Managing amid the mayhem

I find it hard to wrap my head around the state of affairs in the world at the moment but there isn’t much I can do apart from separating ourselves as much as possible from potential ‘CV catch’ zones and trying to ignore all the hate speech and negativity being spewed out from so many different arenas to so many different undeserving recipients.  I find I am struggling day to day between being depressed and unmotivated to feeling completely helpless and wondering why we bother at all. Then the next day I’ll be up repairing things and finishing off unfinished parts of the exteno, trying new recipes and bread formulas. I’m not quite sure if I’m joking when I say we can’t leave the kids to try and sell this unfinished project once we succumb to CV!

We did of course have to cancel our Europe trip but that’s ok, I cooked meals that are popular dishes at the places we would have ventured to. Possibly my favourite was this Moroccan almond honey and vanilla layer cake with amlou filling that I made for Mr ATMT’s birthday. Amlou made using walnut oil rather than very expensive organ oil is now a regular addition to dishes here.

Moroccan almond honey cake with amlou.
Sourdough croissants

I’ve been baking (therefore eating) far more than I ever normally do, I’m trying to get my sourdough croissants to a level I’m happy with,  just about there!

Crumb shot of the interior.

Sourdough croissant crumb shot

Sourdough sweet Danish cinnamon buns (Kannelbullar),

Making croissants involves making laminated pastry. To make it a more practical approach I’ve been using the method to make puff pastry, at least pies and things can go into the freezer and be eaten over an extended time rather than being scoffed over a day or two like I would with croissants!  I’m working through The Tivoli Road Bakery Book and find it one of the best I’ve invested in. I don’t buy many books any more when so many resources are available online. These are chicken curry pies from that book.

Sourdough cinnamon doughnuts. Ridiculously delicious, ridiculously large!

I also had a go at making/curing our own bacon. This too will become a standard activity around here. I won’t buy this rub again even though it was terrific. Using this the first time just gave me the confidence to check out the process and now I see how easy it is I’m sure I can whip up a great rub mixture in no time.

Out in the garden.

I almost needed to check the GPS to find my way out into the garden I hadn’t been out there for so long! I had planned on adding some more fruit trees a few years ago and never got around to it so now seemed like the time. A plumcot planted around near the pear tree and a donut (Angel) peach planted where I had to remove a fig that had become too invasive in the veggie patch. This is the plumcot planted before pruning the initial shape to encourage a fan espalier. Pruned and initial training of branches ties on. These will be adjusted regularly to bend them slowly and gently. Stone fruit wood is brittle and not as easy to manipulate as many other trees. I suspect the bottom branch will also come off but I’ll see what happens at bud swell time.

Pear 2013

The pear tree I planted July 2013 is well and truly established now. It was time for a complete makeover as I didn’t get to prune it last year. Just look at the size of the trunk now!

Notice the bamboo and timber stakes that were originally used for training are still there. Never did get around to a more formal framing structure.

Pear prior to pruning and a tidy up 2020

A rather severe pruning  and some straightening of branches. Looks much happier!

And the best reason to stay positive.

This little beautie is another fan of my sourdough. Makes me smile, those eyes………… Now 9 months old, seems impossible.

This smilie little munchkin in between her brothers was born the week we first went into lock down and it was the hardest time of all. Not being able to easily give support to our daughter and help out with the boys was very difficult.  She first smiled within her first week and that’s all she does! Smiles, smiles, smiles. She was about 7 weeks old in this!

Stay safe, stay at home and cherish those closest.

That, at the end of the day is all that matters.

Lending a Hand in Nepal.

We live a life of great fortune.  Beautiful healthy family, well fed, a home that could accommodate several, health benefits, heating, education, good wine……..the list just goes on and on and still, on even further. There is not often we get the opportunity to REALLY help others.  I often do a gratuitous donation here and there and I’m happy I’m in the position to be able to do so, but it’s nice to be able to offer a little more. We’ve both toyed with the idea of doing some volunteering abroad over the years and now Mr ATMT (Geoff) is being joined by our son (David) to go to Nepal in March of 2019 to be part of a team who assist rebuilding homes for the hundreds of thousands who suffered devastation in the earthquakes of 2015.

