UBO

loaf

Is it a brick or is it a block of PU foam?

It’s hard to tell at first glance but this was in fact my first sourdough loaf and it certainly left plenty of room for improvement. Where did it all go wrong, if it did indeed go wrong at all. Gorging on ‘how to’ YouTube videos left me brain fogged so that instead of following one recipe carefully, I mixed various recipes together, a sure fire recipe for disaster.

– Was my sourdough starter ready? Well, it did float in water.

– Was it a mistake to prove it overnight in the oven rather than the fridge?

– Did I knead correctly and for long enough? Well my biceps are twice the size now.

– Was it a mistake to keep adding flour because the dough was so wet? (probably)

The final proving (after 24 hours) was done in a bread tin where it did, much to my delight, manage to rise to the rim (300gm flour). However it subsided somewhat after I slashed the top soon after putting it in the oven, having forgotten to do so beforehand. This may well have been a bad move, particularly as the knife was not too sharp and the sticky dough was dragged rather than cut cleanly.

Through the oven window I watched with mild despair as it sank in the middle, normally a sign that it had not been kneaded for long enough and lacked structure.

After cooking for 40 minutes at 210C, plus curing and leaving it to cool for half an hour, it did have a reasonable crumb but the crust was hard as apposed to crisp. It tasted OK but overall it was far from what I had hoped for and had all the visual appeal of concrete rubble.

Having had a run of less than reasonable successes recently I was really on the verge of abandoning the whole idea of baking my own bread. What makes it all the more frustrating is eight years ago I was baking bread in the same place and having nothing but successes. Could it be my oven? My age? Or maybe just bad luck. Certainly I am more forgetful these days, which does not help. At least I have sussed how to make a sourdough starter so there is hope yet for a perfect loaf in the future … with no yeast available and the lock-down continuing there is nothing else to do but try again.

Dream on

zigzagweg

With the fine weather over the past month due to make a brief pause, I trekked down to the supermarket yesterday hoping to dodge the rain before it arrived. The zigzag path weaves its way down through the forest and all the rocks and tree roots were covered in a yellow pollen dust that made them look almost luminous. I have never seen so much pollen and yet nowhere could I see any yellow flowers on the pathway, only a few these on the summit.

yellow

(Below) Rain splattered pollen coated rock on the zigzag path.

rock

Face masks are obligatory now in supermarkets and on public transport and I had mine at the ready, made from an old T-shirt sleeve. It fitted nicely, was comfortable and looks pretty cool but I certainly would not want to wear one for long as it felt rather stifling. I only saw one person without one and nobody seemed bothered, which makes a change for Germany.

This time I acquired a shopping trolley at the second supermarket, no entry otherwise, but no one took any notice of the two meter rule as they perused the aisles, but then as all were wearing masks that hardly mattered.

Last night I had my first Covid-19 dream. I say dream rather than nightmare because it was more depressing than horror. I suspect it was triggered by my visit to the supermarket although played out in another place all together. I was wandering down streets in a big town frustrated that I could not visit half the shops or do anything. It was a very gloomy atmosphere. Of course my supermarket trip was much the same as it has become a real chore having to walk and climb several kilometers with 15lbs of shopping. Normally visiting town would be fun, encompassing various other things and would also be less physically exhausting but for the moment this is the reality.

No yeast again in either supermarket but now I have my own sour dough starter and a loaf is proving right now. If it turn out OK I might post it on the blog tomorrow. Watch this space.

Take care, stay safe.

Overall winner

The German Society for Nature Photography

Peter Lindel – A Hare’s Dream. European hare in the north of Dortmund

Photograph: Peter Lindel/2020 GDT Nature Photographer of the Year

hare

This stunning photo by Peter Lindel caught my eye, I can only dream of taking such a photo …

Bathroom

start

Sometime ago I posted the developments of my kitchen design and the final results. Now the bathroom is near completion, after much work and a few disasters. Above photo shows the starting point, so everything had to be done including replacing the window.

Blender:File:/home/janfe/Pictures/3D/BLENDER/Blend/flat/flat2.blend

There were various design proposals created in Blender 3D and this was just one of them. This design proposal had a large mirror over the sink, which is something that is still being considered. The shelving and glass shower curtain have yet to be installed.

compare1

Comparing the starting point with the functioning bathroom, though still incomplete at this stage.

final

Almost finished. Here the bathroom is 95% complete with its curvy sink surface created from leftover chip board and then painted with a thin coat of white acrylic paint. Finally a coat of clear resin was applied to seal all the surfaces and give it a glossy finish. This technique allowed the interesting wood chip patterns to show through but made it look very different to the kitchen work surfaces, which used the same wood chip boards.

All it needs now is a big interesting poster on that blank wall.

 

Bullshit!

