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Remember my cheat’s focaccia dough?

I’ve discovered it also makes a wickedly good pizza dough. The quantity of dough in the original recipe makes four generous pizza bases…

It’s not traditional, but it was both delicious and easy to shape. And it’s a good way to use up surplus sourdough starter! ♥

Have you heard about B Corps? If not, they’re worth reading up about.

Traditionally, businesses operated with a bottom-line focus, making decisions solely to maximise profitability.

B Corps are a new wave of companies which focus on both profit and purpose – taking into account the impact their decisions have on their workers, the environment and the community as a whole. They are companies which attempt to operate as sustainably as possible, pay their workers fairly, and ensure that their actions benefit others rather than just their shareholders. The certification process is, by all accounts, rigorous and can take up to six months to complete.

Here is the description offered by their website:

Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.

B Corps form a community of leaders and drive a global movement of people using business as a force for good. The values and aspirations of the B Corp community are embedded in the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence.

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We have a surprising number of B Corps in Australia, which is pretty wonderful. You can find out more about them here. This short video from the Australian website gives a good overview…

. . . . .

I first found out about B Corps when I discovered Elvis and Kresse.

I wrote a bit about this company last year and I continue to find them incredibly inspiring. In 2005, Kresse Wesling discovered that all of London’s decommissioned fire-hoses were being sent to landfill. The rubber hoses were still in great condition, but wear and tear in even a small area can render them no longer fit for active duty.

Kresse and her partner Elvis decided to rescue all of them. Over 200 tons worth. They did this by creating a company which manufactures belts and luxury lifestyle accessories – bags, luggage, folios, notebooks and more. Their operations are based in an old mill in Kent, they pay their workers properly, and they donate half of their profits from their fire-hose products to the Fire Fighters Charity. Yep, you read that correctly, and they’ve extended that to all their rescued resources…50% of their profits go back to charities associated with those products.

E&K have recently expanded into rescuing leather, including the 120 tonnes of leather offcuts which Burberry expect to produce over the next five years. They even make their own packaging materials from recycled paper tea sacks. You can read about the materials they rescue here.

The more I read, the more smitten I became with them. So for his last birthday, I begged Pete to let me buy him a fire-hose belt. He’d been looking for a replacement belt for some time, so it wasn’t a frivolous purchase. It wasn’t cheap either – nor should it have been given that it was made by hand in England – and it was outside his usual colour palette. But it would be a statement piece, I told him, that reflected our strong views on sustainability and rescue.

It arrived in an envelope made from a recycled tea sack…

The case it came in was made from a rescued print blanket. Both the packing envelope and the case were made at the mill in Kent…

I didn’t want to waste the printing blanket, so I gave it a third life by turning it into a small coin purse…

And Pete? He put the belt on…and hasn’t taken it off since. If anything, it seems to have brought about a change in the colours he’s willing to wear, which is a very good thing in my opinion…

If you’d like to know a bit more about Elvis and Kresse, you might enjoy this video. I’ve posted it before, but it’s worth putting up again. I watch it whenever I need an inspirational nudge for a new reuse project…

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And circling back to our original conversation about B Corps – Kresse recently wrote a very succinct post about them on her blog. It’s definitely worth a read! ♥

I adore Korean Kimchi Sundube Jiggae (Kimchi Stew with Pork and Tofu), especially when I get to make it from fridge leftovers!

The one we made last week used up about-to-expire tofu, a pork fillet that we’d defrosted but not used the night before, some seriously ripe kimchi, and the last of our spring onions.

Best of all, I was able to cook it in my ttukbaegi clay pot…

The recipe I use comes from Maangchi’s website – there’s a video as well. Definitely worth a try if you like hot Korean comfort food! ♥

I have a thing about ponchos.

I love them.

I probably love them more than hats.

And I love hats.

Ponchos let you secretly wear a blanket when you go out and get away with it. They let you overeat at a dinner party and undo the top button of your jeans without anyone noticing. You can throw one over your pyjamas when people drop in unexpectedly. And they keep you warm and cosy, while leaving both hands free to crochet or stitch.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I own well over a dozen ponchos. I have several that Maude crocheted for me…

Over the past year or so, I’ve picked up a couple of vintage suede ones from the 1960s…

In addition, I’ve sewn a stack of them following these truly brilliant instructions from Threads Magazine.

I’ve made them out of vintage silk kimonos..

…old kantha quilts…

…repaired embroidered Indian shawls like the one below, and just about every pashmina I’ve ever owned…

My favourites though – the ones that take me from the supermarket to casual drinks with girlfriends – are made from hemp shawls that I bought from the markets years ago. They’re getting a little soft and shapeless these days, but they’re still incredibly comfortable – perfect for travel wear.

If you’ve never owned a poncho, grab an old pashmina out of the drawer and give it a go – it literally only takes one seam. Here’s a link again to the instructions.

As Noel Fielding said in The Mighty Boosh.. “It’s impossible to be unhappy in a poncho!” ♥

Many years go, when I started my sourdough journey, an experienced bread baker advised me to always “slash with panache”.

The problem is…I’m bollocks with sharp things. (Also with glue, but that’s a story for another day).

Over the years I’ve tried everything from going commando and holding the razor blade between my fingers, to using a variety of different lames (blade holders). At the moment, I’m alternating between a gorgeous Monkey Wire holder that darling Emilie sent me for Christmas (if you’re in Australia, you’ll be able to buy these from Maree at Simply Sourdough when they’re back in stock)…

…and a French style lame with a handle…

My clever friends produce stunning designs on their loaves with these simple tools. Beautiful, leafy, swirly patterns that all seem to hold their shape and bloom in exactly the right way. I bow deeply to their expertise and artistry.

My attempts, however, look like volcanic eruptions.

So a couple of years ago, tired of stinging fingers from fine razor cuts, I gave up. These days, I usually make just one deep slash – with panache, of course – on each loaf. Often it’s straight down the middle, which is quick, simple, and allows the dough to rise well…

Recently though, I’ve gone back to making a curved side slash down one side at a flat angle, cutting under the dough rather than straight through it. If I get it right, I end up with a wave you could surf on…

I know this is fanciful, but my latest batch of rye loaves reminded me of the Sydney Opera House…

Do you bake bread? How do you slash your dough? Do you use a razor blade or a serrated knife?

Bread baking is such an interesting pursuit. We all end up with delicious loaves, using almost the same ingredients, but along the way, we discover the techniques and timing which seem to work just for us. I guess that’s why everyone’s loaves are so unique. It’s a wondrous thing! ♥

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