Dad N Dave

The following pictures convey just a tiny fraction of the impact the earthquake had on Nepal.

World Vision Reported:

“A magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, toppling multi-story buildings in Kathmandu, the capital, and creating landslides and avalanches in the Himalaya Mountains. Nearly 9,000 people died and more than 22,000 suffered injuries. It was the deadliest earthquake in the seismically active region in 81 years.

The quake was followed by hundreds of aftershocks, and only 17 days later, there was another major quake, a magnitude-7.3 temblor. Thirty-nine of the nation’s 75 districts with a population of 8 million people — about a third of the national population — were affected. Hundreds of thousands of people lost everything and faced extreme poverty. More than 600,000 homes were destroyed and more than 288,000 were damaged in the 14 worst-hit districts. The quakes’ strongest impact was in remote rural areas, making the response extremely challenging.

Humanitarian organizations responded quickly to the disaster with search and rescue teams and immediate aid deliveries. Work is still underway to rebuild schools, health clinics, houses, livelihoods, and to help families and communities gain more resilience to environmental shocks”.

Image result for earthquake nepal 2015People are still relying on makeshift accommodation and facilities.Makeshift hospital in unfinished buildingThere is no way known my dodgy hands would be able to cope with offering building prowess for this, so I’m offering support from home by running a sourdough class (or 2 or 3 if numbers are warranted) where the entire takings are going to the fundraising component of this venture. I am putting every single dollar from my November Sourdough Baking Classes into the coffers. I am also offering 10 gift vouchers for classes where 50% of the value will go to the fundraising. This means that the cost of your class or voucher can be claimed as a taxable donation! If you are interested in attending a November class or purchasing a gift voucher send me a message or email me before you commit to ensure you get the taxable receipt.

Aren’t children amazing with their resilience?Children play in tarpaulin tent

People walk among the ruins of buildings in Kathmandu three days after the April 25, 2015, Nepal earthquake. (©2015 World Vision/photo by Theodore Sam)Just a bit of area covered!Image result for earthquake nepal 2015

It is extremely difficult to imagine how people endure such levels of devastation and loss and sadly we just keep on hearing more and more about it happening globally. Is it because of our high level of connectivity we hear about it, or is it really on the increase do you think? Regardless, if we can toss in a bit of support, all the better.

Geoff (Mr ATMT aka Dad) has selected the Habitat for Humanity program as his preferred focus. Heaven knows, there are so many worthy programs and causes it becomes a matter of just picking one and going for it. We fund travel, accomodation and personal expenses but fundraising needs to be done for contributions towards  building materials, technical assistance and ongoing support.

If you would like to offer some financial support to their team feel free to make a donation of any amount by going here to Team Dad N Dave.

Please share and if you know of anyone who may be interested in doing a sourdough class please let me know.

Here’s to a few more people having their very own roof over their heads!

Another year has ticked over.

It keeps happening, turn around, blink, lose focus for a minute and another year has passed. It seems amazing that our baby grandson has now turned one year old and his brother will be turning 3 in January. We are so lucky to not only have these 2 little tackers in our lives, but we are extremely fortunate in that they live close enough for us to get to enjoy them often.

Such a cutie, but starting to demonstrate some extremely strong straits of determination and stubbornness.   Just the thing to get through this maze of life. His mum (my daughter) doesn’t do many cakes these days, a shame as I think she has an amazing talent. This blue whale white chocolate fudge cake managed to turn everybody’s mouths blue as well as look stunning.Both the boys love getting out into the garden, a sure-fire way to soothe a bad mood and redirect anxiety when necessary. A special little basket makes collecting and harvesting a real delight. Then there are questions to be answered, goals to strive for when things catch your eye. Made it!The freesia are huge this year, late-blooming but superb.One of my favourite flowers in the garden are these irises. I absolutely love them and look forward to their short display every season. These are another re-housed lot of bulbs from my sisters place that they lifted before moving. Thanks Margaret.

