Running with the season

Late afternoon sunflowers that grow a little weary in the heat.

Coriander goes to seed, and the lettuce? Oh it bolted long ago. Along with the rhubarb who gave up the ghost, and the rainbow chard that’s now a tower of delightfully coloured seed. And pumpkins? Unlike last year where we were swimming in them, this year not even one.

Not the cherry tomatoes though, those tomatoes are still running strong. Although leave them too long and they will sundry right there on the stems in which they grew.

This is our summer.

Hot, windy and dry. So dry.

This season has been a funny one. So many of the plants just seem confused. Rain has been infrequent and barely enough these last six months. Garden space is now reduced to the smallest of small areas just to keep hopes going. There is still hope though, of course there will be a time for things to bounce back and regain their former glorious green. Time for the lilli pilli to regain its shiny leaves and time for far more bread to be baked when the kitchen is just a smidge cooler. The blue banded bees will keep coming, and that in itself is just gentle reminder to keep things simple.

Run with the season, do what we can, and instead spend time feeding that crucial soil in which the garden will grow from. There’s always something to do.


How’s your garden going?


St Lucia Buns (lussekatter)

lussekatter || cityhippyfarmgirl

I don’t need much of an excuse to bake. Give me some flour, water and a small window period, and the likely hood of knocking something up to whack into the oven is quite high.

Given that I still have an enduring love for all things Scandinavian, sourdough and (as mentioned, baking.) With the traditional day to bake St Lucia Buns (or Lussekatter)  drawing near, it seemed as good as an excuse as any to preheat the oven.

My baking is fairly fluid and using what’s on hand, I’m not particular keen on excessive faffing or having ingredients I don’t often use. Saffron unfortunately sits as one of those ingredients. Traditionally used in the baking of St Lucia Buns, these Scandinavian bread treats really should be a little yellow in colour. I can happily report back however, that after eating two tray loads, the missing saffron threads were not missed.

St Lucia Buns (Lussekatter)

250g refreshed sourdough starter

1 tsp dried yeast

200g softened butter

75g sugar

675g of bread flour

200mls milk

200mls water

1 tsp salt

In a mixer*, add starter, dried yeast, flour, milk and water. Mix well for approximately 5 minutes, and leave for 10 minutes.  Then add in your sugar and softened butter, salt and mix again for a good 15 minutes.

Dough should be well incorporated and feeling silky smooth.

Pop the dough back into the mixing bowl if mixing by hand and leave to prove for a couple of hours, with a fold in between until doubled in size (or cover and leave over night.)

On a lightly floured bench, shape your dough in a figure of eight, placing a raisin into the circle you’ve just created. (Brush with a little beaten egg, adding decorative rock sugar if you want, as you can see I didn’t.) Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until a light golden colour at 200C

*You do all of this by hand, I use an Assistent Original for all bread making on a larger scale.

loving…words, jungles and cake

Loving…listening to inspiring words at the Newcastle Writer’s Festival this weekend. Mind bendingly good. So good.

Loving…watching my kids rolling on the ground and laughing until tears squeezed out their eyes and breath would only come in gasps. What on earth was so funny? Truth be told, not a lot, but when you combine an impromptu short story you are telling with a few bum jokes, well you’ve pretty much made it to Parent of The Week.

Loving… creating a special occasion lazy version of a Black Forest Cake. No, actually not a lazy version…lets strike that one and rename it. Economical, lets fly with that one, (and yes it did look a bit 80’s style.)

Loving… the sun finally coming out for longer than an hour or two. While it did highlight the fact that a jungle of tarragon has replaced the backyard, it also brought all the bees out to play, and that dear people, is a beautiful thing.

How about you? What are you up to this weekend? What are you loving at the moment?


[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]

I hacked the recipe, but if you want the original Black Forest Cake, try here.

Kanelbullar…or how to twist Cinnamon Buns

kanelbullar || cityhippyfarmgirl kanelbullar || cityhippyfarmgirl kanelbullar || cityhippyfarmgirl

My children grow like weeds.

Close your eyes briefly overnight and suddenly pants are looking a little short. Dresses have become tops and shoes look a little painful.

I accept this as what children do. However it still befuddles me as to how they can constantly be so damn hungry.

From the time of grey morning light, where eyes are yet to be prised open. I often wake to small voices saying, Mama….I’m huuuungry. This pattern continues throughout the day, right up until the dark night, where it should be a time of whispered goodnights, and I love you. Not replaced, which is lovely. Just with a little addition.

Goodnight Mama….I love you….I’m a bit hungry.

And so it goes. With us being smack bang in the middle of school holidays, those hungry choruses are equally unified, amplified, and questionably justified. I’m sure I just fed you!

So with meal times at the moment having alarming frequencies, and it nearly being the 4th of October (For new readers or regular readers who need a reminder, this means it’s Cinnamon Bun Day coming up- thank you my Nordic thinkers!) I thought it might be time to finally do something about the requests I get on how to do these twisty buns.

Are they authentically Nordic? As an Australian who is yet to set foot on any Nordic soil (this is regretful of my part) I actually don’t know.


