Monday, February 20, 2017

The Subtleties of the Seasons



The first changes in season are very subtle, probably more so in this sub-tropical climate. I was out walking the dogs last week, looking at the paddocks and it suddenly struck me that summer is beginning to wane. It's not that the temperature has particularly changed or anything, in fact nothing really has, but somehow there has been a subtle shift that seems to say that summer is on the way out.
In this climate the first month of Autumn really isn't that cold. But the biting heat does tend to leave, while in a good year the rain will still continue (fingers crossed for that this season!).
So, truthfully, I'm not sure exactly what made me think that summer is coming to it's end. Perhaps it is the long, long grass starting to go to seed. Perhaps it is the chickens growing beautiful new feathers and crests (which they'll most likely lose during Autumn). Perhaps it is the breeze that doesn't feel so summery, or the fact that the cicadas aren't singing as loudly as they were a month ago.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Recipe: Date & Ginger Slice


Ginger would have to be one of my favourite flavourings. It's divine in both sweet and savoury. This slice is very quick to mix together, perfect for last minute baking when you have guests on their way over. Feel free to add more ginger if you like it spicey!

Recipe notes:
The slice pictured has been baked using purple wheat, but I usually make it with spelt. It also works well on regular unbleached white flour, just decrease the flour to 1 3/4 cups instead. You can also substitute with your preferred sweetener

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Craft as Therapy


I don't know what I'd do without my knitting some days. When things are topsy-turvy and stressful, I love being able to simply pick up my needles and work a few stitches or rows. It keeps me grounded, sane and gives me something to focus on.
And I've heard so many other crafters say the same thing. Some people even take up crafting on purpose in a particularly stressful period of their life. It becomes their escape, and their coping mechanism.
Crafting and creating brings so much to our lives - there's the act of actually making something, and then the joy in either using, or gifting it to someone else. Having handmade something yourself is a wonderful conversation starter, and if you knit or crochet when you're out and about you'll find people will stop and talk to you about it. It's much the same if you share your crafting online.

Monday, February 13, 2017

How Your Sourdough Starter Actually Works


Sourdough starters are incredible little things. Flour, water, time - all of that equals a bread rising agent. Isn't nature clever?
I've mentioned before how a sourdough starter works, but I thought today I might go a little more in-depth about it and touch on some of the benefits and reasons to make sourdough bread.

One of the things I remember first wondering about when I was new to sourdough, was how did the sourdough starter possibly stay fresh? Surely mixing flour and water together and leaving it to sit on the bench for several days would result in a mouldy, smelly mess? Why then, did the starter not only bubble to life, but stay fresh?
The answer is lactic acid. It's the same thing that keeps pickles preserved in traditional lacto-fermented foods. Lactic acid is produced during the fermentation process, and whilst the naturally occurring yeast is happy to live in harmony with it, other bacteria aren't. The exact acidity of the starter depends on your environment, flour and water. Whilst of course sourdough will always be similar, different starters will have very slight differences in characteristics. This unpredictability is partly why commercial bakers prefer to use commercial yeast - control.
Baking artisan sourdough bread is easy enough though, and way more fun than adding a teaspoon of yeast from a packet to a bowl of flour!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Here & Now | February 2017 Link-Up


Welcome to this month's Here & Now! What's happening in your world lately? Write a blog or Instagram post all about it and join us here!

This link up is open from today until midnight on the 17th. Remember you can now join in two ways - either on your blog, or share your Here & Now on Instagram! The instructions on how to Instagram your Here & Now are below, along with the guidelines for blogging.

© Say Little Hen
Maira Gall