Archive for juin, 2016

Australian dawns on sourdough bread

I’ve just had a look at my first writing in australia and realized it was all about mornings and written in english. I had not planned to write this one in english, neither I could remember that the first one was already about mornings. The picture of a ‘rise and shine’ loop in which I am having an australian ride makes me smile.

I used to be a night person, having late dinners and over-late parties, but as far as I travel in my drunk memories, the most enjoyable part has always been the morning after. Even when the hangover was intense, I could smile over my black coffee, hardly handled with two shaking hands. Ok, don’t make me wrong: I had deeply hard mornings after too. Those after a night during which you could never find the good place to dance, the good wine to drink or the good boy to kiss. But, talking about greats evenings with delightful meals and friends, hours of smiling that make your cheeks painful and hours of dancing that make your legs sore, I can tell you how much I love the morning after. As I slowly get awake, my thoughts enjoy a look at blurred memories, magical quotes and historical dance steps.
The tiredness all day long could make someone suffering whereas it makes me feel that it is worths it. The pain is my « bad but good » reminder of these crazy moments. Oh, my legs are so sore man… yeah, because I’ve danced all night and c’était si bon !
Anyway, I am not that much this girl anymore (am I?).  But I still have definitely something for the mornings.

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Skies over Bondi coast blew my mind every day I woke up in Sydney. I can’t get bored of rising suns in Australia. In New South Wales, they go with shy sound of little birds hidden in tropical trees, coffee machine warming up and rhythmic waves on the sand. In Basket Range, they go with the rooster song, hungry dogs and-sometimes-pouring rain. During eight months (eight months !) I had as busy as lazy wakes up, nevertheless always early. I woke up in different australian lives and roles; I can remember each feeling, when there were mornings in the city, at the farm or on the beach. Sydney, Melbourne, Yark, Moruya, Woolongong, Bellingen, Byron, Danbogan, Sydney again and again and again, and now Adelaïde Hills. The wheel keep turning and I’m having a great ride. Let it on for a while, please!

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Breakfast is also an amazing reason to love mornings, don’t you think? I told you about the smokes in the lounge room, from teas, coffees and breathes. Then add to this mystical ambiance a freshly baked sourdough bread and a house made rhubarb jam: here is all we need. Yes, evidently, I’m trimming it. If it was all I needed, I wouldn’t be running here and there to find myself, and probably would not be writing obsessively neither. Whatever, wake up alive and with the smell a fresh bread cooking t is definitely a good start for a ‘being happy therapy’.

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Every morning offers the possibility of an absolute new beginning. Like if the night has been digesting the past, you wake up hungry and ready for something that has not been done before.
Of course, you have obligations and repetitions, as feeding dogs and chickens, having a shower sometimes, broom the floor and stuff like this. But still, the day can be absolutely new if you want it.
Mornings have this inherent ability of being the beginning of everything. You see? They are the world of possibles from the second you open your eyes. God damn it. This is powerful.

In Paris, the routine at work has been quite comfortable even in the hardest days. Indeed, even if you were on your way to a twelve hours shift with no break in that creepy kitchen, at least you knew precisely what was coming. These twelve hours shift with no break, and that was it. So you also knew that it had an end. You could keep on focus the last touch of cleaning announcing the way back to bed for a short night.
And I tell you what, my routine last two years has been highly comfortable because there were not really hard days. I had the best boss ever, a young and enthusiast team around, and an unexpected freedom. They’ve trusted me and we’ve been together on a great sunny road for a while: feeding more and more people with better and better products. It was a golden age in my cooking story. We broke up in very good terms at the end of July 2015, and …it’s been almost one year ! This might explain why, having a look on our photo album about last spring dishes, I feel a bit nostalgic today.
Memories get better with time, I know. I reckon it was probably not that idyllic if I’ve decided to finally fly away. Or, even more possible, I always get bored at some point and wanna try something new, further, stronger…in the eternal delusive idea that there is somewhere somehow a greener grass to lie down on.

Dreaming about fairy green fields, I watch the little green leaves floating in the tea pot. This monday morning is a Genmaicha tea one. I can hear Billie Holiday then Cat Power in the background. This is the ‘Sophie working on wine books’ nice soundtrack. Through the large window, you can see the rose trees that have been pruned. Further, the winter vines are lined, and walk down the hill. On the opposite side, pines trees hide mushrooms and kangaroos. The wine was delicious last night, the fire was on and the talks easy. This tea makes me recover from a lack of sleep, warms me up, calms me down.

