Cairns eats

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to travel to Far North Queensland. Over four days, I travelled as far south as Mission Beach and north as Port Douglas. Not only was I blessed with the most incredible warm weather, but the food was absolutely delicious!pho n thai cairns

Before I venture off to somewhere new, I always try to plan where I’ll eat, so I’m not rushing around at the last minute grabbing any old meal for convenience.

I arrived in Cairns on Monday just before lunch, and before my first appointment, so I had time for a quick bite. After reading great reviews on Trip Advisor, and craving Asian flavours, I went to Pho N Thai. I’ll tell you now, Pad Thai is one of my favourite Thai dishes and this one rated quite high! I really liked the deconstructed presentation; it was almost as if I was putting my own Pad Thai together in Thailand.

castaways mission beachThat night I was staying very close to The Esplanade so I was spoilt for choice. After checking in, I asked the receptionist where she would recommend eating for dinner; a foodie herself, we got into quite a detailed chat about all the options.

I decided on the Courthouse Hotel, as their seafood offering was excellent. I went all out and had the seafood grill with salmon steak, grilled calamari and prawn skewers. I was so impressed that the chef cooked the prawns on a BBQ plate so hot and so quick that I could eat the shell as well; I’ve only done this once before at a Teppanyaki restaurant so I was thrilled to try it again!

Important note, if prawn shells are boiled you cannot eat the shell, but if they are cooked on the BBQ or deep-fried then it’s completely safe – and delicious! If you ever get a chance to eat the whole prawn, I recommend it!

For breakfast castaways view mission beachthe next day, before my drive to Mission Beach, I checked out the second best café in Australia – Blackbird Espresso by Coffee NQ. I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t have a breakfast menu (I mean, what kinda top café doesn’t serve breakfast?!). However, they definitely did wow me with their coffee and unapologetically simple house made muesli with natural yoghurt and local honey. Perfect.

Fortunately, during my stay at Mission Beach I had a wonderful meal at the Castaways Resort Restaurant, which had the most perfect view of the beach. I hope you can understand that when it gets this good why bother venturing elsewhere? I ordered the ‘Aussie Surf n Turf’ – seared kangaroo fillet with Moreton Bay bugs, broccollini and Israeli couscous. It was elegant, and tasty. They didn’t disappoint for breakfast either; I had a perfectly cooked omelette with ciabatta and my standard latte.

bucci restaurant port douglasOn my last night, I felt once again blessed in the absolutely stunning Port Douglas. I last visited as a kid and it was better than I remember. It was by absolute chance that I was able to catch up with my Aunty and Uncle from regional NSW for dinner, while they were on holiday. Knowing I am a foodie, my Aunty spotted a great Italian restaurant – Bucci Ristorante Italiano – earlier that day and decided to dine there. And it was fantastic! The service and atmosphere complimented the relaxed Port Douglas vibe. My Uncle and I both ordered the Spanish mackerel with zucchini and truffled potato salad and it was extremely tasty. My Aunty ordered a deconstructed Lasagne, she had chunks of braised beef hugging the homemade lasagne sheets and it looked divine. Don’t you hate food envy (not that I’d swap, I’d just want both)!

bettys bohemian beach cafe port douglasBefore my lunchtime flight, I got up extra early to squeeze in one last breakfast on the popular Macrossan Street precinct. After my standard search (more on that another time…), I chose to eat at the very trendy Betty’s Bohemian Beach Café. It was visually stunning; the tables were decorated so intricately and welcoming. I chose the chia and quinoa bircher museli, and although it was a little dry for my liking, it had lots of flavour. The coffee was divine too, this lover of coffee was very happy. They used the same blend as Blackbird Espresso by Coffee NQ – so how could I be disappointed!

That wraps up my wonderful trip to Far North Queensland, I would go back in a heartbeat as there are so many more places I would love to explore and restaurants and cafes I would love to eat in.

Where have you been in Far North Queensland? Where did you eat?

Mel Sign Off-01-01

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Cooking school adventure

Mel cookingLast week, Karis and I attended a cooking class at Vanilla Zulu Culinary Adventures to touch up on our ‘gourmet’ cooking skills. Although we both pride ourselves with our cooking abilities we were curious to experience a class and broaden our repertoire.

Funnily, not only was our teacher a Mel, so was her assistant. At times it was confusing having three Mels in the same room!

