Monday, 29 April 2013

Pip and her Quick 'n' Easy Speedy No Knead bread solution

Today is my gorgeous pal Pip Lincolne's middle child's birthday!

Rad huh!

How did our kids get to be so grown up already?!

It's really totally awesome to see our babies grow into rad young adults actually.
Totes worth celebrating.
And that is what Pip is organising.
A celebratory 'YAY- you are 17 and AWESOME birthday dinner"

So of course there was going to be delicious bread.....but Pippy forgot to organise for the L O N G wait of the No Knead.

Here's how she fixed that problem.

She was worried about stealing my #ggbreadrevolution bready thunder but I totes love to share and I certainly LOVE to share speedy solutions! And I love having my mates over at my place AND at my blog so here she is with her speedy fix recipe to share with you here- really it was a win win! (phew that was a really LONG sentence and I'm all out of breath!)

Over to Pip (thanks Pippy!) & HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAX!!!!!!:

I first made no knead bread when the original NY Times article came out and lots of great bloggers were excitedly posting about how great it was. I already have my own recipe for sloppy, bubbly bread ( but it's not as special as The NY Times version and it hasn't got the great crust that the cast-iron baked ones have. 

I am SO glad to be reminded to make these delish loaves by Miss Ruth.

Today it's my son's birthday and I forgot to make my long-rise dough before I went to bed. Gazooks! 

I decided to try a speedier way, to boost the yeast and go for a shorter rise and see what happens. The news is it totally worked!  This means you don't have to think quite as far ahead, when you get bready.  

I thought the crust might be squishy and the texture might be cakey with this speedier take... NOPE! The crust is still delicious and it's got the same fabulous bubbly crumb. To tell you the truth, I can't notice much of a difference between the 16 hour rise and the 3-4 hour rise… So it's good to know that you can make a version of this bread in a (lengthy!) rush, if you're not in the slow food mood.

We're having it tonight with Julia Child's Boeuf Bourgignon (it's the birthday kid's choice!) and some pommes dauphinoise! YUM!

Here's how I sped up the recipe (and made it gooey-hands-free too!) :

Pippy's Speedier No Knead No Hands (kind of!) Bread:

  • 3 1/2 cups of bread flour
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

Put all ingredients into a mixer and mix until combined. I use a dough hook for this.

Oil a largish bowl and using a spatula, scrape the soggy dough into the bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 3 or 4 hours in a warm room.
It needs to be bubbly all over. (My loaves today took 3 hours in a heated room.)

Punch the dough down through the plastic wrap. It'll stick to the wrap. Yank the wrap off and cover with fresh plastic wrap.
Let it rise and recover in a warm spot for another half an hour or so.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450F (230C) .

Grease a cast iron pot with a lid well and put that in the oven (empty!) - the dough will almost double in size as it cooks, if that helps you go choose which pot to use! I use the spray oil stuff for this job.

When your dough is ready (after a half hour second rise!) use a spatula to scrape it into a bit of ball in the bowl it has risen in.
Now get your cast iron pot out of the oven and plonk the ball into it (again, scrape it in gently with the spatula, keeping it a bit ball shaped)
Put the lid on. 
Bake for 30 minutes at 450F (230C).

Remove the lid and bake for an extra 15 minutes until golden brown.
Remove and marvel at your amazingness!


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Farmers Fayre

Those of you who have been reading here for a while know of my food buying philosophy.

I like to be mindful of the choices we make as a family in all areas of how we live.

Food is another of those.

I like to buy direct from the Farmer where I possibly can.

We go the our local Farmers markets as a family and decide together what we would like on the menu based on what food we see & like.

I have talked about it a lot before.  Here is an old post you may wish to read about the joy of shopping at Farmers Markets.

We are not menu planners but we buy seasonally and locally and go from there.

I love that my kids know the Farmers whose meat we buy.  It makes the food cycle more real, more meaningful.

My kids understand that the food we love to eat, that is brought to us, is done so by people who also have mortgages to service, kids to feed, to school, to clothe.

They understand the process of growth, slaughter and butchery.

We see that & it has more meaning to us every single time we eat the food we are so lucky to have at our table.

