Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Well...This is Demoralising ...!!

They say practice makes perfect...well I certainly need a load more practice because take 2 is a darn sight worse than my first attempt... Yes I am a dreamer and the tantalising smell of freshly baked sourdough with a crust that cracks to reveal a beautifully cooked loaf is what I am trying to achieve...perhaps I need to aim a whole lot lower !!  It looked so easy at the cooking class and Georgie produced magnificent loaves even after all of us had stuck our fingers into it and seriously overworked the dough... I am definitely doing something wrong at the very beginning of the process.. possibly I need to investigate the whole 'Hydration" thing again.  Sigh.. !!


Baked two boulders... one on the left was shaped in a banneton ...not that you can tell.
What a sad sticky dough it contained... and dare I say flat as a pan cake.
 Thankfully the daily visit to the vegetable garden gives me way more pleasure than my baking efforts.. picked the first of the pumpkins today..also getting passionfruits from a vine I only planted last year... Maybe I should just stick to gardening.
 
I fill this basket each morning with goodies from the garden.. 
 The abundance of fresh produce from the vegie patch always leaves me with the problem of using them up...I do give lots away but really think I could utilise way more if I only knew more interesting ways to prepare them.   I received Maggie Beer's Harvest cookbooks for my birthday...there is one for each season and has some great recipe's  and ideas to use your own produce...very timely I think.

Hopefully these will generate fabulous ideas to use up my home-grown produce.
I will get back to the sourdough drawing board...I'm deflated but not yet beaten....the dream of making my own delicious sourdough is still flickering...  hopefully it won't be snuffed out by take 3 !

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Very Sad Sourdough....!

My first attempt at making sourdough was to put it mildly ..... abysmal...I baked two house-bricks !!  I am not put off yet...however I'm not sure where I went wrong.  Am attempting 'take 2' today...already off to a bad start as the dough looks the same as this one...something not quite right at the very early stages I fear.  I am still going to bake them and see what I wind up with...if nothing else it is good practise on oven temperatures...my first efforts cooked on the outside very early in the process and started to overcook and the middle was still not right... food for thought.
Very sad looking preformed dough...didn't have a 'gluten skin' I think is the problem.
Sad looking house-bricks...very doughy in the middle and definitely no hollow sound when knocked on !!

February lunch with friends...J&A produced a lovely Rick Stein Moroccan chicken dish, the Big K and Robbie supplied pearl couscous with delicious Mediterranean bits.... I was designated to bring salad so roast beetroot, sweet potato, asparagus with macadamia nuts...J&M brought up the rear with dessert..baklava and stuffed dates (sorry J didn't get a good picture of them)...lots of wine and laughs as always.  
The usual suspects !!
Delicious lunch. !!
My man and I took a five day break to Batemen's Bay to celebrate my birthday...fortunately the dogs were included as the accommodation was dog friendly...Daisy knew something was up because once I got the suitcases out she plonked herself in my man's travel bag and wouldn't get out...she is so gorgeous..she even had her 'Santa Monkey' toy who she wanted to bring along with her. 

Daisy packing herself for out road trip to Bateman's Bay !!
 We spent five beautiful days here .  Carrie was a fabulous host.  It is a B&B on a 20 acre farmstay...loads of farm animals, situated on the Clyde river...nothing to do but sit back and relax...the fluffy girls had a great time..  They even behaved themselves when we took them into town each day for lunch at local cafe's.  it was a really beautiful spot and lovely accommodation.
The view from our deck to the Clyde River in Nelligen.
 Last night I attended a Gnocchi making course at String and Salt (surely after all these classes I will manage to make something edible !!!)  with the lovely Anna running us all through the process....it was great fun...I actually think I might be able to make gnocchi ..it certainly looks easier than making sourdough....tonight will be the test as I am going to give it a go at home... how hard can it be right ??

The lovely Anna directing the sauce making.

everyone getting hands on with the gnocchi making....

I'm off to put the next lot of sourdough into the oven....wish me luck !