Sunday, August 1, 2021

Around here - Snap 3 day Lockdown

Around here it seems that one State or another is going into lockdown.  Brisbane, Queensland has been very lucky in the fact that we were in 2 months lock down April/May 2020 like the rest of Australia and from time to time we do a snap 3 day lockdown which isn't too bad.  About 4 weeks ago we went into a 3 day lockdown that extended to a 4 day lockdown however these short lockdowns seem manageable.  We've had a few this year and they are short and sharp and get us through safely.  Yesterday the 31st July we went into another 3 day lockdown from 4pm for 11 of our Local Government areas as follows:-
  • Brisbane City
  • Moreton Bay
  • Gold Coast
  • Ipswich
  • Lockyer Valley
  • Logan City
  • Noosa Shire
  • Redland City
  • Scenic Rim
  • Somerset
  • Sunshine Coast


This latest outbreak is due to a University Medical Student who tutored a student from Indooroopilly High School and then the whole family contracted Covid.  This is the very contagious "Delta" variant so it's way more serious than our April/May Australia wide lockdown from 2020.  There is no school on Monday, only students of essential workers and on-line learning will commence on Tuesday.   Masks must be worn by teachers and students from now on at school when they go back.

Personally I think this lockdown will extend to 2 weeks at the very least as this school had open days for parents and Universities and businesses came to talk to parents about careers so lots of outside people into the schools from all over Brisbane and those people would have gone back to work places and businesses.  The good thing is we have gone into lockdown about 2 days after the first case however there will be many more cases arising from this outbreak.  They believe the medical student caught it from returning overseas Covid patients who may have been in hospital.  They are still trying to work on that link in the middle.

Sydney are having a lot of trouble trying to manage this Delta variant and they have been in lockdown for 6 weeks now with another 3 to go before further decisions are made.  Their main problem is at the moment is the number of cases that have been in the community.  So if there are 200 cases and they are all at home in isolation, you have a chance to get on top of things however everyday half of the cases have been out and about in the community so it's just spreading like wild fire every day.

Whilst we lead fairly normal lives in Queensland, we have been mask wearing for the past 4 weeks because of NSW border hoppers however we have managed to not have any outbreaks.  At the end of the day, we are still in the middle of a PANDEMIC and sometimes we forget that because we generally lead pretty normal lives.  Just think, my kids, kids will be learning about this pandemic in their history lessons in years to come.  Learning about how people had to stay home, no one could travel overseas or for that matter Interstate as travel plans get interrupted all the time due to Interstate border closures.  So whilst we wish this pandemic would end...we, the whole world are still pretty much in the middle of it and not out the other side by any means so I'm not surprized life is not back to normal.  I have had my first AstraZeneca jab with the second one due in about four weeks time. 

So on with some photos of what's been happening at home.

This was my sourdough bread using the long oval banneton however I needed to do my cut deeper on this one.  The bread was delicious and we had it with minestrone soup for dinner.

Sourdough bread and minestrone soup for dinner.

This is one of our regular recipes from the Thermomix Book "Five Seed Bread"

These are the micro-herbs that I wrote about in this post.


Lovely gifted lemons from my friend who has a fabulous lemon and lime tree.

Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread - this one looks better than it was because I used a different recipe from another person and it was too dense so I am going to stick to Elaine Boddy's recipes.  I'm loving the rustic artisan look to my breads though that makes me very happy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Around here

Well it's been a big week in my Sourdough journey and so far I've made 5 loaves in 7 days since I found Elaine Boddy on Instagram.  Her Master Sourdough Recipe and Process is super easy and has taken all the stress out of making sourdough.  I wrote about it in this post and her book in this post last week.  So far I have made my sourdough in the round bannetons however today my large oval banneton arrived in the post so I'm baking this later today and we are having it with minestrone soup tonight.  Making this bread has been such a highlight this past week.  Last Friday night I called my neighbour over to gift a loaf to them as they are great neighbours and they were very impressed with my baking.  They are now going to make a starter themselves and give the sourdough baking a go.  Given he is a chef, it was great to impress him and they loved the bread and sent a text with OMG delicious.  The loaf below is my first wholemeal loaf which I made on Sunday afternoon.



Early on Sunday I went on a "Women's in Nature" Bush Walk, Mindfulness morning which was really nice.  The walk was 2.5 kms to a camp fire setting where we stopped for morning tea with the billy for an hour and then the 2.5 km walk back to the cars.  Sunday was a beautiful day however the wind was very wild which made it very cold.  I had about five layers of clothes on and even though it was cold and windy it was quite invigorating verses miserable.  When I was out at Deepwater in NSW August 2019 on a Photography weekend OMG that was FREEZING.