We are suburban big city dwellers but we have a real connection to the people far and wide who live their lives the way they do so that we can enjoy the fruits of their labour.

These people drive thousands of kilometres to various markets & restaurants to provide their product to us.

It feels like a small thing for me to travel to the various markets they attend to support them.

Last week we bought a Corned Girello (amongst other loveliness) from Lizette of Warialda Beef  at the Collingwood Farmers Markets.
Weekends are a big deal at our place.  Time to take it slow. Eat a family meal at every opprotunity. 
Breakfast is probably my favourite.
This week we had a delicious  Corned beef earlier in the week and I made this with the leftovers for breakfast this morning.
A kind of medley of a traditional Corned hash and a Potato Rosti.
Males about 8 fritters.

  • 4 x 1cm thick slices corned beef, cut into small cubes or torn apart into small pieces.
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 heaped tablespoons seeded Mustard
  • 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, coarsely chopped 
  • 4 large potatoes
  • S & P
  • oil for  frying
Grate the spuds and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of them.

Place in a large bowl and add all other ingredients and mix well.

Add some oil in to a large non stick frypan.

Pop about a handful of the mix into the frypan for each fritter.  I only fry 3 at a time so as not to crowd the pan.

Fry on a medium/high heat till brown (about 5 mins per side) .

Serve while HOT!

Beautiful Sunday morning breakfast table music........ 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Lovely goodie for one of YOU

Every now and then I get offers to share things with you.

A lot of the time these things are not the right fit for my readers.

This time though I have something that I think a LOT of you will see value in & so I said BRING IT ON!

It is super nice for me to be able to give something to YOU - my lovely readers!

Tefal sent me one of their kitchen gadgets this week called the 'Cook 4 me'.

It is like a super doop electric automatic Pressure cooker with super modern automatic programmes and STUFF! Who doesn't like stuff?!

It has over 80 preset recipes all with clear instructions (and you can change them easily if you wish as my 12yo did).

When I looked at it and read how it worked all I could think of was how ace it would be for kids to use.

It would also be great for a lot of families who juggle work.  Lots of the recipes are cooked in less than 20 minutes! AWESOME!

My 10yo was the first to use it.

I left him to it- I was interested to see if he could use it without my help.

He totally knocked out a Lemon Delicious pudding using the simple instructions.

He was very proud of his work.

That was round one.

Next was the 12yo.

He had a go at the Chicken Cacciatore.

But as a good child of mine he wanted to vary the recipe from what the machine told him.

His version is below.

So you know....if my 10yo & 12 yo can work it - and use it manually I reckon anyone can.

Well actually I am a FIRM believer in that ANYONE CAN COOK....they just need to be taught the basic skills. I have been teaching my kids since they were very little and they can cook fairly independently now.

I am so happy to think one of you guys will have this in your kitchen soon to help you!

DISCLAIMER:  Tefal gave me one of these appliances to use for myself (with no obligations) and one to share with my readers.  I thought this would be ace as I know lots of you would really LOVE this gadget & that it could help you cook great food.  

Giveaway open to Australian residents only on my Facebook page. now CLOSED

The gadget above came with a recipe.  My 12yo changed a few ingredients as he didn't like some of the ones they used and wanted to add others that weren't in it.
The salami adds a lovel richness and the capers are a genius touch!
  • 1kg chicken thigh, cut into large chunks
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 100g salami, sliced and then cut into cubes.
  • 2 cans diced tomato
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons kalamata olives
  • generous amount of fresh basil & parsley
  • olive oil
Heat a non stick pan to medium.  Add olive oil.

Fry onions & garlic till soft.

Add the Chicken and brown.

Add all other ingredients and stir through.

Cook for half an hour or until the chicken is cooked through.  (I like to cook it longer to get that lovely rich sauce)

Serve with rice or pasta.

New Iron & Wine album out this week.
LOVING this track & gorgeous video ~

Monday, 15 April 2013

Finding strength in weakness

I had a very interesting chat my my 12yo on the weekend.

He was asked to wrote an essay about himself over the holiday break.

He struggled all holidays to do it.

He is usually incredibly self motivated but he found this task so so hard.

We talked of why he thought it was so hard for him.

He is a humble lad.  He doesn't like big noting himself.

