Hard to believe that 2013 is nearly over and I must admit that the things I promised myself I would do, didn’t get done. So I didn’t get a sourdough starter going and I didn’t learn to temper chocolate – the two things I said I was going to do in 2013.
Instead we invited John’s dad to stay with us and I have no regrets for changing my priorities. He’s not been spoiled since he was a child and he’s really enjoying it.
On to In My kitchen – a group of food bloggers who share what’s new in their kitchens every month and it’s hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.
Okay, this is the dining room. We celebrated Thanksgiving in style this year and Rob took a photo in the afternoon while I was setting up. John’s son has an American girlfriend who’s only been in Australia a few months and she’s homesick and wanted real bacon for breakfast and pumpkin pie and other American food. They arrived at lunch time and I’d bought Hellman’s and Miracle Whip – just in case. She walked in and exclaimed, “MIRACLE WHIP??? YOU HAVE MIRACLE WHIP??”
She lives in Melbourne where they would have tons more ‘stuff’ than we have in our regional city but I don’t think she’s done much shopping. They live right downtown and after a long day of programming, I suspect it’s easier to walk next door and get dinner.
We invited our neighbors for Thanksgiving dinner and they came laden with gifts. Wine, champagne and these lovely things.
Jan from across the cul-de-sac gave me some choko chutney. I’d barely heard of chokos so the chutney was a surprise. It’s delicious and I’m hoping for the recipe.
She also baked these little melting moments. The cat was just sitting around on the room divider.
Her husband John, also known in the neighborhood as Big John, loves playing with wood and he made this gorgeous wooden platter from mango wood. Isn’t it gorgeous? Disregard dirty tile grout in the floor.
Fran from next door has the loveliest raised garden beds away from the water so she doesn’t get as much salt spray damage as I do. She came laden down with these wonderful veggies AND a bottle of Moet champagne.
I’ve been wanting this espresso powder for a long time and now I have some!
And finally, my second-best friend in the world who guards my kitchen as if it were his own. We’ll be making doggie biscuits again soon for Christmas. He can’t wait. …or maybe he can.
So… what’s in your kitchen this month? For a peek into heaps of food bloggers’ kitchens, head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial’s In My Kitchen!
Joanne T Ferguson says
G’day Maureen! Happy Post Thanksgiving to you, your friends and family, true!
Always a special day and is funny the memories food associate with past celebrations too!
Thanks for the chuckle re Miracle Whip as there are so many American foods that I squeal at; not because they taste great but because of the people and the memories surrounding enjoying them too! Cheers! Joanne
It IS all about memory food and Magdalena went home with her belly full of homemade American breakfast sausage, American bacon, homemade biscuits, pumpkin pie AND Miracle Whip. 🙂
Lovely, what a gorgeous wooden bowl, I am in awe, mango wood, who could tell? I will have to put my Brazilian friends on the alert!
doggie biscuits, you are setting the bar high, I better NOT let my pups see your post….
Beautiful TXG dinner table! and of course, I agree that your priorities are on the mark for this year! Sourdough and tempering choc can wait…. spoiling your FIL, that’s awesome!
AND I don’t have to come up with new resolutions for 2014 🙂 I bet your dogs can cook too!
Helene D'Souza says
lol I had to google to check miracle whip.
ah charlie is looking great, a perfect picture!
choko? With that you mean chocolate no?
i wonder what varnish your neighbor used for his mango wood board.
No, a choko is a vegetable that grows here. Apparently it was widely available during the Depression and folks like John’s dad won’t touch it because it’s about all they had to eat back then.
John@Kitchen Riffs says
Sounds like you had a terrific Thanksgiving! Funny how so many people in the US like either Hellman’s or Miracle Whip, but not the other. Charlie is looking great!
She didn’t want Hellman’s but I’ve always got some in the fridge for those times that I just don’t have time to make my own.
Chelsea @chelseasmessyapron says
Your table settings are gorgeous! I can’t believe 2013 is almost over either! Crazy!
The table looked pretty good and as we ate at about 7pm it was really lovely with the candles lit.
Judy @Savoring Today says
Aw, love your pup! What a sweet face. 🙂 I’d be inviting the neighbors over more often when such lovely gifts arrive with them ~ what a gorgeous mango wood platter! So sweet of you to pick up the M-Whip and Helman’s … a turkey sandwich isn’t the same without them and it can mean so much to see familiar things of home.
I knew she was really homesick and she’s family. I was surprised by how much it meant to her.
What an elegant table set.
I have to try that espresso powder. Charlie, is adorable.
