Sourdough Starter Pancakes

I’ve been reading a lot about how to use sourdough starter that is discarded when you feed your starter and today seemed like a good time to test making sourdough pancakes. Gee I wish I’d tried this sooner, they are beautiful. Extremely light and fluffy and didn’t leave us with that bloated feeling. I was a little surprised with this as I still used self-raising flour but the starter just seemed to give them so much more air they were as light as a feather!

Maree's Sourdough Starter Pancakes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup SR flour
  • 1 (ish) Cup Active Sourdough Starter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Milk
  • Butter for adding to pan before cooking

Put first 4 ingredients into a mixing bowl then while stirring, add enough milk to make a batter the consistency of something like tomato sauce. If you want a more crepe like end result add more milk and vice versa if you want thick pancakes.

Let stand for a few minutes while you heat up a frying pan to nice and hot but not smoking. Electric pan on about 7-8.

Gently stir then put a dollop of butter in the pan, spread as it melts and pour in batter making the pancakes whatever diameter suits you. Cook until golden brown on bottom and top is well covered with bubbles. Turn being gentle to ensure you don’t knock out all the bubbles. Cook for a couple of minutes and serve with whatever topping you choose.

Sourdough pancakes

 

A very Annabel Christmas Eve!

We were heading around to spend Christmas Eve with friends and I was happy to take some nibblies to share. Most of the food was based on Annabel Langbein’s forever reliable recipes and I added a couple of my own bits and bobs.

The easiest and most tasty pakora you can ever make. I have made these many times now and they never fail to please. Served with minty yoghurt dipping sauce, lovely.

Pakoras

I also made some parmesan and basil dimples from Annabel’s Free Range Cook Book (P20). This was the first time I’ve made one of her bread doughs and this was a beauty! I let it prove overnight and most of the day in the fridge, shaped it into ‘dimples’ and fried. These are basically a savoury donut made with a potato dough. I thought the flavour needed cranking up a bit so I cooked up some pork, fennel and chilli sausages (removed the skins) and scattered the spicy meat over the dimples once cooked. This added a nice extra kick of flavour to the dimples.

Parmesan basil Dimples

I put together a platter consisting of Annabel’s Sunshine Carrot dip (P43 of the Simple Pleasures book), pepper boats but without the anchovy due to the high number of people who either don’t like them or have allergy issues.  I topped the boats with a few goat cheese crumbles. A dip made using freshly picked young beetroot, which I slowly roasted, then mixed with greek yogurt, feta cheese and my middle eastern spice mix to flavour. This was really nice, I should try to remember exactly how I did it and make a note! I made crisps using my sourdough bread and added some freshly picked blanched butter beans, snow peas,  some feta cubes, olives and carrot sticks. Bit of salami and it looked great and tasted wonderful, but that beetroot dip is REALLY pink!

Nibbles platter

The last dish I took was some slow roasted tomatoes that I put on top of some toasted sourdough which I had spread a mixture of ricotta, basil and lemon juice on. A small piece of freshly picked greenery in place and topped with one of the tomatoes made a very christmassy display. The roasting juices were drizzled over the stack and the flavour of that was sensational.

Finger food

A very relaxed Christmas Day spent at our daughters place. All the immediate family and their partners were there. Good food, lots of smiles. What more can you wish for?

Well, it’s nearly Christmas.

I never feel as though it’s Christmas until the kitchen is covered in chaos with mess everywhere and yummy things slowly taking shape. Today I hit that moment! I started off with the making of mango ice-cream followed by making the stuffing for the turkey. I then made the gravy for Christmas lunch ready to reheat on the day. The annual construction of my gingerbread house was next on the list. Because no one really eats it and it is purely the fun of “smashing” it that counts, I wasn’t that fussed when I didn’t have any golden syrup, just treacle. Just means it’s a bit darker than usual. It takes ages doing this sort of baking in my ‘toy’ oven.  I sincerely hope this is the last year I have to contend with this limited kitchen space.

I start by making individual pieces, 2 X roofs, 2 X side and end walls and a door.

IMG_6741

 

Using royal icing and a small palette knife I ‘build’ the house by sticking the pieces in the following order. One side wall, then the front or back wall piece, the other side wall then the other end piece. Then, very carefully the roof. Experience has taught me to have a couple of supports ready to stop the roof from sliding off until the icing goes hard.

IMG_6743

IMG_6748

 

 

 

 

 

I then use the icing to make hanging icicles around the roof edges.

IMG_6750

IMG_6751

 

 

 

 

Lollies are then stuck with icing around the roof and house and the board is decorated with an assortment of treasured Christmas decorations. I’ve been making this now since 1983 and it really does feel like Christmas when I see it in its place and the smell of gingerbread wafts through the house.

