Tuesday, 28 August 2012

op shop finds

silk stitched roses $1

my daughter katerina gave me the red glass container several years ago but recently i found the other two at
different times for $2 each..they sit on the window sill in my bathroom.. 

i've been collecting these vintage/retro square glass jars for a few years now because they are great space savers..
so far i have eleven of them and they cost me between $0.50 to $2 each..because they are stored
 in a large shallow drawer i label the lids so that i can tell what's in them at a glance

whenever i am in an op shop i check to see if they have any fine china mugs for sale because even though
 i like to drink tea from a cup and saucer sometimes it's not practical..this way i can still enjoy the fine china
 experience and also put them in the dishwasher without fear of breaking one and destroying a set..i don't find
 them very often but so far i have 6....they cost between $1 to $2 each..

the one i'm drinking my tea from as i write is a royal albert..it's 'jane' from the 'bronte collection' !

happy hunting op shoppers..x

Sunday, 19 August 2012

french onion soup

if you could see the 10 kg bag of onions sitting in the corner of my kitchen you wouldn't be surprised that i made french onion soup today..and the stars were aligned in my favour because i also had some rich meat stock, some amazing english cloth bound cheddar that i bought yesterday and a freshly made yeast/sourdough loaf of crispy crusted white bread..

all the stirring involved in making the soup was a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend part of a wintery sunday afternoon..

french onion soup
adapted from gourmet traveller


2 kgs onions sliced
50 gms butter
2 tablespoons (tbs) olive oil
1 teaspoon (tsp) salt
1 litre rich meat stock (homemade)
 4 thyme sprigs
1 fresh bay leaf
3 parsley stalks
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated tasty cheese for each person
1 slice of bread cut in half for each person


~heat butter and oil, add onion and salt, cover, and cook over a moderate heat for 20 minutes or until soft
~remove lid and cook over a low to moderate heat for a further hour stirring every 10-15 minutes to prevent scorching
~add 125 mls stock and cook for 5 minutes or until the stock has evaporated
~repeat this process until a total of 500 mls of stock has been added
~tie the herbs with kitchen string and add to the soup along with the remaining 500 mls stock
~add seasoning to taste and cook over a low heat for a further 20 minutes

to serve

~heat oven to 200 deg c
~place soup into soup bowl and sprinkle with half of the cheese
~place bread on top and add remaining cheese
~place bowls on a baking tray and cook for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted
~serve immediately

Monday, 13 August 2012

chestnut, sage and onion sourdough bread

the kissing crust

chestnut, sage and onion sourdough bread


1 tbs sourdough starter
100 gms white bread flour
125 gms filtered water

final dough
250 gms levain
200 gms warm filtered water
300 gms white bread flour
50 gms chestnut flour
50  gms wholemeal flour
1 tbs crushed murray river salt
20 cooked chestnuts cut in half*
1/3 cup fresh sage cut fine
3 onions sliced fine and cooked in olive oil until well softened and then cooled

method levain

day 1
~mix the starter with the water and flour and cover and leave for 16 hours

method final dough

day 2
~put the levain in the bowl of a stand mixer,add the water, and mix well
~add the flours and mix until well combined
~autolyse for 10 minutes
~add salt and mix for 2 minutes
~rest for 10 minutes and mix again for 2 minutes
~remove the bowl from the mixer, cover the dough with greased cling film, and place in fridge overnight
~the next day remove the dough from the bowl onto an oiled bench and knead in chestnuts, sage and onion
~cover the dough on the bench with the greased cling film and leave for 10 minutes
~knead for a few seconds and cover with the cling film and leave for another 10 minutes
~divide the dough in two and shape each piece into an oblong sealing the seam well
~place each piece of dough seam side down between the floured folds of a tea towel, cover with cling film, and leave for 2 hours or until a finger pressed into the dough leaves an indentation

~pre heat a baking tray and place a dish of boiling water in the oven
~dust each loaf with flour
~dust the baking tray with semolina and place the loaves on the hot tray
~bake the dough at 220 deg c for 25 minutes spraying the oven sides with water several times during the first ten minutes of baking
~lower the temperature to 180 deg c and bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until cooked
~turn the oven off, remove the dish of water, and leave the bread in the oven with the door ajar a few inches for 5-10 minutes

note * i used dried chestnuts that i soaked in water overnight and then boiled in lightly salted water until  cooked

serving suggestion

serve with turkey soup and crispy bacon

well risen sourdough after overnight refrigeration

home grown sage

i hope you have a happy week..x