As soon as we arrived we knew the teacher was all about food bling! The school’s ‘shop’ of food items available for purchase, included dried culinary lavender; nigella seeds; black sea salt flakes; different oils, like truffle oil; and more, which were all beautifully packaged.

To get our tastebuds warmed up we learnt a thing or two about presentation…and giving your plate some personality! It’s amazing how you can turn the humble bread and olive oil into an extravagant affair! We got familiar with truffle oil, Parmesan, black sea salt flakes and Vanilla Zulu’s house blend of dukkah.

cooking - mainThe main was a braised pork belly, which we had to get in the oven straight away. We added a variety of herbs, spices, apples and pears and threw it in the oven, so while the pork was slowly roasting we could get on with the sides.

To accompany the dish we had ceci mash (ceci is another word for chickpea), which was mixed with cauliflower and turmeric. Boy, this chef loves turmeric! She often referred to it as ‘fake tan’ to give the meal some colour! We also had a lovely capsicum and chilli puree.

By far the most enjoyable part of the evening was the bread making. The recipe was for a lavender and rosemary focaccia, but somehow we got carried away and created a cream cheese, herb and garlic infused flat bread. It was hilarious that we deviated so far from the original simple recipe though it taught me a thing or two about how versatile bread making can be. Oh, and did I mention it was delicious?

cooking - tart

For dessert we made a simple chocolate tart with a very short chocolate pastry. To be creative we added some sweet ras el hanout (Moroccan spice mix) to give the tart some personality and it definitely did (though, I’m not sure if it was for me). We plated the dessert up with a variety of things and I don’t think any two plates looked the same. We had chocolate sauce, hazelnut spread, Persian fairy floss, hand spun toffee shards, biscuit crumbs and nuts. We both had a lot of fun plating our dishes up and I think you’ll see that in the photos.

While we didn’t walk away with any new skills, we did gain inspiration and we know how to bling up our food!

Do you have a favourite cooking school in Brisbane?

Mel Sign Off-01-01

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A Kiwi favourite, Afghan biscuits

I’ve mostly grown up in Australia. Born in Adelaide and have been in Brisbane from the age of eight. However, there was a time (to be honest, I don’t remember much of it) when I lived in New Zealand. With a French father, how does that work you ask? Well, he married a Kiwi. Then the two of them moved to Western Australia to work. When Dad was passing through Australia on his way home to France in the early 80s, he was asked if he wanted to move to Australia. Bit different to today’s scenario.

My parents settled in South Australia until I was about four. Then, they decided to pack up and move to New Zealand. I should probably ask Dad why one day, it never occurred to me to ask until right now.
Edmond's Cookbook
Given I was in New Zealand when I was really getting into the whole talking thing, there are a few things I say now that are not very Australian, like ‘tinfoil’ instead of ‘alfoil’ and I pronounce tuna as ‘too-na’ as opposed to ‘choo-na’. Small things, but occasionally people pick them up. When I started my current job, I was stoked to find that my office mate was from NZ and I could reminisce about the goodies available over there and not here, feijoas in particular.

Mmmmmm feijoas.

Where was I?

Oh right, reminiscing about food. So, my mother had this famous Kiwi cookbook called the ‘Edmond’s Cookbook’. Edmond’s is a brand of baking products like flour etc. and that book is to many New Zealanders a holy grail of cooking and baking. While there are a few things in there I really love, like marshmallow, the shortcrust recipe, the buttercake…my all time favourite are Afghan biscuits – probably NZ’s most popular biscuit. It’s available in pre-packaged form, but they are definitely much better homemade.
Afghans - step by step
Obviously the name is a bit odd because it doesn’t make a lot of sense for an Afghani biscuit recipe to be one of NZ’s most popular biscuits. I wasn’t too sure of the origin so I did some Googling and found this great blog post, where the author notes that the recipe has been around at least since the 1940s edition of the Edmond’s Cookbook. They also mention the many many theories of where the name may have come from, including a fairly rascist one being that the biscuit was named as such because of its colour (I guess that was just the kind of thing to happen in those days). My favourite though, is the idea that whoever named it simply thought it sounded exotic.

Sorry, I just realised that I haven’t told you what an Afghan biscuit is. It’s very chocolatey, with crispy cornflakes in it and topped with chocolate icing and usually a walnut. It’s a super easy recipe and really tasty! Sometimes I use it to replace the base of a boring slice.

