Monday, December 7, 2009

Silly Season

It's the silly season and so far I haven't done a lot for it. Traditionally, I get cooking in the first weekend of December and start turning out ginger bread, fruit mince and so on, followed by finding a new place to hide said goodies from Tim. This weekend I made a pathetic stab at soaking fruit in grog. Tim took one look before reaching for some kind of shop bought abomination we had lying around.

The first weekend in December also sees me putting up the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, it took me about twice as long to put up half the decorations on a tree that Tim very kindly assembled for me, before retreating to the garage which suddenly needed an urgent tidy up. Maybe it was the Christmas CD I had on a loop? (Well you can hardly erect a Christmas tree without the appropriate sound track playing, can you?!) The whole exercise resulted in me needing a lie down. (This recovery thing is getting old).

Anyway, I feel that Christmas cooking is on the cards in the next few days. I think I'm just about ready to get into the kitchen again, I mean, for something besides toast. At least most of the beverage purchases have been taken care of and that's important. Nothing says 'Merry Christmas' like bubbles...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From the vintage kitchen

I'm in 'pottering' mode at the moment since I feel well enough to be up, but not well enough to do anything much. I'm in a phase of rifling through forgotten boxes, dark cupboards and drawers, to see what I've got lying around that could be given away, sent to the Salvos or eBayed. It's amazing what one accumulates over the years, and I seem to have accumulated all manner of vintage kitchen stuff. Some of it is still functional, some dangerous and some, well I don't actually know exactly what some of this stuff is.

First of all are my gorgeous old Salter kitchen scales. Salter has been around for years and is a bit of an icon. I used these scales, (and an even older set involving free weights in ounces), until about two years ago when I splurged and invested in an electric set. Still, I can't part with old faithful.

The same can't be said for the Sparklet Corkmaster. It's a bizarre looking object that was made for about 20 years in the UK, I suppose in an effort to revolutionise the removal of corks from wine bottles. Whether it works that well is something I've not tested and don't intend to try. Interesting trivia includes that quite a lot were sold to the US Department of Defense, and at a dinner to which James Bond was invited in 'Diamonds are Forever' the baddie brandishes one. Enough said.

Dutch cocoa has also been around for a long, long time. Droste is still made today and in fact, on my honeymoon earlier this year, I found the current product in an obscure little supermarket somewhere on the coast. Droste still uses the same picture. The cocoa is excellent too. The Muisjes I believe are little sprinkles. My mother hails from the Netherlands originally, and I remember them as a kid.

Now this one I'm not sure about. Are you meant to make a bomb, somehow out of Schnaps? Is it like the Jager Bomb? Or something more sinister? The best I can do is that I think this is a dinky little glass flask and aluminium protector for the transport of Schnaps. Am open to suggestions.

Excuse the slightly smudgy shot (Tim will have a fit when he sees this) but this always makes me smile. It doesn't work that well as a shaker because whatever you've got inside comes out a bit clumpyand the lid sticks, but it reminds me of the robots in the original Dr Who show so I can't get rid of it. You know, the ones that gave kids nightmares and everyone in the show ran from in panic, even though they couldn't fit through a door? Funny, funny stuff.

And finally, I give you the Birko food and drink heater. My mother tells me that the Birko is an all-in-one sort of appliance that people had in their caravans and bedsits. Apparently you can boil water, make soup, cook eggs a half dozen different ways, and so on. So all the basic stuff was covered for a person on their own in small premises. Occasionally I look at it and think I should try it out and see what it can really do. But then I remember I have a great big stove that I really love using, even when it's just me for dinner.