Monday, May 31, 2010

our daily bread

A Monday meme. Handmade with love, kneaded with strength, baked from the heat of the Earth. A part of each day. Every week I will post a photo of one our doughy creations. From seven-grain loaves to tortillas to hot cross buns to chapati to french bread sticks. If you’re inspired to post a photo of your homemade bread and recipes just leave a comment and link below for everyone to awe and marvel at. You’re also welcome to use the sidebar button if you’d like to.
Everyday Wholewheat and Spelt Loaf

This is the loaf I make on a regular basis for our morning's toast. I buy the white flour, spelt flour and wholewheat flour in bulk and mix it all together in a huge storage container that lasts about a month or so worth of baking. It's light and healthy and a bit on the crumbly side but should still be doughy enough to survive the toaster.

For two loaves (you can store the dough in a sealed container in the fridge for 5-7 days):

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups white flour
1 cup wholewheat flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet of yeast
2 tbs milk (optional)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbs sugar
olive oil

Directions
Mix water, milk, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl and let it sit for a few minutes.
Add the flour and mix until a sticky dough forms. Knead for 5-10 minutes depending on your experience and strength and until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Form a ball and place in a large bowl, pour a small amount of olive oil on top so it stays moist. Cover the bowl with a wet warm dishcloth and let it rise for 1-2 hours until it has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down, remove from the bowl and roll into a loaf shape (you can add more flour here if the dough is too sticky).
Dampen your finger and wet the top of the loaf.
Roll the top in seeds of your choice and slash with a knife if desired.
Place in a greased loaf tin.
Cover with a cloth and let it rise again in the tin for another 40 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 200˚ C.
Place loaf in the oven and turn heat down to 190-195˚ C.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until loaf is golden on top.
Remove from oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

xo

Sunday, May 30, 2010

slowly...

A slow and quiet Sunday. It's cold outside and Dada's working today, so we bundled up and enjoyed some mud puddles and then headed in for some tea and biscuits, block building, cuddling, reading and have now settled down for an afternoon kip.

... I'm on my way to join him now.

Hoping you've had a peaceful weekend.

xo

Saturday, May 29, 2010

mama's homemade digestive biscuits

In the kitchen today. I have already baked a loaf of bread, make some split pea soup for lunch, pureed a batch of cinnamon apple sauce, prepped for tonight’s dinner (hearty yang casserole), and baked a batch of biscuits. My poor little man has some kind of a tummy bug and has no appetite whatsoever. No matter how many times as a Mother you watch your child go through a few days of self-starvation, and you know it’s what his little body is telling him to do, you just can’t help but feel stressed about their lack of calories and nutrition. This is the third day (and counting) North will only eat and drink- a small amount of porridge, frozen blueberries, chamomile tea sweetened with honey, homemade soy babycinos (as I have cut dairy until he is well again), digestive biscuits, mandarines and avocado. This does not mean I have given up hope- I plan every meal around him hoping his hunger will come back and he’ll voraciously scarf down a plate of vegetables, legumes and tofu, but so far only Brad and I have been reaping the benefits of my immunity boosting soups and stews.

In the meantime, these homemade digestive biscuits are at least providing a bit of sustenance. I plan on serving them with some apple sauce- chances are slim he’ll it but I can’t help trying.


Mama’s Wholewheat Digestive Biscuits

Ingredients
3/4 cup wholewheat flour
1/4 cup instant oats
1/2 cup oat bran
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1/4 cup packed brown sugar or muscado
100gr salted organic butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons organic milk

Directions
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl
Add butter and mix with hands until a dough starts to form.
Add milk and mix well until you have a soft dough.
Wrap with plastic or place on a plate in a ball and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden.
Preheat oven to 180˚ C
Remove from fridge and roll out to about 3mm thickness.
Use circular cookie cutters.
Line or grease a baking pan and place biscuits 2-3 cm apart.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.
Let them cool before placing on a rack.


xo

Friday, May 28, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.- soulemama


xo

Thursday, May 27, 2010

creative space- scooter corduroys

1 m X 1 m thrifted navy blue corduroy +
leftover scraps of scooter themed linen +
elastic +
homemade pattern

= funky playpants and one very proud and happy mama!

