Monday, 23 July 2012

medjool date, walnut and saffron sourdough

when i bought some medjool dates today i hadn't thought of using them in the sourdough bread that i'd started making early in the morning..on my way home from shopping i started to dream about date delicacies but i resisted the idea of making anything sugary and buttery in order to avoid putting temptation in the path of 'the cook with questionable strength of character'..but after all that self talk i was able to justify adding some of the dates to half of my sourdough along with walnuts and saffron..and then i returned to the shops for cheese to go with the bread!

a roquefort like french blue cheese and la luna holy goat cheese with medjool date, walnut and saffron sourdough for dinner

medjool date, walnut and saffron sourdough


1 tbs sourdough starter
100 gms bread flour
125 gms filtered water

final dough
250 gms levain
200 gms warm filtered water
350 gms white bread flour
50  gms wholemeal flour
1 1/2 tbs crushed murray river salt
6 medjool dates cut large
10-12 walnut halves
a large pinch of saffron threads

method levain

day 1
~mix the starter with the water and flour and cover and leave for 16 hours

method final dough

day 2
~put the levain in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water and mix well
~add the flours and mix until well combined
~autolyse for 10 minutes
~add salt and mix for 2 minutes
~rest for 10 minutes and mix again for 2 minutes
~remove the bowl from the mixer, cover the dough loosely with greased cling film and place somewhere warm and draught free for 3 hours 
~remove the dough from the bowl onto an oiled bench, divide in half and add dates, walnuts and saffron to one half and knead to incorporate with the dough
~knead the second half
~cover the dough on the bench with the greased cling film and leave for 10 minutes
~knead for a few seconds and cover with the cling film and leave for 10 minutes
~shape each piece of dough into an oblong sealing the seam well
~place each piece of dough seam side down between the floured folds of a tea towel, cover with cling film and leave for 2 hours or until a finger pressed into the dough leaves an indentation

~preheat a baking tray and place a dish of hot water in the oven
~dust each loaf with flour and score each loaf down the centre 
~dust the baking tray with a little rice flour and place each loaf on the heated tray
~bake the dough on the bread baking function at 220 deg c for 25 minutes spraying the oven sides with water several times during the first 10 minutes of baking
~lower the temperature to 180 deg c and bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until cooked
~turn the oven off, remove the dish of water, and leave the bread in the oven with the door ajar a few inches for 5-10 minutes

this post submitted to yeastspotting

Friday, 20 July 2012

frugal friday

i rarely cook roasted meats but earlier this week i ended up roasting a half leg of lamb..that's because i ran out of time to mince it as i usually do and i don't like freezing meat..there was a lot of cooked meat left over so today i minced it and made it into two shepherd's pies..i added onion, carrot, homegrown celery and chilli, stock made from the bones and worcestershire sauce..on top i dolloped a creamy mash which i dotted with butter prior to cooking..

there's plenty of stock left over after using some of it in the meat base for the pies..after straining it through muslin i will make some soup over the weekend..

i wilted rocket leaves, stinging nettles and rapa leaves to make a warm green salad to have with the pie that i dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and murray river salt..

i hope you have a safe and happy weekend x

Sunday, 15 July 2012

this week..

i picked my crabapples which was a bit late in the
season and many had rotted on the tree and
so i only had enough for one jar of jelly

i bought these tulips for $5 from a roadside stall
in the dandenongs on the way home from a very
muddy bushwalk 

i picked these violets which are growing profusely
along my drive..they smell divine 

i picked lavender

i decided to pick all of my chillies and i will now dry them

i made a new soap with oats and lemon myrtle

i bought  a t2 teacup at the op shop for $1

i hope your week was a happy and productive one too..x

Friday, 6 July 2012

stuffed capsicums

up until fairly recently i'd thought of capsicums mainly as a summer vegetable but i've noticed my neighbours capsicums ripening throughout winter..this probably shouldn't have surprised me since every winter my chillies do the fact i have dozens of them ripening on my chilli bush that need to be picked and then dried for use over the next twelve months..i've also noticed that they're really cheap at $2/kilo at my grocer's..although having said that i looked at the price in safeway today and they were $8.95/kilo..

today i bought 6 lovely thick fleshed flat bottomed capsicums which were perfect for making stuffed capsicums..i used to make stuffed vegetables quite regularly years ago but i've overlooked them in recent fact i can't remember the last time i made them..i'm so glad i've rediscovered them though because they're cheap and easy to make as well as delicious..

stuffed capsicums (yemistes piperies)
this is a recipe that i've adapted myself over the years from many recipes 


