Monday, 15 April 2013

Teeny Tiny

There once was a teeny tiny woman who lived
in a teeny tiny flat.
And in the teeny tiny flat
there was a teeny tiny kitchen.
And in the teeny tiny kitchen there was
a teeny tiny freezer…

This is my kitchen, for better or for worse. I will admit I sometimes suffer from kitchen envy. I love the look of an open plan kitchen which is the heart of every home. In my ideal home I would love to have a big weathered table and benches in the corner, an island on the middle of the kitchen and a rack that lowered from the ceiling with all the pots and pans hanging from it. It would be nice to have an oven that had a light or didn’t need a piece of blue tack to hold the oven temperature dial in the right place so 180 degrees doesn‘t somehow fall into 200 degrees when you are not looking.  But, hey--this is my kitchen. It may be small, but I do lots of amazing stuff in it.

Can you see the space? There is exactly 30 inches of space between the counter on the left and the photo covered fridge on the right. It actually narrows to 25 inches from the sticky out handle of the stove and the wooden trolley. It is so small that I can't use a mop to clean the floor--I have to scrub on my hands and knees like in olden days. But I make the most of it. The trolley is great storage for overflow utensils and pots and the colander. It holds the bananas in a bowl as well as my rye crackers in a tin. It also gives me a bit more counter space.  I also have 2 coat racks that Spiderman painted and hung up for me to hold tea towels, my cooking apron and bag dispensers for cleaning rags. This saves on drawer space.
I make good use of the few cupboards I have by keeping quite a lot of items such as bulk jars of rice and dried beans, appliances and storage containers down the hall on a set of bookshelves. The shelves are called Ainsley Harriet after a funky TV chef who used to be the host of a programme called Ready, Steady, Cook. Don’t your bookshelves have names? All of ours do. How else can you tell someone else where to find something with out getting up off the sofa? You say something like, “It’s on the bottom of Papa Bear” and they can find it for themselves. Obviously.

Anyway, many British households have a tiny fridge. FACT. Most have one that fits under the counter like a dishwasher would. If you watch Britcoms like Keeping Up Appearances you’ll see Hyacinth Bucket (it’s pronounced bouquet) has a tiny fridge. Big ones are called American style fridges. We were chuffed to bits when we bought this one. It was bigger and had a decent sized freezer on top. But the whole thing--fridge and freezer combined--is actually only 47 inches high. It comes up to my boobs. The fridge is just the right size because we buy fresh stuff  little and often, but the freezer has always been a bit of squeeze.

We don’t rely on frozen processed convenience food, bit it would be nice to do some batch cooking and put some away for easy meals later. I have recently found a fantastic recipe for gluten free chickpea cutlets. They are wonderful with potatoes and veg and smothered in gravy. But the recipe makes eight cutlets. I really wanted the space to cook once and freeze the rest and be able to pull out some to defrost and pan fry to reheat on at another time. 

We eat a copious amount of frozen fruit. We put frozen berries and frozen pineapple in our morning green smoothie. The greengrocer sells me overripe bananas at a discount which I peel, cut up and freeze and make the most delicious soft serve ice cream with no weird additives like soy ice cream has. But this takes up lots of freezer space. I like to keep frozen peas, corn and edamame as well and this makes the freezer PACKED. There is not room for frozen cutlets or batch cooked beans or extra portions of soup to be eaten next week. So what to do? OK, let me rephrase--what to do in the teeny tiny kitchen?

Get a teeny tiny freezer of course! We found this “dorm sized” table top freezer for £90 at ARGOS and it has an A+ rating for energy. I used some of tutoring money to pay for it. You can see we have squeezed it in the corner on the other side of the trolley. Sadly, it means I can’t open one of my under sink cabinets any more, but I can still get to one and so I have shifted every thing forward for easy access. My cleaning stuff really is just some bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and vinegar so it doesn’t need much room. Stay tuned for my report on how to make orange scented vinegar coming soon!   

I am loving this little guy already. We now have a fruit/potato waffles freezer and a veg/batch cooked freezer. I kept the potato waffles up top so they are easier to get to. I have already cooked a big batch of white beans and stored away 2 frozen portions--one for later this week and one for next week which will save me over an hour of cooking. Our beloved tempeh which for so long has been out of stock at the Health Food Shop has reappeared in the freezer section. I’ve got a couple on hand for meals in the next month. I like to cook with soy products like tofu of tempeh about once a week and have beans and legumes the rest of the time. But now I have a stock of them. I bought a bag of good looking stir fry veg that can be pulled out at a moments notice and quickly stir fried with a homemade sauce for a fast evening meal.

I think of all the good that I do in the kitchen--all the animals who are safe because we would not put a creature who could feel joy or pain and fear on our plates. I think of the healthy food we eat, made from whole foods which tastes delicious and clean and peaceful. There is no death in my teeny tiny kitchen.  I do it all (and infinitely more) on a teeny tiny budget in my teeny tiny kitchen and we are vibrant and healthy because of it.

Whoever said size matters, they were wrong. Teeny tiny is the way to go.


  1. You are so amazing! Love the little freezer, very convenient!

  2. yes, Danny, she is amazing!

  3. so glad to see a preview of my bag..............and I definitely recognize the blue print one. Thank you very very much.