Wow, can you believe it’s July already and officially just two weeks until I start back at work in a more permanent sense. No more emergency teaching and two weeks to enjoy my child-free, work-free days. Then we’ll see how it all works for the four of us. I’m excited, but also quite uneasy about this new stage. But before we get there let’s do the weekend wrap.
It was been bitterly cold and wet today in Melbourne, but thankfully we started with reasonable weather on Saturday morning. As it was a rare fifth Saturday of the month none of my regular market haunts were operating so I had to hunt a little for a farmer’s market that was running. Thankfully I found one, the Booronodara Farmer’s Market in Hawthorn. It was definitely one of the largest and most diverse markets I’ve come across, quite possibly because it was the only one going in the area on that particular Saturday. They also had a lovely local choir singing which gave it such a nice, community feel. It must have been a good one because I ran out of money long before I ran out of things I wanted to buy – I set myself a limit on these outings otherwise I tend to go a bit over the top. My best buys were a jar of red gum honey from Boort (I was once offered a teaching job in Boort, it just past the middle of nowhere, well as much as you can get in Victoria) and had a lovely chat to the bee keeper who was quite surprised I knew where Boort was. The other was a free range chicken from Milawa (the roasting variety not an actual live chicken) which I have big plans for. For me I worry about the chicken and pork we buy at most butchers and supermarkets, I worry about the life that animal endured as well as what went into the animal to make it that big at a relatively young age. Besides all that, it surely has to taste better if the animal is a bit older, free to eat a natural diet and live the life designed for a chicken or a pig. Anyway, stepping down from my soap box, I was just pleased to see some actual chicken rather than just eggs so I snap one up (and at half the price I’ve seen Saskia Beer’s free range chickens for in Leo’s).
Sadly I had to leave behind a wonderful looking rhubarb plant, the dried apricots I usually buy and some grass fed beef (though they actually didn’t have the cut I was after, you need to get in early apparently).
I had a little bit of time to myself on Saturday afternoon, which I spent reading Michael Pollan’s In the Defence of Food which is very interesting and has made me question pretty much everything I’ve ever heard about healthy eating. Though his opening lines “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” is pretty much my own philosophy on eating. The key word there being “food”, he means not something that includes an ingredient list designed by scientists. I’ll be looking for his other titles at the library next time I’m there.
Saturday evening I did a bit of experimenting with bread baking. I had made a big pot of soup ready for a visit from my Dad on Sunday and thought fresh baked bread would be perfect, but I didn’t want to get up a 6 to give it enough proving time. Instead I made it Saturday evening, did the first prove, kneaded it again and rolled it into rolls then left it to prove overnight. All seemed fine, but when I check it this morning they were much bigger, but decidedly flat. When I baked them they rose a little more, but didn’t brown on the top (think my oven wasn’t quite hot enough). Inside they were quite light and even on the fluffy side, but they looked weird. I think Dad was a little concerned when I put it in front of him. So lesson learned, don’t prove bread on the bench overnight! I will try doing it in the fridge. Despite the dodgy looking bread, it was great to see Dad, have some political conversation and a bit of a lament about our footy team. But as he was just passing through on his way back to the west (of Victoria that is) is was a flying visit.
And to finish off the afternoon I caught up with two friends from high school, one of whom lives nearby, but other who lives in my home town so I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I’d like. We had coffees, cake and conversation. It’s funny to think how our conversations have changed over the years, but the coffee and cake hasn’t!
So with the cold nippy at my toes, the rain beating down on the pergola roof and Downton Abbey just starting, that’s my weekend wrap. Hope you had a good one too.
I make all my bread overnight and the trick is the second rise. You barely need to knead, first rise over night, tiny bit if kneading next day, roll and pop into your loaf tin and let it rise in a warm environment (oven set to 50 or less) for an hour then bake.
I read on Down To Earth blog to secret to great crust is preheating the oven to 250 then put the bread in, reduce oven to 180 and bake. My bread has been even more scrumptious since!
If you can help it, don’t cut into loaves until completely cool and they will stay fluffy inside.
(I’ve learned from a Byron Bay slow bread master! Clive Lawler has a book on slow bread you could search for on my blog if you could be bothered one day).
Michael Pollan’s entire book catalogue is on my to read list! I think you are already eating quite well 🙂
Ah, every time I do a bit of research about bread making I come up with different, often conflicting advice. My last few loaves/rolls (with the exception of this latest one) have been great. I switched to a much longer second rise and started getting much lighter loaves. I have also started punching down the loaf every twenty minutes for the one hour first rise and instead of kneading afterwards, I stretch the bread out, roll it up, stretch again and so a few times. These were all tips picked from Philippa Grogan (http://www.phillippas.com.au/), though she didn’t mention how to do it overnight. I’ll give your technique a go next time (I really should get myself bread tin). And I’ll definitely go trawling through your blog for more info.
As for Michael Pollan, they seem very readable books if somewhat disturbing (especially when you learn how marketing has changed the way we eat and think about food and health!). The Omnivore’s Dilemma is next on my list.
Yes the punching and kneading isn’t required with Clive’s bread. There’s an aerating technique that’s quick and easy to do and that’s about it, the bread sits overnight while the ingredients munch the gluten and stuff out of it (a process that happens in the stomach with quick loaves, which is why the punching and kneading is done, to help the breaking down process from what I can recall). It’s slow bread to rise but quick quick quick as far as hands on. It’s done in 5 minutes for first rise and 3 for the second. And man does mine get high! I had to remove the top tray in my oven!
If you’ve got a system that works though stick with it 😀
Is it rude to tease fellow bloggers about football results? On 2nd thoughts I can’t remember if it was you who barracked for the doggies or your husband. If its you then Go Dons, if it was you who barracks for St Kilda then hopefully Go Dons for this week. If you barrack for someone else entirely then Go Dons anyway as I’m getting all my Go Dons in before our inevitable fall down the ladder during the later part of this season. And is it just me or have the Downton scriptwriters gone a bit odd this season – some very clunky dialogue (and this from someone who adores Castle…).
I can thankfully claim it is Mr Goods who goes for the doggies, a very sad man on Saturday night! Though being a saints supporter has exactly been sunshine since…. well forever for me! I am secretly envious of supporters who have actually witnessed football glory in September, but you can’t deny what’s in your heart and I’ve been a saints girl all my life. I may, not so secretly, savour the Dons fall down the ladder if your prediction turns out to be correct.
As for Downton, some definitely weird dialogue (what was with the long lost cousin story line, certainly not up to it’s usual standard) and some pretty forced acting too I might add. I’ve also been watching way too much mad men, which can tell a whole story with just a few lines, some meaningful looks, lots of booze and a packet of cigarettes. Suddenly everything else on the box seems so second (or third) rate.
I haven’t seen Mad Men yet but I can see I’ll definitely have to. Re: Downton yes amnesia and a dead wife after lots of pointed comments is a little much for one episode I would have thought. Amusingly after watching the episode I was discussing it with my partner and we were talking about Matthew’s getting some movement back and whilst I assumed the movement had been in his leg my partners first thought was that he was going to be able to sire a long line of heirs. Ah the differences between men and women….
Oh yeah, that ones definitely coming, but I have to say I was with your partner on this one. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if it all just miraculously improves and he’s back to normal. How refreshing it will be if we’re all wrong! I should add Mad Men is insanely sexist (as we’re the times) and that has put off a few people I know.