Saturday, November 28, 2009

Suzy bakin' bread part II

Way back in January I wrote this post on my tips for bread making. As I said before it comes from LOTS of practice. People are usually amazed when I say that I bake ALL of our bread, even when working 4 days a week and running around after two active squidgets I still manage to bake our bread. Now I'm not saying this because I'm a big brag, but I want to let y'all in on how I manage to fit it in my life.

Enter the breadmachine, now now before you all stop reading and get all snobby about it let me continue. In my early days of breadmaking I was forever disappointed with the bread turned out by the machine, it was way too dense for ours, or anyone's liking. Plus I'm married to a boy of French descent so bread is REALLY important here. I kept persisting, simply because I'd bought the damn machine and wanted to use it. I then discovered that if I used the machine to mix, knead and rise the dough, then transfer to a proper black bread tin the quality of the loaf improved out of sight.

So that's how I fit it in...I (like most of you) haven't got the time to knead, watch it rise and all of the carry on that goes with baking real bread. I'll leave that for when I retire.

So to the point of the post. Kuka asked me a long long time ago to post about this pumpkin bread. Despite what I've said above, this is one loaf that I let cook in the machine, because the loaf is always light and here is the recipe stolen from my Breville instruction manual.

180ml warm water
2 tabs oil
1/2 cup pumpkin, cooked and mashed
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups of bread flour
1 teaspoon bread improver
1 1/2 teaspoons milk powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast

If using a bread machine, put in the machine in that order and bake on a basic setting, ie for a white loaf.
It's really yummy with cream cheese and smoked salmon!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Glass Cleaner

What do you use to clean your glass and mirrors? The last few years has seen an explosion of alternative cleaners some of which I have embraced and others not.

Here is my recipe and it works a treat:

1 part Methylated Spirits
1 part White Vinegar
2 parts Water

Mix up in a spray pack and away you go.......happy cleaning!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Three generations of crochet...

I've always been in love with crochet jug covers...even as a child when I used to wear them around the house on my head. I don't think it's the nostalgia for afternoon tea parties, or even the head wearing that I love...I think I have always admired them as a little piece of whimsy. You know something you need, but don't really need either.

Well last night I finally finished my first one. When I say finally, I've had a few attempts at trying to create a more modern version using various yarns, including bamboo, nope didn't like them, and to be honest my crochet skills weren't up to using a fine yarns, like cotton until recently. But last night I finally reverted back to mercerised cotton and used a pattern from the treasure trove of nanna pattern books that my mum had picked up over the years at fetes and sidewalk stalls and voila...the white jug cover is one that I had my dear old ma make for me only a few years ago.

Now this amongst my mum's craft belongings which like so many others seem to be waiting to be replicated or completed. It's much heavier than the other two, with lots of intricate beading, which seems entirely sensible for use outdoors so it doesn't get blown off the jug or pitcher that it is covering.

There is a lot of crochet trims for tablecloths, hankies and all sorts of goodies, but alas I can't ask her it's origin or indeed what she intended to do with it :-(. I presume (most likely actually) that this jug cover was done by my grandmother and mum was wishing to copy it...a project that I will definitely complete for her (when my skills are up for it).

BTW...just you think my raspberry cover is something people would buy? Like on etsy or something? Just thinking out loud...

Monday, November 9, 2009

A foodie confession...broad beans!

I must admit I always felt a bit confounded by ye ol' broad bean. I mean I love the look of them all shiny and green sitting above a toasted piece of sourdough or pasta dura....just like the guy does from River Cottage. But, I had never tasted, cooked or grown them ever, ever before.

That is before last weekend when my first batch were ripe for the picking. Assisted by my able undergardener I began to change my food existence. I consulted a cookbook by Raymond Blanc, known round here as Ray White. My mate Ray had me peel the pods, extract the beans, blanch said beans for 5 seconds then refresh under cool water. Then a tiny incision in the skin and out popped the glorious bean. A bit of a fuss, but well worth it.

So what did I do with the beans? Cooked them in a mixture of cream, garlic and parsley of course! And it was yummy. Since then I've just steamed them with our normal greens and we've enjoyed them so much I think I will be growing them from now on. Plus it's nice to have a crop that grows over winter and enjoys the cold as much as we do!


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