After an adventure outside it’s back inside to an afternoon tea of sourdough French Toast and a cuppa. On the bread front, these are some baguettes I baked for the 1st birthday party. Colour is a little uneven as I tried to fit too many on the oven shelf. Tasted great though. I’ve never made bagels before, in fact the closest I’ve ever been to a bagel is the ones I’ve seen mentioned on the tele in New York delis and movies. I’m expecting a quite dense and chewy result but we’ll see.I managed to get summer vegetable seeds planted for germination last week, hopefully they will go well and the weather will be a bit consistent for a change. Just have to wait and see I suppose.

Very happy to see the first asparagus for the season appearing. It really must be Spring!

 

Synchronicity and ‘Rusticating’ Wholewheat pastry.

I’ve been finding it hard to get back into things since being away, so I decided to spend the day (even though it was glorious outside) just treating myself to a gentle time of doing things I like in the kitchen. I subscribe to Gillian Bellcake’s & Annabelle Hickson’s podcast Dispatch to a Friend  and find their light-hearted, loving exchanges about their loves, lives, hardships, friendships, experiences, travels, gardens and everything in between (even home-made coffins) comforting and entertaining. I find myself chuckling away, nodding my head in agreement, tut tutting when they talk about neighbours cutting down trees, feeling sympathetic and even reply out loud to their  exchanges.  The ideal company to have chatting in the background while I potter around.

To kick-start the day of being gentle on myself, I picked some beautiful spring flowers and set them on the dresser in the kitchen. I’m so glad there are still daffodils performing upon my return, I thought I might have missed them this season. I also picked some rhubarb and set a goal to make a rhubarb and  fruit galette using freshly milled flour in the pastry. I had picked rhubarb and I knew there was fruit in the fridge that had been sitting there for a couple of months just macerating away in orange juice. Syrupy, sweet, delicious. Ideal  to marry with some rhubarb. So, rhubarb and boozy fruit in a galette was what it was destined to be. I did know that I wanted to have a go at making pastry using freshly milled, organic whole-wheat flour. I recently purchased a Mockmill flour mill and I’m loving getting used to all the different things I can mill with it. The Mockmill is a compact, affordable, stoneground mill that does an astounding job of milling all different grains and spices. Here I’m doing malted wheat flakes to add to a bread dough.

 I had no idea of which may be a good whole-wheat pastry recipe, so out came the Google assistant. Experience has taught me that whole-wheat pastry is going to be less light and delicate than white flour pastry but that’s ok. The nutty flavour and the extra nutritional value whole-wheat offers is a bonus. I’m also looking for the rustic feel with this dish. I want to include more whole-grains and organic food into my diet whenever possible. This is where it gets a bit spooky! The first Google hit returned a site called ‘Local Is Lovely‘ and it took me straight to a post about Gillian Bellcake’s Rhubarb & Crab Apple Tart, it’s not a whole-wheat pastry and nothing like what I was looking for, but how could I not give it a go seeing as I was listening to Gillian chatting in the background. Sceptics would say this is the cyber tracking spies at work, but I think it’s magic!

I made the pastry as per the recipe but used 350g organic white flour and 150g freshly milled whole-wheat flour. I also added an extra egg yolk (I only had small eggs) and a splash of water to assist the dough coming together. The pastry has rosemary in it, so off to the bushes that are currently covered in fresh, soft growth and delicate little blue flowers that act as bee bait, to gather a handful of flavour. Blitzed the flour, butter, rosemary, egg yolks and a splash of water until it just came together then turned it out and worked it on my bench to form a dough. Wrapped in a bee’s wax wrap and popped into the fridge for half an hour.

