In My Kitchen ~ February 2014

I went missing in action in January due to Real Life getting in the way.  I posted in January that I wanted

To go with the flow.”

I should have been careful what I wished for!  The flow eddied and swirled, speeded up, flung me out at times.  That’s life in all it’s complexity and reality.  All I can do is to keep calm and carry on cooking!

So I’m back in Fenruary with my contribution to Celia’s monthly peep behind the curtains of kitchens all over the world.

In my Kitchen is :


A canister of Colman’s Mustard

It was 1814 when flour miller, Jeremiah Colman, took over a mustard manufacturing business based four miles south of Norwich.  At the time, George III was on the throne and Wellington was winning the Battle of Waterloo  (perhaps after enjoying a lovely dab of Colman’s with his Beef Wellington?).

As well as being very good at making and selling mustard, Mr Colman was an outstanding employer.  In 1864, 20 years before parliament made education compulsory, he built a subsidised school for his employee’s children. He also set up a kitchen to provide hot meals at affordable prices – today’s equivalent of a workplace canteen (except theirs never ran out of mustard).

Colman’s Mustard is known internationally as the English mustard and they say Colman’s fortune was made by what people left on their plates.

I like this powdered version for cooking as it mixes right in.


In my Kitchen is :

kilner bottle

A lovely little 70ml Kilner bottle, just the right size for a vinaigrette and practical as it will go in the dishwasher and I can get replacement seals.

Kilner jars are so ingrained in English preserving that the name ‘Kilner’ is used as a generic term ~ like we say that we ‘Hoover’ when we mean ‘vacuum cleaner’.

The firm was founded in Yorkshire (hooray!) back in the 1840s and has gone through various rocky times but is benefiting from the renewed interest in preserving as well as the move back towards glass for storage instead of plastic.

As a bit of useless trivia, Jeremy Clarkson is the great, great, great, great grandson of John Kilner, the founder.

In the interests of full disclosure, I admit to checking how many ‘greats’ that was.  The information came from an episode of  the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are programme.

And, for readers outside the UK, Jeremy Clarkson is a presenter on Top Gear, a rather laddish motoring programme, also on the BBC.


In My Kitchen is :

blue plasters

A cautionary tale!

In commercial catering establishments, wound plasters are coloured blue so that they will not get ‘lost’ in the food. In all my years of cooking, I had never considered this precaution necessary at home.  In fact, I can get on my high horse sometimes about the nannying that goes on in our society.

Oops!  I nearly lost a flesh coloured plaster into a bowl of bread dough.  If I had, I might not have realised it because both plaster and dough were vaguely flesh coloured.  Yuk.

OK. Lesson learnt. Solution simple.  Just buy some catering plasters.

Not so simple. Every chemist (pharmacy) I tried didn’t sell them and looked a bit cross eyed when I asked for them.  The only way to get them (that I found) is to buy them from a wholesale First Aid supplier.

I now have a very large pack of plasters which will, I think and hope, see me out.

If your chemist (pharmacist) sells them, don’t bother to let me know ~ it’s too late.

On the other hand, if you’d like a few blue plasters, let me know.  I’ve got plenty.


In My Kitchen :

bread starter

Is a starter for my next loaf of bread.  100g flour, 100ml water, 1/2 teaspoon of yeast. It sits for up to 24 hours before I add 220ml water, 400g flour and 1/2 tablespoon of salt.

It is known as a sponge and is an old method of starting bread. I’ve heard it called a ‘Poor Man’s (or Woman’s) Sourdough’ and, there are variations called Biga and Poolish.  They all come under the heading of ‘Preferments’.

Although it is not a true sourdough taste, it has some of the characteristics of that lovely method ~ but without the hassle of feeding and keeping it alive.

Why not virtually pop over to Sydney, Australia and call in at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Down the right of the page you will find links to all the cooks who are sharing their kitchens this February.  It’s well worth the click.

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