It's a character trait we like isn't it?

Australians are famous for it.  Or perhaps we are more famous for the treading down of the successful- our 'Tall Poppy' syndrome is well known.

But there is SUCH a fine balance, isn't there,  in getting our children to be openly proud of their achievements and yet not being arrogant.

How exactly do we best achieve this as a parent?

He settled on talking of all the reasons why talking about ourselves is so difficult.

His reasons included that we may be judged, because other people may not agree with us, because others may not think we are smart, or that our ideas are wrong.

He really was talking about being vulnerable.

He is a savvy one this boy.

He is the one that suffered those debilitating nightmares all that time ago.

Did you read those posts?

Read here & here to see what I mean.

I talked to another friend today about the idea of being vulnerable.

Of how this in itself gives strength.

How laying yourself bare actually fortifies you.

I think it is all about that thing I talk about often.


When we live with honesty we have nothing to hide.

Melbourne turned down the thermometer today & soup HAD to be on the lunch menu.
I had purchased soem magnificent late season Heirloom tomatoes form the Farmers Market on the weekend and had to do something with the last of my Basil form the veggie patch before it died off.
This is a super easy soup to make and you will no doubt make it over and over.
Pistou is a traditional ingredient form the South of France- similar to Italian Pesto but without the nuts or cheese.

It can be added to all manner of things as you serve to give it an extra fresh zing.
If you make it you can freeze the leftover in iceblocks in the freezer to have 'Fresh' Basil all year round!
Great tip huh!

  • 2kg fresh tomatoes
  • 10 cloves garlic (2 for the pistou)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (2 for the Pistou)
  • 1 bunch basil
  • S & P
  • 2 cups stock
Preheat oven to 200C.
Place tomatoes & 10 cloves garlic (still in their skin) on a baking tray.
Splash the Balsamic vinegar & 1 tablespoon Olive oil over the tomatoes. 
Season well.
Place in the oven for 40 minutes.

While the tomatoes are roasting blitz the Basil, 2 cloves of Garlic till it is a paste.  Add 4 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside. 

Remove tomatoes from oven after 40 mins. Pop garlic out of skin and blitz with tomatoes.
Be VERY careful- hot tomatoes are unreasonably HOT!

Place blitzed tomatoes in a saucepan and add stock and bring to the boil.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve with a tablespoon of the Basil Pistou.
I served mine with some Chorizo crumb- just finely chop some Chorizo and fry in a non-stick pan before adding.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Onwards with the Real Bread Revolution

I continue to by GOBSMACKED by the uptake of bakers taking part in the #ggbreadrevolution.

We are over 300 participants now.

THREE HUNDRED home made loaves of awesome!

W O W.

The original No-Knead post is here.

And the Thyme & Olive loaf is here.

I am hoping it has given people the confidence to try some other loaves too.

A long time ago I posted my recipe for Cheese & Bacon Rolls.

I have baked  quite a few rounds of these over the holidays.

Here is the link to those if you want to try them out.

They are EASY and fab for school lunch boxes- and CHEAP.

Today I made a Focaccia loaf for lunch to have with Hommous and Quinoa Tabbouleh.

Maybe you would like to try one of these super versatile loaves too?

Focaccia is a great loaf that you can easily prepare.
It is fab as an accompaniment with most meals.
How great would it look on your lunch table- your guests will be super impressed with your bread making ways!

You can vary the topping to whatever you like- add some little cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic, olives, thyme,  shredded fennel. Knock yourself out with ideas!

  • 450g plain flour
  • 350 ml lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 7g powdered yeast (1 sachet)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt (plus extra salt flakes for top) 
  • Fresh rosemary
Measure water into a jug, add yeast & sugar. Wait ten minutes until it starts to froth. 

Meanwhile put flour, olive oil and salt into a bowl

Once water frothing add to flour & mix well.

Place out onto a floured bench and knead well.

Place into a large bowl lined with olive oil, cover with cling wrap and set aside in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C.

Take a large baking tray and line with silicon baking paper.

Remove dough from bowl and place onto the baking paper.

Spread dough out till it is about 2cm thick all over and a nice rectangle shape.

Dot small holes into the dough with your fingers. Brush with olive oil.

