Kitchen tour!

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Day 13 of VeganMoFo* means it’s kitchen tour time! I knew this would be one of my favourite prompts because I love looking at other people’s kitchen and I actually really love my own kitchen too. I’ll show you a few pictures and point out my favourite things along the way.

First, here’s a short video! Can you spot the disappearing plants?

Kitchen tour: right

This is the right side of my kitchen. Here we’ve got the fridge (with frog magnets!), a wooden trolley that holds our oils and vinegars and also provides a little extra working space (currently occupied by my cookbook stand), three shelves (more on those below), rails for spatulas, ladles, and kitchen towels, and aprons hanging in the doorway. All the way in the back is the washing machine with a giant cutting board on top, and the oven is hiding behind the fridge.

Kitchen tour: right

And here’s the other side. Originally our only countertops were the white unit in the back, so you can imagine how much I love the black shelf in the front that my Dad put in. It pretty much doubled our working space, and there’s another big shelf underneath where we keep our pots and pans. (Oh, and I think I was a little too enthusiastic in my tidying up for this post because the counters look weirdly bare to me. They’re usually a bit messier!)

Shelves!

These shelves hold things we use relatively often, like oats, lentils, salt, pasta, breadcrumbs, chickpeas, rice, as well as small bowls, cups, plates and saucers …

Jars

… and lots of reused apple sauce jars. Can you tell my boyfriend likes apple sauce?

Grains, onions, tomatoes, aubergines

The top of my fridge usually has onions, rice, quinoa, and popping corn. Today we’ve got tomatoes and aubergines up here too.

Oven & shelf

Here’s the oven/microwave, with cutting boards to the left and baking tins and sheets on top, and more smaller jars on what I believe used to be an egg rack. The basket holds all of the herbs and spices that don’t fit inside my spice drawer.

Spice drawer

And here’s my spice drawer! I used to want to do that chalkboard-painted lid thing you see on Pinterest, but you know, masking tape works too. The lids with the little red pointy hat are from a tomato and sunflower seed spread my boyfriend loves. Again, we must have eaten a lot of tomato spread! But I like the jars for my herbs and spices.
Plants & cat

Finally, one of my favourite things about my kitchen is the little balcony attached to it. So far my container gardening attempts haven’t been very succesful so the balcony itself is quite plain, but it’s still nice to be able to open the door and go outside. As you can see from the picture, our balcony also attracts visitors — and not just gulls and pigeons! This adventurous young cat actually lives quite a few houses away and walks all the way along the roof to visit balconies on our street. Unlike human guests, he never gets anything to eat, but he still seems to enjoy coming over. And he’s super cute and friendly, so he’s always welcome in our kitchen. :)

* I know, I’m running behind! 

Links of the day

I’m loving all the elaborate tours! I would have liked to make a longer video to really show you around, but I just couldn’t make that happen this weekend. I’m currently catching up on everyone’s blogs, so here are a few of my favourite kitchen posts I’ve seen so far.
Jo’s beautiful kitchen with original 19th-century features on Hello Seedling.
Julie’s kitchen on My Apologies for the Novel: breakfast nook! Cats! Plants! Mutts comics! And so much space!
Cookbookvegan’s kitchen in the middle of the cooking process. (Makes me wish I’d done that too – isn’t it even better to see a kitchen in action?)

My favourite kitchen tools

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Kitchen things

Earlier this week, both Julie (from My Apologies for the Novel) and Rosie (Rosie’s Vegan Kitchen) nominated me for a Liebster award. The idea of the award is that you answer 10 questions and think of 10 new questions for the people you nominate yourself. I tend to be terrible at these kinds of question tags (too indecisive?), but I do like the questions they came up with. One of Julie’s questions was about your favourite kitchen tool/utensil, and I thought I’d dedicate an entire post to that. These are some of my favourites that I use almost every day:

1. Knife and cutting board: These are often mentioned as the two essential items for every kitchen and I feel the same way. I have a medium-sized knife from Ikea and I think it’s just right. I use a hand-held sharpener regularly so the knife is always sharp when I need it. My Mum gave me the bamboo cutting board and I really love it – it’s a good size and it’s easy to clean.

2. Stick blender: I think I overwork my stick blenders a bit because I’ve already gone through several since living on my own, but they’re so convenient! I use mine for soups and sauces but also for thicker things like pesto and smoothies and spreads – in that case, I do try to make sure that the ingredients are small enough and that there’s enough liquid.

