Just finished breakfast – freshly ground coffee with one grind of salt and ten grinds of black pepper in my one person coffeepot, a la Russian neighbour. Toast from my freshly made loaf of wholemeal bread, just out of the oven, made by Moi, manukau honey from the bees in our forest, and delicious Danish butter … pigs heaven for the likes of me…
I had Googled:
What is in white sliced bread? And the answer so horrified me, that I did endless research on unmucked- about flours from Australia, New Zealand Hawkes Bay, bakers in the English Cotswolds and others in New Zealand South Island…
This is the answer to the white sliced bread inquiry:
Wheat Flour [with Calcium, Iron, Niacin (B3) and Thiamin (B1)], Water, Yeast, Salt, Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Rapeseed and Sustainable Palm in varying proportions), Soya Flour, Preservative: Calcium Propionate; Emulsifiers: E481, E472e; Flour Treatment Agent: Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C ),and it’s bleached with chlorine or calcium peroxide or other equally unhealthy chemicals!
So I’ve now started using a brilliant no-knead bread recipe found on the wonderful internet – no hands at all, and just let it rise sitting on the kitchen bench – no fuss, and have sourced from both our local supermarkets unmucked around white flour, as well as wholemeal…
I had lost this blog, and WordPress has changed so many times in the ten years I’ve been blogging, that I could no longer find the formula I used to use for getting back into it when I’d slipped out… I did try to jump through all the hoops, and tried hopelessly to decipher computer speak, which is a language I’ve never learned. Finally after weeks of fruitless and frustrating endeavour I found there was a simple word actually on the blog. The word was Login. So I clicked on it, and to my naive amazement, found I was back in. So here I am ….
Meanwhile, trying to ignore climate change, wars, famine, floods and other catastrophes around the world, I’ve been concentrating on the things nearer home.
We can’t have pets here, and I miss having a dog after all the years of two or three at a time – seventeen rescued in all, and I miss having a cat too, after all the years of living with their sweet presence… they’re not allowed in this wild life sanctuary/forest, where the native birds who are mostly flightless, live on the ground.
So I find I have birds as pets – the two quail who lived here when we first came, have multiplied hideously in the seven years that we’ve been feeding them, and we now have twenty five ! They eat my flowers, so I’ve trained them to follow me from the garden up to the top of the drive when I call ‘come, come, come’. There they feast on the budgerigar seeds I scatter on a patch in the woods there. They love the budgerigar seeds best, and so do the sparrows.
The sparrows, green finches, chaffinches, grey warblers and black headed tits always know exactly where I am in the house – if I’m in the bedroom, they flutter around outside the bedroom window. If I’m sitting on the sofa in the sitting room, they cluster in the tree outside the french windows and gather on the veranda rail, until I go out and scatter seed for them in a patch on the other side of the house, so we don’t get their droppings.
I’m a total slave to them – leaving my breakfast and my tea getting cold to rush up the drive followed by a line of quail scuttling after me, or little birds diving down from the trees all round to make a moving carpet of little brown bodies hoovering up the seeds. My husband is just as much their slave, and has made tiny concrete ramps for the steps in the garden, so the minute balls of fluff which are baby quails, can scurry after their parents up the steps!
And while we have been battling with the result of too much rain – landslides on the roads, pinning us inside the high wrought iron gates of our sanctuary, I’ve watched with amazement the drought the other side of the world – items of news like the great Rhine river closing to traffic because it’s so low – and wonder how the EU trade will continue, and discover that the source of the mighty Thames has dried up, with just a trickle of water five miles further downstream.
I can’t understand why draconian water restrictions aren’t in place… not just hose pipe restrictions, and polite requests to use a low setting on lavatory cisterns. When we lived in Hong Kong in 1965- 70, Mao Tse Tung cut off the water to Hong Kong one hot summer, and all four million-plus people were rationed to four hours of water every four days, when the water was switched on from eight o’ clock till midnight.
Everyone filled their kettles and saucepans and jugs and baths to try to last the four days, with long queues of desperate Chinese lining the streets to the nearest tap/standpipe, staggering home with a bucket each side.
Because our army quarter was on the top floor of a twelve story building, the pressure took two hours to build up, so with two toddlers, I had two hours of water every four days, in the middle of a steaming, hot tropical summer we managed – the whole colony stayed at home that night, catching up on washing clothes and sheets, and having showers and baths and shampoos to last for the next four days ! This ordeal by water lasted for the four hottest months of the year, but we emerged unscathed, if a little smelly !!!
As a friend said “Bah, the world is full of snowflakes who couldn’t cope – they’d probably melt if confronted with such a challenge !”
So watching the world and its wars from the long perspective of the ‘silent generation’ ( those of us born before 1945), I sometimes wonder if TS Eliot’s words that ‘the world will end not with a bang, but with a whimper’ are the most optimistic we can hope for… But I still cling to Tolkien:
“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”
Simply put – the Scouts motto – DOB – do our best !
Food for Threadbare Gourmets
This is the wonderful recipe for no-knead bread I gleaned from the internet, with my own slight tweaks.
artisanbreadwithsteve on Youtube was the original source.
475 mls of cold water1 1/4 teasp instant yeast1 1/2 teasp salt1 tablesp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups of organic unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
Pour water into a bowl, and stir in the next three ingredients. Then add the flours and mix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrapping or even a shower cap, and leave on the kitchen bench for eight hours.
Stir it all again, as it dwindles down to size again, and sprinkle oats or sesame seeds on top.
Tip into a bowl or saucepan with plenty of room for the dough to rise.
Cover with a damp tea-towel ( no lint) and leave to rise again for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Heat the oven to 400 C, and oil a dutch oven with olive or grape seed oil, and put in the oven to heat up.
Tip the risen dough into the hot Dutch oven, and bake in the oven for forty minutes.
Watching the dough rise throughout the day has become one of my hobbies… sometimes I use more white flour instead of wholemeal – just because…
Before I discovered a source for organic flour, I used ordinary flour, and the loaf still tasted good.
The original source for the word ‘lady,’ came from ancient Norse, and it meant ‘loaf kneader.’
Bon appetit !