Place rosemary sprigs into these holes (or any other topping of your choice).

Sprinkle with salt flakes and set aside for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake for 25 minutes or until brown all over.

Oh Tom and your wonky dance ways of awesome.... *sigh*
Not sure of my feelings on the new Atoms for Peace album AMOK yet (i reckon it is a bit hit & miss) but this video is utterly BEAUTIFUL.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Embracing 'Dolce far Niente'

This morning I was talking to my builder of how much I LOVE the holidays.

You guys know how much I love them.

I LOVE having my kids around.

Love the lazy starts.

Love the happy sounds of lots of people.

Love the company o my super ace & funny kids.

Love the jokes- some good, some so bad they are the best.

Love the no-clock watching.

There was a hiccup early on.

We have them here just like you do at your place.

It was a small hiccup & passed by very quickly.

Soon the holidays will be at an end and we will be back to our school routine.

Until then you will find us all mastering the fine art of 'Dolce Far Niente' 

Cabbage is one of the most versatile veggies & ever so tasty.
I LOVE it's crunch and love to use it raw.
We use it a LOT at our house. It gets a bad wrap generally but I think it is super undeserved.

All varieties- red, green, wombok etc.
Are you a cabbage fan?
I have a recipe back in my archives for a caramelised cabbage (link here) but i wanted my cabbage raw today and was after a salty zingyness.
This is what I made- it was DELICIOUS.
This is the sort of things my kis LOVE to have for lunch too. a perfectly healthy & super filling school lunch. YUM.

  • 1 x 185g can tuna (please choose an ethically caught brand) 
  • 1/8th head red/purple cabbage sliced super fine
  • 1/4 bunch Italian Parsley, chopped rough
  • 1/4 bunch mint, chopped rough
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 red chilli sliced fine (optional)
  • 1/4 cup low fat plain yoghurt
  • 4 tablepoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • S & P
Place all vegetable ingredients , tuna, capers, chilli & herbs into a large bowl & mix through.

In a small bowl add the yoghurt, vinegar & sugar and whisk till combined.

Add enough dressing to veggie mix to coat well.

Stir through and serve.

I love Cat Power so much.  She was on 'Later on Jools' this week with this absolutely AMAZINGLY heartfelt performance of her GREAT (and previously unreleased) song Bully.  
Really I wrote todays post just so I could share this INCREDIBLE song with you.
I dare you NOT to be affected by it.........

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Making of B2

Things are progressing here with our renovation.

We have called it B2- when we bought this house there was a 2 room bungalow in the back yard.

It was right in the middle of the backyard- making most of the backyard space unusable.

We took down this bungalow (B1) to build the new building (B2) on the left hand side of the property to create a large open yard.

Some of B1 has been saved to re-use in B2.

I will show you later just how.

I never wanted B2 to look as if it was an add-on to the original house in the same style.

I want it to have it's own unique character.

A celebration of the new.

But I want it to have ties to the old.

It feels to me like the unfurling of an artwork.

Years of thoughts in my head of how I wanted this space to be.

How I wanted it to look.

How I wanted it to feel.

The colours.

The textures.

Mr Girlfriend has let me have total creative control.

It feels like my most exciting creative project for years.

But daunting too.

What if I get it wrong?

Yesterday some tiles I had ordered from the UK arrived.

I unwrapped them and cried.

Happy overwhelmed tears.

It felt like this little package represented so much more.

There are 7 tiles, one for each person on the family.

Each with a beautiful & powerful message.

They will get set randomly- well random in the sense that i will place them carefully in amongst the other white subway tiles- on the wall in the 2 bathrooms.

It is these little details for me within the large structure that are to me what make it home.

We have so much beautiful art that is lying in wait.

Some of our most treasured pieces - some needing repair before they are hung, but in my mind I already have worked out exactly where each piece will hang.

These tiles were another part of the art puzzle. To be cemented into the walls of the house. So so exciting.

We are a long way from being finished but it is really beginning to show it's beautiful face.

The rear most part of the building is a music studio.

Music, for all of us in our family is an integral part of our being.  My kids all play instruments.

And the studio has become one of the most exciting parts of the building project.

It is the part of the building you can see on the far right.

