living and cooking for the planet, for the health, for the animals


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Bread time!

I stumbled upon the New York Times no-knead bread (by Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery) only recently and I desperately wanted to try out this recipe.  Since I do believe that flour is a very delicate but so important factor in our diet I try to get control over it as much as possible. This means that I decided to reduce eating bread and pasta in general. In the case of craving bread I also figured out that it is better to bake it yourself and it is so much more fun and satisfying.

The New York Times no-knead bread is a kind of farmer’s bread with a beautiful crust and a wonderful crumb. The fermentation time provides a fragrant aroma and the prep time is a super plus! It just takes 10 minutes and can be done in between and during your other daily activities! Because I like to modify recipes in my way I changed the basic one a little bit so that I would use the flour I think is best. If you want to try out the original one you’ll find it here: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread

Ingredients

  • 4 ½ cups organic whole grain wheat flour
  • 2 cups organic wheat flour (Italian tipo 0)
  • 1 tablespoon organic hemp flour
  • ½  teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • more flour for dusting
  • 3 cups of water

Instructions

Place all types of  flour in a large bowl and mix with the salt, and yeast.

In a pot preheat the water to 40 °C and Add to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until blended. Don’t be surprised if the dough will be shaggy and sticky.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 4 hours at warm room temperature, and then leave it in the fridge overnight (about 12 hours).

The next morning you take the bowl outside the fridge and leave it 3 till 4 hours again at warm room temperature.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 220 °C degrees. Put a heat resistant pot with its lid (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats.

Fold the dough loosely from above and below one-third. Do not press or knead the dough. The fluffy dough ball is now ready (best with floured hands!) to let slip into the hot pot. Cover it and put it back into the oven immediately.
Carefully remove pot from oven. Take the soft dough ball (best with floured hands!) and turn dough over into pot. It will look messy, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid reduce the heat to 180 °C and bake another 30 minutes until the loaf is golden brown. Cool on a rack. Enjoy!

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Garden Markers – Repurpose some very natural things

Since planting season is in full swing and most of it has been done we can move forward to some other points of the to-do list: aesthetics. Once we have crossed of the most important things we can focus (or just use our free time) on some projects which makes our vegetable garden look nicer and have even a structural function.

Today, I decided to make some stone vegetable garden markers which are very easy and minimalistic in design – just the way I like it. Our 3000 m2 are divided in four terraces of a hillside of a valley (just the typical Italian surrounding) close to a nature reserve and for this we have not only a very fruitful mother soil but also rocks ‘en masse’. So why not use some (because we have plenty of them) to make a nice decor that, at the same time, fits in perfectly to the natural habitat?…

You really don’t need anything else but the amount of rocks (and if course those ones that suits best according to your taste) and a permanent marker. Use your nicest or ugliest handwriting to paint the rocks and voilà! The labels are done.