Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Someone in my Facebook Group (Sourdough Baking Australia & New Zealand) reminded me the other day about Chinese scallion pancakes. I hadn’t made these for such a long time and she had tweaked her recipe to include sourdough discard, so I thought this worth trying. My usual go to source for Asian recipes, is to the fabulous Dumpling Sisters, I was introduced to them by Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial quite a few years ago and I haven’t bought a dumpling wrapper since! I had some spring onions (scallions) that needed to be picked, so this was a perfect opportunity for them to be put to use. I also had a fairly large amount of starter left over from yesterdays bake so all the more reason to try these pancakes using sourdough starter.

I adjusted the recipe , actually I pretty much threw it out, but this is what the Dumpling Sisters recipe turned into using sourdough starter (100% hydration). This would make enough for an army, so the recipe could be halved with out any problem, I also think rolling the dough out for its first roll using a pasta machine would work well.

  • 460g plain flour
  • 200g unfed sourdough starter (use up discard if you have any)
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 18g Sunflower oil (any neutral flavoured oil would work)
  • 150g warm water

Mix everything together until well combined then turn out onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth. This pic is before the kneading! Cover and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

Once rested, break off ‘golf ball’ sized pieces. I rolled the dough into a log first then just cut bits off.

Shape the pieces into balls and roll into a squarish thin piece.

I did a pre roll first which gave the pieces time to relax a bit before I did the big flattening roll out. Brush the surface of the dough with oil and sprinkle sparingly with salt and scatter scallions over. I was warned that they may need quite a good dose of salt but I obviously went a bit too far with it!Roll the dough into a log,

Then depending on which way to final shape you choose (see Dumpling Sisters link), roll the log into a snail. Tuck the tail underneath, let sit to relax the dough for about 10 minutes.

Squash the snail with your hand then roll into a flat disc, the Dumpling Sisters suggest for crispy, roll thinly, for thicker to use as wraps or for a more chewy texture, roll a bit thicker. I wanted thin so they were rolled out to about 3 ml.Cook the pancakes on a lightly oiled griddle or in a pan, keep heat low so they do cook right though.  Cut into pieces and dip into sauce of your choice, I just went for simple old sweet  chilli sauce.These were good but I was a bit too heavy-handed with the salt, I actually think they would be nice with sour cream as well as the sweet chilli sauce. We enjoyed ours with a platter of goodies and some bubbles while we put up our Christmas Tree.

 I can’t really remember how they compare to ones made the normal way, but it was a great way to use up some things that would have been wasted otherwise.

I am also really pleased to say that I have a new computer, I had been struggling with my poor old Mac for several months which is part of the reason I haven’t posted much. I couldn’t upload pictures! Well, now I’m back up and running, I might get to actually post one of the several draft posts I’ve got sitting in the dashboard but couldn’t use.

A quick whip around the patch.

I haven’t done a post for a while on what’s happening in the veggie patch/garden. This is most likely because I haven’t really been doing much out there. With us now being into the third season of establishing the garden, we are finding that it is much more about maintenance rather than building new areas. We are still working on developing paths, contemplation spots and have yet to start tackling the front yard so it won’t be all sit back and relax for a while yet.

Peeking into the greenhouse.

I have a couple of sugar baby watermelon seedlings that appear to be happy and growing well. These may just take over the entire greenhouse!

Sugar baby watermelon
Sugar baby watermelon

One of last years capsicum has over-wintered well and is throwing flowers with some baby caps appearing, this is much earlier than usual.

Capsicum flowering
Capsicum flowering

I have taken some cuttings from the perennial Rocoto chilli and these seem to be quite successful. I’ve used the method similar to planting laterals that are removed from tomatoes that grow so well.

Rocoto cutting
Rocoto cutting

There is a flower on the mature Rocoto Chilli. It was very rude and wouldn’t look at the camera!

Rocoto flower
Rocoto flower

Out in the Patch

The flowers on my Souvenir de la malmaison rose have suffered badly from the excessive amounts of rain we have experienced but it is growing nicely.

Souvenir de la Maison Rose
Souvenir de la malmaison Rose

I have however, had some good results from the roses in the laneway but I didn’t get a good photo. The lilac is magnificent! First time flowering this year and I am in love.

Lilac
Lilac

This years garlic crop is looking terrific.

Garlic 2016
Garlic 2016

The shiitake mushrooms are giving the best yield in quite a few years. I think the high rain and humidity is just what they demand.