(note to self for future creations: cloth nappies require a bigger bottom!)

For more creative affairs visit Kirsty's, preferably with a large cup of tea or coffee in hand.

xo

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

warm wintry smells

My Grandma introduced me to this wintry craft. The smell still brings me back, sitting at her old wooden kitchen table with a little apron on, looking out the windows at the snow-covered fields. I think we kept them in bowls around the house or tied them with string and hung them on the Christmas tree. The spicy warm citrus aroma invigorates and refreshens an entire room. The cloves soak up a lot of the clementine's juices, drying and preserving them for up to 12 weeks. The proper word for such a decoration is "pomander", a french derivative, which can be roughly translated to "ball made of perfumes".

Ingredients
Clementines/Mandarins
Enough whole cloves to prick the number of mandarins or clementines you're using
String or ribbon to wrap and hang

Directions
Poke mandarin with an even amount of cloves to desired effect (the more cloves the more fragrant, and your pomander will last a lot longer).
Wrap with string or ribbon
Hang by a window or in a small corner OR place in a wooden bowl

xo

Monday, May 24, 2010

pantry eating challenge

I have made a couple drastic budgeting goals for the next month and a half (unbeknownst to my poor husband). The first of which is to go 2 weeks (starting yesterday) only buying produce, milk, eggs and tofu. OrganicFood deliver our fresh, organic seasonal produce box every Tuesday afternoon. I haven't had to top up on anything else for the rest of the week as the boxes are chock full of goodness. Now, because we have a pregnant vegetarian and a rapidly growing vegetarian in the house I think eggs and some milk for the little one are still highly essential. I can make our own soft cheese and ricotta from the milk we buy. All other products (pasta, rice, beans, bread, biscuits, treats, breakfasts, sugars, condiments etc.) will be provided by our pantry/my baking skills. This should be fairly painless as we have a fully stocked pantry at present. I'm a little disappointed we're low on oats and sugar, but I think this will challenge me to stay organized with meal planning, get creative when it comes to substituting ingredients and also save quite a bit of money over the next few weeks. Join in if you want to. You could start anytime and go for as long as you think is possible for you and your pantry. This is also a wonderful way to empty out those cupboards and keep all of your beans, grains and condiments fresh and used by their expiry dates.

And the second budgeting challenge? A no spend month of June. The goal is to only buy food, pay essential bills (phone/internet/car) the month of June and save the rest- rules to be sorted out and discussed later.

Wish us luck!

xo

gorgeous image from thedailygreen
for images of the ecoMILF family's glassware pantry see this post

our daily bread

A Monday meme. Handmade with love, kneaded with strength, baked from the heat of the Earth. A part of each day. Every week I will post a photo of one our doughy creations. From seven-grain loaves to tortillas to hot cross buns to chapati to french bread sticks. If you’re inspired to post a photo of your homemade bread and recipes just leave a comment and link below for everyone to awe and marvel at. You’re also welcome to use the sidebar button if you’d like to.

Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Breakfast Loaf

Ingredients
1 cup warm milk
1 packet (1/4 ounce yeast)
1/4 cup raw honey
4 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (peptitas)

Directions
Heat milk and honey in a saucepan until warm (don't let it get to hot or it will kill the yeast)
Pour into a bowl and mix with yeast.
Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl (not the seeds)
Add wet to dry ingredients and the seeds
Mix with your hands until a wet dough begins to form.
the dough should be quite moist and sticky, if it is too dry add warm water a tablespoon at a time until you think you have the right consistency
Knead for 5 minutes (you don't have to work too hard here)
Let rise for 2 hours in a warm place (ideally in the sun)
After it has doubled in size, sprinkle the dough with a small amount of white flour and shape into a fat loaf
Spray bread pan and place loaf in pan
Cover and let rise someplace warm for an additional 40 minutes
20 minutes before baking set oven to 200˚ C
Place bread in oven and turn heat down to 190˚ C. Bake for 28-33 minutes until golden on top and fragrant.

xo

Sunday, May 23, 2010

in the urban garden

As usual I had to revamp the whole garden- I suppose it's all about trial and error when you're a beginner. A lot of the vegetables I planted from seed into the front plot became dwarfed because of the lack of sunlight. During the summer they were getting up to 6 hours of direct sun a day but now same little patch only gets 2 hours of sun in the early morning. Such a shame because it is the only plantable land on our rental property.

