Thursday, April 14, 2011

Successful Sunday baking experiments

The other week week I was reading a new addition to my RSS feeds, The Giant Blog of Cooking, Crafting and Other Fun Activities, I came across her recipe for giant pretzels. This was something I'd not tried before so I made a plan to attempt these the following Sunday.

A walk down to the local supermarket for some yeast was the first step and then I got into baking!

Bubbling, growing yeast
(reproduced from GBCCOFA)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast, or 1 packet
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. warm water, about 110 degrees F
3 c. flour
1 c. bread flour
2 c. warm water
2 Tbsp baking soda
3 Tbsp melted butter
Coarse Kosher Salt

I used 3 cups of plain flour instead of part bread flour. My warm water was around 50°C. Finally, I just used regular salt from my grinder in place of the Kosher salt. Oh, and I used Lowan Instant Dried Yeast.

Combine water, sugar, yeast and salt and leave for about 10 minutes till it's bubbling.
Add flour and mix with a dough hook till it reaches an elastic consistency.
Cover mix in oil and leave to rise for about an hour.

Rising dough
Combine warm water and baking soda (or bi-carb) in a dish and set up your pretzel production line!
Separate dough into 12 parts and roll till almost 3 feet (a bit under a metre long).

The pretzel production line
Shape the pretzels then dip in the baking-soda-water mix and lay on a tray.
Bake at 230°C until crispy and brown.

Ready to come out of the oven
Add whatever topping you like. The blog suggested butter and salt so that's what I used. Plus I love my butter! One suggestion from a friend who tried them was sugar and cinnamon with butter or syrup to make it stick.

Giant pretzels

Friday, April 8, 2011


Meme stolen from Rainbows & Thunderstorms.

Age: 20

Bed Size: Single

Chore I Hate: Filling the car with petrol!

Dogs: One family dog, Stephanie

Essential Start of Your Day: Journalling and quiet time

Favorite Color: Yellow

Gold or Silver: Silver

Height: 5'5

Instruments I Play: Keyboard (piano when at home alone!)

Job Title: Receptionist/secretary but it will be Graduate Accountant next year

Kids: 0

Live: Australia

Mom's Name: Mum!

Nicknames: Loz, Loza, Lol, Lollie

Overnight Hospital Stays: 0

Pet Peeve: People being unwilling to listen to other's opinions but at the same time, people repeating their opinion needlessly! A bit of a conflict there!

Quote From a Movie: '...but the number of engagements that go on seem to me to be considerably above the proper average that statistics have laid down for our guidance.' - Judy Dench as Lady Bracknell in the Importance of Being Earnest

Right- or Left-Handed: Right

Siblings:  2 sisters, 3 brothers

Time You Wake Up: 7am pretty consistently with the occasional Saturday sleep in

Underwear: Bonds Hipster

Veggie You Dislike: Green Beans

What Makes You Run Late: Nine extra minutes in bed after hitting snooze

X-Rays You Have Had: for my wisdom teeth extraction I had one that swiveled around my head

Yummy Food You Make:  Chocolate fudge brownies

Zoo Animal You Like Best: pygmy lemurs! Also, I would love to see the red pandas--or, firefoxes!

Courtesy Plus Pets

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It must be autumn: Pumpkin Soup

Autumn has won the battle for my favourite season. I love the weather, the fashions and the food, especially pumpkin soup. I decided to make some a few Sundays ago and found a recipe for red lentil and pumpkin soup on the always handy recipe site, After a post-church pumpkin buying excursion with a friend, I made a few modifications, incorporating the ingredients we had on hand at home and some suggestions from other Taste users to make my Hot Pumpkin and Lentil Soup.

Ingredients and trusty "recipe book" all ready to go
2 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion
1.4 kg pumpkin
3/4 cup red lentils
2 medium carrots
1 tbsp curry powder
10g vegetable stock powder
5g garlic butter
1.3 litres water

Fry onion then add curry powder
1. Fry onion until just browning or getting soft
2. Add curry powder and garlic butter
3. Add 300 mL of water
4. Add washed red lentils and allow to soften while preparing vegetables
5. Chop pumpkin and soften slightly in microwave with a dash of water
6. Same for carrots

Leave covered to simmer
7. Add vegetables, remaining litre of water and vegetable stock powder
8. Bring to boil and then allow to simmer until pumpkin, carrot and lentils are fully softened
9. Blend soup in portions -- however much your blender will take!

Blend, blend, blend
10. Leave to simmer and thicken. Serve warm with a dolop of sour cream if you wish

Hot Pumpkin and Lentil Soup
It makes quite a spicy soup and next time I think I'll halve the curry powder and add more carrots and pumpkin. After 3-4 servings, I added another half a kilo of pumpkin. It probably gave around 15 serves of just under 200g each.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Design elements I love

I've been exploring my growing love of design since starting my job at my church and working on the newsletter but especially so over the last few weeks.

Fonts are my favourite part of design. I love getting the right font to capture the subject matter of a uni assignment or express the theme of a story in the display font I use on the title of the draft. And don't even start about Comic Sans!

My next love is colour. Finding a collection of colours that fit together just right is so satisfying. But then I often get frustrated in the search for 'original' colours to differentiate my work from the stuff I've done before.

Clean lines are gorgeous. I think this leads me to love neat-and-tidy fonts such as Century Gothic. As a contrast, I also enjoy antique-inspired shapes and flourishes, including beautiful architecture.