Wednesday, 18 July 2018

WOYWW 476–Daubers and Sourdough

A bit late in the day to be posting for WOYWW but better late than never. I seem to have been rushed off my feet all day.

Two partial successes this week.

Having seen a Youtube video on how to make your own ink/paint daubers, I thought I’d give it a go. My hubby had a length of plastic pipe of the right size which he has given me, and he bought me a cheap pair of pipe cutters. You can see the pipe cutters on the desk, and the end of the pipe on the left – it goes the full length of the desk that way, practically to the door!

No problem to begin with – I’m able to cut the pipe easily. When we went to Teignmouth I bought a couple of packets of cosmetic wedges from the pound shop. The trouble is, they are really cheap and nasty, and not big enough. I’ve made 3 daubers (you can see them in front of my tape tree on the left) but had to glue the foam in. Also, the foam is not firm and dense enough so the daubers are too soft, and I think that foam is soon going to shred. I think I’m going to have to buy some decent ones.

No other activity on my desk – as usual, too busy with other stuff at the moment! This is getting tedious…

My other partial success was another batch of sourdough. Esmeralda, my starter, simply took off in this hot weather, and was ready to make some bread at the weekend. Here she is, raring to go. Full of lovely bubbles and as lively as a cricket.

Before feeding her for the last time, I removed some and added it to the rest of the discarded starter, kept in the fridge, and made a double batch of sourdough starter crackers. They are cracking! Deeelicious.

They weren’t quite done after the stated time so I left them in a bit longer, and unfortunately some of them caught…

Even though they’re a bit burnt, they still taste good, and are as crisp as anything. Smile, and just imagine they are chocolate.

Sourdough ready for its first proving. It’s slightly glossy with a light coating of oil.

Esmeralda all ready to go in the fridge for a week. I can tell she’s not happy about this – wot no food till next weekend?!!! But I am not making bread more than once a week, and I shall end up with a grossly obese Esmeralda and far too many crackers to bake if she doesn’t go to sleep for a bit. Before I use her again, I shall take her out of the fridge 12 hours before to let her warm up a bit, and feed her. That should put a smile back on her face.

The sourdough knocked back, shaped and put in the bannetons ready for second proving. This time I shaped them according to the instructions and they did develop a nice gluten membrane on their tops to help them keep their shape when tipped out. I did this first thing in the morning.

This is how they looked at lunch time. I should have baked them then, but decided to leave them a bit longer. A mistake.

Over-proved sourdough. When pressed lightly with a finger, they did not spring back. Danger of collapse.

I forgot to photograph them when I turned them out. Three of them had stuck on the bottom of the banneton and this damaged the nice pattern when I tipped them out. They didn’t seem to spread much, even though they were over-proved, so I think I’ve got the shaping right this time, at least.

Here they are in the oven.

Baked. You can see the damage where they’d got stuck. They didn’t rise enough in the oven and the cuts with the blade I made immediately before baking didn’t split apart as they should.

Here is the bread, sliced. Not quite as open and glossy a texture as I wanted, but the bread tastes excellent – my hubby and I ate a whole loaf for supper! (They aren’t very big loaves…)

This whole thing is a gigantic learning curve. I am learning by my mistakes and things are improving each time, so hopefully the next batch will be really good.

For those who were interested in our Tyntesfield trip last Tuesday, I’ve managed at last to finish editing all the photos (there were a lot) and I’ve done a blog post. Tons of photos. It’s a fabulous place.


Two nights running of Trolley Dolly photos.

As usual, Ruby on top of Lily.

The night before last. What a tangle of arms and legs! You can’t sort out what belongs to whom!

Then, last night, for absolutely no apparent reason, the trolley was no longer in favour. They settled down on a box of old clothes and other stuff that my hubby is going to sort out.

I decided many years ago that there’s no accounting for kitties.

Middle Eastern Food

The Middle Eastern meal that I cooked for my friend went really well. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos – there’s always a rush on at the last minute when plating up – especially if you’ve got several dishes, keeping everything hot, etc. etc. Anyway, I cooked a chicken and chickpea dish and a lamb tagine, and lots of roasted vegetables, all served with couscous, and afterwards I made Turkish coffee, the highest roast coffee beans ground to dust with several whole cardamom pods, and sweetened, and served in tiny cups from my brass coffee pot. With the cardamom it tastes like liqueur. Absolutely sensational. The recipe was given to me many years ago by a Syrian junior doctor who was working with Dad, and I find to my delight that it is also in my new Claudia Roden book which my hubby gave me for my birthday.