Here’s what you need to make them:

Ingredients

  • 200gm softened butter
  • 1/2 sugar (I use vanillin sugar)
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups cornflakes
  • Chocolate icing
  • Walnuts (optional)

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift in flour and cocoa
  4. Fold in cornflakes (you don’t have to be too gentle)
  5. Roll spoonfuls of mixture into balls
  6. Place on baking tray and gently press down
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on your over – I know they are almost done when I can smell them
  8. When cold, top with chocolate icing, and a walnut (if desired)

You can use whichever chocolate icing you prefer. This time around, I didn’t have icing sugar so I melted some chocolate and added a teaspoon of ricotta to make a ganache.

I hope you enjoy these biscuits if you get around to making them! Would love to hear what you think of them!

Karis Sign Off-01-01

 

 

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Silver screen food

Many years ago I was having a terrible time looking for a present for a special friend (yes, Zanna it’s you!). She always picks the most wonderful gifts for me, so it had to be something chosen carefully. Knowing she is a foodie like me, and an avid book reader (like me too, this is part of why we are friends), I chose the book The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais as I’d read a great review in a blog.

When she had finished the book she insisted that I read it as well because she enjoyed it so much. The book sat on the bookshelf (life always gets in the way) for a little too long for my liking until I had the courage and time on an overseas holiday to sit down and actually enjoy it.

moviestillWhile the book wasn’t one of my favourite reads, I really enjoyed the way the author described the food and the location it was based in – France! It really drew out the descriptions to make you feel like you were there and actually tasting Hassan and his mother’s creations.

It wasn’t until 2014 though when The Hundred-Foot Journey became a movie that I really fell in love with it. The colours, the scenery, the FOOD! I took a non-foodie male friend with me to see it and even he loved it! I so vividly remember walking out of the cinema with not only a huge smile on my face but inspiration to try more Indian and French food.

The story starts with a tragedy which forces an Indian family to move to London to start life afresh. After many years struggling to fit in and find a way, Papa decides to drive their small family van across Europe to find their new home. They stumble across an absolutely picturesque country town in France and decide to open an Indian restaurant directly across the road from a highly acclaimed Michelin starred restaurant. You will laugh, you will weep, you will be delighted with the colour and the scenery on offer, and most of all you will crave the wonderful food that this upcoming chef creates on his culinary journey.

I hope I have inspired you to watch my favourite foodie movie! Here are a few more that I really love:

2. Chef
3. No Reservations
4. Julie and Julia
5. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
6. Chocolat

Perhaps you have already seen them? I would love to hear your thoughts and what your favourite foodie movie is!

Mel Sign Off-01-01

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A few of my favourite things

We all have a few places we return to over and over again, whether it’s the atmosphere or one particular dish. I like to try as many things as possible, but there are a few establishments I’ll go back to regularly:

Yim Thai, Yeronga
These guys do a killer Pad See Ew! Skip the usual Pad Thai when you’re craving Thai and give this other top notch noodle dish a go. I first had it in Thailand when I did a cooking class and it totally changed my mind about Thai food. Pad See Ew is a wide flat rice noodle dish with meat of your choice, egg, plenty of vege, and soy sauce. Even though I’d like to replicate, I haven’t managed it yet!

Kim Khanh, Darra
I love going to Kim Khanh for lunch or dinner. It’s probably gone through a few owners in its time, but the food is always tasty and really good value! You’ll pay about $9 (last time I was there) for a bun cha, whereas a lot of places charge $12 or more! They do a really great pho too!

Boundary Street Markets, West End
I’m terrible at making decisions when it comes to food. Whenever I take a long time, my fiancé reminds me of the time I made him walk around Shibuya, Japan for 45 minutes in the freezing cold only to end up back where we started at a little restaurant across the road from our hotel. Anywho, I love that I can get what I want at the Boundary Street Markets and he can get what he wants and no decision has to be made on one cuisine or one place to dine. Not to mention, everything I’ve eaten so far I’ve really enjoyed!

Pennisi Cuisine, Woolloongabba
This isn’t a restaurant or cafe, but I think it’s where a lot of them do their shopping! The variety is amazing and you can find almost anything despite the size of the shop. If you’re after fresh goodies (so much cheese!), they have a huge range to choose from and if you’re after some probably hard to find items, you can search through the shelves and likely find it. I could easily spend an hour here and still not want to leave.

