Packing and baking

Packing and baking usually aren’t 2 activities that go together but here they most certainly do. The pantry is mostly packed, with only the essential ingredients left out or jars with bits and bobs left which I am hoping we can use up before the move. I didn’t find too many out of date items (surprisingly) however, all of those that I did find are herbs and spices (unsurprisingly). I am looking forward to growing my own herbs though so I can see a big chuck out on the near horizon.

I’ve got the car loaded and ready for a run tomorrow as I’m dying to have a squizz and see how the painting has gone.  I know they’re working on the trims now which is really exciting. Nearly all done! Then on to tiles. Sorry John, I know that’s going to be a rotten job too. I hope it’s easier than expected.

I’ve also got some errands to run tomorrow, including a trip into Ballarat to sort out details for carpet installation which is very exciting. I think we are on the final lap now! Get that chequered flag a-ready!

Baking however, has become a MUCH larger task than anticipated. I decided to bake to use up some of the aforementioned small amount ingredients but I really must remember to focus when reading recipes. Using the flour measurements to measure out the sugar has resulted in having to make 6 times the original recipe, rather than the double I was aiming for. 😦 Gem scones anyone? I’ve ended up with nearly 200 of them so I hope Martin’s colleagues fancy home-baked morning tea tomorrow. 😉 And I have 60 in the freezer as well as about 15-20 for the next few days. On the bright side, no more cacao nibs. 😀

A heavenly smell

My house smells divine! I have been baking again. 🙂 This time it’s vegemite and cheese scrolls for lunch, mini peach cobblers for dessert and I’m making chocolate too.

Yes, chocolate!

The vegemite and cheese scrolls are a great quick whip up snack or meal which my children love helping with. Here’s the Thermy recipe. 🙂

Bread dough: I use the basic bread dough recipe from the Every Day Cookbook but I use 200g spelt grain instead of 100g wheat. If you have your own bread recipe you prefer though, most will work as long as they’re not too sweet a dough.

200g spelt grain or wheat grain, mill 1.5 minutes, sp 9.
320g flour
300g warm water
10g dried yeast
1tsp salt or to taste
20g oil (I use olive oil)

Mix altogether sp7 5 secs then knead 1.5 minutes on interval. Leave to rise.

Grate cheese. I don’t have an actual measurement but I would say at least 1-1.5 inches of cheese off a 1kg block. I’m guessing to say 150g or more. Add another 50g if you want cheese on top.

When dough has risen to nearly double it’s size, knead again then turn out onto a floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle, smear liberally with vegemite then sprinkle with cheese. Roll up into a long log and cut into pieces about 4-6cm long. Stand up so the cut edge is facing up on baking paper on a tray. Bake at 180C degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

The remaining scrolls after we’d all had lunch

The Mini Peach Cobblers were a recipe I pinned from Pinterest. I’ll share the link here. All I can say is that they are amazing! The only changes I made were using finely chopped peaches I had preserved earlier in the year and for both the brown sugar and the normal sugar I used rapadura. Oooo the caramelly goodness! I will be making these for our guests on Saturday for sure! Allegra took 1 look and decided they were yuck (as she does frequently sadly) but Jasper tucked straight in. The sweetest thing was listening to Jasper successfully convincing Allegra to “have a little try cos it’s yummy” which she did and as I watch her the last bite disappears. So much for yucky! 😛

The peaches stuck a little in the bottom but hey, they taste AMAZING!

Finally, the chocolate. Mine is still doing it’s thing in Thermy so I don’t have a photo of my handiwork but I highly recommend this recipe. It’s amazing. Best bit for me is that I can have just 1 piece and be happy. Yes, it’s rich but it’s more that it isn’t full of highly refined white sugar empty calories and neither do I find it addictive. If I buy a block of the normal chocolate I can’t ever stop until the block is finished. And I inevitably end up feeling sick and bloated and then the next day I sometimes end up with a headache. I’ve decided not to buy it again as I really don’t enjoy it when all that is factored in. Quirky Cooking “almost raw” chocolate uses ingredients that haven’t been processed to within an inch of their lives (or beyond) and although I wouldn’t exactly call it a healthy snack, it’s definitely far far less unhealthy than it’s supermarket namesake. It contains the anti-oxidants touted to be in dark chocolate as the cacao powder is raw, the cacao butter is also raw and the rapadura, although not raw, still contains its mineral salts and molasses goodness. Not to mention a real vanilla pod (no imitation vanilla) and I can add in raw nuts, dried fruits or whatever else I fancy. This time it will just be plain chocolate though. 🙂

And a photo from my baking the other day, my gem scones.

Gem Scone Iron – This one is cast iron but there are also cast aluminium out there.

Gem Scones – just out of the iron and cooling

A busy day in the kitchen

It’s been a busy day in the kitchen. Just the way I love to start my week too. I have 2 loaves of sourdough on the rise (modified recipe which I shall post if it works well), frozen blueberry and raspberry yoghurt ice-creams in the freezer for the kids, homemade ice-cream freezing, sprouted spelt wheat in the dehydrator, sourdough starter feeding, barm brack and gem scones in the oven, both made substituting homemade date paste instead of sugar, mashed potato with salami and cheese in Thermy for lunch, banana milkshakes,  made and I’ve made date paste too. Thank goodness for my Thermomix is all I can say.

I love baking. I pretty much hate cooking, the traditional way with saucepans etc, although I don’t mind it so much with my Thermy and I dread the usual “that’s yuck”  I get before even tasting from my cheeky wonderful children. Dinner every night is a chore, and one which I must soon address too. 😦 Baking however, I can lose myself in. Even though the Thermy takes away most of the hard yakka kneading and stirring and most particularly so with bread, I still find I have to give it a hand knead or stir and then shape it in to the pan for baking. Bread making. It’s one of those old world jobs, performed in some form or variety, around the world and has been done for centuries. I feel a kin-ship with the women and men of ages past kneading and pummeling the dough with their floury hands. Inevitably Orik wakes and screams his head off right in the middle of the most floury part but apart from that it feels like my contribution to the art that is baking. And I am by no means an artist. I am merely a mimic of the greats. I may tweak and twist a recipe to suit my tastes and needs better but I lack that skill the greats have to recognise when I have created a masterpiece. I strive only to please the taste buds of my family and any friends who have inflicted upon them receive something from my kitchen. Apart from the healthful goodness of home baked and mostly organic bread, including the extra nutrients from freshly ground flour, the one thing that keeps me bread making on a near daily basis is the smell. In my huble opinion there really is nothing better than the aroma of freshly baked bread, piping hot from the oven, turned out of the pan to cool (except maybe the smell of that self same bread freshly toasted the next morning with a hot coffee;) ).

My house at the moment is bathed in the aroma of fresh gem scones, cooking barm brack, rising sourdough (it bakes in another hour or so) and the gentle aroma of harvest from the drying spelt.

What is your favourite thing to cook?