IMG_6762

Merry Christmas everyone. Have safe and happy festive season.

I’m still in love with a pig!

Earlier this year I posted about how impressed we were with a little cracker of a cooking, come heating, camping accessory that we bought at Farmworld. This little beauty is an Ozpig! I forgot to post about how this unit performed on our Tassie trip which I was reminded of  when I started planning our next camping trip. So belatedly……………OzpigI’d bet a hundred to one the original design for this unit came from someone oxy-cutting through an old gas bottle, welding some essentials in place to create their own special camp cooker. If not, I love the concept of that story. A good camping tale if nothing else. Campers are like fishermen, always out doing each other with ways to get the best result. This Ozpig is one ripper of a result. I just wish we could have used it while camping at Lake St Claire when overnight temps went down to -3!

Once again we were not disappointed with the performance of our Ozpig and look forward to giving it a workout whenever we fire it up. Or, just to sit and be warm and watch the fire flicker away is a delight in itself.

We took part in a sausage making class at Tarraleah while in Tas and we came away with a bulk supply of bangers (sausages). For a couple of days we had bangers at breakfast (photo above) and bangers for tea. I even made a pasta sauce using the pork sausage as the meat base, added some veg and tomato passata, red wine and cooked slowly. Beautiful!

IMG_5900IMG_5902

IMG_5903

I had a crack at making a cake/slice using muesli, flour, sugar,  egg cinnamon, apple and milk. Married our other favourite accessory the Cobb oven to the pig to create an oven big enough to fit the spring-form tin in place. It actually tasted quite nice but I would have loved to have some custard to go with it. It was fine as a little snack in the picnic basket the next day. I had sprinkled the top with cinnamon and sugar while it was still hot. Photo below shows the Cobb frying pan with spring-form tin in place and the Cobb lid about to cover.

IMG_5936 IMG_5937 End product. Quite tasty really, hard to see with the flash.

IMG_5958

 

We love our pig and look forward to using it whenever the opportunity arises.

Weekend wrap.

Christmas thoughts.

I’m pleased to say that even though Christmas is about to hit us, all is calm, peaceful and smooth sailing  down here. I consider one of the best decisions we have ever made was to avoid the hype and marketing that goes with Christmas. We focus on friends, food and fun. I must admit that I am not a religious person and for a long time I struggled as to why we even have to acknowledge Christmas when we are non believers. I found it just too hard trying to explain to many of our ‘just because you should’ extended family, so I came up with my own justification that I use the Christmas period to celebrate family and friends and to reminisce. I am also a big fat sucker for pretty lights and I like nothing better than sitting on the floor staring into those sparkly delights. IMG_6682We decorated a tree this week and it was quite emotional. No kids live at home any more and they have pretty much cleared out all the tree ornaments with them. That’s OK, my plan was that they get a new decoration each year, then when they left home they would have enough to do their own tree. We are left with lots of broken balls, baubles without hanging hooks and tinsel that has lost most of it’s sparkle. We do however, have some beautiful memories, cards the kids made from kinder and early school years.20141214_194754books that were lovingly read in the lead up to Christmas and ornaments made with love from family and friends. Little knotted christmas bells that my sister gave me when our daughter was born 15th dec 1986, they went on her hospital crib and jingled around the ward for a few days. A decoupage egg ornament my niece brought back from America, a lead light decoration made by a family friend who has had long-standing mental health issues and I have no idea where  or how she is now. Especially nice are the few ornaments we bought way back when we were as poor as church mice and the only thing we could afford when we went to buy some decorations were pencil sharpeners. Important not forget how far we have come and the obstacles we have tackled to get where we are now.

20141214_194841 20141214_194911

We went down to Monbulk yesterday morning to have a lovely catch up with friends and also managed to visit the Monbulk Market. Small market, but big on quality from what I could see. Our favourite organic vegetable growers Thorpdale Organics were there so I was able to thank Wendy and Tony for their ever consistent quality produce and outstanding service and wish them a happy festive season. I also got to sample some preserves from Grandmas Delights. Quite nice they were too!

We continued on to the Dandenong Market and returned with some pork ready for the next sausage making adventure, some turkish bread and mangoes. Summer is here for me when I start gorging on mangoes and this began in earnest today!

Outside wrap.

We (well, mostly Mr ATMT) finished fitting out the last wicking bed with its four poster poles. I can now train the tomatoes up the climbing twine and will be ready to fit shade cloth in preparation for the summer swelt that is bound to hit.

