Sourdough over the last month:)
A couple of months ago I made my own sourdough starter, found a few recipes online and made my first sourdough bread. It was underproof, rather flat and had massive holes just under the “roof” (I went for 85% hydration of course so it was a bit of a disaster). Later I found out that was called fool’s crumb. It was tasty though, and I was hooked.
Every weekend I now experiment with different kinds of formulas and sometimes I think I am getting somewhere. I travelled with my starter to not miss its feeding time a day before preparing the dough, I sometimes wake up at ridiculous o’clock in the morning to retrieve a cold puffy loaf from my fridge, score it, still half asleep, put it in the oven and spend another 40 minutes in restless anticipation.
The simplicity and wisdom of this centuries old process is fascinating, it keeps me grounded and sane, it takes me away from the clutter and noise, away from busy time schedules, it’s absolutely therapeutic. Just like putting my hands in the garden soil, having my fingers come in contact with the full of life, eager dough, inhaling its comforting aromas and hearing it breathe while its air bubbles expand – brings me to a peaceful, serene place, like nothing else.
I’ve been experimenting with dehydrating my own crisps and breads on and off since last year. This time it seems natural to come back to the idea – I love my corncakes for breakfast, topped with avocado and tomatoes, they’ve been my favourite way to start a day for a long time. I am on a mission to find alternative plastic-free ways to get through two weeks so this time I needed to come up with an idea of my breakfast breads that don’t come in plastic. Secondly, if you ever grown courgettes in your garden or allotment, you know it will come – courgette glut – when you quickly run out of ways of using dozens of new courgettes every day.
I am still experimenting, but for these crispbreads I used three smallish courgettes, 4 carrots, cup of soaked linseed, 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, pinch of black sesame and chia seeds, a couple of cloves of garlic, a bit of water, salt and whizzed it all in the food processor.
When the mixture is ready, spread it on the dehydrator sheet and dehydrate overnight. This time mine came out a bit fragile so I might decrease water and add some nuts instead next time.However I loved breaking them into uneven pieces and topping with avocado, tomatoes, chilli sauce and sprinkling with nigella seeds.
Perfect in its imperfection.
This quiche is something that never ceases to pleasantly surprise my omni friends and acquaintances. It says “yes it is vegan, and yes, vegans eat nice food too”. I took it to multiple workplaces a few times and made it for potluck-type events. It is simple and you can use any vegetables you like: caramelised red onions, mushroom and onions, asparagus and spinach, bell pepper… combinations are endless.
I usually don’t bother pre-baking the pastry, it comes out of the oven perfectly cooked together with the filling.
Ingredients for a caramelised onion quiche:
1 short crust pastry block of your choice (or homemade)
5 small red onions
1 cup chickpea flour
2 cups water
a pinch black indian Kala Namak salt (optional, but it gives the filling eggy flavour)
1 veggie stock cube
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sage
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Pure spread or olive oil for brushing the top
– Preheat your oven.
– Preheat a frying pan, chop the onions, sweat them in olive oil in the frying pan with sage until caramelised.
– Mix chickpea flower with a cup of lukewarm water, whisk until bubbly and well mixed and set aside.
– Prepare the base for the quiche lining the quiche form with baking paper and spreading the pastry on it.
– Prepare the “egg-base”: preheat the saucepan, place stock cube with the rest of the water, add turmeric and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the chickpea mixture and stir until it starts thickening up. Reduce the heat and keep stirring not allowing the mixture to go lumpy until glossy and “eggy-thick”.
– Add caramelised onions, mix well and pour everything onto the pastry. Spread evenly and bake in the oven. Check in about 20-30 minutes, the pastry edges should look cooked.
– Brush the top with Pure spread and let the quiche cool down before serving.
This week I spent a few days at my friends’ family place – hidden away in gorgeous scenery of Aquitaine. I walked all along the peaceful fields of sunflowers and wheat, free from distractions, and this break was exactly what was needed at the start of my new job – to slow down and check in with myself. I am fascinated by wild plants self-seeding and spreading freely and I am on a mission to create an abundant garden full of perennials: both edible and not, coming back year after year.