Baking Bread: no fancy equipment required

28 June 2018
When I first started baking bread I used what I had on hand. However, in the back of my head I was thinking I'd need to upgrade to some 'proper' equipment if I got into the swing of things.

I would often eye off different woven and linen lined bannetons. I researched lames and bench scrappers and all those things. I even looked at different bread bins and the best options to store my loaves.

Homemade sourdough.

Alongside my adventures in bread baking I also started to move towards a stronger connection to my values and how these underpinned my everyday living. A strong value for me is around reducing waste and conscious consumer purchasing. So, I started to question these ideas around what I thought I needed to bake bread. Now many years later I'm still just using what I have on hand.

I thought I'd run through some of the things I use. Hopefully this is useful for those out there doing the same to know that you aren't alone in not owning all the beautiful bread things. And also, for budding bakers I hope this shows that you can start right now, you don't have to wait until you get the right 'insert coveted baking item here' to get started.


Goings on in the garden: June

26 June 2018
This morning I stopped off at the community garden to take some pics for my post today and it was frosty: -5℃ overnight. So, as you can imagine things are growing pretty slowly in the garden at the moment. However, there are some exciting developments over the month that hint at spring harvests to come.

Frosty Red Russian Kale


Food and minfulness

24 June 2018
In my day job I talk a lot about eating mindfully, being aware of our physical eating cues, the importance of trust in our bodies and enjoyment of food. What I'm finding more and more is that mindfulness can be applied to all aspects of food and eating.

Mindfulness, to me, is about being present, acting with full awareness and removing judgement. As I continue to fine tune the values based eating approach of my life I find mindfulness an important and useful tool so I thought I'd chat about it today.

A cup of tea always provides a mindful moment ()


sourdough bagels: further bread adventures

21 June 2018
I declared 2018 the year I got my sourdough experimenting on. I wanted to try out new recipes and also to get a bit more of a feel for why some bakes worked well and otherwise, well, not so much. There has been lots of baking and lots of learning.

I've been trying out a few recipes but mostly slowly working my way through an awesome Christmas present: Artisan Sourdough Made Simple. I started with an everyday loaf and a cinnamon swirl () and then tested out one of the sandwich loaves (). I've also been baking her focaccia and some tasty thyme rolls (yet to be blogged). I haven't found a dud recipe yet.

But what I've been eyeing off from the start has been the bagels. I've previously made yeast based bagels and was intrigued to give sourdough ones a go. Let me tell you I wasn't disappointed.

Sourdough bagel success


Using up your savoury preserves

19 June 2018
Preserving up your garden bounty, foraging windfalls or market bargains is a great way to extend the availability of seasonal ingredients. Personally I find preserving a little addictive and each season I love to experiment with a few new pickles, relishes and the like.

If you too enjoy preserving your own or even just purchasing unique preserves on your foodie jaunts you might find a stockpile in the cupboard or a few half used jars in the fridge. There is only so many roast meat and relish sandwiches one can have so what to do with these pantry preserves? Here are a few ideas to give you some inspiration.

Rhubarb and cranberry chutney.


Easy Homemade Dry Cured Bacon

17 June 2018
Bacon is a much loved food product in the GGE household. Mr GGE in particular, is an avid bacon fan. His love is well known and he often receives bacon inspired gifts. One of the tastiest was a bacon jam and the most useful was, by far, a bacon making kit.

I had been pondering and researching (read: a lot of researching and even more procrastinating) making my own bacon but had not yet taken the plunge (how surprising!!) when the kit came into our lives. And suddenly all my excuses to make my own were gone. I gave Mr GGE a couple of months to give it a go and then I took matters into my own hands and put the kit to work.

It was a very simple process in the end and one that I have since replicated many times sans kit supply. More recently I've been a bit slack on making my own but this past week I got to it and we enjoyed the results for breakfast yesterday. Delish!

Homemade bacon on toast with avocado - hello tastiness!


Preserving olives three ways

14 June 2018
For many years I dismissed the idea of preserving my own olives. I had tasted several home made attempts over the years from others and was left unimpressed. So, I figured this was just one of those things that was better left to the experts.

All this changed when I tried a good friend's attempts a couple of years ago. These were delicious, clearly surpassing any other home made attempt I'd tried and rivaling many bought options. This, coupled with the free olives available for foraging in my suburb, spurred me on to give it a go.

I'm glad I did, as now I can tick one more item off the 'to buy' list and look to my own preserves for delicious and tasty olives. Here are three different ways you can take the plunge and preserve your own too.


Here and Now: June 2018

12 June 2018
Just like that it's June. The weather has shifted from chilly autumn into definite winter. The trees are mostly bare and their shed leaves collect around the garden (thanks mother nature for laying my mulch for me!).

Gloomy skies and (all but) bare trees)

It's hibernation time. I've shifted from the reflection of autumn to the feeling of being still. Most days find me wanting to curl up under my nanna rug on the couch with a pot of tea and a good book. Alas, the daily tasks still beckon no matter the weather, but there is a definite slower pace.


Garden Harvests

10 June 2018
Over the last couple of weeks I've been harvesting the last of the summer planted crops. As the weather shifts into true winter the harvests will be very few and far between so it has been nice to gather a few lingering provisions.

Here are a few pictures of what I've been gathering from the garden:

Single white carrot and chioggia beetroot.


Crackers and Crispbreads: Made from scratch

07 June 2018
I'm a lover of crackers and crispbreads. Growing up I so crispbreads were my go to lunch option. And of course no cheese and antipasto platter is complete without something crispy to spread the goodies onto. So on my made from scratch adventures my attention eventually turned to crackers.

I've tried many recipes and techniques over the time of honing my cracker skills. I've used the pasta maker to roll really thin ones, I've experimented with seeds, herbs and flours, and I've played around with sizes and thickness. I've found what works for me as far as fitting the making in around life and also what gets enjoyed the most in our family.

Homemade crackers.


Jam muesli balls

05 June 2018
When I first started preserving at home I didn't really make much jam. I don't really eat it much, besides on fresh scones with a liberal serve of cream, so I tended to focus on chutneys and relishes. I don't know when the switch occurred but I realised that jam need not be limited to simply spreading on things and that it was actually a great way to preserve my fruit for use in cooking.

Many baking recipes call for jam, my favourite being the traditional jam and coconut slice. However,  I've also successfully adapted many recipes to use jam in place of dried or fresh fruit. These muesli balls are a great example and are so quick and easy to make that they are a staple snack option around here.

Jam Muesli Balls

The original recipe called for dried fruit, sugar and honey so I figured I could sub these out for jam or marmalade. After a little tinkering I found a recipe that was a winner. It's so simple and quick that I can mix it together when the oven is on for the bread and stock up on the snacks. Even if you don't make your own jam It's a great recipe to use up any lingering jars of jam in the fridge.

Jam Muesli Balls

1 cup plain flour
2.5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup seeds and/or nuts
100g butter
100g jam or marmalade

Method: Melt your butter and jam together. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and roll into balls. Bake in a moderate oven until golden.

It doesn't get much easier than that really.

Do you make your own jam?
Do you have any recipes to share that use up jam or other preserves?

P.S Apologies for lack of post over the weekend. The best laid plans went awry a little so I cut myself some slack and gave myself the weekend off.


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