So I transferred all the veggies- beetroot, garlic, lettuce, onions, peas and mustard greens- from the front into pots on the sunny back porch. Only time will tell if they will survive such cramped living containers. In the shady area I planted some native violet, winter rose and mona lavender which are all apparently happy without a lot of sunlight. Here's hoping I'll still have a little winter harvest at the end of the season.

Wishing you a cozy Sunday evening.

xo

Saturday, May 22, 2010

white chocolate and strawberry muffins

My latest pregnancy/winter craving has been a bit of white chocolate with a hot cup of tea. I thought these would be the perfect Saturday afternoon treat. It isn't the most seasonally-friendly recipe for late autumn, so feel free to use frozen berries (or another berry or fruit altogether) if you're on a budget and want to be more environmentally sound.

Ingredients
3 tbs organic butter, melted
1/2 cup cane sugar
2 eggs
1 cup organic milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp bi-carb
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate (I use Green & Blacks Organic)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180˚ C
Line muffin tray and grease
Mix all dry ingredients together (without the strawberries and chocolate)
Mix all wet ingredients together
Combine the two and stir until combined
Add the white chocolate chunks and strawberries
Scoop spoonfuls into each muffin tray until 1/2 full
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden on top
Let them cool before serving

xo

Friday, May 21, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.- soulemama

xo

Thursday, May 20, 2010

creative space- slouchy hat


My creative feat this week was a very positive surprise- a wearable winter hat. The difference between the finished product and the hat in my pattern book is hilariously dramatic. You see there were quite a few beginner-knitter glitches along the way including: dropped stitches, losing track of whether I was supposed to purl or knit, picking up halfway through a row and knitting when I should have purled... etc. I was also using needles a size bigger than required which made for more of a slouch. But when it was complete I tried it on and thought, "I can actually wear this- whoopeee!" I added the chocolate brown felt heart for interest and contrast. It's soft and cosy and the perfect winter treat for myself. I have now ticked 2 dishcloths, 1 baby hat, 1 pair of booties and 1 slouchy hat off of my knitters repertoire. Next big feat- socks and a vest for the little one. Or is that a bit ambitious?

For a look at some more professional creations check out Kirsty's ever-growing list of creative players.

xo

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

playing on uneven surfaces

After watching the video, "Outdoor Preschool in Norway" (click title to watch). I was not only inspired to get North outdoors as much as possible each and everyday, but I have also been encouraging that he plays on uneven surfaces in a variety of natural environments. City-dwelling children are often unexposed to the stones, hills, sand dunes and creeksides that provided strength, balance and muscle development to our ancestors. Please watch this amazing video if you get a chance in order to gain an understanding of the importance and beauty in exposing our children to the great outdoors.

Some ideas to get your children playing on uneven surfaces include:

Beach trips- which provide rockbeds to climb and sand to crunch through
Bushwalks- even trudging through a wooded area in your local park has them squatting and balancing on fallen sticks and branches
Tree Climbing- the age old skill (and joy) of climbing trees develops flexibility, strength and balance
Hilly Treks and Hikes- find a big hill or mountain climb and go on a day trip. Even if your children are young you don't have to make it all the way to the top. You can always head back down if you've had enough, or stop and have a break and packed lunch before continuing the journey
Homemade Obstacle Courses- if you're really stuck at home and can't get outside throw blankets, pillows, bean bags and whatever you can find on the floor and play games walking and crawling over the different surfaces
The Local Playground- even those rubber-floored playgrounds we're all so used to have some benefit. Find a playground with a variety of activities including climbing, tire jumping, deep sandpits and crawling through tunnels

Happy hiking!

xo

Monday, May 17, 2010

our daily bread

A Monday meme. Handmade with love, kneaded with strength, baked from the heat of the Earth. A part of each day. Every week I will post a photo of one our doughy creations. From seven-grain loaves to tortillas to hot cross buns to chapati to french bread sticks. If you’re inspired to post a photo of your homemade bread and recipes just leave a comment and link below for everyone to awe and marvel at. You’re also welcome to use the sidebar button if you’d like to.