IMG_6695The plot where corn was  planted but had been decimated has had the chooks in there a few times this week to cleanse and I decided to put some diatomaceous earth in the drills with the new seed. DE is an organic product used for organic pest control management in livestock, poultry and agriculture. DE is a really interesting product and it would take far too long to cover its reputed benefits in this post so I recommend you do some research.IMG_6685Starting to get some decent harvests now. First tomatoes and capsicum were picked tonight, I also picked some very young butter beans. These went into a pasta dish along with some of the last of the broccoli, some snow peas, nasturtiums, asparagus and herbs.IMG_6703I made a pasta sauce out of sour cream, lemon juice, sage, S&P and some delectable pumpkin seed oil. This is an interesting oil that has the most amazing dark green colour and it adds a nutty overtone to the dish.IMG_6706 IMG_6708

Quite delicious really!IMG_6718Please take the time to enjoy your family and friends rather than get carried away with commercial activities this Christmas!

 

 

 

Corny dilemma!

I planted corn seed a week or so ago and it was all starting to shoot nicely but I came out yesterday and noticed 95% of the new shoots had been cut, sliced, chopped off at ground level. Lucky it’s still reasonably early in the season so I don’t mind replanting but I decided the bed needed some attention to eradicate the pests that may have been responsible for the carnage. Best guess of the responsible pests is either cutworms, earwigs or cockchafers. I set the chooks to work on the bed to cleanse it and will give them carte blanche every night this week to forage and hopefully prepare for fresh planting this weekend.

IMG_6673They had a ball in the bed and I do think the most likely culprits have been cutworms. Fingers crossed the new seeds planted will not face a similar demise!

Fridge proofed sourdough.

Tonight I baked a sourdough loaf that had been slowly proving in the fridge for the last 24 hrs.

I’ve been experimenting on tensioning the dough to get a better loaf shape and it seems to be working well. Little steps towards a good result.

IMG_6675 IMG_6676

 

Always on a journey, never know the destination!

 

In My Kitchen December.

Yet again I cannot believe how quickly this has come around. Thanks Celia, for hosting this forum, you inspire so many of us with your “down to earth” approach and sincerity!

So what’s in my kitchen this month?

I just had a crack at making some Elderflower Cordial. I have no idea what this should look like, taste like, or how to use it. I planted an Elderflower plant last year with the intention of making some Elderflower Champagne I’d seen on the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall River Cottage Program.

IMG_6557 IMG_6559The plant has grown exceptionally well, and it is really pretty but when I was Googling for some recipe ideas it was mentioned that it is supposed to have a fragrance. None that I could whiff! Pressing on, I made a cordial based on a recipe from the prestigious Lake House at Daylesford. Result is it is just VERY  lemony in taste, with not much else. Quite a substantial amount of citric acid which would add to that.Nice as a lemon cordial but should there be more to taste?IMG_6597 Also in my kitchen is a packet of supposedly true Wasabi powder. We have been buying Wasabi coated peanuts from our local supermarket but they are not going to stock them for much longer, so I’m hoping to re-create them. Any tips?Wasabi PowderJust outside my kitchen is the garlic I harvested tonight from the asparagus bed.  I love giving garlic as part of christmas gifts and this years crop is great! This is about a third of the crop.IMG_6610 Got some huge bulbs, this one is sitting in a one litre milk carton to show size.IMG_6630 Still stopping to smell the roses occasionally.IMG_6657 This is a sourdough cake starter. When I was at the hairdressers she packed me off with a bowl of her “Herman the German” friendship cake mix. I had never heard of it but because I like playing around with bubbles I took on the challenge. We also had a piece that she had made in between the colour and the cut and it tasted quite good. Almost puddingy. I am having trouble finding time to get to making it though, so I just keep feeding it along with my bread starter.IMG_6662With the giving season upon us I’ve got some onions that I will pickle to go into gift hampers. I love pickled onions and I’m quite fussy about their “crunch” value. This  recipe, Grandma’s Pickled Onions  has proven to be a trusted one to achieve a good crunch. You can spice it up or down to suit your own preferences.IMG_6590I am calling out to any IMK participants who may live in Delhi or who are going to Delhi to assist in my attempt to source our favourite tea.

When we visited India last year we came away with a kilo of the most beautiful black tea purchased from a spice store in Delhi. I have attempted to source some locally but no joy. I’ve also tried to purchase online but no joy there either. We’ve been to specialist tea stores but they haven’t been able to match it. If anyone just happens to be going to Delhi or lives in Delhi and may be able to source some Black tea from Mr Anshu Kumar, I would love to communicate to see if we can arrange a mutually agreeable arrangement to.IMG_6093

Wishing everyone a happy and safe festive season, I look forward to seeing what 2015 brings. I may even get a kitchen!