3. Sturdy wooden spoon: Should I call this a spatula or a spoon? In any case, I use it for stirring. When I make bread, I always try to stir the dough for as long as possible before I start kneading. This seems to help to make the dough reasonably firm so it doesn’t stick to your hands as much. This method does require a very strong spoon. This beautiful olive-wood spatula was given to me by a friend when she returned from a holiday on Samos and I use it a few times a week.

4. Thin spatula: I like to use plastic spatulas because all my frying pans have surfaces that would get damaged by metal (non-stick coatings and enamelled cast iron). This one (also from Ikea) is thin and flexible, so it’s perfect for flipping pancakes and burgers (which otherwise have a tendency to fall apart on me). If I could only have one spatula, it would be this one.

5. Empty applesauce jars: My kitchen is full of these glass jars that I rinse and reuse again and again. Why applesauce jars? Well, a thick layer of applesauce used to be the only thing that would get my boyfriend to eat his vegetables. Nowadays we don’t eat it as often, but we’ve still gone through quite a few jars over the years. I also like that they’re easy to clean and they’re a good size for things like dried pasta, legumes, grains – anything, really. I have larger jars with hinged lids to store certain specific ingredients (like big bags of rice), but I like reusing applesauce jars as a cheap alternative.

6. Wooden countertop: This is actually a separate wooden board that I lay down or remove depending on how much space I need. My parents gave it to me after using the same wood for their own kitchen and I use it almost every day. I usually put it on top of the washing machine so it functions as an extra working surface. My other counters are metal and hard to clean properly, so I prefer this board for things like kneading and rolling out dough (and for taking pictures!).

Hi there!

Oops, sorry for the slight absence after my final London post! The new semester started last week so I’ve been a little busy with that. I’m enjoying my new classes, though, and one of them is during the evening, which means I either have to pack a quick dinner or buy my food at a restaurant. Homemade is obviously the cheapest option, and here’s what I packed today:

I made a batch of tomato soup (in the thermos) with chopped red & yellow bell pepper, carrot, corn, courgette, and spring onions and I added some chili powder and other spices as well. It was delicious! I only just discovered we actually had a thermos in the house, but I’m definitely going to use it to bring more of these hot soups when the weather gets colder.

On the left is a salad of sautéed tempeh, shallots and asparagus over a bed of lettuce mixed with yellow bell pepper and white grapes. There’s a balsamic dressing in the little container on the side. This was tasty, although next time I’d add more tempeh and use less balsamic vinegar because the salad was a little too sour for my taste, but the tempeh was really tasty. I used the Italian marinade from Vegan with a Vengeance, which is originally meant for tofu, but it worked nicely for the tempeh as well!

And next to the thermos in the little cupcake box is a delicious double chocolate muffin based on a Have Cake, Will Travel recipe. I love how the recipes uses whole wheat flour and is so low in fat, but I did add a spoonful of oil just to make sure they won’t dry out even if I keep them for a while. The muffin was the perfect treat to enjoy on my way home! Mmm. I just wish I’d used a different cupcake pan so the muffins would get a nice high top instead of spreading out in the liner, but hey – at least they taste great.

Crazy Rumors lip balm

Oh, and check out what I received in the mail today! I really needed some new lip balm due to the sudden cold weather, so I ordered three varieties of a product I’d been wanting to try for a while – Crazy Rumors lip balm! I thought it would be good to sample some different scents, so I got Apple Spice (tea scented!), Almond Fudge (ice cream!), and French Vanilla (coffee). I’ve been using the Apple Spice one today, because it’s the scent that appealed to me the most, and I love it! It truly smells like apple spice tea – when I just put it on, I felt like I was sitting with a lovely cup of tea under my nose all the time. In a good way! It feels wonderful and moisturising, too, so it’s just what I was looking for. I’ve only been using Lush lip balms up until now and I still like those, but the little tins can be inconvenient at times. These little tubes are much easier to apply!

I got the lip balms at Alice and Jo’s Havesentials, by the way, and I love them for carrying the Crazy Rumors brand, as I hadn’t seen it available anywhere else in the Netherlands. They were really quick, too – I placed my order on Sunday evening and got my little envelope of lip balms this morning. I can’t wait to try the other Crazy Rumors scents… mmm!

I have some old(er) photos that I need to put on here, too, but I’ll save those for a later post – for now, have a great day, and thanks for reading!