Weekly wrap-Getting my pretty on and No Weddings here!

This week I thought I’d venture out of my comfort zone and try going pretty. Ann Gabur over at The Bread Journey  does the most amazing, detailed, well proportioned and meticulous scoring on her loaves that I thought I’d have a go. I’ll probably have another couple of attempts but it just isn’t my style. I much prefer the rustic, bold look of big oven springs, bursting out through minimal scoring. I do however appreciate her talent and can see a place for it in certain loaves and that it would suit many people. This pic was was my first attempt. For someone who gets bored going up and down in straight lines when mowing lawns and tries to write my name with the mower in the grass, I was pretty impressed I managed this much continuity.

 The loaf I tried this on was a very quickly thrown together loaf using the 1,2,3 method. This is – 1 part starter, 2 parts water and 3 parts flour, add a pinch of salt and in this case some chopped rosemary, mix, let sit for a couple of hours, toss into the fridge overnight, shape, throw into a banneton and bake. I wanted to test out how using a good old Aussie Bedourie Oven worked. These are basically a camp oven but made of spun steel and they not as heavy as the cast ones. The lid can also be used as a pan and the quality is beautiful. This is a 12″ one so you could fit either a round or an oval loaf in it. The big bonus is that the Dr Livingstone ones are Australian Made by Southern Metal Spinners and can be bought online either direct, or at really good prices from many camping/RV stores. I believe we need to support the little bit of local manufacturing we have left while we can. May not be as pretty as some ‘you beaut’ DO’s, but it certainly did the job well.

This lovely little loaf didn’t take long to be devoured by a couple of seagulls!I’ve been referring to Emilie Raffa’s wonderful Book ‘Artisan Sourdough Made Simple’ for inspiration with flavours and haven’t been disappointed. This dough is based on her olive, parmesan, thyme and lemon zest loaf, but I changed the flour, the hydration, salt and fermenting times to suit me. Handy tip on how to grate a 2kg bloke of parmesan into small bits when your hands don’t work- use your meat grinder. Works a treat! I would however next time leave the parmesan much chunkier, it does melt into the loaf.

I would also recommend leaving the loaf until the next day to eat. It was delicious freshly baked, but superb when left to mature over a day or 2. I had another wonderful Simply Sourdough Introduction to Sourdough Workshop today. Gee they are tiring, but I really enjoy getting together with like-minded people, having a few giggles and exchanging knowledge. Everyone keeps asking about the chick pea dip I make so I’ve recorded it. Into a food processor throw a can of rinsed chick peas, juice of 1 lemon (may need a bit more), couple of garlic cloves, bit of chilli if you like it, a huge hunk of parsley, a pinch of salt and in this case I had an end bit of parmesan from the olive bread so that went in too. Blitz the lot and drizzle olive oil in as its going until you get a nice smooth texture. Serve in a bowl with olive oil drizzled over. Nice on bread, toast, crackers etc. That’s it at rear right of the platter we had in class today. Other sourdough bits from L to R are baguette, roast capsicum focaccia, pizza with tomato & pepper paste (sulca biber), labneh marinated in oil, garlic, chill, pizza cheese and green capsicum. Then there is some of the olive/parmesan bread and my wonderful parmesan and rosemary sourdough crackers.

Nice to just be able to pick through the session. The kitchen space is working really well for classes, didn’t look like this at the end of the day though! Everyone is smiling except for the mad woman holding a mini baguette looking like she’s going to turn maniacal with it! She is smiling on the inside, trust me. Great group, great day! One place in this class was donated to One Planet Classrooms to use as a prize at their major fundraising event. I was thrilled to be able to offer this tiny bit of support to the cause.Finally, I have deliberately not watched, seen nor heard much about ‘The Wedding’,  but a friend of mine loves stirring so sent me a load of pics. The only thing I took notice of was that in this one I thought the poor boys shoelaces were undone. On closer inspection I realised it is probably a shadow from the end pin of his cello.  What do you think? I much prefer thinking it was his shoelaces undone theory. Am I evil?

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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.

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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!

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Mystery solved!

I posted about the extremely ugly pumpkin that appeared in my veggie patch forgetting that I had planted seed for a Japanese pumpkin. While going through my box of seeds I found this.

