Hard to know which one of these three topics to talk about first, they are all so exciting! Let's start with bread and the 100 year old sourdough starter which flew all the way from Canada, compliments of @sauna. Thank you brother! We love you 😍
The baguettes you can see here are actually not made with this new starter. I included them because I mentioned in my last bread post I was going to buy a dedicated baking tray for baguettes and as you can see it is working like a dream! The one on the left was voted winner, due to the amazing flavour of the roasted seeds.
The Sourdough Starter
A sourdough starter is basically just a bigger, gloopier version of yeast. It is live bacteria living in flour and it is very much required to make your bread rise, giving it those lovely holes we expect. We had used artificial yeasts in the past, but those days are over and something tells me Esteban & Luna will be passing this same sourdough starter on to their children in years to come ;)
Here they are eating their breakfast yesterday.
The original dried sourdough starter can be seen in the jam jar.
I mixed some of the dried starter with flour and warm water to activate it. Almost immediately it began to make bubbles, which indicated to me it was still alive!
I bought this fancy wooden pot with a lid as the permanent home for our new member of the family, who just like the other members of this family requires feeding on a daily basis.
The kids enjoy helping me in the mornings, sprinkling seeds and making cuts in the dough. On this occasion I was trying out a new glass cooking pot as an alternative Dutch oven and more importantly I was trying out my new starter in place of the regular yeast.
I was unsure about this bit and added around half my starter to the flour, making the mistake of adding the salt too early, not giving the starter time to activate all the flour.
What this meant is that it didn't rise at all! Worse, it didn't want to come out of the pot without leaving half of it behind, stuck to the bottom.
I included this story to show you how it isn't perfect every time. Far from it, mistakes are an essential part of the learning process!
The bread was a total brick and once the seeds were picked off the top, the rest went in a bin.
I will show you what a successful sourdough loaf looks like soon enough...
No more tobacco
I have smoked tobacco for three decades so it is not so easy to suddenly stop. Having managed it in the past for short periods only I understood this time needed to be different if I wanted to remain a non smoker forever. Which I do!
If I'm going to be honest about this I am actually a weed smoker who has always mixed it with tobacco. A joint is a convenient delivery system but comes with the cost of an addiction to nicotine and the potential side effects of inhaling smoke. And let's face it... it makes us smell pretty horrible.
So, I bought a couple of machines to deal with the problem.
These are vaporisers. So, the weed is not burned but heated up to the point where the moisture comes off it.
I've tried these kind of things before but apparently one needs to spend the money to experience the effect fully. The mighty was around €300 so not cheap, but certainly one of the most effective machines I have tried.
Sabrina & I are now one week into our tobacco free lives and there can be no question, we have done it with the help of these little machines!
Highly recommend this method to anyone else looking to kick tobacco.
And obviously I highly recommend the daily inhalation of weed (or it's vapour) for anyone looking to expand their mind beyond its current limitations or simply just to breeze through our frankly quite depressing world with an authentic smile on their face.
In other news it is super cold at night, but nothing too unexpected there. The Grand Solar Minimum is upon us.
Bought this tent to look after the babies.
Despite the cold, the strawberries, herbs & baby fruit trees are all developing perfectly outside our home.
The kids are doing great. No school means more fun at home with Papa ;)
We built a BBQ in the garden and it has been great, but I fancied having something more professional at home, so bought this one a few days ago. Our courtyard is a very enjoyable place to spend the afternoons in the Summer so this new machine will help a lot ;)
By the way, today is Esteban's 6th birthday! And we will be having a BBQ lunch :)
I need to run out there in a minute to start that vine wood burning. Apparently this is the best kind of wood for the flavour. Which is great, coz there is loads of it around here!
Final thing I want to share is a long awaited personal milestone I hit this morning...
My net worth is now greater than $100k 🎉
Prior to 2020 the most money I ever had was 10k, so this feels really good. And not so hard to imagine myself a self-made millionaire by the end of this year, all because I was crazy enough to put everything I had on crypto.
Now get yourselves over to the South of France and join me in building a new world!
The good times never end here. Only now we have money to help us focus & materialise our desires much faster than normal ;)
Love & Light everyone 🌱
I managed a decent looking sourdough loaf for Esteban's birthday! And you know what? Even without the roasted seeds, it tastes amazing :)