Monday, December 1, 2008


I am going to have to dig. The old chook run is not ready for the no dig method. I spent a chunk of yesterday weeding the watercress out. I may try watercress in the compost but I am not putting it in the chook run ever again. It is all going to have to come out as I can see that the root structure lends itself to world domination.

Once the watercress is all out, I am going to dig some of the old chook run over. The zucchini is looking quite sick and I suspect it has caught something fungal. I recall from somewhere (Linda the Goddess probably) that zucchinis are prone to fungal things which often make them die. The beans all rotted in the ground instead of germinating, doubtless due to the rainfall sufficient to build a large lake with that we've had over the last fortnight. The marigolds are doing fine but the alyssum has succumbed to the elements and will be compost sooner rather than later.

The problem which I want to dig away is that although the chooks ate and killed the grass beneath the mulch, that was not long enough ago for the roots to have turned back into soil. Add to that the high rainfall and there is an almost impenetrable layer just less than ten centimetres down which is thick tangled muddy dead grass roots. I figure if I turn that over, the aeration and the mixing in of the straw will be helpful.

And if that doesn't quite work, then surely I'll learn some more things in the process.

In other news, we've been gadding about our community enjoying the company of good friends and celebrating the late but hopefully here-to-stay arrival of summer here in smallwettown.

I've been making the no knead bread at least once a week and often more. 3 cups of plain flour, 1/4 t yeast, 1 and 1/4 t salt, 300ml warm water. Mix and cover with a plate and leave in hot water cupboard for 15+ hours. Then put on floured bench and fold over three times and put the bowl on top of it for 15 minutes. Then sprinkle a clean tea towel with polenta and put the dough on one side and cover with the other. Leave for two hours. Oven to 230 degrees celsius. and casserole dish and lid in - this 1.5 hours into the 2 hour resting part. After 30 minutes, the dough can go in the very hot casserole dish. Cook with lid on 30 minutes and then another 5-10 minutes with lid off.

This bread has a thick crust but is very yummy and keeps well into the next day. It is also very cheap to make. I have yet to work out the cost of cooking so I can be confident of exactly how cheap. But given it takes almost no baking-work time, I think it is a great choice for cash strapped families to make their own bread even when they are short of time.

Today I am either going to hide and read all day or hide and garden in the rain all day or I am going to make gingerbread cake and more bread (resting now) and soak and cook lots of beans. I can't do anything about the many tins of tomatoes we use until January when I'll be cooking up a storm on the days I'm not drinking instead. But I can do something about the many cans of beans we use by cooking lots of beans from scratch and then freezing them. Surely I can?

I've got some good books though...


Sharonnz said...

I've just put my beans on, so I'll be over for a piece of that gingerbread cake later;-)

Morag said...

I'm going to try that bread with Tom, as he loves to bake and I never have the patience.

Errr, what is polenta, and is it essential?

I'm not even going to be drawn into a book discussion! I'll end up never going to bed if I am.

Sandra said...

polenta is like cornmeal. Available in all supermarkets I'd expect, certainly in the poncy upmarket ones. I have it in my cupboard because my attempts to make wonderful Italian recipes with it never work and I gave up but using it for bread making seems to be foolproof.

Is it essential? Probably not. It does give a nice crunch though and absorbs any stickiness as the bread finishes rising.