February 13, 2010

It's a citrus frenzy!

Like practically everyone else in Melbourne right now, I’m tired. I’m tired of being hot. I’m tired of being uncomfortable. I’m tired of not sleeping. Yeah, I’m tired. But if you had to find a positive side to insomnia, then you’d probably go with it meaning there’s more time for this:

(It’s pronounced ‘sor-bay’)
Having changed Miss Rose’s mind about sorbet with my visually- and palate-stimulating blood plum and taken on board a few requests, this week’s perpetual summertime restlessness allowed for a little icy exploration into what became a demonstration of the utmost domestic efficiency. Ask nicely, my friends, and you shall most certainly receive…

Guava sorbet

Orange and passionfruit mascarpone sorbet

Lime sorbet, with a twist
And then, partly to make space in the freezer, but more honestly because it is simply the most heavenly sorbet known to man, I just had to whip up some of this…

Blood plum sorbet


Now, if you’ll bear with me just a little longer, I’d like to introduce you to my latest passion.
Something I’d decided to do before life went resoundingly to hell was to start making my own bread. After all, you can’t well be a Lady Baker without perfecting bread, now can you? By all accounts, making your own natural starter couldn’t be simpler, and with a PhD in microbiology, I figured I was suitably qualified, and that if I couldn’t make this happen, then there must be something very, very wrong with me.
Thankfully, I can report that I am not entirely useless, and we now have a happy new addition to the Pretty Bake Team that will (hopefully) assist our baking efforts well in to the future.
From the outset, everything seemed to go according to schedule. The first week was predictably gassy, but I managed to persevere through the acrid funk of the prokaryotic crash-and-burn, and eventually made it to the more sedate bubblings of the desired eukaryotes.

This is how it starts

Everything bubbles along nicely

…Perhaps a little too nicely

And it might get a bit funky

But you get there in the end
Two weeks of daily feedings later, while I was aware that the flavour would still continue to develop, it was time to attempt my first loaf. Sourdough baguettes were the order of the day, and with all the tender loving care I could muster, I began. Having a very specific and singular shading preference for personal attire was perhaps a little unsuited to the floury kitchen havoc that ensued, and things certainly got hot and steamy there for a while (the oven that is), but ultimately, these were the results:

sponge & first prove

Second prove & a night of relaxation

warming & shaping


It’s definitely still a work in progress, and there are a number of variables that require opimisation, the least of which being finding something to help transfer the loaves to my baking stone so that they don’t look so “rustic”. But encouragingly, not only did they smell like sourdough, they tasted like sourdough.
Colour me chuffed.


pinknantucket said...

May I suggest cantaloupe icecream? (Or sorbet). Also I think you should name your sourdough. Perhaps a plural-ish name, like "The Borg" or "The Four Hundred". (The Four Million"...?)

Simon said...

Love the sorbet, looks icylicious.

A well-floured, thin, biscuit baking sheet works well for transferring to a pizza stone.

Miss Emily said...

Thanks for the tip, Mr Watson. I shall acquire a baking sheet (without edges) post-haste.

@pinknantucket I had been thinking 'epididymis' - reminds me of the wise rat from the Secret of Nimh, sounds very important, denotes the inner workings of a testicle - i.e. sounds fancy but is a little bit wrong, thus suiting TPB to a tee...
I will take your ice cream suggestion on board, although it may take me a while, as I will need to get over my personal aversion to cantaloupe first.