30 June 2010

100g sourdough becomes 70g fluffy dinner rolls

With Dan Lepard's quick knead method, you can indeed create soft fluffy sourdough, with a crisp, flaky crust



120g white leaven @ 100%
350g water
500g strong white flour
7g fine sea salt
20g ev olive oil

  • in the above order, add the ingredients to a bowl
  • bring together lightly with your hands
  • then knead for 10 seconds only, three times over 30 minutes

each time your dough gets firmer and more velvety
  • rest for one hour

  • until you have proof of aeration, so that it has risen by less than double, about 80%

  • weigh your risen dough, mine was 996g, and divide into 100g pieces
  • shape your 100g pieces into a boule, & place on a floured baking tray
  • cover, and rest for 25 mins
  • heat your oven to max with a tray in the base, turn down to 220
  • add cold water to your tray to create steam, & bake your rolls for 30 mins
  • turn the temperature to 190 and bake your rolls for an additional 10 mins

  • cool on a rack 
 your 100g dough balls now weigh a light 70g

Although this is a simple enough sourdough recipe, I've submitted it to Wild Yeast, as I feel confident of the light results and method.

It's my first submission!

For more Yeast Spotting submissions, click this link

23 June 2010

cool on a bike rack - pumpkin seed sourdough

bread making and cycling, that's what I was doing this morning before it got too hot.

The loaf this morning is for David the framer, to thank him for his allotment salad crop the other day.

A simple overnighter, last night I briefly kneaded (for about 20 seconds):


40g white leaven at 70% hydration
350g strong white flour
120g rye flour
60g plain flour
150g pumpkin seeds
345g chiilled water
8g salt

then at 06:00 today, 8 hours later, I shaped the stiff dough to a baton, rested it seam-side up in basket
went for a bike ride
and an hour later, placed the mass onto a floured tray and baked at 220 for 30 mins, with a steam tray underneath
and 20 mins at 180

& cooled on a rack

19 June 2010

salads and rocket flowers

I've let my rocket go to seed
and my coriander, they might self seed for another time on me, with a bit of luck.

And rocket flowers are a delightfully intense little rocket hit in a salad.  They're fragile, pretty and edible

I don't know about coriander flowers though.

We had this delicious salad

with white fish on the griddle plate on the bbq, with potato and chive mayonnaise

& the salad leaves were brought to you by David, the framer round the corner from my studio.

He's an enthusiastic allotment keeper, who tends his crops morning noon and night, and on his days off.

And he gives out terrific advice to my painting partner Lella who's lovingly started out on vegetable growing.
I find his knowledge fascinating, and I don't have a veg patch.

17 June 2010

be kind to your wheelie bin day

My husband has just been to put the bin out this morning, and come back in with watery eyes and a weak stomach.

Ooooo, I think that's a sign that Gill needs to clean the wheelie bin again.

As we don't have a tap in the garden, water chores like giving the plants a drink, & cleaning said  wheelie bin have to be done with heavy buckets.
Tony has a fragile back, so those donkey works remain my tasks.

I'm not sure when the wheelie became radio-active, it was OK last week I think, and the bin men haven't left me any hate mail.

So I've filled it with a 1:5 ratio of 1 squeezy of beach to 5 buckets of hot water.  

Next chore, good drying day so I'll hang out the white washing ............. it's all go


14 June 2010

rich dark gingernuts

Tweaked a little to suit my husband's savoury tooth, mixed in a food processor, and I baked these at 150 deg, but I see Celia's recipe is actually 150 on fan setting
These biscuits are easy, light, bitter with the molasses and truly delicious


375g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 inches grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
a little black pepper
20g dark brown sugar
175g salted butter, softened
1 egg
30g molasses

  • one at a time, put all of the ingredients together in a food processor with a plastic blade
  • bring together into a ball and chill in the fridge for 30 mins to 1 hour
  • roll into small balls
  • place evenly on baking parchment on a baking tray
  • flatten the tops noticeably

  • and bake at 150 deg for 30 mins, moving your biscuits around periodically for even colouring

  • Cool on a rack

9 June 2010

family climb up Snowdon for my brother Fraser's 50th

when I heard my brother Fraser was musing about climbing Snowdon, Wales to celebrate his big five-O, we jumped at the chance to join him.

And so did the remainder of our close family when they realised it was a flyer, save my twin Jackie, who's just started a new job unfortunately.
Tony and I have had several discussions about completing this walk but they've come to nothing.

So, our base is to be the delightful village of Betwy-y-Coed, Tony and I are in the local pub with accommodation in room 9a with a four poster bed, we push the boat out a little, called the Ty Gwyn, and everyone else is at the far side of town in a smashing self catering house together.

