Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Home made bread

Recently I have become very interested in making my own bread at home. For Christmas, I asked both families to chip in so I could purchase a grain mill, and make my own fresh flours. I do a lot of gluten free baking, and those flours can be particularly expensive.
Anyway, one of my new books I am making my way through is Peter Reinhart's 'Whole Grain Breads'. I followed the 100% whole wheat bread recipe: here is my attempt in pictures:
This is the combined biga and starter
This is the biga and starter after one hour. It roughly doubled in size and is ready to go into the oven.
And...the freshly baked loaf!
It did look and smell good when it came out of the oven. The recipe called for 45-60 minutes baking time. I pulled the loaf out at around 50 minutes, figuring somewhere in between the two times would be sufficient. Wrong! It was very dense, and once cooled was doughy and difficult to eat. I am informed by a seasoned home bread baker that I need to buy a food thermometer and test the loaf temperature before removing from the oven next time.

So, while the first loaf was a flop, I'm looking forward to having another go soon. I am in the process of sourcing bulk organic grain from the local health food stores, and will soon be grinding my own buckwheat, rice, barley, wheat and other flours. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A recipe that works well when you pretty much have nothing in the house, semolina is rich in fibre and minerals.

Semolina Soup
100g vegetables, various kinds, cut into tiny cubes
50g semolina
20g butter
1 litre vegetable stock (I like to make mine from scratch with tired old vegetables, but you can use organic powder vegetable stock)
1 pinch thyme
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon parsley

Saute the semolina in the butter, add the vegetables and briefly saute them too, and pour on the vegetable stock. Add the thyme, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and nutmeg, and serve with finely chopped parsley.
taken from The Demeter Cookbook: Recipes Based on Biodynamic Ingredients, p69.
Chopped vegetables and semolina ready to go in the saucepan.

This is (I believe) a fairly tasty soup. It has a slightly cheesy flavour reminscent of parmesan. Oliver eats it without any fuss, and loves dipping bits of bread in it. A winner all round.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


After many requests, I am finally starting my own food blog. Since beginning my naturopathy degree, I have discovered a real passion for wholefoods cooking. Now that I have my own family, ensuring we eat nourishing and healthy foods is a priority of mine.
We tend to visit a farmer's market every weekend. Most of the vegetables I purchase are organic, and fruit where possible. I purchase organic grains at the supermarket (Safeway have a good range within their Macro brand), and go to organic stores from time to time.
A lot of the recipes I use are from Jude Blereau's books. I also love Anne Marie Colbin's books, which are predominantly vegetarian. I recently purchased a Patrick Holford book, and also Frugravore by Arabella Forge, which I am just starting to get into now.

Anyway, today I wanted to post a recipe for an organic basil pesto that I made today. I went to the Croydon farmer's market and visited my favourite organic stall (Green Gully Organics from Cockatoo). They were giving away a free bunch of basil with every purchase so I made that the inspiration for tonight's dinner.
Organic Basil Pesto
1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
125 ml extra virgin olive oil
40 g pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Mix until smooth. Add 60 g of grated parmesan and stir through.

I used the organic basil pesto in tonight's chicken, green bean and mushroom fettucine. I stirred through 4 tablespoons and it went down a treat! There was still some leftover some I'm going to pop it in the fridge and make pesto muffins to go with a soup, at a later stage.