It’s taken a while for its first outing, but at the end of last season we bought a second-hand Thule Omnistor 1200 awning. I mentioned it in a blog entry at the beginning of February, when we fitted it, albeit not without a struggle!
I have to admit that this is a bit of a cheat, but the speed and predictability of rising and proving compared with “real” sourdough makes it tempting. And the results are delicious …
It’s a mixture of sourdough and yeasted dough, and although it doesn’t have the air pockets and texture of a sourdough, it has plenty of flavour and is far more chewy than a simple yeasted bread.
Let me say first of all that I’m not a pen collector nor a “penthusiast” and have no intention of becoming one. It started when we were asked to encourage our eldest grandchild to improve her writing by sending occasional letters and postcards to which she could reply.
Of course, like most people these days, we type the vast majority of our written material, right down to shopping lists and calendar entries. But after a couple of goes with a ball-point and some experimentation with computerised script fonts, I thought it might be nice to use an old-fashioned fountain pen. I managed to find an unused but fairly cheap corporate logo pen in a desk drawer, but now I’ve bought this:
We took the opportunity of a short break before the busy Easter break to take the caravan to Suffolk and for me to indulge in a little fishing expedition. And jolly nice it was.
We stayed at Heathside in Wenhaston, not far from Southwold. When I say that we had the place to ourselves, that was literally true.
We’ve been keeping chickens for some years now, and never suffered serious losses before. But we didn’t padlock one of the doors the other night, and one of the many local foxes took advantage of the opportunity. Foxes can undo latches and shoot back bolts, so by morning only one of the bantams remained. A few feathers showed where the others had met their end. The bodies had been taken, so presumably they’d ended up as dinner for the fox cubs. It’s still that time of year.
We regularly go to the caravan show, but this time it was with a new project in mind. A few years ago we toured the American Midwest and the Great Lakes on motorcycles. Rather than hire the bikes, we bought them, and enjoyed three years of touring before selling them on. We had great holidays on bikes that suited us, and all for less money than we’d have spent on motorcycle hire alone.
Well, we’re thinking of repeating the exercise, but this time with a motorhome, and basing ourselves in California rather than Wisconsin. Provided we’re not too ambitious by going for anything too new or too luxurious, we can again do a series of hols for around half the cost of hiring, and probably with a more suitable vehicle into the bargain.
The Caravan Club was offering free “tasters” of motorhome manoeuvring. Jean went first …
A bit specialist, I know, but I do enjoy the Shooting Show. We went on the first day, arriving very early in wintry weather at Stoneleigh in order to grab a warming coffee and bacon sarnie before the show opened.
I’ve got my beautiful Daystate Pulsar to play with, so I wasn’t shopping for new guns, but I did buy one treat: a really nicely engineered Smartrest “Nitro Force SR01” gunrest.
The Unicorn is booked in for its second birthday service next week, which marks the start of the new season. Big one this year with a full heating fluid change and a refrigerator service too. Luckily we have Mark Caravan Medic on the case.
I received this fantastic book for Christmas which has encouraged me further to explore the potential of rye flours.
All-rye formulae are really quite hard to handle, so I’ve eased myself in a bit with a rye-wheat mixture. Both flours from the excellent Stoates. It’s the first time I’ve ordered rye flour by the 25kg sack!
It was a three-stage process, developing the sourdough over 84 hours. I made a batch of 14 large loaves. Here are the first few fresh out of the oven.
They didn’t rise as much as I’d hoped, so I may need to fiddle with temperatures or hydration to get them to spring a little bit more. But not a bad first attempt at the process.
I have to admit that when it comes to cooking, I’m in Gadget Heaven. But I’ve noticed that one old faithful has become rather neglected of late – the Magimix food processor.