When we first were told we were in lockdown with the covid virus I thought fine. A great opportunity to write and read and do those things I always wanted to do. I was in the fortunate situation I could ‘ legally ‘ walk my dog as that constituted exercise and my goto coffee shop still operated as a takeaway drink…albeit not in my own coffee cup. Then off home!
Then I decided I would start some ‘ projects ‘ doing things I felt I never had enough time for. First cab off the rank and I decided this was the best time (like zillions of others) to learn to make sourdough. After all I had time on my hands and although the local supermarket had empty shelves of flour, sugar, rice, pasta and of course toilet paper the little fruit and vegetable shop I frequented often had bags of 10 kg bags of bakers flour. A neighbour gave me my first starter and a friend offered rye flour (and for those of you unfamiliar with ‘ feeding your starter ‘ it is the flour recommended. I watched some u tube videos and messaged and emailed friends for advice and I was off. I can report I still have my ‘L ‘ plates on and find making sourdough was more like learning a new language with various methods of procedures. My bread has been eatable but lacks those ‘ears ‘and big holes you see on sourdough bread sites but I am in awe really that one can make bread with just flour, water and salt and it is something that has been made for thousands of years and can be as basic or sophisticated as you want.
Another project was marinating olives. A friend told me of a huge olive tree on a neighbouring street where the olives were not being picked! What to do? I suggested she drop a note in the neighbours letterbox to see if they would mind if she picked a few. I figured she would have nothing to lose. Moving on both my friend and I had buckets of these fat juicy babies which resulted in finding appropriate recipes for marinating them. To salt, to cut and extract the pip, to bash them, add lemon, vinegar, and more salt required a lot of discussion and preparation. Now I have kilos of the things in various jars with different herbs and spices in olive oil waiting for sampling.
And then there were the quinces. I have a quince tree and the fruit of which I am happy to share with feathered friends but became annoyed when they would eat a quarter of the fruit before moving onto another piece. But we got there in the end and I was able to poach some and gift the rest. With a sugar shortage I decided against making quince paste this year though added some of the poaching liquid to various sweet treats and cakes. I do love having a large bowl of quinces in my house as it gives the most gorgeous perfume.
When I saw a bag of bunya nuts on sale and a recipe for pesto i jumped at the chance to make something new. There was an enormous bunya pine tree at the boarding school I attended many (many) years ago but I don’t remember the nuts from it. However, it was a real project to actually peel then so I sought assistance from family. The finished product was very delicious though it maybe something that will not be repeated in the near future. No photos here.
As I write this, restrictions are slowly being lifted and soon we will be able to share a coffee and a meal with friends and family. Though I was fortunate to have family visit from interstate (where border restrictions were lifted) to help celebrate a milestone recently. They hired a car instead of taking flights which we are still waiting for and we enjoyed some DELICIOUS food and wine. Bring it on!