Spring 2020 – Covid Cooking (1,001 Things To Do With Sourdough Starter) …

I always make my own bread: I love the process of measuring, kneading, proving, and praying that the magic will work. Plus, bread in Italy is undoubtedly delicious, but it is also expensive, goes stale in a day, requires a car journey to buy, and unless you reach the shop early in the day, often unsalted.

In this strangest of springs, the supermarkets have remained well stocked here, but flour and yeast became difficult to source. Just before lockdown commenced, our wonderful builder brought me a huge bag of his own flour – from his organic wheat, and stone-ground in his village. Utterly, utterly wonderful, but with no yeast to be found, also useless.

Until I found this recipe for sourdough starter, and bread in The Irish Times: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/food-and-drink/even-better-than-sliced-bread-sourdough-for-beginners-1.2768363

Two weeks later, and I had my very own sourdough starter, and a problem: what to do with all the leftover starter? Yes, we compost all of our organic waste, but it did seem such a shame to be discarding so much of The Builder’s lovingly home grown flour.

So …

First, we started frying the discard up as a pancake – just add a little salt to the dicard, slop it into a frying pan for 10 minutes, flip, wait 10 more boring, dull minutes, then top it off with marmalade (me) or marmite (him). Ok, but always a little doughy on the inside for our tastes.

Then, we moved on to muffins …

Next came pizza …

Then delicious flat-breads …

And now, Cheesy Oatcakes (aka Bastion Biscuits), with Lockdown Jam!

Back in 2011, Scott spent six months as commander of Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan. We were able to speak once a week, for 20 minutes on a slightly dodgy phone line, but mostly we communicated by e-mail, or by the Forces’ Mail, in special letters known as Blueys. And once a week, I sent a care package, which generally contained home-made cheesey oeatcakes, hence the name.

And the recipes for all of these creations can be found here: https://olivehillsabina.com/seasonal-recipes-from-the-olive-hill


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