Monday, 25 June 2012

Bread Baking Giveaway!

I promised, last week, a bread baking giveaway, and here it is.

The weather has been cold and wet, so we have baked bread, this weekend. The smell through the house has been sensational!

Kitchenware Direct have put together a brilliant package of everything you will need to get your bake on, and this giveaway includes over $125 worth of professional baking equipment of the very highest quality:

Basic bread with fresh yeast
1 large loaf or 24 rolls
25g fresh yeast
½ tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
500 ml of water
2 tablespoon of oil
about 1 kilo of plain flour

1. In a large bowl, add 500ml blood temperature water – luke warm.

2. Add crumbled up yeast, salt, sugar and oil, and stir until the yeast has dissolved.

3. Pour in half of the flour and knead using your hands, add more flour and knead it in every time.

4. Keep adding flour and kneading until you have a smooth dough that doesn’t stick to your hands or the bowl. It should be soft, springy and smooth to the touch. Then knead on the bench for about 5 minutes.

5. Now find somewhere warm, it should be 22- 25 C. Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and let it rise for 30- 60 minutes until its' double the size.

6. Tip it out on a floured surface and knead until most of the big air bubbles are gone.

7. For a loaf: Grease a large loaf tin. Roll the dough out to a rectangle and roll it up and place in the tin.

8. For rolls, cut 24 lumps of dough, roll them into round balls and place with two fingers apart on a baking tray with baking paper on.
9. In all cases, cover with a clean tea towel towel and leave it to rise to double the size: about 20 minutes.

10. Bake in a preheated oven at 220`c, for 30- 40 minutes for the loaf, 10- 15 minutes for the rolls. Cool on a rack.


1. In winter, to create a perfect proving space, turn your oven on very low (25`c) whilst you’re making the dough. Then turn the oven off. Then you can prove the dough in the oven – draft free and warm.

2. When baking the bread, place a casserole dish half filled with boiling water in the oven. (You want hot steam within the oven.) The steam makes bread. Keep the casserole dish in the oven the whole time you’re baking the bread.

3. 25 gram of yeast is 1 tablespoon of dry active yeast.

4. You can buy fresh yeast from supermarket deli-counters and from health food shops.

To enter this giveaway to win all this glorious bread baking equipment, all you need to do is leave me a comment, telling me which kind of bread you'd bake if you won...

Entry is for Australian residents only.

Winner will be drawn at random next Monday 2nd July.

Please feel free to share on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries.


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I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the team at Kitchenware Direct for their ongoing support of Aussie blogging - they really understand SEO, and they "get" that Aussie bloggers have influence, trust capital and also high authority.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

And so she baked...

As a child, at primary school, we had a choice - school dinners, or packed lunch.

School dinners were mass produced in the school canteen. I have a pervading memory of the smell of the gravy that covered everything savory, and the custard that covered everything sweet.

My Mother was an exceptional cook, and these smells of institutionalised gruels were alien to me, never warming or enticing.

So I was a child who opted to take a packed lunch every day. My Mother's food was always my preference to the unrecognisable slops.

In the mid seventies my Mother was juggling a tight budget around a family of seven, along with school fees and a huge mortgage. So she baked her own bread.

We lived in a small town, where the local bakery was being squashed by the new fangled and cheaper supermarket. The mass produced white sliced wax wrapped loaf was 50 pence. It never went stale. But it tasted of nothing.

So she baked.

She had a houseful of hungry boys who devoured bread to fill their empty legs. So she baked.

She was a woman who could turn her hand to anything, and had time at home to do so. So she baked.

Our kitchen was always filled with the smell of yeast and rising dough. So she baked.

She was a strong and bouncy Aussie girl with energy to burn - she turned her vitality to good use by never ending kneading. And so she baked.

The gas boiler, in the space of an old range, next to the oven, was the perfect rising place. A mammoth stoneware mixing bowl, filled with dough, covered with a well faded, well loved damp tea towel, found its home. And so she baked.

I would take to school with me wholemeal rolls filled with lettuce and locally made cheeses in summer. And when winter, which seemed to take up most of the English year, hung around, these same wholemeal rolls, spread with thick butter, would be the accompaniment to a Thermos of homemade soup. And so, she baked. She baked for us.

I am proud to say she taught me all of her baking skills. I wonder if I can recall them true.

I think I instinctively know the alchemy that is the staff of life. I do not bake from necessity like she did. But I hope her lessons are ingrained never the less.

And so,  I bake.

I write this with a happy heart. My Mum is so so so much better.

And in the next week I shall be posting up some sensational bread recipes to honour my Mum. And I shall be running a brilliant bread baking giveaway. So come back soon?

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Monday, 11 June 2012

I’m getting of the diet merry-go-round and I’m still fat.

Today, a guest post from Melissa of Suger Coat It.

Melissa was my first ever follower. Imagine! You crank up a blog to write out your weight loss journey and write in it every day for years, and then all of a sudden someone follows you and she actually comments! She and I have since become blog, Farcebook, Twitter and Skype buddies. She rocks. She is also the girl who designed my blog. ♥. If you are not following her, you should.

I'm getting of the diet merry-go-round and I'm still fat.
I was on a treadmill next to my sister the other afternoon and we were talking about diet and eating and exercise and weight loss and dieting AGAIN. We had been on a diet for about a week, restrictive and supposed to work wonders. In a moment of clarity we turned to each other and said;
I’m just so sick of this.
Sick of the weighing.
The planning.
The wondering.
The hoping.
The frustration.
The crime and punishment mentality.
Sick to death of the merry-go-round.

So I got off. I went home, looked myself in the mirror and congratulated myself on all the hard work, requested that I make some good choices from here on out but told myself that I was setting myself free. It was over.
You see I eat well and exercise often. I’m fitter by the day and doing a raft of great things when it comes to my health and well-being. And yet, it wasn’t enough. Until I was thin enough, until I was close enough, until I was normal it wasn’t enough.
And that can only be detrimental, right?
So I’m letting go of the need to do anything. I am committed to making good choices. But I will no long restrict my food groups, eat to a schedule or punish myself for the odd treat. I’m turning over a new leaf.
I’ll stop eating when I’m full. Not eat when I’m not hungry. Work out when I can and continue to enjoy it. But I refuse to give into the pressure from myself to fad diet or pressure myself into making this work. My world won’t certain around food and weight loss anymore.
I’m starting to think like a skinny person I think.

Now... Let’s work out.

Mel lives the sweet life here, here, and here. Go look her up - you'll be glad you did...