In My Kitchen, April 2014

Posted on Apr 2, 2014 in in my kitchen | 26 comments

In my kitchen…

IMK April 2014

…are a couple of interesting fruits I’ve picked up this week.

I was buying fruit from my lovely lady at the wet market last week and saw what looked like miniature pears or apples. I’ve officially resigned from Mandarin lessons (there’s a huge shock) so when I asked what they were of course I had no idea what she was saying. We both started laughing and she cut into one and passed a sliver to me. It was delicious – not overly sweet, crunchy but not juicy. I was sold and I’ve been eating them all week. I now know they are called jujubes or green dates. They will be perfect in a salad.

In the middle is a tiny melon I picked up from the Avocado Lady. The box wasn’t in the fruit section, it was next to the dates and dried fruits and I was a bit disbelieving when they told me it was a Shanghai melon. ‘Try one, it’s good” they told me and at only 10RMB each it was worth taking a chance. I cut into it and it’s just a tiny cantaloupe melon which was a little underwhelming but actually it’s a perfect size for just two people to eat in one go.

Anyway, there they both are by a bog standard Granny Smith for comparison.

In my kitchen…..

IMK April 2014

…..before there was fake chocolate in my life there was fake food. Can you believe:

1) this came over on the container from Tokyo in January 2013

2) it’s been sitting in my fridge ever since

3) I made it

Mum and Dad were visiting at the time and along with two of my Tokyo friends we went along and had such a fun afternoon making our own fake food I’ve not had the heart to throw it away. I’ll have to share some of the photos one day – if you’re a foodie and you ever get to Tokyo this is a unique way of spending an afternoon and it’s right in the middle of Kappabashi Dori where all the kitchen shops are.

OK I will put them in the bin now.

In my kitchen…

IMK April 2014

…is my new herb garden. Actually, I lie – it’s on the balcony and there’s only thyme and mint at the moment. The birdcages are from the Melbourne Cup event last year. They were too shiny and new so they’ve been rusting away nicely on the balcony over winter and are now looking suitably shabby chic. The herbs were 10RMB/$1.75 each from the flower market  so it’s no biggie if they don’t thrive. If they do it will be a miracle.

In my kitchen…

IMK April 2014

..are walnut whips from Marks & Spencer. Let me tell you, that shop is a life saver for me. Cordial, hot cross buns, crumpets, proper frozen peas, chicken & gravy pies, chocolate eclairs, wine….all the things you need from home for the days when you are feeling so far from home.

In my kitchen….

IMK April 2014

…are these two beautiful cups from Tokyo, a wedding present from one of Richard’s colleagues in the office there. Now that I’ve finally told the wedding story I can share them. I think they are hand made and painted and I loved them straight away.

In My Kitchen is hosted by Celia over at Fig, Lime and Cordial and it’s a great excuse to snoop into kitchens around the world, watch the changing seasons and just generally perve at all the fascinating produce and fancy bits and pieces people seem to have in their homes!

What’s going on in your kitchen this month?




  1. I’m not surprised you’ve given up your Mandarin classes – my son has had to learn Mandarin at school and in three years he’s learnt zilch – can’t say a thing. Bloody hopeless and I keep thinking, ‘what is the point of Westerners learning Mandarin when any day now, the largest English-speaking country in the world will be China! I’d love a walnut whip around about now! xx

    • It’s too difficult and I have the memory of a goldfish so it’s just a waste of time for me. I get around in a taxi when I have to and I can haggle at the markets so I’m covered as far as I’m concerned!! M&S have an Easter egg size walnut whip in at the moment I was tempted, but walked away :)

  2. G’day! What an entertaining post! Love your fake chocolate, your herb garden and your whip! :)
    Thanks for sharing your kitchen view this month too!
    Cheers! Joanne

    • The whips are good :)

  3. Your herb garden makes me smile. I loved the bit about the fake food – what fun to do.

    • Making the fake food was one of the best things we did in Tokyo it was such a great afternoon. It’s now in the trash though – enough!

  4. I love reading about the different fruit and veg you find – most of which I’ve never heard of . I wonder if they’ll ever reach England.
    What is your fake food made from? It looks wonderful.

    • It’s just wax Anne which is why it’s been in the fridge for nearly 2 years. I must check out the Asian market again next time I’m home I’m sure there are veggies there I’ve probably just ignored because I didn’t know what they were before.

  5. The fake food from the Japanese class you did looks authentic. I have seen these classes when in Japan but never attended one. You have given up Mandarin classes? No, you must keep going.

    • If I butcher the language any more than I am doing I think I’ll get thrown out. I know my numbers, how to say too expensive/too big/too small/don’t want etc I’ll get by with that.

  6. Nancy, I just read your wedding story. I love it. I have similar stores dealing with the Indian taxation office. You will remember that day for the rest of your life.

    • I think I’d rather take on the Chinese registry office than the Indian tax office Glenda I would imagine that would be a nightmare!

  7. How comforting to have M&S at hand. I’m fascinated by the fake food from Tokyo. Is it moulded or hand formed?

    • The fake food we made was just molten wax dropped into a bath of cold water. I need to dig out the photos again and write a post about it. M&S doesn’t have much food here but what there is is perfect.

  8. Nancy, you always have the most intriguing things in your kitchen. Jujubes? I’d heard the name, but never knew what they were before. And how on earth did you make that extremely convincing looking fake food? Is it made with clay? And the mugs are great – even better with a back story, which I’m now going to catch up on! :)

    • It’s made with wax Celia which is poured into a water bath and then shaped into various fruits and veg. It’s time to throw it away!

  9. Ohh I do love the convenience of having a tiny melon! My pet hate is cutting up huge fruits like watermelon etc and watching the second half go to waste.
    Thank goodness for M&S!! Fresh hot cross buns for Easter! Yay :)

    • I know!! That’s why I loved the melon. I always come back with a big melon all enthusiastic and then it goes soft and horrible in the fridge.

  10. For a start, my kitchen is a train wreck and until I move into my own place with a snazzy pro range, there’ll be no IMK posts from me! I don’t even have produce because until yesterday, we still had snow! Sooooo, I will enjoy your lovely produce and stories. I miss Marks and Spencer’s. It really is a life saver, even for me, even now. Whenever anyone goes to the UK, I have a list.
    You always have the most interesting things in your kitchen! I love your fake food and the Japanese cups :)

    • I can’t believe your kitchen is a train wreck with the food you turn out of it :)

  11. How interesting and bizarre about the fake food. I suppose we used to love making play dough food for the doll’s house when little – is this the adult equivalent?

    • We lived in Tokyo for 4 years Sally and there was always fake food outside restaurants and bars so we became used to picking a place based on the quality of the fake food on view – hence my fascination and why I did an afternoon class:)

  12. I’ve never really thought about the process of making fake food. I did not realise it was made with wax. That’s fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

    • The really good fake food is expensive – some of them can be in the hundreds of dollars depending on size and how realistic they are. It was a fun thing to do.

  13. Hmmm…where to start? Walnut Whips: being a huge Anglophile, when Duran Duran said all those years ago that Walnut Whips were their faves, it was one of the first things I bought on my first trip to the UK in ’92 (so old!). I also brought them back for my friend. We don’t have them in Aus (well now we do but back then, they were exotic!). Fake Food: Nooo – don’t throw it out. It’s great! I knew you could buy all of that stuff in Japan but i didn’t know you could make it. It’s on the list! Thanks for the fun tour.

    • It’s too late the fake food is in fake heaven – I think it was well and truly past it’s sell by date!! I didn’t know that Walnut Whips got the Duran Duran seal of approval – I like them even more now :)