So, we're up at 5am on Saturday, the day of the walk, and we drive to Wales to begin.
Our timing is perfect, dropping our bags off, and heading out at 10am to meet up with the family party, who are raring to go at the foot of the mountain.

Mixed ability of walkers, 3 children & 8 adults has our choosing one of the popular ways up, the Miners track, once used by the copper miners of the area.
Ambling at first, so our party keeps together well, and we're walking and talking, resting to pick up the slower ones.

Then the track eases upwards, and the gentle incline means we progress at different levels.  No worries, our mobiles keep us in contact.

My brother Fraser seated in red & white and Julie his wife, with Tony 

And by no design, Tony and I lead the kiddies up, as we are at the front of the pack.  Turns out it's better that way, as there are no ifs or buts or negotiations.

This is where we explain to my nieces Lauren (10) Abby (12) & my nephew Jack (13 in 2 weeks) there is only one way, and that's up!

 our destination in the distance, it's not as far as it may look

An hour later, we have made the zig-zag intimidating ascent, and are upon the last leg of the walk up

Tony in blue and Lauren drinking water

Abby and Lauren, don't they look pleased with themselves

We see my BIL Chris on the track and he catches us up, in blue with Tony

and this is the ridge up to the summit, I've taken a panorama of the view we have, it's beautifully clear

And we make it to the top for a small selection of sandwiches and water as we wait for others
I can't believe it, there's a cafe and facilities at the top, I've never had that before.

My brother Fraser and the SIL Julie are next.  

And that's it, we text, and are meeting the others on the way back down the slopes.
That's a blow, they've got the snap.

Not long before we are all reunited

and we all work our way back down at our own paces.  Tony stays with the children way ahead, and I stay with the last of us, up the rear

My sister Karon in blue, and my niece Samantha in red

My niece Samantha, me with my sister Karon taking holiday photos

My sister Jane, chatting

and after 7-ish, we are in the Swallow for one birthday drink to celebrate

Tony and Jane - cheers Jane!

Our walking party complete, don't we look pleased with ourselves, far left to right

Tony, Jane, Fraser, Abby, Jack, Julie, Samantha, Karon, Chris, me & Lauren

2 June 2010

market trader for the day

I paid a fortune for those teeth  (I'm bottom left, in front of Lella's pictures)

On Bank Holiday Monday, the Suffolks in Montpellier is closed to traffic for their annual street fair, and peppered with bunting and trade stands from the local businesses, antique shops, our Fine Art School, food stalls, the local kitchen shop .............

& Lella and I have a market stall on the corner to expose our art work to the locals.
We've been painting little gems for some time in preparation, specifically trying to capture what this audience of street wanderers would want ................. and I can reveal, it's Marmite cards.

They sold like mad on the day, there was something about them that had so many stopping and musing about their love or their hate of the product.  Or how much their father, daughter or friends loved it or hated it.

I'm pleased I worked so hard now on my cards, as it brought more attention than the paintings I had produced

Here are some of the sketches and paintings we have on show, I'm to the right, Lella is to the left.

The portrait that you see here down in the bottom left is of Conrad, the son of the shop owner of Capability Brown, a garden design business in the Suffolks.
I take the painting down to his strawberry and cream stand a little later as I'd given it to him, and I have a few visitors coming back my way to find Gill Cox, the lady who'd painted it.
It really does look like him mind.

Here, have a book mark

Lella's bought a lovely new top from Jigsaw, and we muse together on the day that I should have bought the same blouse too, pretty isn't it


And I stand next to Tristram Stuart, author of Waste.
He explains his approach to food to me, about waste and conservation of energy in the cooking of food.
& his fruit sorbet product sells extremely well.  The cone vessel that the natural, bright ice cream is served in is made from dehydrated fruit pulp and very tasty it is too.  Far better than the usual cone you get. 

I reckon I could recreate that at home with a bit of thought.  I'd have to make them in the dying warmth of my oven or bbq, in concert with Tristram's waste brief.

And then my baking friend Joanna at Zeb Bakes arrives.  
We chat together with her charming husband Brian on her way up the fair, and we chat together again on her way back down the fair, just as my husband Tony arrives on the scene.

Lucky to get this shot without our lips blurring.

& how kind, Joanna buys me a present to bake my sourdough loaves in. 

I do so appreciate it when a sticky label lifts off in a oner.

And after a busy, sunny day at the Suffolks fair, it's time to go home.
Lella's sold 5 paintings,  I've sold 2, so this lifestyle will never make me rich, but I wouldn't mind living the dream after all.

We pack away our works and by 6:30 I'm sitting in the local pub with a cold foaming pint of lager talking over the moments with Tony.
I've got a Zizzi voucher in my handbag too, which runs out on this very day, so we put the planned steak sandwich on hold, and pop out for a bogof pizza rustica.

A fine end to the day.