Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bread Recipe

Yesterday, I posted pictures of the bread and today the recipe... Please note, I am no baker and this is one of only two bread recipes I've tried, ever. If you know a great one too, please link to it in the comments.

It was Kara who requested this recipe and Kara, I know you're American so I apologise that this is in metric measurements but I do not speak the language of imperial measurements.

500g strong or bakers flour
6g sugar (I've been using white)
6g bread improver
7g dried yeast sachet
6g salt
20g (not mls) olive oil
310g (not mls) water

Mix it all together either by hand or in your Kitchenaid (I've tried both ways and a Kitchenaid with a dough hook is a god-send...).

If you're doing it by hand you need to knead it for about 10 minutes. Cover it and leave it to rise. Once it's roughly doubled in size, 'knock it back' (knead it) again for another few minutes. Leave it to rise again to double in size. Then, do this a third time and put it in a tin sprayed with olive oil, or just mould it into a cigar shape.

Leave it to rise the third time, then cook it in an oven at 220 degrees celsius for 25 minutes.

Then, turn it onto a rack to cool. One thing I learned last night is that, if it sticks to the pan, do not viciously try and shake it out. It can split down the middle and, unlike with a cake, this can't be remedied with icing and sprinkles. On the plus side, now we have two loafs of bread for this weekend.


It never occured to me to make my own bread. It never occured to me that with a bit of flour, salt, water and yeast I could make bread that tasted so much better than shop-bought.

A month or so ago, I just got a hankering to bake bread. Out of the blue. So, I found a recipe, pulled out our beautiful red Kitchenaid and got busy.

I haven't looked back since.

I now make a couple of loaves a week- one usually on a Friday night and one mid-week, and we've been pigging out on the stuff.

This is what it looks like going into the oven:

Bread Before (2 of 1)

This is what it looks like straight out of the oven. It fills the house with the most amazing smell.

Bread After (2 of 1)

It is one of the more satisfying tasks I've ever encountered. We keep it in a big red tupperware container that keeps it fresh and moist for days.

Time to make a fresh loaf, come to think of it.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Sometimes I wonder if perhaps Dan spent a little less time measuring things and drawing plans and costing plans and correcting plans and re-doing plans, we might be a little further along in this five-year (so far) renovation.

I wonder it. I would ABSOLUTELY NOT EVER say it aloud. Not anywhere he can hear me, anyway. He might strangle me with his string line.

Personal 010

Anyway, apparently now we're landscaping the backyard. Spirit levels have been utilised, giant orange markers spray-painted across the lawn.

And the plans. Oh, the plans.

Excuse my pessimism, but I remain skeptical that I'll be planting anything in newly-terraced, rice paddy-like flower beds come Spring.

Which, come to think of it, saves me a lot of hassle anyway. As you were, Dan.

David Beckham

Maisie's been keen to show off her sporting prowess. Clearly, she is feeling threatened by all the talk about clever sheepdogs and their clever cleverness.

She waits until someone is watching, preferably also holding a camera, and then...

Maisie on Deck (2 of 1)

BAM! She morphs into David Beckham.

Maisie and ball (2 of 1)

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I moved to Brisbane five years ago, but have never managed to make it along to the Brisbane Exhibition - or Ekka, as it is known in these here parts.
To be honest I haven't ever been that keen to go. Shows to me always conjur up images of being ripped off in sideshow alleys, ripped off in the showbag pavilion, ripped off at the food carts and ripped off at the rides.
Then there's the carnies...
This year, however, I decided I wanted to see the sheep dog trials. So we got our Ekka guide from the paper, packed a little backpack with goodies and took the train to the showgrounds to make a day of it.
The sheep dog trials were fantastic, even though only two dogs were competing. But they were two very, very clever dogs. The audience was spellbound and the announcer said, at one point in hushed tones, "You know, if we were in New Zealand and not Australia, this would be on the TV a few times a week, instead of Rugby..."
Well, Dan and I just looked at each other agape - WHY DO WE NOT LIVE IN NEW ZEALAND??
Sheep Dog trials (2 of 1) copy
It's possible that we were high on sugar. Dan got a bit overexcited at the fairy floss stall and bought a bucket of the stuff, which he happily munched on all afternoon.
Somewhere, a dentist is crying.

Dan with fairy floss
Then we commenced wandering and people watching. Didn't these caps used to really daggy? They're back in vogue now apparently. Kids everywhere were wearing them. Young people these days, I just don't know.

There were cows, like this lady called Bellbird. She was pretty.

There were little toy choppers zipping around in the air, taunting those propeller hat-wearing teens by actually possessing the ability to fly.

Toy CHopper
There were rides too, although we didn't go on any of them. Must be a sign I'm getting old that I'd prefer to keep my feet on the ground and shoot pictures of them instead.

Ferris wheel
Then, we came and sat down to have a good long talk with Maisie.
Call yourself a sheep dog, young lady? We expect to see some serious improvements in your behaviour. We've met your cousins now, we've seen how smart they are. We don't have any sheep for you to herd, but if you can learn to make a gin and tonic, we'll call that sufficient use of your powers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Service Bay

This old garage is at Redland Bay, a stones throw away from where the ferry leaves for Karragarra.

I've driven past it many times, but never bothered to stop and photograph it because it's always been full-light and I knew the results would be mediocre at best.

On Wednesday night, the light was just fading from the sky as I got to the ferry terminal, so the light was right.

Service Bay

I still think the results are mediocre, but at least there's some colour in the sky. It got me to thinking about my speed light and how terrified of using it I am. A bit of fill flash might have made all the difference in this photo. I could have darkened the sky dramatically in Photoshop and just had the garage door lit up.

I saw this photo yesterday, posted on a blog. It was taken in depression-era America, when very few photos were being taken in colour.

And I just love it: The colours, the sky, the use of fill flash, the solid edges you get with film. I wish I had a high-enough resolution version of it, because I'd be blowing it up and putting it on my wall (if that wasn't, ahem, copyright restriction...)

So now, my aim with my photography is to learn to master my speed light. Expect a lot of flash photography posted on here in the near future...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Morning Light

Dan and I went to Karragarra last night to clean the house and change the laundry between weekend guests.

It meant a drive through heavy traffic to get to the ferry. REALLY heavy traffic. Oh-so-achingly-slow traffic, all the way down the Pacific Motorway.

Then the ferry, then the walk up to the house. We cleaned, we laundered, we crashed out in bed.

This morning, we both had to rise early to get the ferry back in time for work. As I walked, shivering, to the jetty in the morning light, I caught the end of this beautiful sunrise.


It made it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

ET The Butterfly

This little butterfly got stuck in the window of the deck on the weekend. I caught him in a bucket and left him on the railing to fly away, but he was a bit stunned by the whole process and stayed there for about an hour gathering his wits.

Shoving the camera in his face to take this photo probably didn't help matters, but I couldn't get over how much he looked like ET - so I thought I better capture and share the likeness.


What do you think? Uncanny? Time to phone home, little butterfly.