I have been anti ‘cling wrap’ for a very long time. Cling wrap is one of those particularly insidious single use plastics and there has been a huge amount of evidence as to the nasties it can impart back into your food that I just don’t touch it. Can you imagine how many times the world could be wrapped in cling wrap just by what kids take to school on their lunches that don’t even get eaten, but just thrown out.  I usually put pastry in a container for its resting time but lately I’ve been using bees-wax wraps and I love them.  After resting dough for about half an hour I took the pastry out, rolled it and plonked the fruit and chopped rhubarb into the centre. I kept the surplus trimmings and popped them into a container in the freezer to use on  another day. A quick turning the dough edges to the centre, a bit of what I refer to as ‘rusticating’, a couple of patches and the galette was ready to bake.I baked this in my little Wood fired Nectre Bakers Oven that we installed as part of our kitchen exteno, what a great little unit this is. We don’t have any hydronic heating at the moment, so the Nectre has been put through its paces this week keeping the back part of the house warm.Seems to have turned out well, I tasted a couple of crumbles from the pastry and it is delicious. This is for dessert tomorrow night when the kids come, so I’ll let you know how it goes. Definitely will be adding some extra thick dollops of cream to it when serving, I may even whip up some of the condensed milk ice-cream I heard the girls talking about. That brought back memories from my childhood, condensed milk ice-cream, made (without an ice cream churn Annabelle) and set into aluminium ice-block moulds in the fridge. Better get out the Google assistant again to find a recipe for that. Who nows where I’ll end up! I may even make some rhubarb syrup to pour the fruit in the centre too.

Pop across to the Local Is Lovely site to get the real recipe which is for

GILLIAN’S RHUBARB AND CRAB APPLE TART WITH A ROSEMARY CRUST

and see the beautiful ‘unrusticated’ creation that was made by Gillian. Poles apart from what I’ve done with my creation, but that’s the joy of baking, make it work to suit you!

To subscribe to Dispatch to a Friend podcasts, go to this link or iTunes.

New Introduction to Sourdough Baking Class Scheduled.

Due to demand, I have added an extra class to the Introduction to Sourdough Baking schedule. Sunday 16th September, 10.00-3.30ish. Go to Simply Sourdough tab or to my Facebook Simply Sourdough Events Page for event details. Tickets can be purchased online from Sticky Tickets, price of $154.50 includes booking fee.

Gift vouchers available, contact me direct for details.

In My Kitchen

I’ve added couple of new tools to the kit this month. I would say I’m generally not a gadget fan, but I found my citrus zester was hurting my hands when I held it, so shouted myself to a new one, same brand but with a different shaped grip and grating head. I bought this online from Peters of Kensington and arranged a ‘Pick Up In Store’ as we went to Sydney the following week.  This little item is a bit more fanciful! A cup for making lacy rice paper wraps. When we were in Vietnam many dishes were served in beautiful looking lacy wraps and I haven’t been able to find any here. I tried making them using an old squeeze sauce bottle but it didn’t work.I used this to make wrappers for the Dadar Gulung (Indonesian Pancakes) that are made   by making a rice flour batter and adding green pandan colouring. They are filled with a delicious filling made from coconut, brown sugar and sweet milk. Very delicious even though the colour is something you should only use for St Patrick’s Day cooking. These aren’t mine, I forgot to take a photo but this is pretty close to what they did look like. The batter cup obviously takes a bit of time to master.

https://www.tokopedia.com/sahidahfood/dadar-gulung-hijau-isi-kelapa

In my kitchen was the BEST pork crackle I’ve ever made. I did pulled pork in the slow cooker so removed the skin, scored it and let it sit uncovered in the fridge overnight before rubbing with salt and olive oil than baked in the oven. I then crunched it into smaller pieces and scattered over the pulled pork.

I made soup using my frozen chicken feet stock, red lentils, carrot, onion and served with greek yoghurt. Love the autumn colours! I was fortunate to be gifted some kefir grains by a member of my Facebook Sourdough group.  I’ve started exploring further afield with fermented foods and still have a lot to learn, but we are loving using kefir in many dishes. This is Bothe the water kefir and the milk kefir grains doing their thing.