Zum Kaiser Restaurant (The German Club), Woolloongabba
It’s so good that it’s probably bad for me. The food at Zum Kaiser is seriously good and the portions are massive. Their butter parsley potatoes are to die for and they know how to make crackling unbelievably crispy. Even though I know I should try something different, I inevitably end up with the same thing: pork belly – moist meat, crispy skin, delicious potatoes and yummy sauerkraut.  Oh yes!

King of Kings, Fortitude Valley
This is my go-to for Yum Cha. Dad used to take us for Sunday lunch every now and again and when I was old enough I started introducing my friends. It became an annual thing to go for lunch on my birthday (until I got a 9-5 job, that is). A long lunch, with many courses is the best way – the trolley comes around, you take one or two items, eat, chat, drink some Tsingtao then repeat. My favourite dish is the tofu skin rolls, so delicious! It’s actually been a while, so I should go soon!

Dello Mano, Newstead
To be honest, it’s probably better for my wallet and my waistline that I don’t make it here as often as I’d like. Not only do Dello Mano make the most amazing brownies you’ll ever eat, they also do other sweet things and savoury meals (gotta balance these things out) that are just as good. I’ve only ever had great food and service here, and I often go home with a box of brownies to share (yes, I do actually share). For the record, my favourite Dello Mano brownie is the Honey Caramelized Macadamia.

Do you have a favourite place you like to go to often?

Karis Sign Off-01-01

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My kitchen staple, Jamie’s Ministry of Food

Jamie's Ministry of foodAs a foodie, one of the things I get asked most often is, ‘what is your favourite cookbook?’, or ‘what cookbook would you recommend?’. For me, that cookbook always has and always will be Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food.

It is definitely my most used cookbook. It has pages stuck together from trying out so many of the recipes, and bits of desiccated coconut in the creases. But more importantly, this book has improved so many of my cooking techniques, and if ever I’m stuck for ideas it is always the book I reach for first.

Some other kitchen companions of mine include The Commonsense Cookery Book and Margaret Fulton’s Encyclopedia of food & cookery.

When I was younger, my Nanna Pat gave me a copy of The Commonsense Cookery Book which was her go-to while she was growing up (yes, this is the edition I still have on my bookshelf!), and I still do occasionally refer to it, though it’s completely falling apart! It is excellent resource for all those basic sauces, good old-fashioned chocolate cakes, jams and preserves, and 70s style casseroles.

The Commonsense Cookery bookAs for Margaret Fulton’s Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery…Warning! This is a thick (and heavy) book which takes up plenty of room in your bookshelf. This book is so important in my collection as it revolutionised how I cook my scones. Unfortunately I do not have a family recipe that I go to, or use lemonade, or crazy amounts of bicarb and baking powder to make it rise, my simple trick is to use Margaret’s recipe which is just self-raising flour, milk and butter! It is so simple and it has never failed me! Go on, give it a go!

So back to Jamie’s Ministry of Food.

Whether you’re after a quick and easy meal, or need to impress family, friends or that special someone you can find it all in this one book. It also has so many everyday recipes, to which Jamie has added his special flair, that makes them not only really achievable but taste fantastic! Some of my favourite dishes are the Quick Salmon tikka with cucumber yoghurt (page 28), Pot-Roast Meatloaf (oldie but a goodie, page 161), Lasagne (seriously easy and so tasty, page 169) and lastly, a consistently good gravy (best you will EVER make, page 205).

The reason I would recommend this book to anyone is because of the value of the contents. Even a foodie like me will appreciate his basic ‘how to make perfect light and fluffy rice’, and what to do to ‘jazz it up’ a little more. He has a great concept for easy salad dressings which can all be made in a jar and great salad recipes, packed with flavour, to suit the dressings.

The Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of food and cookerything that gets me the most with this book, and my main selling point when recommending it, is the roast section. Jamie explains how to cook every type of roast to PERFECTION! I kid you not, the reason I am famous for my Sunday Roast Pork is thanks to Jamie. I will now always stack my meat on a selection of veggies to increase the flavour of my gravy (which is another thing I am known for, thanks to Jamie).

So if I haven’t sold it to you already, why not check some of the recipes from the cookbook that are available online.

So, what’s your favourite cookbook or go-to kitchen companion? Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Mel Sign Off-01-01

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Review: Smoked Paprika, Bardon

Flavour.

