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Archive for June, 2012

You know how sometimes you come across folks who are so nice and so hardworking that you really want them to do well?

That’s how Pete and I feel about Metin Aydin and his wife Moya.  Their Turkish arts and ceramics business started as a stall at Orange Grove Markets and has now expanded to a permanent store in the Sydney suburb of Crows Nest.

Every six months of so, we pop in to see what new stock they have on offer.  It’s always such a feast for the eyes…

Pete was determined that we needed a new tablecloth.  He’d had enough of the dodgy bit of fabric that I’d found at Reverse Garbage which didn’t quite make it to the edges of the table.  Moya, bless her, unfolded and spread out half a dozen different tablecloths for us to look at, then waited patiently as we tried to imagine the intricate designs in our cluttered dining room. We ended up buying one that matched the paint colours in the room…

The shelves of the store are packed with brightly coloured plates, bowls and figurines, ranging from the affordable to the expensive. All their products are made in Turkey, and the ceramic pieces are hand painted with foodsafe glazes…

I looked at this plate a dozen times, but couldn’t justify the $50 price tag for the use I’d get out of it.  It is a one-off, handpainted piece, slightly larger than a dinner plate…

I did succumb to buying a few bowls though. At $15 each, I think they’re very reasonably priced, and I’ll often buy them as gifts.  The fish designs are new since our last visit, and I was quite taken with them…

The nicest thing about shopping at this store is that there is never any pressure to buy – Metin and Moya are completely happy for people to browse.  Mind you, it’s so mellow that I often end up losing an hour in there and coming home with a bag full of purchases…

If you get a chance, please visit Turkuaz Motif at either their store or one of their market stalls.

I don’t have any affiliation with the business at all – I’m just a very happy customer who wants them to do well so that I can keep buying their wares.  Please say hi for me if you pop in!

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Turkuaz Motif
Turkuaz Motif have now closed their retail store, but can still be found at various Sydney markets.
Details can be found on their Facebook Page.

Metin: 0413 638 591
Email: info@turkuazmotif.com.au

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I’ve been really busy of late – it’s that time of year when everything gets a little frantic. I haven’t had time to write full posts for all the things I’ve been making, but wanted to share them with you nonetheless…

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I made a double batch of our very easy almond florentines

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A chick pea, potato and purple kale curry, using a curry gravy base made according to The Curry Guy’s recipe…

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I’ve been experimenting with a tamarind chutney recipe.  It’s not quite right yet, but the failures have all been very tasty…

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I combined the very moreish Darling Mills cornichons that we bought at Eveleigh Markets with mixed olives from the Cheese Shop.  When we were much younger, Darling Mills was our favourite restaurant, and the complimentary olives and cornichons were always the first item on the table…

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Finally, we made and parbaked eight pizza bases for our neighbours Bernie and Jane. Making these at home is a doddle and sooo much cheaper than buying ready made – the bases work out at about 20c each, and freeze perfectly…

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Hope you’re all having a fabulous week!  Please excuse me if I haven’t dropped by your blog for a visit recently – hopefully we’ll come up for air sometime soon!

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Eveleigh Markets have become a Sydney institution.

Set up in old railsheds in nearby Darlington, these Saturday markets offer a wide (and expensive) range of gourmet produce.  We usually shop at Flemington, but we try to pop into Eveleigh every couple of months or so to check out what’s on offer.

Our most recent visit was prompted by a tweet announcing that new season, locally grown (NSW) truffles were available last Saturday.  The owners of the stall were knowledgeable and friendly, and didn’t seem to mind at all that I couldn’t afford their last remaining truffle at $170…

We bought potatoes for $5 a bag (about 1½ kilos)…

This stall dedicated solely to dog treats always makes me smile. We really do live in the first world…

I was very chuffed to meet my tweetpal, the gorgeous Ester from Country Valley Milk

We purchased her blue cheese, unfiltered organic apple juice and some fabulous Pepe Saya handmade butter, made from Country Valley cream…

Ester’s stall was next door to Thirlmere Poultry – a small local (NSW) company breeding and supplying an assortment of free range fowl.  They have chickens, ducks and a few game birds on offer, as well as duck fat and offal.

We had an opportunity to chat with owner John Meredith today, a highly respected 35 year veteran of the Australian poultry industry, and a man with a great passion for the welfare and management of his flocks.  He advised us to always wash poultry before freezing it, to remove any pooled blood and to protect against salmonella. It was a joy to be able to buy free range birds that had been well cared for and gently processed…

Here is part of today’s haul.  We also bought a tub of Darling Mills marinated cornichons, some organic chestnuts, a French sorrel plant for the garden, and a 2.5kg free range Meredith duck…

Eveleigh Markets are well worth a visit if you ever have a couple of hours free on a Saturday morning.  Make sure to take plenty of cash!