I have also been making a lot of Labneh which is yoghurt cheese. So easy to make and these are just little balls of Labneh that I have marinating in oil, chilli, garlic and peppercorns. They are great as a spread on bread or crackers or just served  on a platter of other nibbles. My apprentice has been helping too, here are the results of him helping with pancakes made using kefir water. Hard to smile when your mouth is stuffed full! We have been a bit slack with our weekend special breakfasts but this made up for it. Mushrooms cooked with chilli and garlic, poached egg on sourdough and a little chick pea dip on the side. Fresh OJ from oranges picked from our tree,  eaten in front of the fire. One of the loaves I offered in my weekly bread orders was a caramelised onion loaf. I had 7kg worth of onion tops and skins, so turned them into onion stock. Very easy, chuck the lot into a pot, cover with water and cook away until you get this beautiful rich liquid. The scraps then went into the compost, no waste at all!

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Probably the nicest thing In My Kitchen this month is this apple danish. I attended the most wonderful day learning about making croissant and danish at The Artisan Crust in Cockatoo and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Every part of the day was sensational! Scott is a highly trained professional that clearly loves what he does and is happy to share his skills openly.
So that’s what’s been In My Kitchen the last month. Thanks to Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings blog who gives us the chance to share all the kitchen loveliness. Head over there to see what others have been up to. Wish Sherry a very happy birthday too while you are there.

The Winter Wander

It’s feels like ages since I entered the veggie patch and did some serious input out there. Planting has  been very light as I filled 3 beds with green manure crops so I could dig them in and add nutrients back into the soil. Here the tops have been chopped back,

Then they were dug into the soil. I’ll repeat digging them in in about a week or two.The only things I really have planted are snow peas, leeks and I discovered some fairly decent broccoli in among the green manure so that’s now clear. I can categorically report that CD’s do not deter birds from devouring lettuce plants.  All the literature states that you should time planting your peas so that you avoid frosts that will damage the flowers, therefore setting. This little tacker must have just made the safe zone, we’ve had a couple of ripper frosts.This little section is where all the spent veggie crops like tomatoes, corn stalks and any other ‘past it’ plants are tossed. I topped them today with all of the leaves that had been raked up between all the veggie beds and in the berry house. This will just sit now until spring and be used as the spillover planting bed. The rhubarb and Warrigal Greens are really shining and after a bit of a tidy up things feel much more in control, damp and dreary, but in control.This pic of when the back yard was just getting set up, 5 years ago. The following 2 pics are where it’s at now.

There are a couple of really pretty things performing in the garden at the moment. This little flowering gum is called Purple Patch, it is a smallish tree with a weeping habit. The tiny purple flowers appear in winter but I prefer the buds.

The Eucalyptus caesia or Silver Princess, would have to be one of my favourite plants. Every single part of this tree is special. The form, the bark, the buds, the flowers, the colour, the nuts, the fact the birds love it and the  way it gently waves in the breeze. 

Silver princess bark
Silver princess flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The planting in the courtyard is taking shape well, I can’t believe how quickly the olives are growing. The mandarin tree is ready to be separated from its bounty one by one as the little fella just loves them.

It doesn’t appear that the second grandchild is going to be any different with his love of food, any food. The significant difference is that this one is not a neat and clean eater like his brother. He stuffs anything and everything in with gusto and gurgles with delight as its being eaten. He thoroughly enjoys spreading it far and wide and making it last, going back picking up his scattered bits. Pleasure to see!

It is a matter of getting the pressure washer out regularly, placing drop sheets where he is eating and having the brush and dustpan close by, but that’s OK.

Brain surfing in the night, without a bed jacket.

I woke yet again in the wee hours of the morning unable to sleep and thought I’d read my book for a while.  No, too cold to pop out from under the covers and I’d get cold. Brain clicks mmmm, what ever happened to the Bed Jacket?

Designed to be ‘nice’ to wear while in the hospital or while having taken to your bed when ill, these little gems would have to have been some of the ugliest items ever introduced. I decided that they would take forever to get on, do up and probably wouldn’t do much to add warmth either. Thank goodness these are no longer around!

I would love to have added some pics here but just couldn’t find anything.

