In my last post I touched on my latest cookery book, ‘Perfecting Sourdough’, by Jane Mason. I’m finding it all so amazing (I know, I’m very easily amazed!) I really had to tell you about it.
I’ve tried to get a sourdough starter going before but just got a nasty, smelly, watery mess in a jam jar but an article in one of the Sunday papers recently set me off again. I followed the instructions to the letter and got… another nasty, smelly, watery mess. (One of the reasons for a failed starter, apparently is a too clean house…)
Once I’d picked myself up off the floor and wiped my eyes I headed off to the internet, where I found Breadtopia, where Eric had the answer to my problems. Eric uses unsweetened pineapple juice in the starter and it worked perfectly. I love the whole science lab experiment thing of creating a new life form on the kitchen worktop (rather than the back of the fridge where they usually happen)
Once you have a happy, healthy starter you use a portion of it to make a loaf and the rest sits in a jar in the fridge for next time. Once it gets a bit small you refresh it with a meal of flour and water and it just keeps going. There are reports of some starters being over one hundred years old!
Making sourdough bread is long process, but not an intensive one. Apart from the kneading stage, which takes ten minutes and is a good anti ‘bingo wing’ activity, the rest of the time it just sits about rising and requires a bit of poking now and then. The result is DEE-licious. Much more flavour than ordinary bread, the slow rise makes it more digestible, and its just wholemeal flour, water and salt.
I was horrified to learn that one of the 17 ingredients of a standard sliced loaf was actually palm oil.
So that’s why I splashed out on this book. Lots of lovely recipes for different breads, cakes, pancakes and waffles using a sourdough starter which I’m looking forward to trying out.
Have I whetted your appetite? I’d love to know if you decide have a go at making your own starter, or if you are a seasoned baker and have some tips to share.
See you soon…x
Rubbish, aren’t I? It’s been a whole month…
My excuse, however is the run up to Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios, which started last weekend. I now have a few days grace before we open again on Saturday so here I am with a little round up of the last month.
I sorted out my vegetable patch. Here it is, showcasing the Anti-Dachshund Preventative Flag System…This is how well it worked…Hmm…back to the drawing board on that I think.
In the rest of the garden the flowers have been wonderful. Under the Laburnum tree the air just vibrates with the buzzing of bees. It’s such a shame that the whole wonderful display barely lasts a week…There have been poppies…and Granny Bonnets (although the best ones have self seeded in the verge outside the fence)…Cherry blossom…Rhododendron…I love the ‘rhubarb and custard’ colours, don’t you?
And my favourite ‘Dog Daisies…
I bought a super new book…about which, more later…
And had a spotty manicure!But my big decision of the month is for a Planet Penny clear out. As I have said in previous posts, I am gradually trying to whittle away the ‘stuff’ which bogs me down. As much as I have been happy with my ‘makes’, I need to move things on to clear space not just in the studio, but in my head.
So I’m having a Planet Penny Silly Sale during Open Studios, and selling off all sorts of items, materials and end of line yarn at bargain prices.If you live in the Norfolk area and would like to snap something up, pay a visit to our Two Rivers Trail come and see me, and make me an offer I can’t refuse!
See you soon…x
Can it really be May already? I can’t believe how the year is rushing by…
The Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios is looming up once more which is why I haven’t been around for a while. I did my usual thing of thinking – a lot – about my piece for the Taster Exhibition for Open Studios at the Forum in Norwich, and then realising I hadn’t actually made it!
So here it is, and you’ll see that it came very much from the place I’ve been over the past months…
In fact the long scarf was made when I really couldn’t do anything else and it all fell into place in the end.
I’m glad I can look at it now as from a distance, making it it was definitely good therapy. My next piece is a return to normal Planet Penny jollity, a special needlefelt project for my god daughter. It’s a bespoke cake topper for her wedding cake so I can’t possibly share it until after the big day I’m afraid. However, I will be popping back in the build up to opening the studio to let you know the details because it would be great if you can visit.
So, see you soon…x
A few weeks ago while I was feeling overwhelmed by life, and basically just STUFF, I realised the first step was to Simplify everything. I came across Jessica Swift’s Goal And Intention Kit
I found this was a perfect way to focus my mind, almost the first page I filled in was the ‘Word for the Year page’. Obviously my word was SIMPLIFY and I’m sharing my thought processes right here…
(You might think now being a quarter of the way into the year makes this post slightly out of date, but who says a new year can’t begin at the Spring equinox? ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’ and all that!)
For an inveterate hoarder who has just inherited a houseful more stuff that sounds like a tall order but ‘Baby Steps’ they say and I’m actually getting much better at donating things, giving things away and even, when all else fails, going to the tip!
As it’s William Morris‘ 182nd birthday today it’s seem appropriate to say I am using as my mantra his famous saying…
I’ve only got the one house, how hard can it be? (oh, and there’s the studio….and the shed...)
Anyway, how about all you out there, my creative friends? Are you minimalists or do you hang on to every little thing – just in case – like I have for far too many years. I know I’m not a tidy person but I also know how much clutter cramps my creativity, and I need my creativity!
If you think a word for your year would focus your mind you can make it official on the OneWord365 website. I joined the #Simplify Tribe! (I am definitely ‘a work in progress’)
I’ll be back with a be-YOO-tiful new magazine to review, inspiration for the simple life.
See you soon…x
Hello! I’m here again, and feeling strangely shy…it’s seems such a long, looong time that I’ve been away.
Firstly, e-NOR-mous thank yous for the incredible support and kind thoughts from so many of you after my last post. I tried hard to acknowledge you all and I really hope I didn’t miss anyone. If I did, it wasn’t that I didn’t read and appreciate everything I was sent, but it was a bit of a blur at the time.
I am a little daunted that while I’ve been away quite a few new people have signed up to follow the blog and I’ve had to convince myself that no-one is expecting me to make a dramatic come back, leaping from the wings in fishnets and top hat, tap dancing furiously… are you? Eek!
No, it’s going to be slow and steady, accompanied by lots of Early Grey green tea, my new favourite, and sitting down. Oh and Higgins will be around too, he’ll be helping with the sitting down.
I’ve just come home from an amazing, relaxing week by the sea on the south coast where all I really had to do was to watch the waves so now I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. I’ve missed you all!
The Etsy shop will reopen on 21st March and I’ll be back here again very soon, I’m really looking forward to it xxx
Hello, all you lovely people out there in Blogland, who have visited Planet Penny so often over the years commenting and generally joining in with projects and other jollities.
I’ve found it hard to keep the blog posts coming lately, and I think it’s time to admit that I’m struggling. If I’d fallen over and broken my ankle I would be perfectly open about it, so admitting another part of my body is in need of repair shouldn’t be a problem. It’s ingrained in us, isn’t it, to feel we have to hush up mental health issues? Certainly when I was growing up those sort of problems were talked about in whispers.
So I’m letting you know that I have been diagnosed with severe depression. With medication and counselling, I’m confident I will beat it. I know that many of you out there will be similarly affected so I don’t want to pussyfoot around and be coy, it’s nothing to be ashamed about.
A break from Planet Penny will mean I can put all my energies into regaining my equilibrium and spirit which I need to do for my nearest and dearest. My goal for the blog is to come back in good form in the Spring, and I really hope you will be around when I do!
Meanwhile, thank you all for just being out there, wherever you are. I wish you a joyful and peaceful Christmas and New Year and I hope to back here again before very long.