Shiitake
Shiitake

I have some baby figs, YAY!

img_0045and some baby apples.

Apple babies
Apple babies

This button lettuce is proving to be a lovely variety. It is working well as a ‘pick as you need’ lettuce and bounces back quickly. The silver beet and kale behind it is all that remains from the last planting. I need space for tomatoes!

img_0059In the berry house, the raspberries, loganberries and thornless blackberries are all flowering profusely.

Berry house
Berry house

and the grapevine is starting to cover the climbing frame on the roof well with lots of grape clusters evident.

Grape vine
Grape vine

I have some pretty little daisies that bees and hoverflies just love and it is making me smile every time I see it.

Happy daisies
Happy daisies

All in all, it’s looking pretty good.

img_9909I trimmed a lot of the parsley stalks that were threatening to seed, picked some lemons from our new tree, found some beetroot I didn’t know about (too woody for roasting but I think it will be ok as a dip), some new potatoes, some self sown garlic, mint and herbs and we had enough to throw into a salsa verde for tea.

Harvest pickings
Harvest pickings

A  peek in the new bedroom.

I have decided that I will now continue working in one room at a time and it will be completely finished before I move onto the next (please remind me of my pledge when I stray). We always seem to fall into the trap of saying “we will get back to that” and it takes a very long time to get back, but no more. I am absolutely going to follow through on this! This is the new spare (guest) bedroom that was part of the exteno. Painting is almost finished, carpet is booked for laying,

img_1023We have rehung the old kitchen door on this room and that needs to be repaired and painted. Mr ATMT did the skirting in the robe space this afternoon so that now needs painting. I absolutely love this colour. The walls are Taubman’s Raincloud and the ceiling and trim is Dulux Classic White. img_1024 I have almost finished painting the window and it is looking great. The radiator that was in the old room before demolition has been cleaned and polished. This was pain, one of those jobs where you use a knitting needle with a cloth over the end to get into all the little nooks and crannies but worth it.img_1022I am already becoming aware while I write, that there will be one unfinished part of this room and that is internal fit out of the wardrobe. We will use a set of the shelving units we had in the temporary kitchen  I think. They are really good and will leave some options for the final design.

What jobs do you leave until you put the house on the market?

Weekend Wrap

Leave it!

It’s about this time of year we get fed up with the leaf litter and do a major clean up. Even though there are more to fall, it gets a bit out of hand. Everywhere you look, leaves, leaves and more leaves!

IMG_1242 IMG_1241 IMG_1240 IMG_1239

 

 

 

 

They get piled into one spot and this week I will be mowing them to chop them up a bit and making a couple more leaf mould bins. The chopped leaves will be layered with lime, manure, some greens and mature compost. Wrapped up for 12 months then the resulting leaf mold will be spread onto the garden beds. This acts more as a soil conditioner than a fertiliser and I love watching the process take place.

IMG_1243

We hadn’t seen this area for months!  The before shot is on the right above. There has been the fire wood that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago dumped here, the trailer stored and then the leaves started falling. I’ll bet by tomorrow it will be covered again!

IMG_1196

Some more work was done on thinning out the  ‘spooky’ area out the front,

IMG_1231

Compost and coffee grounds are collected from work, I even have the cleaner bring me in spent coffee grounds from her husbands bakery. I’m sure she think I’m nuts, she’s probably right! Great for the worm farm and compost bins though.

IMG_1245

We have ordered another garden shed and started marking out where it will go. We will need every bit of space possible when the back of the house comes off when the extension starts. Had to move a couple of plants, hope they cope with this! I really like the way this bed is coming together, hard to imagine just 2 years ago it had a revolting old bungalow here.

IMG_1253

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finally cracked it about my tiny little oven! As good as it has been, I had to take something to work for morning tea last week and it took me over 2  hours to cook a standard size batch of mini muffins as I could only fit a small tray in to bake so it was done in succession. I’ve been trying to think of ways around this for a while but the problem has been that it doesn’t matter what we bought, it would have to be moved/disconnected when the kitchen reno begins. That seems a little extravagant and wasteful so I have bitten the bullet and bought an LPG gas pizza oven that I hope will pretty much function as a normal oven. I have set it up on the side verandah along with a temporary light and table. This area should (in theory) work well and when the building works start I can move the oven anywhere. As I write this, my first loaf of bread is in cooking. Bit nervous about taking the lid off the dutch oven! I can’t believe the delight it brings being able to put a pot in without having to take the knob off first so it can fit in!