The penny dropped and I remembered I must have planted some of this seed. A quick google search led me to this site about Japanese food culture which quite clearly explains my monster to a tee. I’m glad I discovered this and will now have to check out how it tastes. Sounds interesting.

What discoveries have you made with interesting or strange food growing?

 

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Groundhog day dinners.

I used that title based on the movie of the same name making the assumption that Groundhog Day meant just repeating the same thing day in, day out. Apparently it stems from some poor little critter sticking his nose out of its burrow everyday to do a quick weather forecast as to whether winter is over or not. Well for this little critter, winter is obviously getting closer as the summer season in the garden is over. It’s been a mixed season, great tomatoes and capsicums/chillies but that’s about the best we’ve done. No pumpkins, well one and that’s quite scary. No corn, limited beans, limited zucchini (that’s not a bad thing), cucumbers have been ok and I didn’t have much else in. Time for some serious work to boost our gardens nutrition I think. Anyway it means at about 5.00 I think maybe a quick pasta dish would do and it has been ‘doing’ far too often!

Dont get me wrong, I love pasta but because these throw together meals have been done without much thought I was sick of picking out tomato skins and not really having any depth of flavour. Tonight will be different! I chopped up zucchini, onion, 4 different capsicum varieties and some chill and did a very quick fry off in garlic oil. I then chopped up the tomatoes and cooked ever so slowly for about 45 minutes with lots of garlic oil, garlic, some sulca biber (pepper paste), chilli and S&P. I then actually pressed it all through a sieve to remove the skins etc.

A toss of the veggies through the pasta with chopped basil and oregano, drizzled with some more garlic oil, can’t go wrong. this was much better that the ‘quickie’ I was getting so sick of. I find I’m adding pepper paste to many dishes now just to add a bit of zing!

 Now, as for our one and only pumpkin!

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In My Kitchen-At Home & Camping

I’ve been doing all sorts of things over the last month. We had a couple of weeks camping at Depot Beach on the South Eastern NSW coast and when the rain persisted just a bit too much to maintain comfort, we headed inland to explore our Nation’s Capital, Canberra for a couple of days. We’ve had Easter and mixed in to all of that an obvious change of seasons leading to some very necessary jobs in the vegetable garden (I’ll be doing a separate post about those after this). A big thank you to Sherry from over at Sherry’s Pickings for linking bloggers who are happy to share what’s going on in their kitchens each month. So first up I’ll let you have a peek at our holiday/camping kitchen, some of which is what we ate along the way.

We both love pies, it’s always a necessity to check out bakeries at towns as we pass through to see the calibre of their pies. This heritage bakery in Milton was great to see for the historic building but that’s about where it stopped. One interesting thing was that this is totally cashless. I don’t have a problem at all with this concept but gee it slows down the service lever when the staff spend so much time explaining to the many customers who did seem to challenge their reasons. It also added to confusion when the EFTPOS  system wasn’t working. As I said, nice building!

At the opposite end of the spectrum we bought a pie at Poppy’s on Wallace at Braidwood. These would have to be the best pies we’ve ever bought. Mr ATMT said he never wanted to eat another pie again unless it was as good as this one.  Sorry, the pic was purely a grab as we ate walking down the street.

Back at camp we all know how much I still need to bake while on away and I played around with a new technique for baking our bread. I guessed that the camp oven fitted nicely into the top of our Ozpig and it worked really well.

The first loaf hit the top of the camp oven so I improvised and used a saucepan as a lid for the second loaf. Worked a treat! Before we headed off to Canberra I used up all the last bits and pieces to make a lovely camp stew. Left over roast lamb, bacon, vegetables, tomatoes, red wine and of course sourdough for soaking up the juice. While in Canberra we went to the massive farmers market at the racecourse on Saturday. What a wonderful market! Silly for us to buy fresh produce, so I had to make do with these delicious bombolini (doughnuts).  Don’t ask how many I managed to taste test! I also picked up a couple of souvenirs of freshly milled flour. This year I want to explore and understand more about grains and whole-wheat. These are a starting point. Then we came home to Easter! Roughly 16 dozen sourdough hot cross buns churned out in one bake. Might go away for Easter next year! Our daughter limits how much sugar the little fella gets, so we had a go at making some dyed Easter Eggs. I was really happy with the brightness of these. Simply a matter of boiling the eggs and rolling them around to crack the shells a little then they soaked in water with food colouring. Put in the fridge for a couple of hours and hey presto! These went into our picnic lunch on Easter Sunday.   I bought myself a little treat at the War Memorial in Canberra as I couldn’t resist the beautiful poppy design.  lovely china mug with infuser and what I think is beautiful artwork of my favourite flower, the poppy.What’s been going on in your kitchen? Pop over to Sherry’s and add a story for us to have a peek at.