And lots of it.

That’s how we’d describe the breakfast we had at Smoked Paprika last weekend.

Smoked Paprika - kale, pumpkin, caramelised onion, Danish fetta, poached eggs , Bearnaise, pistachio dukkah on zucchini fritters We went for brunch at around 10am, so it wasn’t overly busy and the food came quickly, which was good for us because we were both famished. That’s the worst part about breakfast/brunch out – waiting.

The list of goodies on the menu made it hard to choose just one dish each, but on recommendation from the waitress (and a little spying on other diners’ plates) Karis chose the kale, pumpkin, caramelised onion, Danish fetta, poached eggs , Bearnaise, pistachio dukkah on zucchini fritters, and Mel chose the baked eggs with chorizo, smoked hock, beans, shallots, pecorino cheese and toasted sourdough.

The smells from our plates were heavenly. We probably looked funny passing plates to each other so we could sniff each other’s food.

Smoked Paprika - baked eggs with chorizo, smoked hock, beans, shallots, pecorino cheese and toasted sourdoughFor the zucchini fritters, it was layers of goodness crowned with perfectly poached eggs and creamy Bernaise. Of course, a sprinkle of paprika. The pumpkin and onion gave the dish a savoury sweetness, the Danish feta presented little pops of tang and the saltyness of the dukkah finished it all off perfectly. I’m not a huge kale fan, but it added just a tad of bitterness to make the dish whole.

The baked eggs were a truly hearty option, creamy from the pecorino cheese overload and it had the perfect amount of smokiness from the chorizo and ham hock. The best part was soaking up all the cheesy goodness with the lightly toasted sourdough at the end.

The service was fine, water at the table as we sat down and drink orders taken immediately. We did read a review stating the lack of service meant the writer probably wouldn’t return despite the dishes being very tasty. Perhaps they took some advice from that and changed the way they did things?

The verdicts

Karis:

Any establishment that offers a really good all day breakfast, as Smoked Paprika definitely does, is a winner in my book.

Mel:

Attention to detail and bringing a different offer to the sometimes stale breakfast options around town means this café is one to remember.

Karis and Mel-01

The details
Smoked Paprika
Open: Daily, 6:30am – 3pm
65 Macgregor Terrace, Bardon
http://smokedpaprika.com.au/

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The One with the Jam

Remember when you where a kid and your Mom would drop you off at the movies with a jar of jam and a little spoon? – Joey Tribbiani (Friends, s3, e3)

Ok, no one ever dropped me at the movies with a jar of jam, but sometimes I wish that could have been me! Jam is amazing, and extraordinary jam is like ambrosia.

My grandmother (on Dad’s side) can make jam out of everything. Whenever I visit France and stay with her, I could seriously go through a jar of jam in two weeks because I’d be slathering it on brioche every morning. And, I don’t believe in scrapings of jam, it’s got to be thick, baby!

I quite enjoy making jam – my favourite is probably apricot, followed by cherry and then plum. Then the others, of course! When I was in France at the beginning of the year, I found an apricot and lavender jam and was so excited! I didn’t get to try any of it though, because in the process of packing I dropped it! I wasn’t even angry about having to clean up, just really disappointed I didn’t get to try the jam (I may have contemplated sticking my finger in the mess on the floor before wiping it, but the fear of broken glass made me change my mind).

I’ve been thinking about making a strawberry jam since my order of dried rose petals came in the post, but sometimes it’s just not worth it at $2-3 a punnet if you’re doing a big batch. This weekend, the strawberries were about $1 a punnet and it was then I knew that it was jam making time.

I bought six punnets, which worked out to about 1.3kgs once I’d hulled them. I didn’t work to an exact recipe, only what I knew about jam – fruit and sugar and a bit of tartness. Here’s what I did:

1.3kg strawberries, quartered
500gms sugar (about half was my stash of vanillin sugar that I keep in the cupboard)
Juice of two lemons (I squeeze into a sieve to make sure no pips find their way in)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tab dried rose petals

I put the ingredients into the pot and on a low heat for about 30 minutes or so.
Then, I popped it on medium to get things moving for about 15 minutes.
Then back on low for another 30 minutes or so.
Make sure you’re stirring regularly.

