Friday flours (yeah, really)

Sourdough focaccia with roasted tomato, garlic and olive topping. Image: Su Leslie 2020

I guess it had to happen! Friday seems to have become baking day, and there are more flours than flowers in my life at the moment.

I’m trying to perfect focaccia for a dinner party next weekend; 100% organic baker’s flour, salt, water and sourdough starter.

I think I’m getting there.

Sourdough focaccia. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Rye crackers made with leftover starter. Image : Su Leslie 2020

Keeping a sourdough starter healthy involves feeding it regularly, so inevitably you generate spare starter. Turns out, you can actually use it to replace some of the flour/liquid in other recipes, and it makes really good crackers. I use rye flour, partly for the taste and partly because I bought a really big bag of it.

Whole-wheat with grains. Image: Su Leslie 2020

The key ingredient in sourdough baking is time, and I figure if I’m going to be in the kitchen all day, I may as well experiment. This one involves organic whole grain wheat flour (90%) plus 10% organic rye flour, with a porridge of toasted oats and buckwheat folded in for texture. It’s still too hot to cut, so you’ll have to wait to find out if it’s any good.

Save the date: Thursday 13 August

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August’s Virtual Tea Party; an invitation for Thursday 13th. Images: Su Leslie

After the road-trip induced hiatus last month, Virtual Afternoon Tea is back and you are all invited.

I’ve got a bit of an obsession with scones at the moment, and I’m practicing dishes to serve at an upcoming dinner party, so who knows what will be on the menu.

My tea-time will begin while lots of you are still asleep, but rest assured that in the blogosphere you can arrive at any time, there’s always plenty to eat, and the tea never gets cold.

Fringe

Image: Su Leslie 2020

I’m not a “fashion” person. My wardrobe only contains clothes that I’m comfortable wearing (physically and morally) and could best be described as utilitarian (less kindly as dull).

Except when it comes to scarves (and coats, but that’s a whole other session on the analyst’s couch).

I buy scarves the way I buy art; and for the same reasons. This one came from a work trip to Wellington about 30 years ago, when a male colleague and I found ourselves with time to spare before a meeting. I dragged him into a department store (ignoring the muttering that his wife never made him go shopping) and after about 15 minutes, he found this. I’m still not quite sure if he genuinely thought it would suit me, or if he was just desperate to get away, but I loved it, bought it, and have been wearing it ever since (not constantly, in case you’re wondering).

The fringe is a nuisance; catching in my earrings (my other adornment obsession), but the scarf wouldn’t look nearly as good without it.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | fringe

Last photo, July 2020

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Brian, at Bushboy’s World had the great idea of posting the last photo of each month from his SD card and phone. He offers no explanation and does no editing.

Lots of us have joined in, sharing our own last photos — though in my case only from my DSLR as I seldom use my phone camera.

Here’s what to do if you’d like to join in as well:

1. Post the last photo on your SD card or last photo on your phone for July 2020.
2. No editing – who cares if it is out of focus, not framed as you would like or the subject matter didn’t cooperate.
3. You don’t have to have any explanations, just the photo will do
4. Create a Pingback to Brian’s post or link in the comments
5. Tag “The Last Photo”

The Changing Seasons: July 2020

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“By all means use sometimes to be alone. Salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear.” — George Herbert. Early morning, Waikato River at Mercer, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

I consider it a success in life that I can accept (if not entirely understand) the ebb and flow of my emotional state. I’ve learned to recognise when I’m struggling, and not to make the bad times worse by beating myself up about having a bad time.

I’ve also learned that eventually (so far) I will find something — however small — that triggers joy and that a little turn of the screw in the right direction can re-set the machine and get the cogs moving again.

July, it has to be said, has been a month largely lacking in cog action.

A short road-trip (in lieu of visiting my dad) provided an opportunity to read, think and relax away from all the usual chores and responsibilities. I didn’t venture too far from home, and despite the rain and school holidays, enjoyed re-visiting Hamilton and the small towns of the Hauraki Plains. It struck me though, that even as we’re being told the country is open for business, Covid 19 has taken a huge toll on many small communities, especially in the tourist-dependent hospitality sector. Those cafes that were open at all were operating shortened hours — which led to some “interesting” ad hoc meals.

Even the wonderful Hamilton Gardens seemed straggly and bare, with several of the themed gardens closed. I know that is partly a consequence of the time of year, but suspect the vastly reduced number of visitors has provided an opportunity for low-impact maintenance and repair.

Since my return, I’ve pottered about and made a little progress on a few projects, but generally got to the end of each day and wondered where the time had gone.

As the month-end approaches, I’m feeling a sense of being able to draw a line under July and move into August with some enthusiasm. I’ve got two weeks to prepare for the first “posh” dinner I’ve hosted in years, and I suspect I’ll be testing a few practice dishes on The Big T (like he’s going to complain).

I’ve also set myself the challenge of doing one creative, just-for-fun thing every day in August (is Arty August too cheesy a title). I have a few biggish projects that can only be done in stages, but think I need to also set little goals — like a daily doodle or something similar. In announcing my intention, I’ve made myself accountable; if only to my end-of-August Changing Seasons self.

 

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.

Update

Please visit these bloggers to find out how July played out for them:

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Little Pieces of Me

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ladyleemanila

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Sarah at Art Expedition

Suzanne from Life at No 22

Darren at The Arty Plantsman

A Wonderful Sheep