I have been collecting LP covers to wallpaper a feature wall in that space.  So much fun.

The kids are beside themselves with excitement about that space.  I can already see how much love that space is going to get.

I am so very lucky to have the most wonderful crew of tradesmen at the heart of this project.   They did some work for me when we first bought this house & we have been talking since of this project.

They are an absolute delight to have around.  Never too busy to talk to my kids.  Happy to indulge my eccentric ideas and make adjustments here & there as we change our minds about little details.

A continuing project....... more later.

(NOTE: The pork takes 6 hours so you will want to prepare this in the morning or the day before and set aside & re-warm)
Have you caught the mexican craze yet?
It seems everyone is cooking 'new' Mexican.
I can't say  I am unhappy about this.
To me it is a bit like what has happened to our knowledge of Thai food for example.  It has shifted from being nothing much more than Green curry to a deeper understanding of what is on offer- a broader appreciation of the flavours.
So much freshness, lots of flavours, lots of regional variations, crunch, texture. Just super yummy really.
You can totally mix up your ingredients to have whatever you like inside, fish, coleslaw, chicken, pork, mince....there really aren't any rules at my house.
What is NOT to love about a meal where everyone pops what they fancy in and leaves out the bits they are not keen on!

Recently after wanting to for a LONG time I made my own tortillas.
NEVER ever will we buy them from the shop again.
The flavour that makes them unique is the MASA HARINA- this is Corn flour that has been treated with Lime. it is the most wonderfully fragrant & silky flour. just gorgeous. My understanding is that the lime helps the corn become more easily digestible.
whatever it is- they are SOOOOO different form the shop bought ones there is NO COMPARISON. They have the loveliest texture when bite into them and they don't fall apart as you wrap your goodies inside. 

They really are very easy to make. If you don't have a Tortilla press you could easily make it with a rolling pin or old wine bottle. 
In Melbourne you will find a great array of equipment & ingredients (including the tortilla press & Masa Harina I use in this recipe) for cooking great Mexican food at Casa Iberica & Oasis Bakery

For the pulled pork:

  • 1 pork shoulder ( i prefer the bone still in for better flavour
  • 1 bunch oregano
  • 6 cloves garlic (don't be shy!)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • S & P
For the coleslaw:
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded finely
  • 3 carrots, finely julienned or grated
  • 3 whole corn, chargrilled and kernels removed
  • 1 large bunch of fresh coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • S & P
  • 2 tablespoons low fat plain Greek style yoghurt ( i use this over the more traditional Mayo- i prefer its zingyness and it is lower in fat)
For the tortillas (this will make about 18):
  • 2 cups Masa Harina
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water

For the pulled pork~
Heat the oven to 150C.

Place the shoulder into a large roasting tray.

In a a mortar and pestle grind the garlic & oregano with some salt to aid the grinding.

Add a little olive oil & the cumin powder to make a paste. Rub the paste well over the shoulder. 

Cover well with alfoil and roast for 6 hours.

Remove from oven and shred with a fork.  The meat will fall away rom the bone.  Place into a large dish and pour over the remaining cooking liquor on top. Set aside.

For the coleslaw:
In a large mixing bowl add the cabbage, carrots, corn & fresh coriander. 
In a small bowl mix the other ingredients to make the dressing.  Mix well and pour over the vegetables.  Get your hands in and mix through well. Set aside.

For the tortilla:
In a large bowl add the Masa Harina and the water.  Mix until amalgamated. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Open you press and line the bottom with silicon baking paper (if using a rolling pin you will need to do this also or the tortillas will stick.)

Grab a small amount of dough- enough to make a ball that fits easily in the cup of your hand- and place in the middle of the press.

Place another piece of baking paper on top.

Press down VERY firmly.  Remove carefully.

Place on a small piece of baking paper and stack them up with a piece between each ( I save these for next time & keep them with my press to reduce waste).

Heat a small non stick pan and heat to medium high to high.  Place a tortilla in the DRY pan and cook each side for about 30 seconds each- thye will be just lightly brown.  Wrap in a clean tea towel until all cooked. (you can freeze ones you don't use).

Now place all ingredients at the tabel and assemble your tacos!

