Thursday, July 26, 2012

More night lights now with added cheese

The other day we went for a little bike ride to the end of the metro line. First we found something magical, no, wonderful, no, unbelievable! It was..... and still is...... THE HOUSE OF CHEESE! How amazing. A house entirely made of cheese! Ok, I jest, it is a shop called the House of Cheese, and that to me is still pretty darned amazing. We stopped off there and had a poke around, trying to find out what they had. We were very impressed with the set up, the cheeses on selection and the service. So we decided to have a glass of wine each and a plate of cheese. I cannot recommend this strongly enough as a great way to not eat your dinner later, while still having a lactose enriched time. You can, of course, buy "normal" meals, but why would you when you have about 100 cheeses to choose from?! Poland, as I have mentioned previously, has many soft/white cheeses, people in Poland love dairy products, yet I am still to see any good hard cheeses from them. I was hoping to find them in this shop, but alas no. They specialise in imported cheeses, yet I did not complain, merely consume.

We then continued on the journey to the end of the line there we found the annual travelling carnival that seems to pop up in this neighbourhood each year. It is interesting as it all just seems a little sad, these people come from the Czech republic each year to try and make some summer money, but it just doesn't seem so popular. Maybe we have just been there at bad times.... That is of course possible. We popped by briefly at sunset to see how it looked and like so many others kept moving.

Did you read that rides name right?

Yes, it is the Power Tripe. Not sure how you make tripe powered.... maybe chili?

Oh this is how you power Tripe.

We ended up doing a little tour of the neighbourhood on our bikes in the setting sun, it was really quite pretty and you forget how soft light can make even the most drab and run-of-the-mill apartments look soft and lovely with pastel like lighting. The windows glow, no matter how dirty they are, the shadows grow long and great amazing shapes, and all the birds fly about frantically to return to their roosts. The worst thing about being someone who likes photography is that if you are riding a bike it is really hard to stop, get your camera out and take the photo you really want sometimes.
Sunset over Kazury

 As the sun sets away, we stopped in front of the church (Kościół pw. Ofiarowania Pańskiego (or the church of Jesus at the Temple) to take a few time lapse photos. I have always liked time lapse photography and really should do more, I just need to get organised enough to bring my tripod with me all the time.

I think this is close to my favourite photo this year.

That is two stop signs I have now, Natolin and Imielin... one day I will collect them all!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Night lights

I really enjoy storms, especially when I am safe warm and dry at home, but I also really love night time when the twilight (nothing to do with crappy vampires) kicks in and creates wonderful tones. I have started to have a love affair with rain drops and twilight together...... sorry. But here they are in continual, repetitious fashion.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baking bread

Well since I have been making bread a number of people in the past have asked me about it, as I am baking at least twice a week at the moment, more if we have guests. I thought I would bang out a quick easy bread recipe. Even though normally I don't make things by measurement, I did so this morning, so as to be able to give good advice to everyone. Sorry for the bad voice over, I am not ever going to be a TV presenter ;)

First you need the ingredients:
800g Flour (and a little extra for the board)*
7g dry yeast
6g fine salt
30g bran (or any fibre rich "by product" of milling) #
600mL Warm water
oil for lubricating the bowl.

*I tend to use 650 Universal flour because I find it hard to find 750 bread flour. So not the coarsest flour, but also not the finest.
# I add bran etc. because I can never buy enough wholemeal cheaply at our local supermarket or our open air market and I prefer wholemeal breads to purely white. You could substitute this for grains, seeds, anything you want really (that is dry).

Bowl (large enough for a growing dough)
A mixer with a dough hook
Spatula to remove the dough
Oven (of course)
Baking tray.
Scales to weigh ingredients and dough for rolls

 First thing other than weighing your ingredients is to combine all the dry ingredients and mix in the mixer
Then add most of the water leave about 100mL.

Look at your dough, is it together, balled, or wet? If either of the first two add more water. This can depend on the moisture in the air or the fineness of the flour. So, it can be different every time.

Then I let it mix on a mid range speed my Bosch MUM does best at 2.5 or 2 (out of 4.5 max) speed for at least 10 minutes.
 It should look a little like this.

Then I turn it out onto a floured bench top and form a ball and put in an oiled bowl.

Cover with plastic and let it sit (proof) for an hour, it won't be massive yet, but should have risen.
The work little holes into it with your fingers, fold it back together and and form a ball again. Back into the bowl for another hour. You can repeat this as many times as you want on the hour. I suggest 2-3. You can also over proof it but I haven't experienced it yet. The darker the bread the longer you should let it sit. When I use heavy flours like Rye, spelt and sourdough I will often let them sit over night.

Now make little balls. Watch the video for that one.

Cover and let proof when you see that they are growing nicely put the oven onto maximum with the tray in there.
Once they are proofed put them onto the hot tray

Score them if you want.

Bake them at maximum setting for about 5 minutes (until browning) then turn down to 180C once they are nicely brown tap them with a knife and listen, if they sound hollow they are ready, if they are dull when you hit them they aren't quite there yet.

Take them out and let them cool.

I hope this is at least a little informative.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Some more little things.

Life is all about little things, well to me anyway. So, I thought I would share with you some more of the little things that I like. In picture form of course.
Breakfast. Breakfast in Poland. Breakfast in Poland during berry season.
When your breakfast in Poland during berry season is on buckwheat pancakes and looks like this.
Clouds. I just love them.
I think clouds are actually greatly inspirational, especially cumulonimbus and cumulous. Cirrus are ok, but not nearly as graphic and creative.
Ladybugs/ ladybirds/ladybird beetles/lady beetles/Coccinellidae, whatever you want to call them they are just so great, gentle, delicate, cute and this year everywhere in Warsaw!
Homemade pasta, especially when it is drying out and looking like an odd sort of kelp forest.

When you ad kurki (chanterelles), butter, cracked pepper and a little garlic to homemade pasta.
Any form of cake from the wonderful patisserie Sweet Home the makers of our wedding cake and most birthday cakes since that date. Seriously delicious, like this chocolate and raspberry wonder.
Children with heads like balloons, well it is true, they look funny.
Storms, only those containing excessive rain, thunder and kickarse lightning.
Fresh homemade bread with butter, fresh homemade bread with butter and homemade jam.
These are, of course, only some of my favourite things in the world. The best part is that most of these I only truly discovered here in Warsaw. It really is a magical town.

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