Tuesday, 11 October 2011

It's a sign of how things are that a 'good day' at the moment can be indicated by whether I can get the breakfast things washed up before the school run. The dishwasher has been broken for a couple of weeks now. It has been declared uneconomical to repair, and while we have now ordered a replacement, the best financial deal involves a wait while the machine we want comes into stock with our preferred supplier. So washing up it is. Every day. And sometimes 2 or 3 times. I know there are many, many worse things that could have happened, and I will probably sound quite princessy, but I'm going to say it anyway - I want my dishwasher. NOW.

Now that I've got that off my chest, I've had a couple of kitchen successes that are possibly worth sharing. In the theme of what to do with leftovers, last night it was roast dinner risotto. I realised as I was making the kids packed lunches yesterday morning that I had no means of providing them with any form of vegetables in their lunch, other than the left over cooked veg (cauliflower and roast squash) from the sunday dinner and a field mushroom the husband had foraged on his walk with the dog. This was the theme for the day (and indeed continues to be so - the garden is not providing much in the way of greens at the moment and sainsburys doesn't come till tomorrow), and so in an attempt to be creative with leftovers, what didn't go in the lunches was chopped up with the left over chicken and added to risotto. Pleased to report that it was very edible.

Along the same lines, I had 5 very squashy bananas leftover from a bulk buy a couple of weeks ago. Pink has been making pointed retching noises everytime she saw them (she's not big on fruit anyway) so I decided that something had do be done. Nigella's banana loaf - Domestic Goddess, where else - leaving out the walnuts so that the kids can take it to school (although I have to say I did leave in the rum soaked sultanas for extra fruit - so the 'healthy' element might have been cancelled out). I have started slicing up cakes like this and freezing lunchbox portions otherwise the danger is that I will end up eating most of the cake which is absolutely no good at all. I couldn't bring myself to freeze all the banana loaf though - it just smells too good. This is fatal, as I still also have some gingerbread left from the weekend. Still the kids like that as well so I will be able to keep the banana loaf all for me.

Finally, a sourdough update. I posted a few weeks ago about my sourdough starter and whether it would survive a long stretch in the depths of my freezer. Well it sort of did and sort of didn't, but the first loaf I made wasn't a huge success and I lost a bit of heart. However, Mrs W has kindly given me some of her starter, which I fed yesterday and now have a sponge on the go ready to bake with again tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out. I'm wondering if the yeasts in the W household produce a different tasting loaf, and how it will rise. Someone told me about a friend of hers who made sourdough bread and then moved to a different area and the bread turned out tasting very different. During the cider making at the weekend, I had quite a long conversation with one of the other couples who bake almost exclusively using sourdough starter and they were positively evangelical about it so my enthusiasm has been rekindled.

The problem with all this baking though is that it at least doubles the amount of washing up. I am not a neat and tidy cook and my preferred method is to get everything out and use as much as possible. It drives the husband mad. However, it's also now driving me mad. Maybe some good will come out of this after all and I will learn to be more selective in my choice of baking and my use of equipment. But on the other hand would it be as much fun?

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