Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sourdough Starter

I really like sourdough, but where I live it seems hard to find.  I've often thought of making my own starter, and then I see a stray ant or two in the kitchen and worry that a starter would attract them.  Then recently I read an article on a quick sourdough starter in Vegetarian Times.  I decided it was time to give it a try.

First I located a glass jar. My last attempt at a homemade sourdough starter was in Colorado.  It took a few days, but I ended up with a bubbly, beer-smelling concoction.  It smelled so right.  And the resulting bread was anything but sour.  I think the problem was the plastic container it was in.  Though I managed to keep it alive for some time, it never got as sour as I would have liked.  Most bread made from it didn't even have a hint of sour to them.  When I gave up and threw out the starter I ended up throwing out the container too.  No matter how much I cleaned it, it always smelled like the starter.

Then I went back to the recipe in the magazine, but realized I did not have the yeast it called for.  My yeast was regular, it calls for fast-acting and has a side note that regular won't work.  That didn't stop me though, to Google!

Google had too many choices.  Then I remembered my book, Forgotten Skills of Cooking.  Her recipe looked to easy to be true.  So I looked in a couple of trusted cookbooks, and then returned to the hers: put 1/4C of flour in a jar with 1/4C warm water. Stir and let sit for 24 hours.  Feed with 1/4C flour and 1/4C warm water every 24 hours for 6 days.  Starter should be complete.  We'll see.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cooking in a Campervan - Part 1

Part of the food adventure in New Zealand was cooking in a campervan.  This thing did not have a lot of space.  The table turned into a bed at night, and if I was in the "kitchen" cooking I either had to sit down at the table or go stand outside if Doug wanted to move to/from the table.  I might have had more counter space in this tinier kitchen though.
Cooking dinner our first night.
Setting it out on the table...
Beef sausages with spaghetti and cheddar cheese on top.
Another night cooking, using all the pots the camper came with. Yep, it only had two pots. And one tiny pan.

Oooh, street side veggie stand. I need this, and this, and this...
Our findings of the day: Bottle of Pinot Noir, Super yummy coffee, zucchini, asparagus, onions, bread, avocado, garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms.  All of this food is a major improvement over what we find in Hawaii, where most of these items would be local, but out of my budget, or shipped in from the mainland.
A complete meal on wheels!
A New Zealand Ketchup bottle. I brought one home.
Doug is very excited about his breakfast. See, last night we took the ferry from North Island to South Island. That meant dinner was sandwiches on the boat followed by sleeping in a parking lot.  The last good meal we had was dinner two nights before.
Another street side veggie stand. Only this one is more out doors.
And you pay on the honor system.
Though you are threatened by the use of cameras.
Never seen milk in bags before.
One slice takes up the entire frying pan. The only frying pan.
Lamb sausage, alfredo pasta, and green beans. MMM
What to do if you don't feel like eating lamb sausages again? Strip their cases and make them into meat sauce.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Eating in Auckland

No, I have not forgotten about this blog. Rather I've been cheap with my time when it comes to blogging. I have been posting pictures to my other blog, but still haven't finished posting all the New Zealand pictures there either. But enough of that, lets get to the food.

Our first food on our honeymoon was airplane food. Usually disgusting fare wrapped entirely in disposable dishes. I think only the tray was reusable in the last airplane food I ate, and that was probably because the airline hadn't figured out a cheap yet sturdy disposable alternative.  New Zealand Air on the other hand is much more ecofriendly. The bowls and coffee cup were heavy duty plastic, nice enough I wanted to sneak it home.  The wine glass was really glass.
Juice, cake, some sort of salad with seafood in it and mystery food under the foil. I choose the beef mystery food.
Small piece of cake, but still, CAKE!
And the mystery food.  Beef pasta with marinara sauce and cheese. It was good. And in a ceramic bowl, to help keep it hot.
Doug's mystery food. Vegetable fritata with more veggies on the side. Sometimes when you order the healthy sounding food, you get the gross food.

That was the main meal. Later on we got a big snack/small breakfast closer to landing. By then I was quite tired and not in the mindset for taking pictures.  But enough of the airplane food, on to Auckland!
Snack in a coffee shop. In this particular coffee shop, it was proper to eat a ham and cheese sandwich with a fork and knife.  This was also our first experience with New Zealand coffee in a shop.  There is no brewed coffee as we Americans are used to.  The closest thing you can get is a Long Black, much like an Americano.  This would be very disappointing to Doug who wanted a brewed cup of coffee.
Dinner on the town. Doug ordered fish and chips. And ate all of it. Then he felt kinda sick. 9.5 hours airplane travel + not enough sleep + too much greasy food = tired, icky feeling husband.
My food was better again. Beef stew with mash. The mash had carrots, turnips, and potatoes all mashed together. It was very tasty, but too much for me to finish.
Because it was our honeymoon, we decided one good meal was appropriate while in Auckland.  We found a nice little bistro.
I had roast lamb with garlic spinach and some kind of grain that was similar to barley.  This was my first lamb experience in New Zealand.  It was fantastic.
Doug had duck.  Looks like he's going to eat it straight from the plate, but I assure you, he used utensils.
During our meal.
Following the meal with some espresso. I am sunburnt from our 10 mile city hike earlier in the day. Turns out you can burn through clouds.
A lunch in Devonport, just a short ferry ride across the harbor from Auckland.  Pasta with cream sauce, garlic, parmesan, mushrooms, and bacon. I should figure out how to recreate this dish, it was awesome.
Our last meal in Auckland was at Hell Pizza. 
Two pizzas and breadsticks.  It was a good meal, but hard to say if it was because it was a funny name for pizza or because it was actually good.  We had leftovers, but it was no problem since we picked up our campervan the next day.