Global leadership, now!

What is reality? Is it this loaf of bread, baked last night? The coffee, I just spilled on the seat cushion, or the butter left from a dropped knife? All of these events happened.

As time passes events become open to interpretation. Beliefs, assumptions and theories challenge reality. A truth for one person, a falsehood for another.

Humans strive for knowledge and understanding, so that they may improve, move forward. Surely this is a good thing? Unfortunately, as a species we are doomed to fail. There is no common direction, other than the pre-programmed need to reproduce and survive.

Civilisations that came before us, thousands of years ago, masters of their time, did not survive. How are we any different? We waste so much time and energy on errant quests. If the leader of a country is incapable of doing their job, replace them with someone who can. Why do we care if individuals survive supposed scandals, brought down on them by the wrath of critics and the press?

Ultimately, the only reality we need to concern ourselves, we are at the mercy of the Universe, the Earth, and Mother Nature. Even though it may be too late, surely it is better to unite in saving the planet rather than focussing on petty power squabbles.

We need global leadership, now!

Greening suburbia

No-knead loaf with coffee grounds

A recent visit by friends from Sydney and a conversation about minimising food waste inspired me to save:

  • oil from marinated feta
  • egg shells
  • coffee grounds

I have reused the oil to make my own marinated feta. With the egg shells I made a tea to give succulents a boost. Also, combined banana skins, coffee grounds and eggshells in the food processor to make fertiliser.

How to make your own natural fertiliser using kitchen scraps

DIY fertiliser

Two of us drinking two to three coffees a day produces a lot of grounds! Not wanting to throw away the excess, I have been experimenting with what to do with them. This has successfully included grounds:

One of the friends from Sydney told me they had coffee bread at a restaurant. A quick search online yielded bread made with coffee liquid, not the grounds. Some discussion boards decried the idea, saying that the end product would be gritty.

Hey ho, throwing caution to the wind I added grounds to my latest batch of no knead bread. During fermentation the dough rose more than usual. Not knowing how well the loaf would retain its shape, I opted to use a loaf pan.

The loaf has been an overwhelming success. Being moist with an open texture and a slight espresso flavour, it is very dark brown in colour and grit free.

We have had it sliced with butter to accompany lunch and toasted for breakfast; avocado looked and tasted delicious on it.

2014 in a loaf

My experiences of making sour dough bread this year reflects my life. At times flat and stodgy, sometimes perky, overall there has been solid progress.

This loaf is the last I shall bake in 2014, it has the best texture so far. I hope that you will join me in raising a slice (toasted if you wish) to the good and bad outcomes of one year and the hope and potential of another.

All the best for 2015,

Robert, Sydney, Australia.

Sourdough bread

Having had multiple sourdough bread failures I’m thrilled to be able to share a no-knead recipe that produces a rustic loaf. It is slightly adapted version available from the StoneSoup virtual cookery school (see link below). You can substitute the sourdough starter with 1/4 teaspoon of active dried yeast.

425g unbleached bread flour
375g water
200g sourdough starter
1 teaspoon salt

1. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Cover with glad wrap (cling film).
3. Leave for 12-24 hours until doubled in size.
4. Preheat large lidded Pyrex casserole dish and baking stone in oven at hottest temperature.
5. Meanwhile turn out dough on floured board.
6. Using floured hands hook fingers under and fold the edges of the dough into the middle. I usually work from quarters then eighths.
7. Place the dough upside down on a well floured cloth and fold over the floured cloth.
8. When the oven is at temperature remove the Pyrex bowl, take off the lid and sprinkle flour in the bowl.
9. Tip the dough right side up into the bowl and replace the lid.
10. Bake the bread for 30 minutes then turn the temperature down to 200oC and remove the lid.
11. After 15 minutes at the lower temperature the bread should be cooked.
12. Cool on a wire rack.

Magical moment

On the cool side of the house
Set in shaded red brick wall,
Leaded window latched open.
The frame’s edges softened by
Layer on layer of paint.
Antique glass distorts the view,
Hostas nod gently beneath.
Heavenly smells escape as
Freshly baked bread and pastries
Sit cooling upon the sill.

Weight loss


Birthday baking at Brasserie Bread

I enjoy food, especially when created from scratch containing whole-foods. A work colleague asked me whether I had done any baking recently, when I replied no, she said that must be disappointing for me. When I explained that I had been spending time writing, she said “you can’t eat words”.

Hmm could this be the answer to weight loss?