Thursday, January 5, 2017

In my kitchen - January 2017

Lizzy of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things is taking a break from hosting In My Kitchen this month but the central round up will be back in February.

2017. In many ways, to my surprise, it feels less odd to write that than I might have expected. 2016 was such a full year (featuring the significant milestones of pregnancy, birth and maternity leave) that it seems appropriate to be into a new year now.

Dairy free Marks & Spencer truffles; Caramel Choices truffles; Mini Moo flavoured chocolate bars

With the new year, there are some exciting products in my kitchen. I was extremely fortunate with Christmas chocolates, as featured both above and below. These complement birthday chocolates from earlier in December, meaning I am doing well in the chocolate stakes at present!

Marks & Spencer 85% cocoa chocolate; Montezuma orange and geranium dark chocolate

I am particularly excited by the dairy free Marks & Spencer truffles, as vegan truffles are quite hard to come by. The flavours include orange, blackcurrant, seat salt caramel, and raspberry. I am saving them to try so can't comment on quality yet, but all of the other pictured chocolates are excellent/

My kitchen (and elsewhere in the house) also features some excellent books, again spanning birthday and Christmas presents.

I have finished Footnotes, which has the subtitle 'How Running Makes Us Human'. It is an excellent wander through the mechanics, philosophy and meaning of running and has the added bonus of featuring runs from South-East London and Kent, areas I know well and have run myself. I'm half way through both Girl Up (a female focused exposure of the lies and pressures society places on women) and Walk the Lines (the author walks all the London tube lines, above ground) and look forward to getting on to Almost Somewhere when time permits (telling of a 28 day hiking adventure of California's John Muir Trail).

Not pictured, but worth mentioning while I am on books, are two unexpected delights by James Rebanks. My mum sent me The Illustrated Herdwick Shepherd for my birthday and has also lent me Rebanks' first book, The Shepherd's Life. Set in the Lake District they are funny and surprisingly captivating for books focusing largely on sheep!

Leeds Castle

The astute among you may wonder how my mother lent me a book when she lives in Australia. Delightfully, my kitchen has also featured my parents this week. They are on a short UK visit so my Dad could meet Mini Bite and my Mum could get reacquainted, it being nearly 4 months since she was last here. It has been wonderful having them around and seeing them with Mini Bite. We have also fit in some outings away from my kitchen. Leeds Castle, above, was one picturesque highlight and Scotney Castle, below, was another.

Scotney Castle

Back in my kitchen, I have a wonderful selection of teas. In addition to the liquorice and chai versions pictured below (Christmas presents), I am still working on a Pucca liquorice and cinnamon mix that Mr Bite gave me for my birthday. With recent cold winter days, warm tea is still a big delight.

My kitchen has also featured re-runs of tried and true dishes. I made a version of this apple gingerbread cake that featured pears and stem ginger as well as apples (delicious) and have made impromptu variations of my hummus lasagna, stuffed peppers and burrito wraps. I've been too busy enjoying my parents' company to take photos, but they have been easy meal repeats that prove reliable and enjoyable in taste.

Last but not least, in my kitchen there are some rather small bathers (swimmers). They aren't yet used, and seem out of place in UK winter, but Mini Bite and I start adult and child swimming lessons next week. 'Lessons' is a generous term - they are 20 minute classes to get babies used to the water, in an indoor heated pool - but I am hoping she enjoys them. She is a squirmy baby so I envision lots of splashing!

What is happening in your kitchen this month?


  1. Chocolates and books and swimmers sounds like an interesting mix in your kitchen. I had wondered if your mum had posted you a book to post back when you had read it (my mum posted me a book last month that I had asked to borrow for my bookclub so it seemed plausible) but being able to hand it over is so much nicer. I like the sound of Walk the Lines. Enjoy your time with your parents and good luck with swimming lessons!

    1. Thanks Johanna! Between our various families we do have capacity to do long term book swaps but there would be many months before the book got back home (eg, Mr Bite's mother visits in April so my Mum could leave a book here until then).

  2. how lovely to have your parents over! Well done on the chocolate and book stash too :)

  3. I was also super lucky this year with christmas chocolate, Im absolutely in love with Montezuma chocolate! Ill also be checking out some of the books you got as im always on the hunt for some new reads!

  4. So much chocolate!

    Aww those bathers are so adorable. Good luck with mini bite and her swimming lessons. I am not a very good swimmer and the last time I swam was on holiday overseas, i think 2010.

    Enjoy your time with you parents, time certainly does fly.

    1. Growing up in Australia being familiar with water feels natural so we thought we'd try and get Mini Bite acquainted early. Hopefully she takes to it!

  5. How wonderful to have your parents visit! All the chocolates sound delush, and the truffle flavours sound lovely. The pear gingerbread cake sounds like something I'd love. Hope the swimming lessons go well.

  6. It looks like your kitchen has been filled with great things - how lovely to have your parents over to meet the new addition, and to have so many lovely pressies to boot! I've been hunting for those truffles for a while, so I'll be interested to see if they turn out to be as good as they look!

  7. Happy New Year Kari. You always have so many great travel adventures. love all your books. now go back to your chocolate

  8. Happy New Year to you and all your family and especially to Mini-Bite. How lovely to have your family with you. You certainly have a lot of interesting books to read but I'm especially loving the tiny-wee swimsuits. I did mother and baby swimming classes with all three of my children and it's certainly a very special and fun time. I know you'll love it! xx

    1. It was a splashy but fun affair! Mini Bite was a bit unsure this week but did well for her first lesson and I'm sure will be loving it hugely in no time.

  9. Ah the truffles!!! You love chocolate as much as I love chocolate. That makes me love you even more ;)
    The books look good too! Actually, I'm adding them all to my "to-read" list on GoodReads. I've been looking for more non-fiction books to read as I think I read a little too much fiction. It's good to work the brain muscles more with different types of books. Almost Somewhere is especially appealing since I live closeish to the John Muir Woods.
    Those castles are gorgeous. I'm always gobsmacked when you share pictures of things when you are out and about. It's just so different than here. It must have been nice having your parents around! I imagine it's hard for them to not be near Mini Bite.
    Licorice tea is my favourite =)
    Those are the cutest swimsuits EVER! Awww have fun at swimming lessons =)

    1. Haha, I really do love chocolate :D

      I just finished Almost Somewhere and it's excellent - I hope you can find it, especially as you live in the region!


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