I’ll let you know. I haven’t cracked it open yet!
Even more than that lovely bottle of Moet champagne, I envy you your little jar of espresso powder as I’ve been wanting to make some espresso panna cotta ever since I saw it on someone’s blog. The carved kitty is darling and your Thanksgiving table is elegant as expected.
It sounds like your American visitor felt at home at your table. Miracle Whip is my spread of choice as well, but my home made mayonnaise has to be used up before I can buy another jar. 🙂
I’m with you on using up homemade.
Hotly Spiced says
Your table setting is stunning. You certainly did celebrate in style. You have gorgeous china and stemware – anyone invited would have been delighted to sit at such a table. I grew up with a choko vine in the backyard. My mother would try to do something with that bloody vegetable to try and make it interesting but they are so bland. I think chutney is the perfect way to use them. Do let me know if you get the recipe xx
I love my dining room and it’s the only thing we brought from the old house that I didn’t want to live without. We had the dining room set made out of river red gum in Kerang in Victoria. It’s solid and takes 9 people to move it. LOL Nobody is going to walk off with it!
Life is good!!!!!
It is good, isn’t it?
Abbe@This is How I Cook says
I need friends that bring gifts like that! Looks like you had a great day and I’m loving Charlie. He’d probably get along great with George and Freddie. Well, no one gets along with George! And I love that wood platter!
Charlie likes everyone except dogs who chase his cats. HE doesn’t like the cats but he’ll protect them to the end. It’s really funny.
Lizzy (Good Things) says
Oh Maureen, what a great collection of goodies! Love that wooden? cat. And your puppy, always a joy to see your puppy. And how ever so special that you get the chance to spoil Rob. That is just so lovely.
What’s better is that he loves being spoiled. He’s never had anyone that he could say, “bring me my glasses?” or “I slobbed all over the front of my shirt, I’m sorry, will it all come out?” LOL He has no feeling at all in his right hand so there are a few oopses and broken glasses but what a small price to pay for his wisdom.
A lovely roundup, thanks Maureen – and you are especially thoughtful to buy some treats from home for your US friend. What exactly is espresso powder, though?
It’s coffee powder to use in cooking. It’s from King Arthur Flour in the states and just a little really enhances chocolate.
I know what it’s like to come to Australia all by yourself and be homesick. Just a few bites ‘from home’ really make a difference and it did for Magdalena too.
Beautiful dining table…. and even more beautiful pup!! 🙂
I’ll tell Rob he took a good photo 🙂 Charlie is at my heels all the time.
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
What a beautifully set dining table Maureen! 😀 And what lovely items in your kitchen. Tell me, what are you going to do with the espresso powder? 😀
Now Lorraine, how about you check this table out next Thanksgiving? You’re invited and your blogging cohorts too. 🙂 I just wanted the espresso for chocolate fondants and brownies and a rich chocolate cake. Not sure after that.
Yes, I’ve never met anyone outside of Aus who knows what a choko is!
I’ve never met many people IN Australia that have anything nice to say about a choko either. 🙂
I’m sure having the Miracle Whip and Hellman’s meant a lot to her! Such a cute dog too! Love the face.
She was really pleased and I’m glad she came for Thanksgiving. Thanks heaps for visiting, Elaine!
What a lovely table! great photos and that expresso powder I would love to have. I bough some a while back and it makes chocolate cake and brownies taste heavenly and add such a deep depth of flavor. So how do you plan to use yours?
Brownies were the first stop and then chocolate fondants and then I don’t know. I just wanted it. 🙂
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
Tempered chocolate and sourdough starter or not, your kitchen has some wonderful things in it. Your dining room set up looked very impressive and that new wood platter is gorgeous – ditto the fresh produce and that new little cat!
Actually, the cat is old. I was looking for a prop and plopped it on the box cover. 🙂
what a huge dining table, love the set up..
It is lovely and rustic and I hope I have it forever.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I’m so envious of your fresh veggies and your dog is adorable!
Thanks, Laura. He’s a good helper 🙂
Fiona @TIFFIN bite sized food adventures says
Home grown veges and Champagne? The ultimate combination! I can see you had a crowd and a good time so glad you could share the love with some homesick travellers too. Thanks for sharing Maureen.
We had the best time. You two should come up for dinner!
Bam's Kitchen says
Happy Belated Thanksgiving day to you. You have such a beautiful place setting. I wish I could fit a big table like this in our apartment in HK but no such luck. Your built in floor cleaner is adorable! He is in a very lucky home, not that you ever drop anything on the floor, but if you did your cooking rocks and I am certain he will always be your protector and guard of his fortress. Have a super week. BAM
My floor cleaner is getting picky. He had to think twice about the pea and ham soup leftovers. 🙂
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
That wooden plate is just gorgeous but especially laden with fresh goodies. I love your table setting. So fancy!