6 thick fleshed red capsicums
150 gms minced lamb or beef (i minced my own lamb)
1 medium onion cut fine
1/2 cup short grained rice uncooked
700 mls tomato puree
1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
2 tablespoons currants
1/2 teaspoon (tsp) powdered allspice or to taste
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
1 tsp salt flakes or to taste
1/4 tsp chilli flakes 
1 1/2 tsp sugar
olive oil
5 medium potatoes skinned and cut into quarters lengthwise


~cut the stalks from the capsicums, trim the back of the stalk, remove seeds and white pith from the inside of the capsicum and wash well
~in a frying pan cook the onion in olive oil until translucent
~add meat and brown
~add rice, currants, parsley, spices, salt and pepper, chilli, half of the tomato puree and 3/4 cup of water
~cook over a low heat stirring occasionally until most of the water has been absorbed
~place 1/4 tsp sugar in each capsicum and then fill with the meat and rice mix
~replace capsicum lid on each capsicum
~place capsicums in a baking tray, add potato wedges, the remainder of tomato puree and a 1/4 cup of water 
~drizzle potatoes and capsicum with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
~cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 180 deg c
~remove foil and cook for a further 45-50 minutes or until the capsicums are well browned and the potatoes are cooked

serve with a green salad

have a happy weekend..x

Thursday, 5 July 2012

op shop finds

these vases don't seem to be popular at all..i've purchased them at different times and places over the last few
weeks for about $3 each
i was very excited when i found this brand new japanese retro tea cost $'s a really good quality enamel 
i bought these grapefruit and lemons at a local op shop today for $2
each winter an elderly woman from gippsland picks bunches of jonquils from her property
and drives all the way to melbourne to deliver them to my local op shop where they are sold
for $2 a bunch..they've been sitting on my kitchen bench for 3 days now permeating
 the room with the most delightful scent

yes..i found two..this is a slightly smaller version of the teapot above and cost $3
two non stick cake tins in this lovely soft blue cost $1.50
i love cherries so much that i just had to get these..only .50c each
i bought this made in england johnson bros bowl because i want to cook souffle in keeping with my retro
 inspired cooking phase..i haven't made one for cost $4..

happy fossicking op shoppers! x

Sunday, 1 July 2012

cumquat marmalade, sultana and cardamon bread

it's that time of the year when i start thinking about making cumquat marmalade again because my little tree has been blinking it's ripening orange orbs at me every time i venture into my garden..the problem is that i still have a few jars left over from last year that need to be used and i know that if i make a fresh batch of marmalade i won't want to eat the older stuff..

i was out of bread today and as per usual i planned to make my 'in it goes bread' but as i assembled the ingredients and proceeded to make the bread it morphed into a cumquat marmalade, sultana and cardamon fruit loaf happened because the marmalade whispered in my ear from the pantry and i listened..and then a few other ingredients decided to join in..  

cumquat marmalade, sultana and cardamon bread


250 gms atta flour
250 gms white bread making flour
1/2 sachet yeast (3.5 gms)
1 egg
20 gms melted butter cooled
1/2 cup cumquat marmalade
1 teaspoon (tsp) salt
1 tsp powdered cardamon
1/2 tsp powdered all spice
1 tsp powdered coriander
1/2 tsp powdered cloves
1/2 cup sultanas
enough cold organic full cream milk to make a sticky dough


~place the flours, yeast and spices into a mixing bowl
~add the marmalade, butter, egg and mix for 1 minute with enough milk to form a sticky dough
~rest for 10 minutes
~add the salt and mix for 1 minute
~repeat the rest and mix cycles once more
~remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with cling film, and leave for about 2 hours (less in warmer weather)
~turn the dough out onto a flour dusted bench, add the sultanas, and do 3 stretch and fold cycles
~form into a ball and rest for 15 minutes
~repeat the stretch and fold cycles and resting twice more
~shape the dough into an oblong and place between the folds of a flour dusted tea towel
~leave to prove until an indentation is left in the dough when pressed with a finger
~dust the dough well and slash down the centre
~place the bread in a 220 deg c preheated oven with steam and bake for 20-25 minutes
~reduce the temperature to 180 deg c and cook for a further 20-25 minutes
~turn off the heat and open the door of the oven a few inches and leave the loaf for 5-10 minutes
~remove the bread from the oven to a cooling rack


overall i was happy with the spicy not too sweet flavour and light moist texture of this bread but i would have liked discernible pieces of citrus skin so i think i would prefer it to be made with a chunkier i'm going to have to come up with another use for the rest of my cumquat marmalade..

i hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend..x