Ideally, your fruit should be plenty broken down by this stage and it’s then up to you when you stop the cooking process – some people like a runny jam and others like it be quite set. I’m in the middle somewhere, so I just keep checking the mixture by picking some up on the wooden spoon and letting it slide off – if it comes off thick, it’s ready. You can also do soft drop tests etc. Be careful not to overcook, it can become quite dark and the taste isn’t awful, but you can tell it has been overdone.

The result was a lovely jam that wasn’t too sweet. The vanilla notes weren’t too strong, but you can definitely tell it’s not just strawberry and sugar. I was disappointed though, at the lack of rose scent. I’ll probably try with fresh petals next time!

I’ve never bottled jam, though I’d like to give that a go one day. I usually portion it up and give the jam to friends and family, keeping just the one jar for myself. I took some to work for a colleague and she told me it was was the best she’d ever had, which made me very happy.

Are you a jam fan, what’s your recipe?

Karis Sign Off-01-01

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My sourdough obsession

My first successful sourdough loaf!
My first successful loaf!

I blame Hugh!

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall that is, of River Cottage fame.

My obsession with sourdough began a few years ago, but life always gets in the way of the things one actually enjoys doing. Every now and again I would promise myself that I’d get a sourdough starter going and then some other extra-curricular activity that I’m involved with would take priority and the starter would go back to the bottom of the to do pile. I even bought the River Cottage Bread Handbook to get me moving, but even that sat on my shelf for at least a year.

So why is it Hugh’s fault? Well, I LOVE River Cottage.

The inside of my first successful sourdough loaf.
The inside of my first successful loaf.

I could watch it all day and just get goosebumps thinking about making all my food from scratch, living on a farm and eating ridiculously good quality food. One day, he made sourdough, and to me, that was something I felt like I could actually do (no possibility of my own farm for now anyway). I’ll no doubt go into more detail of my River Cottage obsession at a later date.

A couple of months ago, I finally did it. I mixed a cup of flour with a cup of water and stuck it in my cupboard. The next day, I excitedly opened the container to see if there was anything interesting going on. And then, much like the tamagotchis of my youth, I was thinking about my new pet all the time and getting excited about feeding it every night.

 

Long sourdough loafIt took a few days, but ‘something’ began to happen! The smell wasn’t overly attractive (but I was warned about that) and it was fascinating to see the changes that occurred every time I opened the container to feed it. Some days it smelled like acetone (mmm yum, right?), some days it smelled like a over-ripe banana and some days it just smelled ‘not quite right’. But, I kept going and now my focus has turned from getting the starter right to getting the bread right.

I joined a couple of Facebook groups full of passionate sourdough bakers (both professional and amateur) for inspiration and tips. I think joining was both good and bad, I get answers to my questions from some seriously talented bakers, but I also see photo after photo on my Facebook feed of what I call ‘sourdough porn’ (some days I’m salivating on my way to work as I flick through while sitting on the train), that makes me want to eat bread all day every day.

Inside the long sourdough loafI’m definitely no expert now and I’m not sure if I can put in the time and effort required to become one, but I think I’m getting pretty good at creating the weekly bread loaves for my household.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to create a sourdough starter, this is a sign for you to start now. The River Cottage instructions are pretty straight forward:

Whisk up 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour in a bowl that you cover with a plastic bag or clingwrap. Pop it in the cupboard and leave overnight. The next day, remove half of the flour/water mixture and replace again with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour, pop back in the cupboard. Then repeat…a few times.

The author of the handbook, Daniel Stevens, talks about getting to know your starter – the smells and the look specifically (I think). Olive sourdough loafYou’ll figure out when it needs to be fed more often (that’s usually when a layer of liquid forms on the top – it’s called hooch and don’t even ‘test’ it because it’s pretty nasty). Given the book is written by someone in the UK, I’m curious as to what will happen when Brisbane summer comes about and it’s super humid (I guess that’s a topic for a future post!).

When I wasn’t sure what was happening, I’d just google ‘the symptoms’ and work out what to do next.

When the starter gets quite frothy, it’s ready to use. The recipe in the River Cottage Bread Handbook calls for about one ladle of starter for the loaf, though some bakers say it’s better to use only 1-2 tablespoons. I don’t think I’m practiced enough to say what works best just yet, but the ladle measurement works for me so far!

Inside the olive sourdough loafIf you’re keen to get into breadmaking, this is the River Cottage book I’ve been going on about. If you’re into Facebook groups, you might like this one or this one.

Karis Sign Off-01-01

 

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