I’ve just been out to remove the lid, temp up to about 230c and loaf looks pretty good so far. Might be a challenge learning to manage the temp control but I can cope with that. I could actually take the lid off the dutch oven without having to remove the whole pot. Yay, progress!

The loaf I am testing this week Is Josey Baker’s ‘Your First Sourdough Loaf’, I wasn’t that pleased with the way the dough was behaving so I might need to make some adjustments because of the whole-wheat flour I am using. I have a bag of Callington Mill organic whole wheat and it seems to take up less water  than other whole wheats I’ve used.

Drumming my fingers in anticipation for the timer to go off……………. Drum roll please!

IMG_1258-001

I’m pretty happy with that! Think the temp might have been a bit too high for starters but it smells great, I am looking forward to tweaking and learning how to use this oven more effectively now.

 

 

 

 

Farewell to 2014. Hello 2015.

I must admit, I don’t really ‘get’ the hype that many have in relation to celebrating New Year. To me it is just another day, but I don’t mind any excuse to spend some time with those we love and to indulge in just a bit more food to well and truly top of the festive season.

My last weekend of 2014 was spent…….

Preparing the vegie patch to cope as well as possible during the anticipated hot spell (36c tomorrow and 40c Sat). With a camping trip coming up I like to leave things pretty well self managed as much as possible. First up was to offer the chooks some extra protection from the overhead and hot westerly sun by installing some shade cloth on the coop. I also added an extra water source that is in the shaded part of the coop to extend the water availability and it will be cooler there. Chooks don’t like hot water!

Chicken shadedBecause the summer sun is so much higher, it means the shiitake and pioppiono mushroom logs are exposed to a bit too much sun. I’ve rigged up a temporary shade cover that will do until I get a chance to make a more permanent structure (I hope). I’ve also put the plug into the bath they are stacked in to maintain the humidity to a higher level. I don’t anticipate harvesting anything from these logs for quite a few months yet, but I want to maintain the best the conditions I can. I am considering installing an automated misting system here, but it is not high up on the very long list of priorities!

Shiitake shade coverMulching of all the beds has been done in earnest. The ability to keep surface roots cool and minimise evaporation by mulching has proven to be extremely effective. I use organic sugar cane mulch just because its easy and readily available. I’ve mulched the asparagus bed, tomatoes, the potatoes growing in a bathtub, the wicking beds in the greenhouse and I will do the last couple of wicking beds over the next couple of days. The photo below is of the wicking bed in the greenhouse where I have had to heavily cut back the sweet potatoes (on right) because of their vigorous growth that was threatening to overtake all the strawberries. I doubt whether I will get tubers and as I only use the tops for greens in stir fry it doesn’t present an issue.

Sweet potato

One of the compost bins and the worm farm need a little more sun protection.  Some shade cloth and a piece of carpet should insulate the worms. They seem to hold their own pretty well if they have a deep place to dig down into.

IMG_6896This is what’s happening in the greenhouse. I’ve rigged up the gravity fed ‘auto pot’ watering system for the tomatoes (on the left). The old olive drum is full of nutrient made from an organic mix and it syphons into the pots when the water level drops to a specific point. It can go for several weeks without extra watering. There are cucumbers (yellow flowers) capsicum, lemon grass (gangbusters!) all doing well and the tomatoes I have trained along bamboo stakes have been maturing since mid November. I am now starting to harvest larger varieties which we welcome very much.

IMG_6901I planted up our camping herb planter box. By the time we head off, these lettuce, basil, coriander, chives and parsley will be a good size for adding to our evening meals. These little touches add greatly to our camping meals and saves buying large quantities that end up wasted. Not to mention how I can avoid having plastic packaging when I buy supermarket herbs.

IMG_6889

The exclusion bags I put over the blueberry fruit have proven to be excellent! I now need to go in and pick these luscious beauties. Some are as big as marbles. Hope the taste is big too!

IMG_6888

 

We spent New Years Eve with friends and their lovely guests and I have some interesting reports to make on the food I took to share. That will be covered in my IMK post tomorrow.

I wish everyone a happy 2015 and look forward to learning more from the wonderful bloggers I have hooked up with in 2014. It is such a fruitful and rewarding way to share knowledge and learn so much more than you would normally.

 

Reflection as to why.

