TWTW # 8 Another Solar Orbit

Another week, and another year of my life completed. Saturday was my birthday and although I mostly had a quiet day I did have cake!

This one has been pretty quiet overall, particularly when our TV set-top box died. We were able to get a work around going, but it means that we lost all of our recordings. We’ll get a replacement but it seems it’s one of those things where as the technology moves forward there is less choice. We really don’t want to be live streaming everything, some plain old fashioned technology would work. I was wondering if there’s still an old VHS machine in the loft. Maybe we could go retro.

Speaking of retro, one of my favourite tools is a fountain pen. I much prefer them to write with, probably second only to a pencil. For my birthday I was given a portable inkwell. The idea of this is that you can take several refills of ink for a fountain pen with you, without having to carry a whole bottle of ink. There’s a little bit of faith involved in refilling an empty pen, as it requires you to hold the inkwell upside down with the pen you’re trying to refill inside. I’ve had one trial run so far, and the ink stayed in the pen or the inkwell and didn’t end up getting on me or my desk. I look forward to trying it when I am truly out and about.


I ordered a new banetton for bread making, one that is oblong rather than round, which obviously means I get an oblong loaf.

It worked well and the loaf, and sliced bread is a much more usable shape for things like sandwiches.


The allotment is still pretty wet after a few days of rain, I’ve got a few seeds sown in the potting shed, but I’m still not ready to sow directly onto the plot. In another week or two, I’ll get the potatoes in the ground.


I was watching and listening to some of the coverage of the Space-X Crew Dragon this week. Whilst it would appear that everything went very well, there was quite a lot of discussion regarding the “commercialisation of space”. It concerns me that this appears to mean that there is going to be competition for resources in space, particularly on the Moon and Mars. Perhaps someone should be asking the question as to why we should be doing this as we have virtually destroyed earth by our own arrogance, we’re going to do the same (potentially) on the Moon and Mars too.


 

The Week That Was # 2 (Experiments With Sourdough)

I’ve been wanting to do some sourdough baking for a while now. I already bake quite a bit of our own bread (mostly in a breadmaker), and regularly make pizza bases, rolls and other things and I wanted to give sourdough a try too.

I got a starter (you can make your own but I opted for the slightly easier option) from the Wild Baker and it arrived earlier in the week. I feed it (with flour and water) a couple of times and then it was ready to go.

There are a couple of quite long pauses for rising etc. in the sourdough process and I think next time, I’ll shift things around a bit so that these happen overnight rather than try and squeeze things all into a day-and-a-half.

That said the resulting loaf was fantastic (see above). Great tasting and a definite success. It’s always good when cookery of any kind goes well, but this was especially pleasing.


It’s been a pretty chilly week, with temperatures dropping below 0°C on most nights. This had meant that my home office has been a little inhospitable some mornings and so I’ve moved to our lounge to work.

I’ve been assisted by the dogs to keep me company (and warm), although I must admit they have been a little more distracting than normal. I assume that this is as much the change of routine for them as it is for me.

I’ve been asked by a potential client for a proposal for a piece of work, so I suspect that most of the coming week will be taken up in pulling that together. They have ambitious plans so it’s good that potentially I’ll be a part of that work.


I’m between books at the moment, but a quick visit into town to post a parcel took me past the secondhand bookshop.

I always try and leave more books with them than I take away, and this time I succeeded, although I have to admit to be quite pleased with the ones I found.

The Unreported Issues of Breadmaking

If you’re trying to sell a house there’s some advice that says you should brew coffee or make bread just before a viewing to create a favourable atmosphere (and nice smell).

What no one tells you about making bread is that the smell can also be a massive distraction.

You’ll know if you’re a regular reader that we have a breadmaker and bake our own bread in it. In fact we’ve just recently bought a new one to replace our old, much used and worn out machine.

This morning I put the breadmaker on, in order to bake a loaf, so that we could have some later on with the soup that I’m planning for dinner this evening, and also possibly a sneaky bread and jam treat for lunchtime.

It is however a massive distraction. Not because it’s a noisy machine, far from it. It’s the smell, the gorgeous aroma of bread baking in the kitchen, which happens to be right next to my office, where I am trying not to drown in my own saliva, and instead concentrate on work. The timer says that there is about 50 minutes left to go for this loaf before it’s ready, just in time for lunch. Before then however I have a phone call to make and things that I need to focus on.

Nothing like freshly baked bread to help focus the mind!

Bread Maker Update

I wrote about our old bread maker a while ago, and it seems that it had made its last loaves. I tried to make a couple more in it, and they came out rather brick like. It seems the belt or motor was so worn that it couldn’t knead the dough properly after the first rise, meaning that the bread wasn’t rising properly at all, and we were getting rather solid half-sized loaves.

So we’ve bitten the proverbial, and bought a new one. It’s the same make as our last one, but a slightly better model. It has an ingredient dispenser, which means you don’t have to stand around and wait to add extra ingredients, the machine will do it for you. We make quite a few fruit loaves, so this is a bonus.

It’s only just arrived, and hasn’t yet made its first loaf (it’s doing that as I type), so there’ll be another update once we’ve tried it for a bit.

Breadmaker

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I think I’ve killed our breadmaker.

There’s nothing quite like a loaf of homemade fresh bread. I know a bread making machine is still cheating somewhat to say that all our bread is home made, but it still tastes better than shop bought loaves. When I’m on the road, and the sandwiches I’ve got in my backpack, are made from bread, made in the bread maker, it brings a piece of home with me at lunchtime.

On Sunday, I was running the breadmaker for a fresh loaf (we normally get through a couple of loaves in a week), but it was making some very strange noises on the mixing and kneading cycles, like the pan wasn’t properly connected to the motor, or the gears/belt were slipping. I hope it’s something simple, although our machine is getting on a bit in age, it was secondhand when it was given to us and it does get a lot of use, so it might simply just be worn out.

I’ll be making another loaf later in the week, so I’ll see what happens. It might however be time for another machine or back to shop bought bread for a while.