There were eleven ladies and the walk to the camp fire area was a silent walk which I thought would be weird however it was really nice.  You didn't have to make small talk or keep up, you would just walk at your own pace and take in the beautiful nature surroundings and generally have some peace and thinking time.  I am not very fit and the first hill we had to go up I thought, OMG what I have I got myself in for here I'll never make it however I pushed on and naturally there were some walks up the steep hill and some down hill as well.

We made it to the camp where the fire was lit and the billy was put on to boil while we chatted to one another.  We had some tea or cacao, some home made biscuits, rice crackers, dip and fruit which was lovely.  On the way back we chatted to one another and I had to have several stops on the way when we got to the big hills.  I met some lovely ladies all whom needed to take a little bit of time for themselves out of their busy lives.  Everyone had a great morning and women are known for putting everyone else first so having some time to just be in nature and care for yourself it was a really great morning.  I also got to wear my $30 Kmart hiking boots I bought 18 months ago that haven't been used yet and mine are grey and pink which I love.  I'm not a hiker, however I love a bush walk and so felt really good when we had finished.  






Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Around Here - Sourdough Book

The other day I posted about my success in making an amazing sourdough bread that I loved the look and taste of after finding Elaine on Instagram.

Two things I ordered after finding Elaine Boddy's website was her book called "Wholegrain Sourdough at Home" which arrived today and I can't wait to try out some of these recipes.  I ordered the book on Amazon Australia on Saturday night and it arrived today Wednesday.  

The other thing I ordered for my sourdough bread was a bread knife.  Elaine recommends a good quality bread knife called an "Appalachian Bow Saw".  She is in the UK so naturally purchased her hand made Appalachian Bow Saw over there.

I googled what I could find in Australia and actually found a local supplier of hand made quality products.  It's a family business called Timbo's Shop and there were four available Bow Bread Knives to choose from.  American Walnut, American White Oak, Maple and Sydney Blue Gum.  Naturally I had to go for the Sydney Blue Gum and it arrived today and it OMG it smells amazing, just like the bush.  The black saw blade is a bit hard to see in the photo below however it stretches between those two silver screws on the top side of the timber.  The blade comes with a safe guard plastic to cover it while it's not in use.

My next sourdough loaf is in the fridge proving for baking tonight so I can't wait to try this wonderful handmade knife out.  I was also so thrilled that I could buy it in Australia and also support a small family business in Brisbane.  That was equally as rewarding as finding the knife.  Are you going to attempt to make Elaine's Sourdough Recipe I can highly recommend her process.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Around here - Best Sourdough Loaf

So very proud of this Sourdough loaf of bread I made today [well I actually started the process yesterday morning].  In the last 10 years I've made many loaves of bread, bread rolls, Turkish bread, Focaccia, pizza dough etc and yet Sourdough was still something that I felt intimated by.  My friend and I did a Sourdough class back in November 2019 however it was the time frame that put me off.  If I was going out first thing in the morning then I wouldn't make a start on it the night before and I felt it was too hard when we can easily make Five Seed Bread in a couple of hours.

Last week I was given some starter by Carrie at my Homesteading Course and I really wanted to make some sourdough.  Last Saturday night I somehow I ended up finding Elaine Boddy on IG which lead me to her website and YouTube channel which lead me to her book which lead me to "I can do this".

Her Master Recipe and the timetable totally suited me and I jumped onto it and got to baking and this is what I produced.  A real sourdough loaf, something that you would find in a bakery and I had finally nailed it.  You can see what my bread attempts looked like back in 2016 [not that great, a bit like a brick] so I'm thrilled that I no longer am intimated by the process and happy with my sourdough bread.

The other thing I loved about Elaine's process is that she does a "cold bake".  In other words she puts her dough into the baking tin cold, the tin is cold and her oven is cold.  You then put the baking tin with lid on into the oven turn, it up to 220 degrees and set the timer for 55-60 minutes.  The great thing about this is there is no trying to dump your dough into an extremely hot baking tin and oven which has always been tricky not to burn yourself so a "cold bake" is perfect particularly once the dough is in the tin you then score it with your lame which is hard if you have a hot baking tin.  If you haven't given sourdough a go yet or feel intimated, trust me this is for you.

The beginning part of the process was take your starter out of the fridge at 9.00 am and bring the starter to room temperature which took a approximately 2 hours around 11.00 am.  Feed it with 30gms of strong white flour [aka bread flour] and 30gms of water [cooled down boiled water from the kettle] cover it up and leave on the bench until the afternoon.