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In My Kitchen – March

As  another month rolls over (far too quickly), I wonder if there is anything I can share with the other IMK’ers over at Sherry’s Pickings that isn’t just a rehash of previous posts. Sherry has links from lots of fellow bloggers who are generous and let us have a peek into what’s going on their kitchens each month. Amazing what you can learn and share! Thanks Sherry!

Good old Bangers & Mash

Mr ATMT is rather partial to a feed of bangers and mash. Instead of doing a heavy, flour based gravy, we usually make a sauce by frying off onions and adding a bottle of tomato passata to the pan and let it simmer away to thicken and flavour up. We had so many lovely fresh tomatoes, I just added some of them to the pan to slowly cook down and thicken. Yes, I did burn the container!

The mash had a face lift too by adding the dregs of the bottle of infused garlic oil which also had the macerated garlic cloves in it. It was time to start a fresh batch of garlic oil so these from the existing bottle didn’t go to waste!

Rich, fluffy mash with delicious tomato and onion gravy on the snags and good old frozen peas on the side. Mr ATMT was very happy!  I have been making a lot of sourdough crackers using the King Arthur Flour recipe  and I admit was getting bit sick of parmesan and dried rosemary as the flavouring. I had run out of dried rosemary so chilli parmesan twists were created instead. Same basic recipe, but I added 2 frozen chilli cubes and a ‘splodge’ of sweet chilli sauce along with some grated parmesan. Instead of cutting into cracker shapes, I cut long strips then twisted them and baked. Big hit! The long sticks on the right of this platter is the baked result, served with some roast tomato and garlic focaccia and baguettes. There was also a sourdough fruit slab here. I’ve been playing with different formulas and the baguette on the left is a normal sourdough baguette but the chia and saffron ciabatta on the right is made using fermented fruit water instead of a traditional starter. Recipe credit for the ciabatta with saffron recipe (in part) to Sylvain from Gourmetier which I adapted somewhat! Sylvain’s food photography and styling is spectacular! Wonder what he could have done with this lot? I initially found this concept of using fermented fruit water a bit bizarre, but I really like the outcome and the theatre of fermenting the fruit is pretty good fun too. Who remembers their mum’s ginger beer exploding?  Shades of that with the fermenting fruit if you are not careful.

Removing the bone from my leg of lamb.

Of course along with every other most other Aussies, I have tomatoes in my kitchen. This year I cut back on how many I planted and it’s been a nice steady supply with just enough for eating and a few extras to make tomato pickles with. Couldn’t wait to top these sourdough loaves with a few slabs of tomato, cracked pepper and labne cheese. One of the joys of growing your own produce is the ability to cook meals based on what you have to hand. For a recent family dinner I butterflied (de-boned) a leg of lamb I’d had in the freezer and coated it with pesto made using basil, parmesan, garlic, macadamia nuts, mint and lemon juice. I then cooked it in a pan on the bbq and served it with a salad from Sandra’s blog, Please Pass the Recipe. What a delight this Na’ama’s Fattoush dish was, a great way to use some excess tomatoes, old bread, cucumbers and herbs. Will repeat this recently I think! Thanks Sandra! I served the lamb and Na’ama’s Fattoush with extra pesto, some pumpkin roasted with black and white sesame and pumpkin seed oil, freshly picked beans and flatbread. I added some boiled potatoes to stretch the ability to feed everyone. Can’t do better than that!So that’s about it for In My Kitchen this month, what’s going on in yours? Would love to peek, so go and link your story in to Sherry’s blog and share.

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