Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lovely little flower earrings

My creative space today is all colorful and shiny: I would like to make good pictures of these lovely little flower earrings and list them in my etsy shop.

I think this song just fits the theme perfectly :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sourdough bread recipe and flickr favorites

I love bread, I really like to make it, all kinds of it weather sweet or sour. This really easy sourdough recept comes from Jamie Oliver's book the Happy Days with the Naked Chef.

It takes a week to prepare, but it's really worth the effort.

Mix 500g of organic rye flour with enough water to make a soft dough in a bowl. Put it outside for an hour and then bring inside, cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place. (it has to be organic, rye flour!)

It will start to bubble. Leave it alone.

The mix will continue to bubble and go slightly grey. Stir in a handful of flour and a little bit of water, enough to get the mixture back to the same consistency as on Monday. Leave it covered again.

Leave it alone

By now the mixture should be beery, malty smelling and ashy coloured. Make the bread by adding all of this starter dough mix to 1kg of strong flour, then add enough water to make a firm, pliable dough that isnt sticky. Knead for a good 5 minutes. Remove a 500g piece of dough for your next starter before adding any salt, cover and put to one side, ready to repeat the process the next day and so on, etc. Add salt if you want to. Shape the dough and put it into a bowl or tin lined with a floured tea towel. Leave for 14 hours.

Saturday morning:
Bake the bread. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Gently turn the dough out on to a floured baking tray, cut quite deep slashes into it, and bake for 1 hour or until it is crisp and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Allow to cool.

My thoughts: I like my bread more flat, because it's easier to dip with it, but if you want a nice "high" loaf, makes sure that the bowl where you will leave it to rest those 14 hours is high enough.
To achieve a more crispy outside you have to spray some water on the bread before baking, but the best way is to put a roasting tray on the bottom of your oven before warming it up and when you put your bread into the oven, pour a half a liter boiling (!) water in that tray (keep your face back!!) and that really, really quickly shut the door to keep the steam inside. When your bread is ready and you put it on a roaster to cool down, first thing you do is spray a little water on it :)
Also very important: if you can, always wait till your bread cools down completely. This way it will stay moist inside and you can enjoy it longer.

as you may guessed, flickr favorites are also about bread, I collected these yummy photos from my flickr contacts:

Created with fd's Flickr Toys

for more flickr favorites from other etsy artists, please visit Artmind's blog!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Spicy roasted squash soup and other pumpkins

It's the beginning of October so pumpkins are all over the place. Of course they are inspirational, they have a gorgeous bright orange color and they are truly representing the best in this season.
I couldn't resist either, so I also made few earrings with pumpkin like beads :)

Pumpkins are beautiful or funny and this time of the year they will end up like a jack-o'-lantern in front of a porch or - the yummy ones - like a cup of delicious soup :)

You will need:

1 squash, about 1 kilo
1 tbsp grounded coriander
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 clove garlic
dried chili's, as much as you can take :) Let's say for beginners one small chili
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
fresh coriander leaves
creme fraiche or goat cheese

Cut the squash in quarters and than every quarter in half.

Put the coriander, fennel and cumin seeds, the chili's, the oregano, the garlic with a good pinch of salt, pepper and a tablespoon of the oil in a pestle and mortar, and make a paste of it. Rub the squash wedges with it and place them on a roasting tray with skin side down. Roast them at 200 °C (400 degrees Fahrenheit or gas 6) for about 30-40 minutes, until they are tender.

Now wait till they are not so hot, because you have to peel the skin off and you don't want to burn your fingers. At this stage I usually eat one or two wedges, just cannot resist the temptation :)
After you peeled the skins off, cut the squash in little cubes, and set aside.
In a medium pan heat the rest of the oil and sauté the onions till they are tender. Add the squash cubes and add water, just enough to cover the vegetable. Cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes, refill water if necessary. Now take a stick blender or put the soup in a food processor and make a smooth puree of it. It really depends on your own taste, I like it a little chunky put if you want to make a cream of it, don't hesitate!
Put the soup back in the pan and taste, probably you will need a little more salt and pepper, and once again how you like it, maybe a little more water. Slowly bring it to cook again for a minute or two, and ready!

Serve it with a little creme fraiche and fresh coriander on top or if you like it, with fresh goat cheese, like i did.

I baked some breadsticks too, I used the recipe from the fantastic book River Cottage Handbook No 3 Bread, if you ever decide to make your own bread this book is a must, I can really recommend it.


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