Then around 4.00-5.00 pm:-

Weigh 50gms of starter

Add 350gms water [cooled down water from the kettle]

** Mix the water and the starter together using a spoon, then add the following:-

500gms of bakers flour [strong white bread flour]

1 teaspoon of salt

This is the Master Recipe which you then mix it together until it's all combined however it can still look very shaggy.

Then 45-60 minutes later do the lifts and folds about 25 times by turning your bowl round while you do it.  There are videos by Elaine how to do this.

Do another set of lifts and folds, it does not have to be 25 this time, perhaps half until it comes into a ball.  Do this another 4 times about 45-60 minutes apart but it's not time critical, so it could be more or less, as long as you do it another 4 times.

Cover it up with your shower cap leave it on the bench overnight.

The next morning it should have doubled in size, if not, leave it longer to prove.

Do your lift and folds and turn it into your rice floured banneton and cover with shower cap and put in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours maximum of 24 hours [Elaine does 6 hours] - today I did 5 hours.

This is when you turn your dough into your prepared baking tin with baking paper [videos how to turn this out on Elaine's YouTube channel too] and then it's time to score the bread, put the lid on and put it into your cold oven.  Turn the oven on to 220 degrees and set your timer for 55-60 minutes.  I use this enamel roaster although mine is a tiny bit smaller however if I had to buy one again I would buy this size.

After the 55-60 minutes I took the lid off and let it cook for a further 5-10 minutes.  

You must leave your bread to cool down completely before slicing and Elaine explains why.  Below are some photos starting from when it proved overnight on the bench.  Elaine's website and YouTube channel has great videos and a 23 minute video start to finish with lots of shorter 2-5 minute videos about specific processes.   

This is the proved dough which sat overnight in the bowl.



Banneton floured up with rice flour which I ground in the thermomix.

Dough rested in the banneton covered with a new
 plastic shower cap which sat in the fridge for 5 hours.  

This is the dough that was in the fridge with the shower cap on for 5 hours
which will be turned out into the baking tin ready for scoring.

Dough in the enamel bake tin and scored with the lame ready to put the lid on and into the oven.

Straight out of the oven and took the lid off to this beauty.

Look at that brilliant crust.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Around here - Sustainability

What a month it's been with Brisbane in a 4 day lock down, Sydney in lockdown for what I'm sure may be a couple of months and Melbourne have gone into a 5 day lockdown which sadly I think will be longer.  This is all due to the Covid delta variant which can be transmitted in 5-15 seconds by simply walking past someone.  The Melbourne outbreak is a result of removalists from Sydney transporting someone's belongings and then not wearing masks for 5 hours going up and down in a residential building lift.  This Delta outbreak is way worse than when Covid hit Australia early last year.

All of this reminds us that health is at the forefront and is very important.  I've mentioned that I get my spray free veggies delivered from "Spray Free Farmacy" and today I received my second order of grass fed and free range beef, lamb, pork and organic chicken from "Our Cow".

Last week I enrolled into a 2 hour "Homesteading Course" with Carrie in her home at Riverbell Cottage.  I saw on Instagram she had places available for the next day and I was free so booked in.  She covered making sourdough bread [which I've done before], Brewing Kombucha, Fermenting & Pickling Vegetables and Sprouting.  There was myself and another gentleman [his wife sent him along] as she will be doing Carrie's soap making course, so she got her husband along to the Homesteading Class to learn a few things.  It was a lovely morning and when I came home I boiled up my beetroot that I had in the cupboard and pickled a jar and a half.  Here's a few photos of Carrie in her kitchen.







Recently I also come across Micropods to grow your Micro Greens so I looked them up online and the kits were $59 plus postage which I'm guessing would be at least $10-$12.  I really liked the idea of getting more "Micro Greens" into my system however $80 was a bit steep.  Lots of these types of things people may give them a go and decide they don't want to use it again so I thought I would look on FB Market Place to see if anyone was getting rid of one.  Low and behold there was only one kit for sale and it was in the next suburb over [that's putting it out into the universe for you] so I went and collected the kit - never used.  I said to her "you're not into them" and she said "her hippy sister gave it to her for Christmas" which made me laugh.  I was so pleased that I got a brand new kit for $15 and a 10 minute drive away.  


The kits comes with the little seed mats which you can also buy separately.


Continuing on with the sustainable theme I put a request on the "Buy Nothing New" FB group to see if someone had a spare worm farm.  Again sometimes people get them, decide they are not for them or move and don't need them however no one had one so that was that.  Then I was on IG again and local gardener said that the Brisbane City Council have a $70 rebate for Rate Payers towards a compost bin or worm farm to stop food scraps going into landfill.  Awesome [another put it out into the universe].  It's a simple process of watching the two videos working out what system you want.  You then load up the PDF form which says you have watched the videos and answered the questions and then you are registered.  You get a unique code, then purchase your system and then go on line and claim $70 towards your system.  The payment should be made into my bank account within 4 weeks.