Off on its next wave, back to my first part-time job at Allen’s drapery store in High St Preston. I hated the idea of going there, but mum had stitched up a holiday job and I had no choice. I swear back then I thought the ladies on staff were probably about a 100, but now I would bet that was certainly not the case. Allens was one of those beautiful old stores with ladies wear down one side, menswear down the other, haberdashery and all the embroidery cottons in the back corner, mixed items down the middle and I clearly remember shower curtains on rings down the back near the lay by office where money was loaded into bullets that flew around the roof to each department. Anyway, back to bed jackets, I clearly remember on my first day working, an elderly gentleman went to a lot of trouble selecting just the right bed jacket for his wife who was in hospital. He was back for a refund the next day as she had passed away that night……..have never quite worked out why he was back the next day but people are funny little creatures.

I remember all the block and tackle type underwear, slips and nighties both practical and fashionable that was sold at Allens, all in cardboard boxes wrapped inside with tissue wrap  and stacked carefully on the shelves behind the counter and the Mrs Slocombe twin could almost blindfolded, put her fingers on the box that was the correct size for ‘Madam’.

I’ve searched and searched for some pictures that resemble a shop similar to Allens, but couldn’t really find much. I do know that the creators of ‘Are you being served‘ nailed it completely though as far as stuffiness.

I found this link which has some wonderful pics of the undergarments, lingerie and nightwear of decades gone by. I still like my flannelette jarmies though!

So the brain goes from bed jackets to Mr Jones’s fruit truck. This is probably where my passion for fresh fruit & veg started. Mr Jones had a big old red removal truck that resembled this. The overhang was loaded with full bags of spuds, there was a weigh and wrap station on the side wall and everywhere else was stacked with boxes goodies. I can still smell the dirt and hessian bags of those potatoes.

It was loaded with all of the freshest things he had secured at the Vic market and he then did a selling run going up and down the streets of Preston, stopping at the top, middle and bottom of each street and people would come and buy whatever they needed. They could leave a basket out with a note and he would fill the basket. He stopped at our place for tea on Thursday night and it was my job to ‘mind the truck’ while he ate his dinner. I still know that there are about 3 bananas in a pound, how to cut newspapers (that were used for wrapping) with a knife like a machete, and how to stuff my face with as many strawberries and passionfruit as possible in a short amount of time. I think we need some more of Mr Jones trucks now!

My brain then went onto a few more connections but slowly I went back to the land of nod. Probably thinking I should order something like this little number. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

The Mixing Bowl, pizza and seed saving all wrapped up.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a demo for making French afternoon tea scrumptiousnesses (I know that’s not a word) with the lovely Anne at The Mixing Bowl Hallam. I deliberately went to the class as it was the last session Anne was running before the imminent closure of this business, which I have been dealing with for nigh on 27 years. The first class I went to with Anne, was when they first changed their business to ‘The Mixing Bowl’ and she ran a class making Hot Cross Buns at the old Buln Buln Shire Offices. Been lots of Hot Cross Buns under the bridge since then and all of them delicious!

A business doesn’t stick around for this long by chance, Anne and Geoff have always offered premium goods at extremely reasonable prices, have a great range of flours, every baking gadget, tin, and accessory you could imagine and have given out more information than you’d find in an Encyclopaedia Britannica when it comes to baking. On top of that, they have always been on top of the ladder with customer service, although my kids will never forgiven them for not stocking the same mint leaves we used to always stop and buy on the way to Melbourne, they still whinge about losing those! I will be extremely sad to see this wonderful business go and where on earth can I recommend to my students to go to for bread making supplies?

I wish Anne & Geoff a very happy retirement, they deserve to put their feet up and enjoy their family, have holidays and be free of flour dust. All the best Anne & Geoff, its been a delight.

Anyway, this tart is the result of the demo Anne did, an apple, Frangipane tart which was absolutely delicious.

I made it as a little treat to myself for mother’s day, and of course you must have double cream on the side. It was lovely having all the gang (apart from one son-in law who was saving us all from the bad guys in the world), to lunch. We set up a pizza making station outside my little bakehouse and then baked them in my Rofco microbakery oven. The pizza dough was not sourdough as I find yeasted better for pizza, but I am working on perfecting a good sourdough one!

