing hot here, I love the idea of duck stock/soup but with only two of us, it’s not practical to save carcasses (though I do store the excess fat in a jar in the fridge). Sumac – so many uses! Its lemony flavour is always a good alternative to a paprika sprinkle and to add a splash of zest to salads. Such a warming winter round up. Thanks for the festive tour. cheers Fiona

    • How lucky for you, I never have enough cabinet space in the kitchen. I cook the stock down so it is very concentrated, then even a small amount can make a big impact.

      I’ll try the Sumac in a salad, thanks for the tip. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it.

      I would find it difficult to even consider stock in the heat of summer. You’ve been having a bad time of the hot weather. Good for tomatoes though.

  6. I just love ‘go to’ foods that are stashed in the freezer. Such an easy grab when life/work gets a little hectic and good planning intentions go out the window! Have a great January Liz, cheers Kirsty

  7. Leftovers in the kichen are the tired cook’s best friend, second only to homemade stock. Sumac makes a fabulous additions to lamb marinades with garlic, olive oil and thyme and added to tomato dressings It’s used heaps in Turkish cooking. I’m having a wonderful time revisiting with Jane Grigson, it’s a book with longevity, unlike many modern books. I hope you appreciate it’s honest simplicity.

    • The idea of using sumac in a lamb marinade is good, I’ll try it. Thanks. I am enjoying the Jane Grigson book, I’ve just finished reading the chapter on Jerusalem artichokes as I am harvesting them from the garden. She has more recipes for them than all my other cookbooks combined.

  8. Happy New Year Liz, we have the same Comfort cooking cookbook – I thinks it’s a must in any cooks kitchen 😉 I love the Guru’s bookclub, I’ve just joined up as I think it’s such a great idea – thank you for sharing. Homemade ghee is pretty amazing, I love this recipe, which you could replace the butter with ghee – http://missfoodfairy.com/2014/08/03/butter-chicken/ Let me know what you think. See you at the bookclub 🙂

    • I also love the cookbook club, such a great idea and fun way to share ideas. I tried to get a group of my friends together to do something similar years ago, but couldn’t interest enough people 🙁 Blogging has been wonderful for finding like minded folks.

      Thanks for the link to your recipe, it looks amazing. I’m also looking for simple and quick dishes as I will return to work in two weeks. I’ve been off for a year due as my companies office in the US was closed. I plan to keep up the blog but will probably not have the time to post as frequently.

  9. Thanks for the follow and leading me to your blog. I like your choice of books – Ottolenghi is a favourite of mine. I too use a lot of sumac in my recipes, but where we live we have staghorn sumac in abundance so I make my own, and have several recipes using it on my blog. The black lemons has been on my list to make too. It just requires cooking them in salted water and then dehydrating them. Since there are none in the market here, I have a good excuse to try and make them. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  10. Liz, look at all the treasures in your kitchen! All three chillies look so good that I’d have trouble choosing between them! The ghee is a precious gift indeed (I didn’t know it could stay on the bench!) and the black limes are a great find! I’ve never tried cooking with them, but I’ve always wanted to. And yes, Duck Soup – I think it’s one of the first Marx brothers’ films! 🙂

    • Happy New Year Celia and thank you for hosting the wonderful “In My Kitchen” series. I am enjoying everyone’s posts, the baking and cheesemaking is impressive. There is some wonderful cooking going on in Australia and around the world. I feel very honored to be in such company.

  11. Your chilies make my taste buds sit up and quiver – YUM. Tis the season for a fridge and freezer full of cold-weather comfort foods (at least here in the Pacific NorthWest). I predict you’ll love cooking with sumac, perhaps mixing your own za-atar. Happy New Year to you and yours.

    • Thank you, it’s good to have a comment from someone in my time zone! I love the international makeup of bloggers on “In My Kitchen”. Many of the products mentioned in posts from NZ and Austraila are new to me, I’m not sure they are even available in the US.

      I do look forward to the sumac, mix my own za-atar? I have some in the cupboard but hadn’ thought of mixing my own. Thank you for commenting and Happy New Year.

  12. Hi Liz,

    Happy New Year! I do love a good chilli and all of them look delicious. I have ever made stock with duck, only chicken but I imagine it will be a fabulous base for soups.

    See you next month in IMK x

  13. I love everything in your kitchen! I make my own ghee and cook with it a lot – it’s particularly good to sauté mushrooms and a bit of rosemary (good for breakfast with an egg on toast), fry eggs, or for Indian curries. Sumac is a favourite of mine and I use it quite a bit too – mostly with lamb and or in a yogurt sauce to go with chicken or fish or over roast veggies. I’m a fan of the Holly Hughes collections of food writing and have a few older editions. Must get the 2014 version too. Happy 2015!

    • Hello Mel, thank you for visiting. I love the idea of mushrooms in ghee with an egg on toast, it would be good for dinner as well.

      I’ve been experimenting with the sumac and keep finding new ways to use it. I’m amazed it took me so long to discover it. I haven’t tried it with lamb yet, maybe next on the list.

Leave a Reply