It’s been a while since I’ve managed to post, it turns out that whilst in general encouraging a sharing culture within our family is good this does not apply to tonsilitis!
The ‘Reclaim the Curb’ competition has come to a close announcing that our plan to make our street into a DIY shopping and grazing centre has come out on top (check out the other winners at http://reclaimthecurb.org/2013/06/13/and-the-winners-are). Yes that’s right, we won! Big congrats to the organisers, some of the conversations around what people where doing was really inspiring and it takes a load of organisation to get this to happen. Next step for us is to start box building and nature strip digging along the street to make our plan a reality. I decided to cool off a little bit on those plans to start digging and planting around the railway station. I love a new and exciting idea and still think that opportunity to turn the surrounds of several train stations is too good to pass up, but we probably need to finish one plan before we start the next one!
My first day of positive ecology went well. I broke up a pallet on the sidewalk, discovering to my job that my mattock in fact is the perfect tool for popping the planks up without splitting them. Was it a raging success, well not really but it didn’t rain on me too much and I did have some good conversations with passerby’s. The only thing that I will do differently this week is to make a note on the planter box black board saying that there I will be box building on Sunday between 1-3 so at least people have some warning.
I’ve also been playing with a bit of back to basics action in the kitchen. It always amazes me how practically hopeless I am. Equally the thrill of working out that I’m actually able to do something from scratch is just as amazing. I remember the first time that I discovered how to make butter from cream. Nikki was amazed that I hadn’t made butter just by accident by getting distracted while whipping cream. It was slightly disappointing to realise that it’s actually cheaper to buy ready made butter than make it yourself, but it’s still nice to know we can do it.
To help us along we have acquired a breadmaker. We didn’t try, it’s just that a colleague of Nikki’s needed to get rid of one. I know it’s cheating a little but considering I’ve baked 4 times in the last couple of weeks and reduced how much bread we buy I figure it’s a good thing and a lot cleaner than doing it by hand. I’m not actually using it to bake bread since the bread that comes out looks really freaky and has a big ‘wound’ at the bottom where the mixer goes in. We are just using it for dough kneading and proving. I’m also keen to have another try at flour tortillas, flatbreads and the like since I reckon bread without the need to fire up the oven is the way to go.
I’ve also had another crack at yoghurt making and the results have been splendid. This is another one of those things which is just so straight forward and yet seems so complicated. Who would have thought that making yoghurt effectively comes down to adding a little bit of existing (live) yoghurt to some milk and keeping it warm and snuggly. The weird thing is that in order to make it you need just those couple of tablespoons of yoghurt to make more; turns out buying a really small amount of yoghurt is hard and while you can buy the freeze dried bacteria by itself, it’s almost as expensive as just buying the yoghurt. So if I come around and borrow (or offer) a couple of tablespoons of yoghurt now you’ll know why.
I’m convinced that kneading the bread by hand is the magic bit that can make good bread great. So I refuse to outsource that to a machine!
Mind you, I’ve yet to master making great bread. 🙂
I actually totally agree, but at this point in reality the increased speed in proving that the bread machine provides means that I am actually baking the bread that we use for the whole family. I’ll accept that this is a crutch and I think in time I’ll get back to totally hand-making bread but by that time I hope I will have perfected a solid, dependable bread recipe. Slowly, slowly catchy baked goods !
We just use the last 2 tablespoons of any batch to start the next one. You’re welcome to grab that much off us though, if you’re currently in need! We’re in Thornbury. I’ll probably make a new batch tonight but have more yoghurt than I need to do that.
We’re okay at the moment but thanks load for the offer. I have read that the bacteria becomes ‘tired’ in time. Have you found this to be true??
Katrina has been making a bit of yoghurt recently. She says yes, after 2-3 batches it takes longer to set, and after a while it won’t set at all.
She asks what you’re using to incubate it – microwave, oven, slow cooker?
We got a second hand easiyo which is basically a large, heavily insulated thermos. It has an internal container that you put your warm milk/yoghurt in, you fill the outer container with boiling water and then you leave it overnight. They must have been big at some point (I’m guessing 70s and 80s from the style) because I see them in op shops everywhere.
No, haven’t noticed anything like that, but then we’ve only been doing it a few months. It’s counter-intuitive though: I’d have assumed that as long as bacteria has food each generation is as happy as the generation before. I could well be wrong though!