We also served some of my fave Black Bean & Corn salad and of course an array of chili sauces including Chipotle yoghurt
So so good!

As I mentioned above- I am collecting LP covers for wallpaper in the music studio. Some of all my all time fave record covers are the Herb Alpert covers. Do you know them?
So so good! 

Friday, 5 April 2013

The power of FOUR.

I had one of those days this week.

A determined four year old had his grip on all of us.

Exhausting, consuming & really just super dooper HARD.

It will never cease to amaze me  HOW much power a FOUR year old has.

There are a couple of typewriters dotted around our house and I leave them with paper so the kids can just click clack away.  I often find the most wonderful things written on them- often by guests who are intoxicated by their charm.

Jasper -my eldest- loves to write and often does so at the typewriter.
He wrote this - about a four year old's mind- the other day.  He was happy for me to share.
'....4 years old is the place where your mind has no limits. it doesn't care if it is impossible, it just does what it pleases....'

I should feel like I know what I am doing given my four year old is my fifth child.

But actually on a day to day level it is the same thing as every parent out there.

The self doubt, the questioning of whether I am doing the right thing.

I am.

We are.

We set strong boundaries.  We have consequences.  We enforce them.
We work as a team.  

My kids know the boundaries.

But sheesh ....every single time the FOUR year old just knocks it out of me.

I find it SOOOO hard and so very exhausting.

I had the wind knocked out of my sails that day.

But looking at that piece of writing by my eldest made me think.

He is right.

It is that belief that a four year old has that it's mind has no limits.  Both a blessing and a battle.

Do you feel like you could be the one singing this at the end of the day too?

At the end of that VERY long day I needed comfort.

So did the big kids.

Moonrise Kingdom & a bowl of Chicken Chowder was our medicine.
If you haven't seen it yet you really MUST.

Possibly my favourite movie ever. A most wonderful heart filling so the eyeballs overflow type movie. Watching it a hundred times is still not enough.

Afterwards the world looked better again.

And I was reminded of Why haven't I painted our Piano red? and Why haven't I got myself a megaphone yet?

Must get onto that.

I have been making Chowders for years.  
This one has fond memories for me of a first grade get together at our place that went so well we still had guests at 4am which may have involved riding dragsters indoors & restorative chowder at 3am. Surely a sign of a good night.
You can substitute fish (it is DIVINE with snapper) for the chicken but add it just 15 minutes before serving.

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 4 potatoes, washed well & diced ( i leave the skin on to keep all the nutrients)
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced fine
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • a few sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 rashers good bacon, diced
  • half a bunch of italian parsley, chopped super fine (stalks and all)
  • a few leaves of kale, taken off the stem and chopped fine
  • 5 chicken thighs, diced ( or 300g fish of your choice cut into chunks)
  • 2 whole corn cobs, chargrilled and kernels sliced off
  • 1 tblspoon butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 litres chicken stock (or fish stock if using fish)
  • 2 cups milk
  • S & P (i prefer white pepper in this recipe)
In a non stick pan add the butter, fry onions, bacon, garlic, carrots, bay leaves, smoked paprika & thyme till soft.

Add chicken and fry for about 5 minutes or so.

Add flour and stir for a minute in order to cook the flour (otherwise you will be left with a raw flour flavour- not pleasant).

Add the milk and stir- the mix will be quite thick.

Add the chicken stock and other veg.

Cook through for 20 minutes or so.

Season well and serve with good crusty bread.
I served it with my Olive, Fetta & Thyme bread toasted- recipe here
Wes Anderson always has the BEST soundtracks to his films. The Moonrise Kingdom soundtrack is no exception.
I LOVE Francoise Hardy- another of her songs is in Moonrise Kingdom. I just wanted to share this song of hers- a fave ~

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Why the GG Bread Revolution means so much to me

Two weeks ago I posted this blog piece about Baking Real Bread after struggling to successfully bake a good loaf of bread.

It got me thinking about the basics of cooking.

About how it is confidence that so many of us are lacking.

And skills.

And a cheersquad.

I started thinking..... maybe I could be that cheersquad.

Maybe I could be the one on the sidelines cheering everyone on with my colourful PomPoms!

Everything is better when there are PomPoms non?!