Thanks.. one day I’ll blog about how I got those dishes. For now, I bought a set of white dishes and John said, “I didn’t mean get all white if you were buying expensive dishes!!” so I went out and bought another set. 🙂
InTolerant Chef says
Beautiful table indeed Maureen- very classy! Lots of other goodies too, thanks for the peek into your kitchen 🙂
We had a lovely meal.
Lisa the Gourmet Wog says
you have some wonderful neighbours Maureen! Absolutely love your dinner setting too, you have great taste, very elegant indeed.
I’m curious to know what do you plan to make with the espresso powder…
brownies, chocolate crinkle cookies, and chocolate fondants 🙂 and thanks for the kind words.
movita beaucoup says
I’ve decided to move into your kitchen. Please have tasty treats prepared, and a blanket to snuggle under.
You promise? I’m a Canuck from way back so even though I’m a bazillion miles away, it will seem familiar. There’s room for a bed near the window. 🙂
You know Maureen, I love the way you talk about Johns Dad. I love that you enjoy spoiling him and that you make excuses like he hasn’t been spoilt since he was a child. It shows your bountiful personality and kind heart. Can’t wait to see Charlie making biscuits. He looks up for it to me!
I’m NOT a good soul, I’m sure of it. When we visited aged care homes recently searching for a place for John’s mother, I told the woman we talked to that they didn’t earn enough money, whatever it cost. 🙂 …and I was serious. LOL
Aw, I love, love your sweet pup! And it sounds like you had an amazing Thanksgiving…I’m thinking the girlfriend thought so, too 🙂
She felt a lot less homesick after eating familiar food. 🙂
Maureen, all your gifts look amazing, you have very thoughtful neighbours. What is the expresso powder for? I do love your Charlie.
Hi Glenda and thanks for stopping by. Espresso powder brings out the chocolateyness of chocolate but doesn’t taste coffee. Make sense? probably not but it works. 🙂
What a great wrap up. I wish someone made a board like that for me. And the cat…and the dog…too cute 🙂 ela
Want to know the best news? He asked what else I wanted because he’s looking for projects! OMG be still my heart! He’s going to cut wood for back boards for my photography!
It sounds like a fabulous thanksgiving, and you are a very kind soul to let John’s dad stay with you! Definitely sounds like he’s enjoying the love and attention! What wonderful gifts you received, especially that bowl – perfect for Fran’s veggies! Come down to Sydney in 2014 and we’ll temper chocolate and bake sourdough together.. xxx
I know! It was a terrific day and we all left the table full. 🙂 Is that a formal invitation or a “y’all come on down” invitation that’s just friendly? 🙂
For you, my love, it’s a formal invite. 🙂
Loved everything about this post…the table setting, the lovely gifts from your neighbors and that adorable puppy!! Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful. I never knew you celebrated Thanksgiving in Australia!
LOL I’m American, but I live in Australia. I’m also Australian so I celebrate all holidays. 🙂
Kim | a little lunch says
Maureen, it’s mind-boggling how quickly priorities can be rearranged, eh? Sounds like you’ve got yours in good order. Somehow I think John ended up in the perfect kitchen to be spoiled. 🙂 Merry Christmas, sweet friend, and thanks for the peek in your kitchen this month!
You are so right and now John’s mother is moving in to an aged care home near us. More things to do! 🙂
Kim | a little lunch says
Meant to say John’s Dad, but John’s got it good, too! Have fun spoiling them both. xo
Dear Maureen, Your table looks beautiful. I am sure the food that graced it was beautiful too.
I love the gifts you received for your graciousness of cooking and giving everyone a beautiful day to remember.
My little doggie looks just like yours and he is my best friend too.
Blessings dear. Catherine xo
Mel @ The cook's notebook says
Happy belated Thanksgiving. I love the wooden bowl you were given – stunning. I’ve also not heard of espresso powder – will keep an eye out for it. And Charlie looks soooo cute.
Merry Christmas x
Thanks, Mel! The bowl is wonderful but I think I’ll consider it more as a tray. Next time you’re on the Sunshine Coast we’ll go across the street and you can put your order in with Big John. 🙂 He’s looking for projects.
Sugar et al says
Such a gorgeous table Maureen! I love the wooden platter too…no wait, I think I love the pup the most!