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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Having two freezers and three pantries takes the concept of a “thrown together” dinner to a whole new level. Add in a reasonably productive veg patch full of leafy greens, and we’re good to go!

Last week, I went excavating in the freezer and found half a kilo of pork mince, some homegrown basil pesto that we’d made in 2018, frozen Parmesan, and a box of fresh rye bread crumbs (not dried). Rather than feeding leftover bread to the chickens and worms, I’ve started blitzing them up in the food processor and stashing the crumbs in the freezer.

The fridge turned up a week-old fennel bulb, in pretty near perfect condition thanks to its beeswax wrap, a carton of Jane’s eggs, a bottle of Lou’s home-made passata, and a jar of Graeme’s dark chilli paste (seriously, my neighbours are the best). In the pantry, we had a tin of Italian tomatoes and a packet of spaghetti. Dinner was sorted!

I made meatballs using the pork mince, breadcrumbs, grated onion and an egg, then bake them in a covered dish on a bed of sliced fennel and onion, topped with the passata, a little chilli paste, and the tinned tomatoes. It was baked with the lid on for 25 minutes, then with the lid off for a further 10 minutes. Pete thickened the sauce a little before serving it on spaghetti. We’ll often cook dinner together, each preparing a different stage of the meal, and it really is the best thing.

The pasta was topped with some parsley from the garden and a spoonful of the pesto. It was seriously so good. And it was wonderful to be able to eat such a simple meal that brought with it such a sense of connection and economy and community. I realised after we’d stuffed ourselves that dishes like this really are the taste of home. ♥

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Being in lockdown has been a difficult time for everybody, but it’s also given us an opportunity to reconnect at a deeper level with our wonderful neighbours.

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a weekend neighbourhood bake and I’m keen to keep it up, even though we’re all starting to get busy again. Each family only gets a small portion, as there are so many people to share with, but it’s a lovely excuse to check in with my neighbours on a Saturday morning to see how everyone is travelling.

Last weekend I baked chocolate chip cookies in a slab. These are the lazy version of Pete’s favourite and boast a wicked 3:2 chocolate to flour ratio. I wrap each cookie square individually, as the oozy chocolate makes quite a mess. It helps to have a mountain of rescued-from-landfill food safe paper from Reverse Garbage

Each packet contained just four cookies, but I’ve learnt that a token of affection doesn’t need to be huge. On the contrary, I’m always happier to give something small – that way no-one feels like they need to reciprocate. There was enough to share with eight households, plus extra for Pete and Small Man. Happy days! ❤️

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Pizza

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! ♥

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Kimchi Sundubu Jiggae

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! ♥

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Slash with Panache

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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