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I’ve been experimenting with my new Römertopf loaf pans (yes, plural, I now have two) and have found that they work particularly well with a sourdough version of Joanna’s white bread formula.

As I’ve talked a few of you into buying the pan, I thought I’d share this recipe as well (this quantity makes one loaf)..

  • 200g active sourdough starter (at 166% hydration, ie. fed at a ratio of one cup bread flour to one cup water*)
  • 700g white bread/bakers flour
  • 375g water
  • 15g extra virgin olive oil
  • 10g brown sugar
  • 13g fine sea salt

* Note: if you’d like to try this recipe with a 100% hydration starter, reduce the flour to 675g and increase the water to 400g.  If my maths is correct, that should work!

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the starter, water, oil and brown sugar, then add the flour and sea salt.  Mix the whole lot together with clean hands to form a firm dough, squishing the ingredients together to ensure all the flour is incorporated. Scrape the dough off your fingers and cover the bowl; allow to rest for 30 minutes.

2. Uncover the dough and give it a quick knead in the mixing bowl. I only knead for about a minute or so, which is all it takes to get the dough quite smooth and elastic.  Cover the bowl again and allow it to rise until doubled in size (in our Sydney winter, my starter is quite sluggish and this can take 6 – 8 hours).

3. Prepare the Römertopf loaf pan by spraying the inside lightly with vegetable oil.  Do NOT preheat the oven.

4. Turn the risen dough onto a lightly oiled bench and shape it into a loaf.  Place the dough into the greased loaf pan and cover with oiled plastic wrap or a shower cap.  Fill the sink with enough hot water (ours is approximately 40C in temperature) to come up to just below the rim of the loaf pan.  Now place the pan into the water and allow the dough to rise again for another 30  minutes, or until it has filled the pan and risen nearly to the top.

5. Remove the pan from the sink, and slash the top with a serrated knife or razor blade.  Place the wet, dough-filled pan into a cold oven and then turn the heat up to 200C with fan.  Bake for 40 minutes, then remove from the oven and carefully turn out the loaf from the pan (I wear my welding gloves to do this).

Warning: make sure you place the empty loaf pan onto a folded tea towel or other gentle surface, as it will crack if it goes onto something cold at this stage!

6. Drop the heat to 175C with fan and return the naked loaf to the oven for a further 20 minutes, sitting it straight onto the rack to allow the sides and bottom to brown up. The overall cooking time will be a little variable depending on how long it takes your oven to heat up.

This is a very big loaf – about 1.3kg in weight – and it’s been perfect for school holiday lunches.  The crumb is tender with a little elasticity, and the crust is thin and crunchy.  Best of all, it makes my Pete very happy, as it reminds him of the bread his grandmother used to bake when he was a young lad visiting her farm in Mudgee!

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When life gives you lemons…make lemonade.

When life gives you just one lemon…make Pete’s lemon cordial!

As those of you who join us regularly will know, we’d been waiting and waiting and waiting for our very first lemon to ripen. It took months to finally turn yellow.

We were pretty chuffed when we finally harvested it! It had a thick rind and a respectable quantity of tart, acidic juice. It was also completely seedless – I’m not sure if that’s a product of the variety, or the plant’s immaturity.

We deliberately chose to plant an old fashioned “bush” lemon, rather than the prettier, thin-skinned varieties.  We’ve been told that the thick rind and pith offer better insect protection, which is important as we don’t use chemical sprays in our garden (although we do have to treat the leaves with organic Eco-Oil in an attempt to keep the leaf miners at bay)…

To properly showcase our one solitary lemon of the season (there are others growing on the tree, but they’re all small and green), we made Pete’s One Lemon Cordial…

  • 1 lemon, juice and rind
  • 1 tablespoon (4 teaspoons) powdered tartaric acid
  • 2 cups (500ml) boiling water
  • 2 cups (440g) white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon essence (optional)

1. With a peeler, remove the lemon rind in strips, making sure to avoid the white pith. Place this in a large heatproof jug and pour over the boiling water.  Stir well to release the essential oils.

2. Add the sugar and stir well.  Then add the tartaric acid, the unstrained lemon juice (pips and all is fine) and the lemon essence (optional, but we usually add it).  Stir well, then strain into a clean, sterile bottle and store in the refrigerator.

We mix our lemon cordial with either plain or soda water, usually at a dilution of one part cordial to five parts water.  I’ll often add a dash of bitters as well.

It’s a cheerfully refreshing drink!

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And just for fun, here’s Kate Ceberano’s One Note Samba which I was humming as we made the cordial…

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