Yes folks, it’s all been bullshit, time for change, time to rethink, time for reflection. There is a reason for everything and this pandemic is here for a reason. Warnings for decades have been ignored. The world has now been stopped in its tracks.

No more carry on as normal.

Back to nature.

Less is more.

Micheal Moore presents: Planet of the humans.

( I read today 26.05.2020 that YouTube had removed the video ‘Planet of the Humans’ due to copyright issues. There has been much controversy over the film, some questioning its accuracy and motives. I would just like to add that while there may have been some exaggerations the core message should not be ignored. As one example, while traveling by train through Germany we passed a field of solar panels. Now I am very much for solar energy but I found the sight of endless solar panels quite disturbing. No sign of any trees, flowers, animals, insects or birds … nothing but glass panels for several kilometers. Surely that cannot be a solution to the environmental problems. Wind farms, solar energy fields along with battery farming and mono-culture crops would eventually destroy nature. We need to look at other solutions and I believe this was the main message the film was attempting to put across. Things are never black and white.)

A film directed by Jeff Gibbs

fisherzc

Pizza janfe

pizza

It’s only the second time I have had homemade pizza but I have to say both were better than anything I have ever had in restaurants. In my twenties I spent many lunchtimes in and around Munich eating pizzas and have had them in Turin and Milan, although I have never eaten one in a Pizza hut or similar establishment. Once in Turin I ate one that was claimed to be the best pizza in the world. None of these came close to my homemade ones. So here is my recipe:

Firstly, NO Mozzarella! … The long rubbery strands of chewy cheese I can really do without and maybe that is why I prefer my own homemade ones to those in restaurants. The only way to eat Mozzarella is sliced uncooked with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, basil and vinaigrette together with a buttered French baguette.

My pizzas may not be 100% authentic but who cares if it tastes better.

Homemade dough:

Plain flour, yeast, salt, sugar, oil, water.

Topping :

Tomato: Tinned squashed whole tomatoes*/ whatever, fresh, tinned, sauce…

Cheese: Cheddar, Parmesan, Allgäuer*/ variable, whatever, just no Mozzarella

Onion: Shallots*/ or whatever type you prefer, red, white, green, spring …

Salami: Chicken salami*/ whatever … pepperoni

Chili: Chili peppers aka peperoni*/ whatever, depends on how hot you like it.

Black olives and capers*

* Indicates ingredients in the pizza pictured.

Normally I would have also added oregano but as I had none I added a few fresh basil leaves instead.

Had I known beforehand that I was going to post it on my blog I would have spent a bit more time on its visual appearance but that’s for another time.

Garden birds

bullfinch2

A beautiful male bullfinch stops by for a drink in a small pond. (out of sight)

bullfinch

Meanwhile (below) another pond visitor was this crested tit. The lack of rain recently is making them more courageous and both the bullfinch and crested tit buzzed me a number of times, hoping that I would move away from the pond, I presume. In the end both decided to risk it and I got my photos.

tit

The crow I spotted poised on a concrete post on the hillside sunning itself, I have included it under garden birds as it has a habit of stealing the fat-balls from my balcony. Just look at that beak, puts many a bird of prey to shame.

crow

World Earth Day

 

Black lamb

black-lamb

Remember Doris ? Featured in previous posts. It looks like she has given birth to a little black lamb. The first lamb of Spring here on the hillside and it’s a glorious warm, sunny day. Doris, forever nervous since the wolf encounter last year, was particularly nervous today and I could not get withing 50 meters of her without disturbing them so this was the best I could do even with my telephoto lens.

Masken pflicht

mask

It looks like from Monday onwards I’m going to have to wear a mask when shopping or traveling by train or bus. But hey Corvid-19, I am ready, I have made my T-shirt mask complete with filter. I was wondering what to do with all my old T-shirts, now I have an endless supply of masks in all colours, shapes and sizes. Let’s face it I look a lot better behind a mask and so much for face recognition, that’s history now, at least for supermarkets and public transport. Every cloud has a silver lining. 😀

Day out

wildflowers

It looks like fine weather till I get outside, then I am hit by a freezing cold wind despite the sunshine. Unusual for April in my experience as usually it is over 20C by now instead of struggling to reach 15C. I descend to the shops through the forest on the usual zigzag path. There are no walkers today and it seems more deserted than ever, which is surprising as yesterday Germany removed some restrictions to allow more shops to open. When I reach the first supermarket I note that the guy who usually dispenses hand sanitizer at the entrance is no longer there. A sure sign things are getting better, I think. However when I enter the second supermarket after spraying my hands with sanitizer I am told by a checkout lady that I cannot go in without a shopping trolley. I always pick up a basket here and no one has questioned that for the last two months. I ask why and I am told it is to ensure the 2 meter distance is kept. I can only laugh! Every time customers pass each other in the aisles they are within inches of each other. Probably just another head office opportunity to use the virus to their advantage and get shoppers buying more. I leave and shop down the road.