The Changing Seasons: October 2018


I really should stop organising to travel at the end of a month; it plays havoc with The Changing Seasons scheduling.

I’m off to Sydney on Sunday to visit Sculpture by the Sea, a fantastic exhibition that is installed annually along the coastal path from Bondi to Tamarama Beach. With luck I’ll have lots of photos to share — but not until November.

Which leaves me wondering what I’ve done with this month.

Part of it certainly has been spent woolly-headed and lethargic from the absolute worst cold I can ever remember having. But that only accounts for about 10 days, and my photo folder for October is the smallest it’s been in ages. So however I have occupied my time, much of it obviously hasn’t seemed worth recording.

I’ve done a lot of sewing — mainly cushion covers to freshen up our living room.


I’ve baked bread, including a couple of variations on sourdough.

First came some impromptu flatbreads from dough that was intended for crackers …


… then Rewena Paraoa, or Maori bread.

Maori bread is something I have been aware of for a long time, but knew nothing about. I found an old recipe, and was surprised to find it’s basically a sourdough, using boiled mashed potato mixed with flour and water to create the starter.

Neither wheat nor potatoes are native to New Zealand, and arrived with European settlers. Prior to that, kumara (sweet potato), yams, taro and ti pore (Pacific Cabbage Tree) were probably the principal sources of carbohydrates. Both were brought from East Polynesia by the country’s original migrants, probably around in the 13th century. As far as I know, pre-European Maori did not make bread.

Potatoes are easier to grow than kumara, and were widely adopted into the Maori diet. The use of potatoes in sourdough cultures is not unique to Maori, and was once widespread, but interestingly I had found no reference to it prior to finding this recipe. It certainly produced a starter culture much more quickly than the flour and water version that the Big T and I made a couple of years ago. My potato starter (which I actually made with kumara out of curiosity), was ready to use after two days, while our original starter took around two weeks.

The finished loaf was ok; a bit dense, and I forgot to salt the dough properly, but it was edible, and I’d certainly attempt it again.

Eroded sea-shell. Image: Su Leslie 2018 Exposing the inner workings. Eroded sea-shell. Image: Su Leslie 2018

One of those little philosophical moments …

I found this tiny, eroded shell in a little bag of rocks and other stuff tucked inside one of my son’s shoes. He had obviously planned to take the bag (and the shoes) home after a visit to us, but somehow they got left behind.

It reminded me of a time –long past — when we went to the beach together, bringing home assorted treasures destined to be forgotten.

From the outside, the shell is relatively smooth and uniform. It is only when the interior is exposed that we can see the complexity of growth and change. The passage of time does that.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.


Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Deb at The Widow Badass

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Babsje at Great Blue Herons, who joins us for the first time. Please take a look at this great blog, including a second Changing Seasons post.

Lee at Ladyleemanila

Little pieces of me

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

80 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons: October 2018

  1. I agree, where has October gone… your baking experiments sound to be a success. I’ll look forward to your Sydney sculptures photos I would love to get to Sydney to see them. I’ve been trying to get there for a couple of years now, maybe next year… my spring garden will look good for the changing seasons this month, providing it doesn’t get washed or blown away….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – October – Reflections of An Untidy Mind

  3. I’m glad you’re feeling better. I’m looking forward to seeing Sculpture by the Sea through your eyes. Travel safely.

    I love eating bread, especially crusty sourdough, but am a bit scared of how much salt the recipes call for. Everyone tells us how bad salt is for us and it looks like a lot when you measure it out. I have been salting mine less than the recipe, hoping my taste buds will adjust. The crust is tasty but the crumb lacks something. Funnily enough, it doesn’t taste as if it lacks salt, more that it lacks some other flavour, so I’ve been adding in extras to compensate – walnuts, fruit etc. You’ve made me think I ought to make the same basic recipe, half with ‘full’ salt and half with less so I can understand the effect it has in bringing out the flavour of the other ingredients.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much. Everything I’ve seen online about this year’s exhibition has me very excited to see it.
      I think your idea of experimenting with how much salt by making a “test” batch too is a really good one. I’d love to know how it turns out.
      Maybe also try different salts. I use Maldon salt, but you may be able to get other kinds. I watched a NetFlix show called Fat Salt Acid Heat about the four basics of cooking, and in the Salt programme, the presenter went to Japan where there are around 2000 different kinds of salt made.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Wishing you a wonderful trip and giving that horrible germ the final heave ho. There is something so touching about that weathered shell, and the circumstance of your finding it after your son had found it and left it in his shoe.

    Liked by 2 people

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  6. It’s funny how some months seem to be more reflective than active. October sounds like one of those for you.

    Hope you have a great trip. The outdoor exhibition sounds amazing. I would be there with you in a heartbeat if I could 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. October has been a weird month here too! I don’t seem to have gone anywhere very much even though we have had some lovely sunny days! Enjoy Sydney; the sculpture by the sea exhibition does get very crowded! My Aussie bunch have moved north this month – now living somewhere around Brisbane! I have the feeling that their next move might be over to your part of the world 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems a few of us are feeling that.
      Last time I came to the Bondi exhibition I visited on a sunny weekend afternoon and experienced the crowds. I quite like the vibe when it’s busy, and I also went back on a weekday morning to really see the art. This time it’s overcast and blowing a southerly, so I’m quite happy to forego a visit today and hope it’s warmer and calmer tomorrow.
      I heard that NZ is starting to lose people to Aus again, after a few years of ex-pats coming back. Don’t know how that will impact the economy, etc. if they do move to NZ you’ll have a better opportunity to visit and check out hot water beaches, etc 😀


  8. The pillows are lovely, Su, and I’m happy to read that you’re feeling better. I always look forward to travel and I’ll be looking forward to see photos when you get back. I see I’m not the only person who wonders where October went. 🙂 As for bread, I’m a huge fan. In a world that eschews carbs, I love them. Keep on baking!


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  16. That Maori bread looks really scrumptious! I’d love to learn more about their recipes and how they’ve changed after the European invasion. I’d never have thought of using potatoes for a starter but it does make sense with all that starch. I mean, when the Russians can make vodka with it, it can’t be that much wrong. 😉 I hope you’ll have an amazing time in Sydney and I look forward to see your pics from the trip! Xxxxxxx

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  24. The sourdough Maori bread sounds very interesting. I used to make breads years ago with compressed yeast but often found they were either too dense or too airy…. it would be fun to try again with potato flour. Although it is hard to find really fresh ingredients and that appeared to make a difference when I made my own. Do you think it matters?
    Love the challenge btw and might try to join in next time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It would be lovely to see your Changing Seasons if you decide to join in 🙂

      Maori bread only uses the potato to feed the starter — the actual flour was basic supermarket wheat flour.

      I try to use organic flours for my usual sourdough bread, but to be honest, I don’t find much difference in taste between that and the stuff I buy in the local supermarket. Maybe we have high turnover of stock and the flour is fresh anyway. The most important thing I found is to make sure the sourdough starter is properly fed, and used when it’s at its peak. In Auckland, where we don’t get extremes of temperature, that usually means feeding it once a day for a couple of days ( I keep it in the fridge between baking days) and using it about 8-12 hours after the last feed. That gives me a really fresh, fluffy starter.


  25. Another walk not to miss is to the north of Bondi through the golf links to the cliff views.
    I could empathise with this post, the Marie bread reminded me of the Maories I knew from Mangakino to Ngaruawahia along the Waikato river and those eroded shell sculptured by Mother nature.

    Liked by 1 person

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