Tuesday 27 March 2018


Ever since I was gifted my sourdough starter four years ago (thanks Celia!), I have been baking bread. I'll admit it, I've had some shockers during my bread baking journey - and yet every single loaf I've turned out I've been ridiculously proud of. I still can't believe that I thought learning a new hobby with a newborn would be a smart idea. Actually, now that I think about it, I also can't believe that my little Attila the Bun will be four this year... not so little and bun-like anymore!

So years later, I'm still baking regularly. I can say with complete honesty that my loaves aren't perfect - they're rustic and not at all fancy, but they're edible and friends ask me to bring them when we have gatherings so I must be doing something right!

I like making regular sourdough loaves and I'm a big fan of fruit and nut loaves (I recently posted a pineapple and date loaf which I'd love to make again with some hazelnuts included). I can also do a decent focaccia which seems to be a hit.

Lately, I've started making extra discard on purpose, and using it to branch out from just regular *bread*.

Here are some sourdough crackers that I made using the King Arthur flour recipe as a base. They turned out great and way better than store bought crackers. I can't believe it took me so long to make them when I've heard so much about home made crackers. I love to go really heavy on the herbs and not be shy with the salt on top. These are a huge hit with everyone I've shared with.
Here's another shot with them next to some simple chia loaves that I baked to take to work. My co-workers have been asking for a loaf for awhile so I was happy to oblige!
Finally, this is my latest creation - sourdough English muffins. I was so ridiculously excited to bake these that I got up at 4am on a weekday, snuck out of bed so the kids didn't realise I'd left (they are very snuggly, clingy and warm so this was hard) and crept into the kitchen to finish off the baking after letting them rise overnight. I didn't use a single particular recipe for these, but an amalgamation of a few that I found online.
I didn't want to use dairy milk so I subbed in almond milk instead and I think they turned out pretty good. Next time I'll cook them a little longer so they brown more, but I didn't hear any complaints when I served them up warm for breakfast. I'm sticking all of the leftovers into the freezer so I don't eat them all, they are that tasty!
So, to all the bloggers who have been so generous with their knowledge and inspirations... literally thank you for giving me my daily bread. Thanks for what I've taken to calling my breaditation moments - when I sneak out of bed early, when the house is all quiet and still and I can knead and shape and bake in the silence. Then, if I've managed to do it quietly enough, I can enjoy a cup of coffee while the house is still asleep and watch the sun rise while the baking bread smell wafts from the oven. It's my favourite part of the day!

Monday 5 March 2018

What's in my kitchen, March 2018

It feels like the year has only just started, and yet, here we are at the beginning of March. It's Autumn! Where did all the time go? I feel like I can no longer say that my daughter has just started school. The year has no longer just begun. Where does the time go?! Having said that, I'm looking forward to the onset of colder weather. We have been having an unusually long spate of hotter than usual weather, which is playing havoc with my sleep, my garden, my laundry schedule (due to lots more storms than usual), and my moods. Cold weather to me means lots of comfort foods, not waking up in a sweaty heap, and fun snuggly clothes. Anyway, here are a few of the things that have been occupying my kitchen lately.

In my kitchen is...

Scrolls for my preppie's lunch. We've had some trial and error packing her school lunches, but these seem to be a consistent winner, and they're super easy to make. I have Ellie help me make them too, so I think that provides extra incentive for her to eat them since she had a hand in their creation. They're just store bought puff pastry (because I do not have the time or patience to make my own), spread with filling, rolled, sliced and then baked until puffed and golden. She is a particular fan of this version, which is pizza sauce, diced ham and shredded cheese filling. Her second favourite is a simple vegemite and cheese filling.
In my kitchen is...

While on the topic of school lunches, these biscuit bars have also been a hit. I found the recipe in a recent Coles magazine that was a lunch ideas special. Ellie was immediately drawn to the sweets pages (typical!) and as soon as she saw these, insisted that they needed to be made. They are not vegan, as they have egg and milk in them, but they seem to be a hit. I tweaked the base recipe slightly, reduced the recommended sugar, subbed in some healthier options (some wholemeal flour, swapped the brown sugar for coconut sugar etc) and then added some mini m&ms and dark chocolate buttons (her request). I cut them smaller than the magazine suggested, so I got 24 biscuit slices from a single batch. They freeze well and are super easy to pop into lunch boxes too. 
In my kitchen is...

Pierogis! My friend invited us over for a pierogi making session (yes, that's also the bottom of a wine glass in the background, because, wine!). Pierogis are Polish dumplings and, I can say from personal experience, are absolutely delicious. We made a huge batch with two different fillings - cheese potato and truffled mushroom with cabbage. My favourite ones were the mushroom ones, but both versions were amazing. We cooked and ate some fresh after making many trays, and I was sent home with a doggy bag of leftovers and some frozen for later consumption.
In my kitchen is...

A fruity loaf of sourdough that I experimented with, not really expecting that it would turn out as well as it did. I cleaned out the pantry and unearthed some dried pineapple and dried dates that needed to be used. I added these to the mix, as well as some mixed spices and it turned out absolutely amazing... not overly sweet, but very fruity and a little reminiscent of hot cross buns due to all the spices I added. If I make it again, I think some nuts, maybe hazelnut, would be an awesome addition.

It's delicious served plainly with Nuttelex - who needs to go out for breakfast?!
In my kitchen is...

Some jars packed full of all kinds of things, hidden away for six weeks or so to turn into fire cider. As well as sourdough and kombucha, I've started fermenting other things as  well. Fire cider is something I saw at a fermenting workshop many months ago, and was recently reminded of again. I thought it would be something nice to have on hand as an immunity booster coming into the colder months, so I finally got all the ingredients and put it together. In my jars are garlic, ginger, onion, chilli, peppercorns, rosemary, tumeric, lemons and galangal, all topped off with apple cider vinegar. I'll update how it works out in a month or so, but if the initial smell is anything to go on, it will be delicious!!
I'm sending this to Sherry, of Sherry's Pickings for linking in to her monthly In My Kitchen link up.


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