Friday, April 15, 2011

Kitchen (mis)Adventures

Well, what a week in the kitchen. Naturally it’s still tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes and I now have a cupboard full of dried tomatoes, chutney, relish, pickles and a freezer full of frozen tomatoes. And they’re still coming! We have eaten tomatoes with everything and nobody is allowed to leave the house without at least one bag brimming with them.

But I also decided to try an bake some sourdough bread this week. Here I am, nearly 59 years old and never tried before. So I did a bit of research and thought to myself that it seemed pretty straight forward and gathered the flour and water and nothing else to give it a go. Well, you have to “feed” the mixture and wait for the magic. Hmm, the first bowl of “magic” ended up in the bin as it looked and smelled mouldy – not sour. But I was not going to give up and started another little batch of “magic”. This time I was excited to see the bubbles and a little bit of froth so I thought that we were in business this time! I had a very plain recipe from the web and set about to create the masterpiece. Well, maybe it’s not that warm in my kitchen but it didn’t seem to rise very much, even after leaving it overnight! Now I’m not known for my patience, in fact I think that when it was being given out I must have got bored waiting and left before I received my share! So after hours and hours I just bunged it in the oven, a very hot oven. The recipe said to leave if for thirty-five minutes but after peering through the oven door for the millionth time I decided to pull it out after only thirty minutes. It looked done to me – see below


However, upon cutting it was plain to see that this very dense loaf was not completely cooked in the centre. Bugger! M said that he was sure that it would be fine if we toasted it. So we did. But one slice was enough it was so heavy. So then I thought that I had better make some bread with yeast so at least we would have some edible bread in the house and I made these


The focaccia (spelling is not a good point either!) turned out very well and so luckily we didn’t starve this week.

Yesterday I decided to give the old sourdough “magic” another go and dragged the starter out, separated what I needed and gave it a feed and left it all day to bubble up. Naturally I had forgotten that I was going out to my book group last night, so after making up the dough with the starter and putting it in the bread making machine for it’s first mix, M was given strict instructions to “NOT TOUCH IT” except for turning off the plug and I would deal with it when I came home. Well, it was a good evening last night so I was a bit later home than I had originally planned. And yes, at 11.30pm there I was in the kitchen kneading this bread dough, which quite frankly, didn’t look as good and elasticy (yes I know that’s not a real word) as the first lot. But being positive I left it to rise overnight again. It’s still there, not rising. So I’ve started an ordinary rye loaf in the mixer to keep us going. Just in case. I am going to leave the sourdough all day and then bung it in the oven to see what happens. This could become a mini series……

M had also decided to have a go in the kitchen last Friday. I was going around to a friend’s place and he decided that with the surplus plums he was going to try and make an alcohol of sorts. This involved cooking the plums. So he filled my largest pot to the brim (we had a lot of plums), added water, aaahhh, put the lid on the pot, double aahhh, turned the heat to full power, Noooooo and then went out to do a little job in the shed! Need I say more? Apparently, (it was all cleaned up before I got home) when he remembered the plums they had escaped and were covering the stove top, the benches either side, dripped down through my recipe books onto the floor and through both drawers under the cook top. In fact I was cleaning a small river of plum juice from those drawers for a couple of days! The pot of plums was taken outside and left there until I peeked inside and saw the mould and insisted that it be sent to the compost heap! I also refused to wash the pot so I think it might still be in the shed!

I’m so glad that kitchen failures are something that can happen to everyone!

Happy weekend, we might even have a dry one after endless days of rain………



  1. Oh my goodness, disaster after disaster, you are not alone in the dead bread stakes. I've had loaves chucked to the chooks hanging around in the chook pen for 2 months before the rain had made it soft and edible enough for them. Had thought perhaps my loaves could have been used for an alternative building material seeing they too so long to break down. Best of luck with future experiments.

  2. Thanks Deb - haven't tried the latest experimental sourdough yet. Luckily I made another rye loaf just in case.