Tonight we are going to her place and she’s cooking kibbeh for us  – I haven’t had this before and haven’t cooked it yet. She has Lebanese blood and her father used to cook amazing Middle Eastern food, apparently. So we’re in for a treat. I’m taking along the Turkish coffee kit.

Other Cooking

I’ve got a big stock pot on the stove, full of all sorts of veges and bone broth, to make a rich thick vegetable soup. Every time I prepare vegetables and cut off stalks, outer leaves, etc., they don’t go in the compost but I blanch them and put them in the freezer. Then, when I’ve got a nice bag full, I make soup from them. Today I also added carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash, onion and celeriac, and lots of fresh herbs from the garden. Last week I made a pot of bone broth and that’s the liquid in this soup. It will be very thick indeed once I’ve blended it in my high-speed blender tomorrow, but that’s all to the good as it takes up less freezer room that way, and I can make it drinkable with extra stock or water. Should be tasty. Very healthy too. I had hoped to cook another Middle Eastern chicken dish today as well but time ran away because the electrician came, and then another visitor. I didn’t get out of my kaftan till lunch time!!

Another Amazing Find

After having my little Jewish Prayer Book returned to me recently, another wonderful thing happened this week, through watching The Antiques Roadshow on TV. See this post to see why this picture is important to me.

In between all my busyness at the moment I am exhausted – yesterday I spent most of the day on the recliner, alternately resting and completing the editing of my Tyntesfield photos. I need to pace myself a bit better at the moment but there seems to be so much on. We’re out with our walking friends again on Friday. I think I need a week off with nothing arranged!!

I really need some time for art…


  1. Your post made me very hungry! The homemade paint daubers sound like a fun and practical project. Happy WOYWW and Blessings!

  2. Esmerelda seems to be doing her stuff well... I admire your tenacity, I dont have the patience for bread making! Thanks for sharing. Caro x (#31)

  3. shame about the daubers, hope your next go is more successful! I am not very fond of sourdough bread, but am very impressed at how yours looks, despite your reported mistakes! The meals you cooked do sound delicious though. Helen #1

  4. Oh wow Shoshi, how busy are you. Love the look of the bread but not sure I could make any and not end up eating it all, I only tend to eat bread occasionally but it looks really good. Kitties still getting on well together which is great. Have a lovely creative week and a happy woyww, Angela x11x

  5. I meant to say thank you for the info you gave me last week on kefir - things have been hectic and I forgot I hadn't re-visited you, I'm so sorry, and I very much appreciate you taking the time to tell me about it. I love your bread dishes by the way,I've never seen ones like that before. Although I have a real love of sourdough bread I'm having a few health issue that mean bread is pretty much off limits unfortunately - I do miss it!
    I love the pics of the kitties, especially with the legs all over the place!
    Hope you have a good week,
    Diana xx

  6. Hi Shoshi, I got hungry just reading through your post and looking at all the photos; even if the bread didn't turn out perfectly. Still laughing at Ruby and Lily's sleeping habits. Hope you manage to get the right make up sponges for your home made daubers. Have a good week. Sarah #15

  7. I can't believe you are making your own daubers! Kudos to you! Your sourdough makes me want to do that starter again. The only thing is I do it for a while and then I get tired of baking every 7 days or however long it is and then no one to give it to. Oh, but what flavor! Last time, I had found all kinds of different things to make with it, too. Love the kitty photos; never get tired of kitty photos! LOL Well, you were late Wednesday, but I missed it altogether and posted on Thursday! LOL #37

  8. Esmeralda, LOL - only you would name your cooking ingredients, Shoshi! I haven't had time to try your recipes yet, but your creations certainly inspire me to get my act together - your bread looks mouthwatering! Kitties are cute as ever - you can't tell where one begins and the other ends LOL. Sorry I couldn't make it earlier - just doing my WOYWW rounds this morning. xx

  9. Well done Shoshi for even attempting too create your own daubers, three is better than non and i'm sure you will find use for them even if they are not what you really wished them to be.
    With the rising heat a week in the fridge seems like a good place to be, well done Esmeralda for keeping it all together and doing a magnificent job.
    Your trolley dollies really do love each other's company it's so wonderful to see.
    You had me intrigued about the painting.. It's a magnificent study piece.
    Thanks for sharing WOYWW, have a super day Tracey #7

  10. You have been busy! I have never made sourdough bread, but it is my favourite! I'm sure by the next batch you will have it perfected. So nice to see the kitties, I still want to get a companion for Inky but the timing just hasn't been right yet. Your Middle Eastern meals sound delicious! Have a great week, Lindart #29


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