I purchased the $75.00 Maze Worm Farm from Bunnings which I'll receive $70 back from the Brisbane City Council.  I also purchased a pack of 1,000 worms for $50 and a worm blanket.  The Maze Worm Farm came with a small block of coconut peat which you soak in water for 30 minutes which is the bedding for the worms.   I purchased this block which I'll be returning for a refund as the Maze Worm Farm came with the coconut peat block.



First a few pages of newspaper soaked in water goes down.

Then on top the coconut peat.
 
Then the packet of 1000 worms.

This is with one layer of the worm farm, there is another layer to add to it later on.  I love the fact that this system is so compact too.  

The instructions say to leave the worms to settle for a week without feeding them and then start with small scraps every couple of days.

We did have worms many years ago however a neighbor's kid left the lid off them unbeknown to me and they died.  So it will be good to get back into this for our kitchen scraps.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Around here - Waffles & Ice Cream

It's school holidays around here and we have just had a 4 day lockdown in Brisbane along with 10 other local government areas.  Lots of cooking and relaxing and given it's winter and it rained all week it wasn't too bad having to stay inside rugged up.  We had our friends dog here for five days and he is always good company.

I've written about making the 10 minute no churn ice cream before however the kids think it's too rich [I don't] so I made a similar recipe which had added evaporated milk in it.  I also made a new to me waffle recipe which was great so I'll be sticking with this one also.



EASY THERMOMIX WAFFLES [MAKES 12 WAFFLES]

INGREDIENTS

350gms Milk
50gms honey [or sugar]
40gms light tasting oil [I used sunflower oil]
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
270gms whole wheat plain flour [or plain flour]
30gms cornflour
1 tablespoon baking powder

METHOD

Place milk, honey [or sugar], oil, eggs and vanilla in a mixer bowl.
Mix for 10 seconds / speed 4 / MC lid on.
Add flour, corn flour and baking powder.
Mix for 10 seconds / speed 4 / MC lid on.

Heat Waffle Maker up, when ready add batter and cook until golden brown.

We ate some of them and the rest went into the freezer for another time.


Friday, July 2, 2021

Around here - Pizza

Over the years we have made many a home made pizza and tried different dough recipes.  We do have a favourite recipe however today I made "Sophia's Pizza Dough Recipe" and I think it's a good one.  Sophia just opened a beautiful Sourdough Bakery in the UK during a Pandemic and you can check out her IG account.  This is the link to her YouTube channel too which has lots of great Thermomix recipes.

Her tips are as follows:-

Oil your pizza tray with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and don't worry about the baking paper.

Heat your oven to 250 degrees and then when you put your pizza in turn it down to 230 degrees.

Brush the edges of your pizza with Extra Virgin Olive Oil before it goes in. 

Use "00" flour or "plain flour" vs we mostly have been using the bread flour however the pizza dough takes more bread like so today I just used the "00" flour.  My understanding of the "00" flour is it's a fine flour for pasta, pizza, focaccia and bread however plain flour will be fine.  The bread flour has more protein in it which is what we generally use however using the "00" flour was really nice and going forward I won't be using my normal bread flour for pizza dough.

This is the link to Sophia's Video which runs for 11.32 minutes.

Here is the Thermomix Recipe which makes 3 pizzas so if you have a Kitchen Aid with a dough hook you can use that and use warm water instead of cold water which is heated in the Thermomix.

INGREDIENTS

330gms tap water [cold tap]

1 Tablespoon of Yeast

500gms "00" Flour or Plain Flour

20gms Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Teaspoons of Sea Salt or Pink Salt


METHOD

Put 330gms water into the Thermomix Bowl

Add 1 Tablespoon of Yeast

Set to 2 Minutes / 37 degrees / Speed 2

Add 500gms plain flour

Add 20gms Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Add 2 Teaspoons of Sea Salt

Set to 2 minutes / Knead function

PROVE - Let it rise for 1 hour until it has doubled in size


DOUGH

Set oven to 250 degrees.

Flour the bench and get the dough out and divide into 3 pieces.

Oil your Pizza Trays and press out your pizza dough and place on tray.

Use your favourite tomato base passata or sauce and top with ingredients.

Brush the edge of the pizza with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Don't put your sauce or ingredients on until the last minute when the oven is ready otherwise it might get a bit soggy.

When oven is ready turn down to 230 degrees and place pizza in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.

I must admit I thought this dough was really great.