Friday, May 29, 2015

Quince curd tarts

I have a friend who is an amazing cook, baker, cheese maker, caterer, fruit grower and all round whiz in the kitchen.  She and her family are generous and thoughtful and the kind of people you can always rely on.  Recently, in a split second accident their lives were turned inside out and upside down and perhaps changed forever.  Many miles from home and amongst unimaginable upheaval my friend remembered her quince tree and knew that this year, she wouldn’t be cooking any of the precious fruit.  

This amazing woman also managed to remember me and arranged to have the quinces sent in my direction.

It was one of those sunny, sparkly autumn afternoons when I picked up this basket.  Joy, gratitude and sadness rushed over me all at the same time.  Instead of enjoying the warmth and autumn light in her kitchen, this year my friend is far from home clinging to hope and bravely holding her family together.

Something special needed to be done with these quinces.  Enter quince curd tarts. 

I made the curd using this recipe and the little tart shells using a dependable pastry recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook.  

Showered with a little icing sugar my whole family tested these as soon as they were cool enough to safely eat.  Buttery, lemony quince goodness sitting on a flaky pillow.  

Sending you all some sparkly autumn sunshine for your Friday x

Friday, May 15, 2015


A lot of stuff has been happening lately.  Schooling, part time solo parenting and farm stuff.  At times I have started to drown in the mess and chaos.  Then I remember that I have all of this.

Quinces.  I have buckets of them.

Tea and the first rays of sunlight in my kitchen.

When I started to chop back my asparagus ferns, this is what I found.  Green gold in my opinion. 

No less than eight working dogs loaded into the back of the ute, bristling with enthusiasm for the day of sheep work ahead. 

Our backyard stretches on forever, almost.

Distance education does not always look like this.  Mostly it is a frantic tangle of paper, books and audio files.  Every now and then we take it outside and it looks like this. 

Pip always hits the nail on the head.  If you haven’t read this post on slowing down, you should.  It changed the colour of my week. 

I have a couple of little projects in the pipeline with some clever and creative blogging friends.  Stay tuned on that one.  Bloggers are so generous with their time and enthusiasm, it continues to amaze me.

We are about to become the proud owners of a pair of ducks.  The kids are so enthusiastic that they have named them, before we have even taken delivery.  

I hope you are noticing the small things and the big things.

Any little projects happening at your place? 

Happy Friday, friends x

Friday, May 1, 2015

In My Kitchen, the sourdough edition

When I first began experimenting with sourdough I put my heart and soul into creating perfectly formed loaves of bread.  Nowadays, although the loaves aren't perfect it is more like a habit and happily, I don’t have to put a lot of thought into it.

All those years ago I would never have imagined how adaptable and flexible sourdough can really be.

These sourdough pancakes are a perfect example.  This is probably one of my all-time favourite recipes discovered on a beautiful blog which I really miss.   Crunchy Tiger if you are still out there, I would love to see you in bread blogging land again

Sourdough bagels thanks to Celia’s recipe and tutorials.  This batch was my first attempt and I am looking forward to trying these again soon.  These were not difficult but I would recommend a little bit of spare time and bench space to make the process run smoothly.

Twisty, plaited white sourdough loaves, one plain and one topped with Za'atar.  The plaits looked far more impressive prior to cooking but this was just for fun.  The baked loaves turned out to be deliciously soft with a lovely open crumb.

White banneton loaves snuggling up with their plaited friends, straight from the wood oven.  

Celia and I recently had a conversation on Twitter regarding bread mixing with machinery, as opposed to mixing by hand.  This prompted me to share a photo of my dough mixing machine.  This beast is a commercial size dough mixer that I purchased online through an auction site several years ago.  The brand is Cater Master which you have probably never heard of, apart from my machine, neither have I.  It has a 5kg flour capacity and stands at almost 900mm tall.  As it is too large for my kitchen it lives in the entry area of our house, a unique decorative piece to greet our guests! 

I mix almost all of my bread and pizza bases with this machine and I also use it for extra-large batches of biscuit dough at peak biscuits times, such as Christmas.  It has a balloon whisk and paddle attachment as well as a dough  hook.  The dough hook is by far the most used part.  The Cater Master is nothing fancy but it makes easy work of heavy bread dough and now I cannot imagine life without it. 

Life is not all flour and bread.  There is also music in the kitchen, at the moment this song is a catchy favourite.

Are you baking or listening to music or both? 

Is there a blog out there that hasn't been updated in ages that you miss?

Happy Friday friends.

As usual I am linking up with Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Celia and many of her blogging friends are a constant source of bread making inspiration.