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?

Baguettes, Walhalla, Boots, Bottles, Books and Birds.

Been a bit slow on posts recently, think the horrid weather has had a bit to do with this. I haven’t been outside much nor have I been doing a great amount inside. I have managed to read a few good books though!

Today we spent a bit of time marking out with chalk the intended design and placement of some equipment for the new kitchen. I am useless at reading plans and always complain that the finished result is not what I thought it was going to be and that nothing is where I expected it.

IMG_2251-001I dare say that even after doing this I will still get surprises!

Walhalla Road Trip

We took advantage of the lovely sunshiny day last Saturday and headed up to the historic township of Walhalla. This place just oozes history (and spookiness) and it was a great chance to spend some time with my son who now lives in Melbourne. He purchased a Land Rover a few months ago and does ‘weekend adventures’ visiting lots of interesting places.

IMG_2171

I managed to throw together some small egg and bacon pies, kale, feta, chilli and potato rolls. A chocolate cake from the freezer and a few freshly picked oranges from our tree to have as  picnic fare. This along with  freshly boiled billy tea is about all you need I think!

IMG_2104IMG_2202While we were eating, there were a few different birds in the scrub and I noticed a green bird that I thought resembled a green cat bird which I know are more northern based . There was also a bowerbird with it so I wasn’t that surprised when I’d Googled to discover the green bird is a juvenile Satin Bowerbird. Check out those purple eyes!

Saton bowerbird
Satin bowerbird

Just beautiful!

Hidden Treasures

Part of our extension/reno means we have to demolish a couple of the oldest parts of the property. We’ve tried but there is just no justifiable way we can preserve them. I believe these 2 rooms to be the old washhouse and  would guess the woodstore. We are going to rebuild to be similar visually but they certainly won’t have the ‘charm’ of these old ones. We found a few interesting things behind the wall lining!

IMG_2221-002

Several empty beer bottles tucked in her and there,

 

 

 

A couple old books, one a medical reference and the other a novel.

IMG_2219-001 IMG_2218-001

 

 

 

A pair of old boots, very old I’d guess! Hand cut leather and hand stitched.

IMG_2223-002There was also a few rat nests but I didn’t think you’d enjoy me sharing those with you!

This weekend’s Bread bake

Today I made baguettes using the gas pizza oven to bake. I was so impressed with the ‘before they went into the oven’ appearance, then promptly dropped the peel when transferring them to the oven. Never mind, still turned out well, albeit a little misshapen and a few holes lighter up one end. I also did a spelt/whole-wheat loaf. Have no idea what it is meant to be like but it smells great and looks like others I have Googled, so I’ll go with it’s pretty good! 🙂

IMG_2263-001 Baguette crumb shot