Friday, 30 April 2010

Starting a Starter

I don't know if you have heard of a starter before, but it's a way to make a yeast like product from just flour and water. I saw Hugh F-W do it on one of his many River Cottage programmes. Some people may call it a leaven. Apparently these things keep for years, decades even. Anyway, everyday you feed your starter, to get it going, you also have to discard a bit as well, as you'd have a ginormous amount of this flour mixture!

After 2 or 3 weeks, I should be able to use some of the mixture to make a sourdough loaf of bread.

It seems like an intriguing thing to try, and is fairly cheap thing to do. So I'll let you know if I can make a success of my starter. I have started it using wholemeal flour, but apparently after a time, it's best to switch to white flour (less microbes in it).

Have a lovely weekend. The Brighton Festival starts tomorrow, yah, and I'm also off to look at an allotment as well!

UPDATE Sat 1st May: Just discarded the first half of the starter and fed it with more flour and water, and it smells disgusting. Absolutely acrid. Beyond foul!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

I Spy

The other week my husband and I were discussing I Spy books. Do you remember them from the 1970s/ 80s? They were categorised, like I Spy Roads/ Transport or I Spy Countryside? My husband moaned that growing up in The North, he was not likely to see Slow Worms or Grass Snakes or Woodpeckers. So found the books disappointing and a little alienating!!! (Although I grew up in The South, and I can't say I saw any of those things either!)

So a wry smile appeared on my face when my eldest opened up a parcel from his Aunty yesterday. Inside was I Spy Nature and I Spy On a Car Journey. She found them near the counter in Waterstones. I'm not sure if they have been reissued, but it should be a fun thing to do when we are out and about!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Spring Clean

I know I've been away, but I've been here physically, just very busy, so have left the virtual world to keep ticking by without me.

I was not so lucky (or not) to be marooned somewhere due to volcanic ash, but here in sunny Brighton sorting our apartment out (resulting in a carboot sale, and charity shop giving, one weekend) and then a huge party to celebrate my husband's 40th. I did 98% of all baking and cooking for 30+ people.

I have to admit since having my sewing machine serviced, I have not used it (I don't think) but that is to change. I managed to acquire an old chair, that was going to be thrown away at work for myself. It needs some tlc, all the varnish is to be sanded off (I'm hoping husband will do that) and revarnished. And new seat pads are to be bought, and I will be recovering them with some lovely Anna Maria Horner Drawing Room "Sketchbook" fabric that I bought from Hopefully that will come in a week or so.

So I envisage that project to take maybe a month to get sorted. We always have way too much to do around here.

The gardening group I'm part of where I live is also getting exciting. Our crops are starting to grow, and it's nice that it is downstairs and we can enjoy them everyday! Looking forward to harvest them as well! My youngest one is very helpful when it comes to planting seeds and watering them as well. It's certainly a good hobby for children, and hopefully gives them a lifetime of knowledge regarding how we get things to eat!