Monday, March 28, 2011

Cracking The Sourdough Mystery

When it comes to bread baking, sourdough is one of those mystical realms that has always fascinated me.  I'd heard talk of wild yeasts and bacteria cavorting.... whispers of 'getting someone to give you a bit of theirs...' (know anyone who has any? Me either.) ...Of feeding the culture regularly with any manner of foodstuffs, but I was never sure exactly what was involved.  The whole world of sourdough baking seemed shrouded in secrecy and enigma.

So I decided to do some reading and discovered some really simple instructions and explanations on this website. So simple, infact, that it inspired me to begin my starter right there and then.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Manna from my backyard

Autumn. Harvest time for the summer crops, and the crops in my vegetable garden that did so well this season were firm and glossy eggplants, and the ever delightful and reliable tomatoes, filled with summer sunshine.

Our vegetable garden is not that big and you don't actually need much room to produce quite an impressive crops. In fact, its possible to get an impressive amount of produce even from plants grown in pots  on a balcony or a courtyard. If you have sun, organic matter rich soil and some water, you will be amazed at what lands in your kitchen.

Along with my usual herbs,we grew: broccoli, green beans, capsicums, chili and garlic. My vegetable patch is not too big, only about 3 x 7 meters, but the yields are sometimes more than we can eat. This year we used a grafted variety of eggplant which means that they have been connected to the stem of a different plant. The result is that the plant receives more nutrients through the superior stem and these yielded at least 6-8 fruit per plant.

We give some away of course but today when I opened the drawer where my tomatoes ripen, I discovered it was FULL. There was no waiting to be done. These babies had to be eaten today. And what is the best way to use up about 3kg of various varieties of tomatoes and 8 eggplants?

Eggplant parmigiana of course!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Bowl Of Comfort

Autumn is here and there are a few reasons I know this. It's March. The humidity has gone. I need an extra blanket on the bed at night. AND..... we all have colds! All four of us are coughing and sneezing.  As soon as the viruses start in our house, I do the only thing that might help; start a big pot of chicken soup.
All the old wives tales and titles like 'Jewish penicillin' may not make chicken soup a magical cure-all, but they do work as expert marketing. It's the first thing many of us crave the minute we get cold or flu symptoms. Whatever its healing properties may or may not be, you can't dispute that a nutritious meal, full of vegetables and protein, thats warm and easy to eat, must have some positive effect.