When we planned the microbakery we had envisioned the space would double as a kitchen for using when entertaining outside too. This was put to the test today and it worked really well. Pic on the left is looking out onto the courtyard and the one on right is peeking in to the Rofco as the pizzas bake.

 The pizzas baked up beautifully, they went in on trays for first few minutes than were placed directly onto the oven sole for finishing off. Delicious. Where were the olives Em?

I can see that painting and cleaning up the outside of the microbakery is now on my short list of jobs!

   My daughter in law gave me some bees wax wraps as my Kris Kringle gift for Christmas and I love them. I have been using them for all sorts of things since Christmas and they have proved to be extremely versatile. Little Bumble Wraps is a local business and also run workshops on making wraps so support local and check them out. They also offer on-line shopping. I used them yesterday for wrapping croissant dough in between folds and also for the tart pastry while chilling.

The little tacker and I spent a few quiet moments saving bean seed from this years crop to have for planting next year. I treasure these moments dearly.

Exteno Update-In My Kitchen

It has been an amazing journey, sharing the transformation from having no kitchen, progressing through to a lovely kitchen, through to having 2 kitchens (my bakehouse), works in progress on the exteno (never-ending)  since my first In My Kitchen post  a few years ago, (read it and weep or laugh)! I don’t get a lot  of time to do regular posts now, you know, I’m retired “too busy watching day time TV and napping”!  This month for IMK I thought I’d bring you up to speed, don’t expect display home glitz, that’s not our style.  Thanks to Sherry over at Sherry’s pickings for linking all us IMK’rs up.

So IMK news.

Well the kitchen is not finished! Surprise surprise! This is my version of the ideal  display home, flour tubs out, wine bottle open, 5kg of corn for milling in bag on bench, oh and Celia, the 2018 jar of peanut butter I bought today. We can have a race!

Not a lot to do, tiling behind the beautiful Falcon oven, fixing the range hood to the wall, a couple of timber display benches and not much else. Lighting bright as its nighttime, not so harsh with subtlety added.

The ‘family room’ end of the kitchen, or the dining area,  is finally getting the lick of paint on the doors and windows, and floor and take and probably light fittings!

The first thing I set for myself as a goal to do when I retired (my term is “re-directed”), would be to paint the windows and doors that were part of the exteno (its off the kitchen). How long has it been? 18 months, that’s not too bad is it? I finally painted the windows in the back ‘vestibule’ (I don’t like saying back passage!). The door at the front of pic is one from the original house that is still on the to-do list. I’m having trouble rating with the gold……

There s a tub of end of season tomatoes in my storeroom. Did you know if you pick them green and put them in a dark place they will slowly ripen over several weeks?

Because I am a wannabe croissant perfection tragic, I just had to buy this locally, hand turned Blackwood French rolling-pin to ensure I mastered the lamination technique. Didn’t help, but it will next time! I have to say that I have been having a lot of fun playing with different grains, rye, corn, barley and wheat. I can really see a new grain mill being added soon. These are a couple of rye loaves made entirely from rye, water and a smidge of salt. Took about 10-11 days to make. The leaven starter was made from fermenting rye grain, then using the fermented water to make the the starter, which was built up by regular feedings and then the dough was made. Amazingly tasty, overtones of all things chocolate, but I got beer…..

 I have started a test bake which has fermented polenta, freshly milled corn flour and whole wheat in it. I have been so inspired by a lovely baker in the USA, she just blows my mind with her combos, her down to earth approach and willingness to share. Nicole used to run the Blackbird  Bakehouse until recently but is now visible through Instagram as @nmuvu She is so very creative, generous and quirky . I am constantly inspired by her creations that take me out of my comfort zone. This is my freshly milled cornflour that hopefully I will be able to present as a stunning looking, golden loaf in 24 or so hours. There is also polenta fermenting  away which will be added to the dough as well.

 And for the money shot! This is our little almost 8 month old grandson. Loves his tucker just like his big brother. We never take for granted how fortunate we are to have these little tackers in our lives, more precious than gold!