Sourdough dreams


IMG_20140910_142706I have tried, once before to make my own sourdough.  After carefully measuring and feeding my way through about 5 days I had a lovely if rather whiffy mason jar sitting on my bench, nearly ready to go but when it only had a day or so to go a cold snap came along and killed it.

So now the kitchen is so close to being finished I’m feeling like I have some breathing space, and some bench space, and it’s coming up to summer, so it might be time to try again.  It’s pretty much just a case of 200g flour with 200ml warm water feeding and fermenting. But of course, as with all things which appear outwardly simple there is a far more complex process going on behind the scenes.  And with my propensity toward absent-mindedness there’s that whole issue of remembering to feed it.  After all it won’t tell me when it’s hungry – unlike another little tummy which is half the reason I’m thinking of doing sourdough again! Continue reading

I’m the Easter Bunny


Can't talk,I'm doing quality control on the chocolates that were hiding in the garden. Think I have contained them all

I had a teacher at school and we used to often while away Maths classes singing silly songs, one of which was about the easter bunny.  Now I have the only line I can remember, which is “coz I’m the easter bunny”, stuck on repeat in my head.

If anyone has any annoying songs about the easter bunny they’d like to share let me know!

Here goes my promised update on the goings on of Easter.

White Rose

Pink Rose

Snapdragon?

Yellow rose

variegated leaf plant - just love the trio of colours

A collection of floral tributes, I went out into the garden the other day and was taken by the range of colours, shapes, textures

Bananarama

and interplay of light that I found there. I seem though to have taken lots of roses, so another time I shall have to delve into the more tropical aspects and the bright shininess that they throw out.

I also promised you a look at my ultra artisan hot cross buns.  I made them to this recipe  but used a combination of spelt and whole grain flour, a mix of dried mango, cranberry and blueberry, and molasses instead of sugar. I have now discovered that you need quite a light-hand when working with spelt flour as the gluten is not as durable as when using standard flours.

Hot Cross Lumps

They came out looking rather lumpish, and were pretty heavy.  However the flavours were amazing, and I’m pretty impressed with them for my first sourdough cooking experience. Just don’t judge me too harshly!

We had a great time over the long weekend, my sister Amy came up to visit and we had heaps of fun.  Went to visit Australia Zoo, where Steve Irwin’s dreams live on.  The midday show they do is awesome, with input from the birds, crocs and elephants.  Also spent a lot of time looking at kangaroos, Cassowary, Tigers and a screed of other creatures.  The zoo is awesome, however the new Africa section lets the side down a wee bit, but I think they still have a bit of work to do on it. We also had a couple of swims at the beach – Cotton Tree and Noosa, and a great lunch at the Surf Club at Noosa. Gra and I got a night off when Amy stayed in to babysit max and we went to the RSL here, it was really nice, though a rather interesting decor!

Yo homey, I have easter eggs in my bag, check it.

A boy's gotta accessorize

Feeding the crocs

Black cockatoo

Max and Amy watching the show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chillaxing with the roos

Isn't he cute?

Little monkey in the garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just for a comparative note, this is Brutus, a massive croc we saw on the Adelaide River near Darwin.

Dragons and Armadillos.


Can't take credit for this image -thanks flashscreen

If you’ve been following, you know that one of the things I first thought was cool about my new garden is that we have waterdragons here, and frequently see them flitting about.  Well, the rain has finally gone away here in the Sunshine Coast, and when I ventured outside today I discovered that I also have the fruit of dragons (henceforth known as Dragonfruit) growing in my garden.

They are awesome looking, night flowering cacti that grow these super cool looking fruit. I think that I have left mine on for a wee bit long, so they don’t have a lot of flavour left, but I just found a chutney recipe, so might have a go at that cos if nothing else it will look way very interesting.  Though I’m getting close to needing more jars, more on that later.

I’m going to be able to make some very interesting fruit salads this year: passionfruit, dragon fruit, banana and tamarillo anyone?  Does anyone else find that when they think of tamarillos there is a mental association with Armadillos?  Maybe that’s just my strange brain.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all my tamarillos either, they seem to just be mental imagery for me right now, my other one is the story we always get told of when my Mum was little and Grandmax had to fence off the tamarillo trees as otherwise Mum would wait for them to fall down and would end up with a rash on her face since they’re so high in acid.

I’m also wondering about my Aloe Vera.  I’ve found how to make my own Aloe vera gel, which is on the to do list, but I have also recently tried the silky sweet and spectacular Aloe Vera juice, and want to have a go at that, but not doing so well on finding recipes, so all help appreciated there.

40 Chillis? Check

Heading back indoors, had a busy day yesterday in the kitchen. Chilli plant was overflowing with spicy goodness, so I made a big batch of Harrisa, though I’m going to try a few other things, even with harvesting 40 (yup, 4-0) chilli for the recipe the bush is still laden.

Also, another batch of Watermelon Rind Chutney, after Kim’s suggestion to blend it down a bit, turns out I really like watermelon rind chutney, all those poor rinds I have thrown out over the years!

I also made a batch of Onion Jam, which like the harrisa was a first effort – and turned out super yummy, had some this morning for breakfast on muffin splits with ricotta and smokey ham. Recipe’s

Dub me all Chutney

easy too:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 600g brown onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Add sugar. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add vinegar and 1/2 cup cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until thick.
And then put them in these cute baby mason jars, and made little tags, yay for fun gift idea.
My last kitchen fun for the day was a sourdough starter.  I’ve never done one before, as the hassle of feeding them never seemed worth the payoff, I know that I would baby it for a little while, maybe make one batch, then forget about it.  But this recipe I found on Pinterest: http://www.armommy.com/holidays/sourdough-starter-d-i-y/ you only have to feed every month or two. Yeoop.  It’s asking to be forgotten about, for short periods of time.

In the beginning there was flour, and water, and yeast

and upon the shelf it sat, and stewed, and grew

And it bubbled and it brewed, basically looking like goo

The Story of the Dragon


I got up this morning, and while sitting on the patio to have my coffee I spotted this little fellow… Made the house seem a bit like a fairy tale, unfortunately it doesn’t come equipped with a knight in armour, or a drawbridge. It does have a creek, which is a bit like a moat I guess!

Along with our resident dragons, we’ve got a resident population of bush turkeys who patrol the neighbourhood, a range of geckoes who keep the bug life down, and the odd giant moth.

We’ve been in the house for almost a month now, so are almost set up, and I’m starting to look for some projects, I’ll be making lots of interesting things from our massive veggie patch, so look our for a recipe page for my successes (and maybe stories about fails). And I plan on learning lots about gardening, craft, maybe a wee bit of construction, we’ll see about that. Plus I’ll be partaking of touristic activity and highlighting what’s cool about the area. I may even bore you a little with my new fit and fab regime 🙂

Welcome, I hope you enjoy!