I started to think about why this idea meant so much to me.

Here is where my thoughts led me ~

Right from the beginning of this blog it was about me sharing.
Sharing what I knew about food & cooking and passing on my skills to others.
Sharing food, sharing knowledge, sharing thoughts, sharing LOVE.

I thought about how important an understanding of the basic skills are.

Bread making is not just a skill- as I talked of in my original post, I think it is an ART.

I think bread represents so much more than food.

It represents the sharing of food & love for one another, the nurturing of people we care about.

The breaking & sharing of bread together is one of the most ancient of rituals.
Yet we have lost the art of making it & generally find little time to perform these rituals together.

I began to think about how I could help bring this most important of rituals back.

And so began the #ggbreadrevolution.

Every time I see one of the pics in the gallery- of which just 2 weeks in there are over ONE HUNDRED & FIFTY loaves- I smile.

Most loaves have been baked by absolute beginners. And NOT ONE disaster.  All beautifully unique.  Just like the people who baked them.

And each and EVERY loaf has made the baker behind it feel proud. Really super dooper proud.

It is an achievement to be proud of.

I feel proud too.

This makes me happier than you guys will ever know.  I feel as if this space has done something that I set out to achieve all that time ago when I started.

I said to a mate of mine last week- I think I was born to be a Revolutionary, I'm so glad this is how it turned out.

If I can give this many people the confidence to give bread a go- imagine all the other things that will soon be be cooked and shared in these same kitchens!!

All it took was FOUR ingredients and a cheersquad.

Other bloggers have also blogged about & been part of the #ggbreadrevolution too.

You can read what they had to say in the links below ~

Shellie wrote about how the making of bread has been a super important ritual in her family's cooking history here.

Kim said my bread efforts were causing something of "a Renaissance in breadmaking" here.

Beth has ticked off something in her bucket list by baking this bread & wrote about it here.

& Carly wrote about getting back to real food here.

Keep it up everyone.

And THANK YOU - yes YOU - each and every one of you who has been a part of the GG Bread revolution so far!

What a wonderful little community we have made together.

Vive La Revolution!

After baking many successful plain loaves of the no-knead I wanted to try tweak it a little.
To add some other goodies and see what transpired.
Here is what I made.

  • 1 quantity of no-knead bread dough- recipe here
  • a small handful of pitted olives of your choice
  • 100g crumbled fetta
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves.
Follow the no-knead recipe up to the part right at the end of the first 14-18hour prove.

Flour your bench very well.

Place dough onto the floured bench and sprinkle the olives, fetta & thyme onto the top of the dough.

Fold in the corners into the middle of the bread and cover lightly with glad wrap for 15 minutes.

Flour a tea towel liberally.(I use semolina for this part- i prefer the texture it gives the bread crust) 

Uncover the dough and make a round shape and place onto the floured tea towel.

Flour top of the dough well and place another tea-towel over the top.

Leave for 2 hours.

After one and a half hours place a cast iron pot (without the lid- see notes at end) into the oven at 245C. 
After the pot has been heating for half an hour remove it carefully from the oven and place the dough into the pot. The heat fo the pot instantly starts to form the delicious crust you will enjoy later!

Put the lid on and replace it in the oven.

Bake for half an hour with lid on and then remove the lid for the last 15 minutes.


  1. Some people have told me the knobs of their pots have exploded off in the oven (EEEEEEK!!) - it may be worth purchasing a cheaper cast iron Dutch Camp oven from a camping or Disposals store to avoid this happening to your favourite pot- these oven's lids are an integral rather than separate part and won't come off!
  2. DON'T put the lid on at the initial heating of the pot- it isn't necessary for the lid to be heated and just makes it super hard work when you remove it from the oven to place dough in.
  3. Some people have tried using a baking tin & cover with foil in lieu of a cast iron pot and reported good results- the beauty of the cast iron is it's heat retention and ability to instantly seal the dough to give it it's amazing crust.
  4. I definitely noticed inferior results on the days that were colder- the dough did not rise as happily!
  5. I bake my bread at night and leave it wrapped in a teatowel ready for the next day. It is still super fresh with a super crusty outer. It takes away the stress of the timing which I know is worrying some of you.