I’ve been pondering as to why I want to follow a sustainable, organic and waste free lifestyle. I think it all started with my dearly loved dad who couldn’t let anything that had some value or use go to waste. We even played the theme of Steptoe & Son at his funeral! Dad could always see a way to putting something to good use (much to mum’s disgust!) and loved being a bit quirky with his thinking. Exposure to traditional lifestyles when visiting the old Aunts (chooks honour their namesakes), with wood fire cooking and minimal use of mod cons, camping which instills survival skills, (these days we use the term-resiliance). My husband has battled with allergies his whole life and when I was pregnant I did a lot of research and was committed to providing only organic, unprocessed healthy food to my babies in the hope they would resist the allergy roller coaster. This was back in the time when you couldn’t buy healthy choices at the supermarket, health food stores were the only place you could buy unprocessed organic food, soy products and a good range of legumes. This lead me to growing and making most of our home staples from scratch. When I think back at the huge amount of work with planning menus, preparing and cooking it was a   was a major committment! Not sure how I managed it, but I did. We got through it and none of the kids have exhibited any allergies that were anticipated.

I think all of this as well as studying my diploma of sustainability where I learned so much more about the effects that pesticides, over processing and problems with waste management have on the world I was hooked to follow the committment. This week I would also like to add an acknowledgement to a local councillor that recently passed away, Bill Harrington was a valued member of our community who was always available and open minded. He worked tirelessly for his beloved community and family and he will be sadly missed by those who knew him and most likely those who didn’t once they realise how much he did. Bill never had anything other than benefit to the community as his agenda and I for one am sad to hear of his passing. Sincere condolences to his family….

OK, enough reminiscing! This weekend….

With some glorious weather, the main objective was to have a major clean up of the back yard and enjoy the sunshine. This included clearing up the massive amount of oak leaves that have fallen so far and putting them into a composting pile for next years use, moving the chooks to a new spot because we need to edge the garden where they are currently housed, planning where the raspberry bed will go and generally create a sense of control.

IMG_9824With an Old English oak tree and a Pin Oak, we have masses of leaves to contend with. We’ve changed our management from attempting to deal with them weekly to waiting until they have banked up and we do a major clean in one hit. The theory is that this reduces lots of small time slots dedicated to a job that reappears every week until they have all fallen.

IMG_9832

Last year I found that the leaves when put into a cage took far too long to decompose because they lost moisture. This year I have lined the cages with black plastic (paint drop sheet cut offs) and layered with more green (nitrogenous) matter, I also added lime and  manure to layers. Hopefully this will speed up the process a bit, oak leaves are notorious for being slow to break down! Next, move the chicken coop,

IMG_9860

With the aid of some poly pipe we moved the coop to a new area, scraped out the base from where it had been and put that around the blood orange and mandarin tree. One of the first organic gardening tips I got was that chicken poo is great for citrus!

IMG_9890Marked out where the raspberry beds will go, can’t do anything permanent yet until the walls of the shed are done.

IMG_9879

Speaking of the shed (garage) the slab is laid and awaiting wall fill ins.

IMG_9817The chooks are hilarious, as soon as they hear the shovel going into the ground they run knowing there will most likely be some morsel they can devour

IMG_9864
Hilda on the hunt

It was a lovely weekend, left with a feeling that we were in a bit of control, celebrated the magnificent sun shining through the oak tree, the colour is beautiful!

IMG_9848

We then finished the weekend by going to a friend’s home where they have ‘home concerts’ in their great shed. Can’t surpass the magnificent voice of Liz Stringer, I have been a fan for ages and it was just heavenly. To hear Liz and partner Van Walker was a reminder that we need to take time to enjoy fruits from all areas of life.

Weekly Tip 18th October 2012

What does ‘throw it away’ really mean? When you think about it waste ‘thrown away’ has only been relocated and still needs to be managed in some form. Ask yourself: What do you think about waste? Are you concerned about waste, or is it someone else’s responsibility? Whose responsibility is it? What do your neighbours think about waste?
What about your friends, family and work-mates? Take the chance to influence how other people think about waste. In Australia it costs us millions of dollars a year to collect and dispose of all of our waste (check your rate notice for the garbage disposal rate). It also costs us money to try to fix the damage waste disposal can do to our environment. 56% of Australia’s domestic waste comes from food scraps and green-waste, all manageable by composting, paper 19%, 3% metal, 6% plastic, 5% glass all recyclable. Time to do some re-thinking before we ‘throw away’. This comes right back to choices made when purchasing, simply thinking packaging is recyclable is not a solution.