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My kitchen is … small. It has a sink and counter facing in the middle, and one side is a counter and the stove, and on the other is an antique buffet made of dark, carved wood. It’s very functional though it lacks space. I have a metal bar to hold my utensils and a magnet that holds my knives. My microwave oven is in the corner, and there are loads of shelves that hold the dishes and my cook books. Don’t look at my pots and pans cupboard – it’s a mess. I keep hoping they will sort themselves out when I’m not looking,  but so far it hasn’t happened. If I could add something, it would be more light. I nixed the spotlights that the kitchen planners offered because they were so expensive – now I regret it, but I have a clip-on lamp from Ikea that works wonders.

My favourite kitchen tool is … my old blender. I got it for my wedding and it’s still going strong. I used it to make soups – one of my favorite things to cook.

My cupboard staple is … butter – I use it with almost everything. I also always have sultana raisins, cinnamon and lemons. If I run out of any of these, I tend to panic

When I’m starving I … have eggs – I love to make quiches and try different ways to bake eggs. I can also whip up a cookie mix in no time with just a few ingredients. As long as there are eggs in the fridge, we won’t starve.

My culinary inspiration is … the “Silver Palate Cookbook” – I’ve used it until it fell apart and now it’s just a pile of pages I try to keep in some semblance of order. I used to have “The New Basics”, but that book did literally fall apart. I was devastated when I finally threw it away. The funny thing is, I never really follow a recipe. They are simply for inspiration. I rarely have all the ingredients that a recipe calls for.

My last recipe: Venison shank with honey and thyme… Yesterday Stef was cutting the meat from a deer shoulder for stew meat. There was just the shank left – with some hard, stringy looking muscles. I took it, put it in the crock pot with two heaping tablespoons of honey, a handful of thyme branches from the balcony, and about ten large potatoes, scrubbed and cut into halves. I tossed in a generous sprinkle of salt, and cooked it for 6 hours, until the meat was literally falling off the bone. It was delicious, and very easy to make. I’ll definitely do this again.

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