Wednesday, 26 June 2013

pita bread

until yesterday i'd never made pita bread but as i was cooking a greek meal for my children i thought it was time to give it a go..i didn't start making the dough 'til quite late in the afternoon and it was really cold but fortunately i had a fire going so i was able to cosy the dough up on the hearth to prove..

pita bread
adapted from here
makes 8


125 gms organic wholemeal flour*
250 gms organic white bread making flour*
1 tablespoon (tbs) honey**
2 tbs olive oil
1 teaspoon (tsp) yeast
1.5 tsp salt (i use crushed murray river salt)
filtered water


~ mix all ingredients with enough water to make a shaggy dough
~ leave for 30 minutes and then mix again briefly
~ remove bowl from the stand mixer, cover with either oiled cling film or a damp tea towel, and leave to prove until doubled
~ tip dough onto a flour dusted bench and knead briefly
~ divide evenly into 8 pieces
~ shape into rounds and leave on the bench for 10-15 minutes for the dough to relax
~ place a baking stone or tray (i used a cast iron frying pan) in the oven and heat the oven to 220 deg c
~ roll each piece of dough into a thin round 
~ place the dough on the cooking surface of choice, cook for 3-4 minutes by which time the bread will have puffed up, turn over and cook for a further 2 minutes

*  i bought the organic wholemeal and white lauke flours from red beard bakery in trentham..they don't sell pre packaged bags of the wholemeal flour because of it's rapid deterioration rate but they kindly offered to bag up any quantity i a result i don't know its protein level but the white flour has 11.5%..  
** i used manna gum honey that i bought from a local producer in trentham  

i served the pita with lamb fillet souvlakia, baked potatoes and olives in lemon and oil, a roasted capsicum, garlic, chilli and dehydrated tomato (my own) concasse and a home grown mixed green (cos and oak leaf lettuce, rocket, watercress, nasturtium and coriander and parsley leaves) and flower (cerise carnation petals, purple and white violets and yellow, white and purple pansies) salad with a pomegranate dressing..  

Thursday, 13 June 2013

what's cooking?

barley malt syrup biscuits
these not too sweet but crunchy biscuits were made for an afternoon tea last week
i found the recipe on the label of the tin of syrup 

roquefort, prosciutto and quince paste pizza
the base is made with a mix of  00 flour, bread making flour and boiled potato
i cooked the base for 5 minutes at 275 deg c added the topping and cooked it for another 4 minutes
the cheese was too strong (i was warned that it would be but i didn't listen)
next time i will use gorgonzola 

chocolate custard
served in brown enamel mugs
made with my gran hazel's custard recipe with the addition of 1 tablespoon of cocoa

organic amaranth, sour cream and lyle's golden syrup bread
the amaranth gives the bread an interesting crunch
i'm going to plant some of the seeds because i've been on the lookout for amaranth seeds for ages
the greeks use amaranth leaves to make 'horta' and it's my favourite cooked leafy green 

i'm flying to sydney on monday and then my brother adam and i are spending about a week driving up the new south wales and queensland coast
my brother tim is going to fly in to join us somewhere along the way
my other brother david would have come too but he is overseas at the moment

it will be a very special trip

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

hand made bird cards

hand drawn with pen, ink and pastel on original vintage music scores 
named on the back along with a title reflecting the story portrayed  

even though they're time consuming i love making these bird cards..i often personalise them to reflect the personality, or an interest, of the recipient..for instance i've drawn shells on the sea shore (along with the bird) for someone who loves the beach and on another i did a sunset..

Sunday, 2 June 2013

barley and lemon sourdough

i generally make about one sourdough loaf a week unless i have guests and i'd been thinking about adding barley to this week's loaf since i enjoyed it so much in a soup i'd made a while ago..i added lemon because i felt it needed an acid to balance out the richness of the other ingredients and because lemon barley water has such a lovely flavour..

barley and lemon sourdough
tea with hazel

ingredients levain

1 tablespoon (tbs) active starter
100 gms bread flour
125 gms filtered water

ingredients dough

225 g levain
300 gms white wheat flour
50 gms rice flour 
50 gms oat flour (i processed oat flakes until they were very fine)
100 gms cooked barley
1 tbs barley malt extract (i used saunders' barley malt extract)
1 1/2 tbs salt (i crush murray river salt flakes)
finely grated rind of 1 large lemon
filtered water

method levain

~ mix the levain ingredients, cover, and leave until very active (i refrigerated mine overnight, took it out in the morning, and it was ready to use by midday)

method dough

~ in the bowl of a stand mixer add flours, barley, malt extract and levain and mix with enough water to make a shaggy dough
~ autolyse for 45 minutes
~ add salt and lemon, mix briefly, rest for 15 minutes 
~ mix briefly again, remove the bowl from the stand mixer, cover with oiled cling film or a damp tea towel and leave until well risen
~ remove the dough to a flour dusted bench and repeat two gentle stretch and fold cycles with 15 minute rest intervals
~ shape the dough and rest until a finger pressed into the dough leaves an impression
~ slash and bake with steam at 250 deg c (conventional setting) for 30 minutes, reduce heat to 195 deg c and cook for a further 15-20 minutes


~ visually this loaf doesn't look very different to many other loaves that i've made but texture and flavour wise is a different story altogether..the crust is quite dense and crunchy and the crumb is open and soft but with plenty of body..even though i knew i'd added the lemon to the dough it came as a bit of a surprise when i first tasted it but, for me, it far, of all the bread i've made, this is my favourite 

~ i wanted to add barley flakes to the loaf but i couldn't find any time!

roasted fennel and potato soup garnished with fennel leaves
and chilli oil

i think soup and bread is a perfect winter's meal..what do you think?

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