Santa's kitchen ideas

Susan Parsons
Shiro jugs.
Shiro jugs. 


The latest scrubbers for vegetables caught my eye at The Essential Ingredient in Kingston. The coated cotton rectangles are called Euro Scrubby. I bought a striped red/black/yellow piece ($6) and it works perfectly under cold water. They are safe to use on non-stick pans, ceramic and glass cooktops and stainless steel cookware and there is a green striped design to clean your garden spade and secateurs.


Open Gardens Australia sells women's knitted hats.
Open Gardens Australia sells women's knitted hats. 

This year marks the 51st anniversary of Warhol's pop art work 32 Campbell's Soup cans and, in winter, Woolworths supermarkets stocked Andy Warhol cans of Campbell's tomato soup. The cans were produced under licence from the not-for-profit Andy Warhol Foundation that promotes the visual arts. They came in Warhol colours like orange with cornflower blue and I gave them as kitchen decor gifts to pals.

Following our column about Adrian van Leest, happily titled online ''Campbell's tomato king shares his secrets'', we were inundated with requests for his ''opa's brandywine'' tomato seeds. Canberrans love growing heritage tomato varieties.

Serve your homemade tomato soup in an Andy Warhol porcelain mug made by Rosenthal, available from the National Gallery of Australia shop ($49.95).

The euroscrubby.
The euroscrubby. 

If you have a colourful empty tomato tin, jab a few holes in the bottom, fill it with premium potting mix and plant ''living basil'' (with roots) from the supermarket. Keep in a sunny spot and, as you harvest the leaves, so the basil keeps growing.


In Don Burke's new book Growing and Using Herbs and Spices (New Holland, $29.95), he suggests sowing basil seeds now to germinate in 10-12 days. Dill is referred to as a classic herb and heaven with fish; he calls sunflowers ''kid- and bird-friendly'', while young perilla leaves are used in sushi. This guide gives tips for growing herbs in the garden or pots, clear photographs accompany recipes with every herb and spice, and medicinal uses and warnings are included. For the adventurous there is licorice, nettle and curry leaf.

Giveaway: We have a copy of Don Burke's book to give away. If you would like it, tell me the name of your favourite herb and why it's the best.



Don Burke,Growing and Using Herbs and Spices” (New Holland, $29.95)
Don Burke,Growing and Using Herbs and Spices” (New Holland, $29.95) Photo: actkirsten.lawson

At Lonsdale Street Roasters rows of coffee plants are growing in pots along the windowsill. The pots have been covered in hessian that formerly held coffee beans and has been made into pot plant covers by the team at the Roasters. Ultra smart. You could do it at home but wash the hessian first to remove irritant fibres.


Shiro in Lonsdale Street, Braddon, sells traditionally crafted objects imported from Japan. The well-designed items include a handmade enamel kitchenware collection with a tomato-red kettle. Among the cutlery are coffee spoons made from the oak wood left over when Japanese craftsmen make furniture and there is grapefruit green tea to serve iced in summer. 27 Lonsdale Street, Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm (Fridays till 8pm),


Open Gardens Australia sells women's knitted hats in a sand colour with the Open Gardens spade logo embroidered in dark green on the front. One local wearer says they are tough as old boots, wash well and one size fits all, with an internal adjustable drawstring, $30 (includes postage in Australia),

The winner of our giveaway for a copy of the Open Gardens Australia Guide 2013-14 (Kitchen Garden, October 9) was Gillian Wolff, of Kambah.


As I am a keen grower of primitive and heritage sweet peas, it was a treat when a friend served organic Sweet Pea Moscato from Spring Seed Wine in the McLaren Vale ($20, or at Jim Murphy's Airport Cellars).

With a blood orange, pink grapefruit and rosewater nose, the Bosworth family makes the wine from red frontignac muscat a petits grains. At 7 per cent alcohol, they suggest it for breakfast with scrambled eggs or smoked salmon. Their labels feature vintage flower seed packets and there is a scarlet runner shiraz as well as a poppy pinot grigio.