Braided Challah


Ingredients

1/2 cup warm water

3/4 packet granulated yeast (one heaping tsp)

1 tsp of flaked salt

1 lightly beaten egg

1/8 cup honey

1/8 cup of butter, measure and then melt

1 3/4 cups organic white flour

1 egg + 1 tbs milk, whisked

sesame and/or poppy seeds


Directions

Mix the yeast, water, salt, beaten egg, honey and butter and let sit for 2 minutes

Add the flour and mix with your hands until you have a wet dough.

Knead for about 5 minutes as best you can making the dough smoother, however it should be quite sticky and moist so it won’t become very elastic

Place in a bowl and cover with a wet, warm dish towel and let rise for 2-3 hours.


After rising pound it down with your hands, shape into a big ball and put a thin layer of flour on top (to lessen the stickiness) and seperate into three smaller balls. Roll the balls in long cylinders and attach at one end. Braid.


Place braided loaf on a greased or lined baking sheet and let it sit for another 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 180˚C.


When it’s ready to put in the oven brush it over with the milky egg and sprinkle your desired seed preference on top.


Bake for 20-25 minutes in the oven.


xo

Sunday, May 16, 2010

black bean soup


One of my kind and caring new york city readers, Julia, sent me this sweet and spicy recipe a while back. It is quick and easy, hearty yet refreshing and filled with vitamins, minerals and protein. I absolutely adore it and am so grateful she passed it on. Even the heaviest of meat-eaters will love this vegan delight! Canned black beans are hard to find in Australia. I have no idea why. You can only get organic varieties at health food stores, otherwise you can buy dried black beans in bulk. Just make sure to soak them in a bowl of hot water the morning of the day you plan on making the soup. This will speed up the cooking process.

Ingredients
2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs of celery with greens, chopped
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & diced
1 bay leaf
1 kaffir lime leaf (optional- we have it in the garden)
1 red capsicum, seeded and chopped
3 cans of black beans or 2 1/2 cups of dried and soaked black beans
2 tbs ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt & pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
1 can of diced tomatoes (or 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes)
1/2 lime, juiced

Directions
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat
Add olive oil, onion, celery, garlic, jalapeno and bay leaf. Let them sweat for 3-4 minutes, then add the capsicum
Add rinsed beans to the pot (use a fork to mash up a third of the beans for a thicker soup)
Season with cumin, coriander, salt & pepper
Add veggie stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the beans are at desired texture
Add the lime juice.
Remove bay leaf and kaffir lime leaf

Serve with warm tortillas and guacamole for a really filling meal.

A big thank you to Julia again! Now, what are you waiting for? Go buy some black beans!

xo

Saturday, May 15, 2010

simply saturday

Busy day in our home, but one of those wonderful and rare times we actually checked a few things off the ever-growing list. Some accomplishments included:

*changing some light bulbs*

*staining a child's bookcase (this was pre-stain obviously)*


*baking blueberry muffins*

*cleaning the entire house from top to bottom*

*stopping to smell the roses (well, the hibiscus in this case)*


*removing the pram from frame and rubbing the canvas over with soapy water, then rinsing and air drying*

*sitting down for some homemade split pea soup for lunch*


*trying to figure out how to set up my needles in order to knit in the round... still working on this one*


*having some lovely friends round for wine, cheese and a playdate*

And now a quiet night in with a few candles, a simple pasta and my partner in crime, the best fix-it-up-er I know, Brad.

What did you check (or not check) off the list today?

xo