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The traditional last minute change on the plan -I was still thinking that we were building the green house today when I woke up- suddenly allows me to write. I can’t tell you how good is that feeling. On the Hill next door, Jasper and Anton are talking about the future, the opening restaurant and the growing wine world, and that can last for hours, helped with some never-ending cups of coffee. Those two have passionate and colorful conversations, looking at the big picture. It’s always nice to listen to them, even if you know you can’t really enter the game. Just listen, admire, smile, and get inspired by their creative flow.

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Meanwhile I can enjoy to bake a new loaf of bread, look at the secret of kombucha creation, and try to line words and thoughts.
What would be MY future, by the way…? There is no answer in the bottom of my cup. Tea has just been tea, but a very good one, et c’est déjà ça.

As Jasper sometimes say, a wine from Anton reveals its own greatness when you drink it with him. This tea makes me think about it: legends and stories that gives a particular and delightful taste to a product. This tea story is a simple sunny sunday, when my host and I wore sunnies and drove early downtown to a farmer’s market. Cruising around looking for an absent farmer, we finally found the tea catcher. You rarely find what you were looking for, but the amazing thing is that you might end by getting better than expected.
One week later, back on my computer thanks to a rainy free morning, I am still enjoying those teas. I’ve just opened a new one, an earl grey.

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My mind is cloudy and can barely concentrate. I flow with the particles of the saving drink in the pot. Yes, I finally get back to the late night dancing stories yesterday. And I am precisely re-experimenting this theory  of the ‘bad but good’ headache. My four hours sleep was not enough, and the last beer was absolutely too much. But a new bread is in the oven, the birds sing on the top of the vines and the tea is warm and comforting as the night was. Sleeps after dance are often short but always deep.  As I write and erase, write and bake, write and wonder, one of my favorite part of the brain slowly build memories, mixing talks, moves, smiles and dreams. Then suddenly the bread is cooked, showing off a beautiful golden crust, and gives me a call to stop lining words. Let’s cut and taste.

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Sourdough starter:
50g of wholemeal flour + 50g of room t° water. In the morning, mix together with a wood spoon in a jar, cover with a teatowel and leave it in a warm place for the day. At night, feed the starter with 50g of flour and 50g of water. Leave it overnight in a warm place.
Next morning, remove 100g of the preparation (keep it to make pancakes) and add 50g of flour + 50g of water to the starter. Cover and leave it for the day in a warm place. Repeat this operation at night. Do the same on the third day: your starter might be bubbly and alive, and have a nice acidic smell (like a yogourt).

Basic ourdough bread (perfect finalised recipe and timing thanks to Nina Fuego)
100g of starter
500g of light wholemeal flour
10g of salt
300g + 80g of warm water

In the afternoon, mix together the 300g of lukewarm water and the starter in a bowl, by hand. Add the flour and mix gently. Transfer the dough on the bench, then work on it for 3 or 4 minutes, until you feel some elasticity on the dough. Put the dough back in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and let it rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. Fold the dough one or two times inside the bowl (to « punch down » a little bit)  then set aside on warm place for 30 minutes again. Do it one more time. After these 3 ‘folding’ times, add the remaining water with the salt.
Work the dough on the bench then let the loaf rise (in the bowl still, covered, warm place) for 2 or 3 hours.
If you start around 2 pm, it should be around 6/7 pm at this time. Punch down the dough on the bench, then work on it gently and give it a pre-shape. Wait 10/15 minutes, give a final shape and put upside down in a bowl or a basket (put a lot of flour in the bottom of it!). So your ‘crust’ side is at the bottom of the basket. Cover and let it slowly rise overnight in the fridge.
In the morning, flour  the bottom of a cast-iron pot. Turn out the loaf into that pot, do one or two cut. Put the lid on then put in the cold oven. Turn the oven on, 220°. Cook for 30 minutes, then 10 to 15 minutes more without the lid on.

ps : The perfect warm place = above the coffee machine. So you think about your bread anytime you make a coffee, or you think about having a coffee anytime you check your bread.
ps: It’s hard to explain without showing the way to « work on it » or « shape » the dough. I am sure that you have a better wifi than me though, so you can have a look on our helpful virtual friend aka YouTube. Or find who is Nina Fuego.

Cheers!

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