They work. They are pretty tasty, and happily, they fill up those ravenous children of mine, (albeit briefly.)

First up. The recipe can be found here from last year.

Secondly, if you don’t play with sourdough, try 2 tsp of dried yeast to replace the 1.

Thirdly, I’ve played a few times with different twists over the years. Tucking under with the end into the middle, tucking over with the middle, simple swirls or tucking the twist across the dough all seem to work fine.

Lastly, pearled sugar is what generally goes on top which can be tricky to get at times. It comes in different forms but makes it look a bit fancier, (on some here, I’ve also used Dutch coloured sugar aniseed.)

(Extra special thanks to my 10 year old camera helper.)

Spinach and Fetta Bread

Spinach and Fetta Bread 01 || cityhippyfarmgirl

While two of my children gagged their way through dinner, the other one couldn’t get the second, third, fourth slice in fast enough. The problem and in equal measures, the highlight of the bread, was the spinach.

Spinach is one of those vegetables that seem to be hated by many and adored by all others. I think spinach is delicious and and will happily eat it in any form given to me. In a bread, you’ve got the benefit of a vegetable hidden (or not so much) in a high carbohydrate baked good, where you can’t go wrong really.

(Although two round here would contest that.)

So while I showered my spinach eating child in heart eyes, deep seated love and adoration, I loaded up his plate with slice after slice of green infused bread goodness.

I ignored my other two who continued to gag their way through the meal, feigning food poisoning, swallowing inability and general parental wickedness at even placing such a thing on our family table.

I instead focussed on the crusty sided outside of the loaf. The soft inner crumb, the subtle taste of the spinach and fetta infused throughout and the slappings of cultured butter to bring it all together.

As sunk my teeth in, I mumbled that I might make another one tomorrow.

Predictably this was met with a one sided cheer and two tragic noisy wails worthy of oscar nominations…luckily for me I’m well practised at ignoring misguided spinach wails.

Spinach and Fetta Bread 02 || cityhippyfarmgirlSpinach and Fetta Bread 03 || cityhippyfarmgirl

Spinach and Fetta Bread

2 tsp dried yeast

5 cups (750g) strong bread flour

600mls tepid water

2 tsp salt

200g fetta

1 bunch of finely chopped spinach or rainbow chard

In a large bowl mix through your yeast, flour and water, with a spoon then cover bowl and leave for 20 minutes. Then add salt, spinach and fetta, turn dough out on to bench and knead dough until it comes together. It’s a bit of a messy one with the spinach and fetta, but the dough will start to feel smooth and more elastic.

Pop the dough back in to the mixing bowl and cover for about an hour or until roughly doubled in size.

Fold the dough over once, and then proof again.

Dough out on to the bench and gently shape into a round, laying it on a baking tray. Rub a little extra flour on the top and leave to proof again until roughly doubly in size.

Score the dough just before it goes in the oven and bake with steam at 230C.



How to dry your sourdough starter, and bring it back to LIFE again!

how to dehydrate and rehydrate your sourdough starter || cityhippyfarmgirlhow to dehydrate and rehydrate your sourdough starter || cityhippyfarmgirl

Baking your own sourdough bread from a little naturally fermented flour and water (starter) is one of those simple things in life that’s hard to move away from once you begin. Being able to dehydrate it and then rehydrate it, essentially bringing it back to life again is another handy additional skill to have as a sourdough baker.

Being a home baker, means that on the odd occasion I’m asked for a some starter to get people going with their own sourdough journey. It’s something that is forever growing and being used, so it’s easy enough to do and if it encourages someone to get cracking with baking the ‘good stuff’, well, I’d like to be a part of that.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to first, dry the starter if you are the giver and how to revive it if you are the recipient.

how to dry sourdough starter || cityhippyfarmgirlhow to dry sourdough starter

How to Dehydrate your Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter– refreshed and bubbling. The more alive it is, the easier it will be to trap that fermented goodness and revamp it again down the track.

Sun– you can use a dehydrator or an oven on low, but if you have access to sun, use it.

First up, spread some of your refreshed starter on a paper lined baking tray. Thick or thin is up to you, depends on how long you have and sun quantities. Obviously the thicker it is, the longer it will take.

If you can cover it at all with some fine wire mesh, or muslin do so. This keeps out any nosy bugs that might be keen to check out what’s going on.

Keep it in the sun until it’s nice and dried.

Break off into small flakes and store in a glass jar, or alternatively grind your dried starter in a blender and again store in a clean glass jar.

And now pass it on to someone who will love it as much as you will!

How to Rehydrate your Sourdough Starter

25g dried starter

80mls tepid water (1/3 cup)

50g flour (1/3 cup)

Mix the three ingredients together in a ceramic bowl (at say 6am.) Cover it, muslin and a rubber band, beeswax cover or a loosely fitted lid of a glass jar.

Leave it in a warm spot- top of the fridge is good during winter or just the kitchen bench top over the warmer months. At 6am the next day, add 80mls of water and 50g of flour to the mixture, stir it through and cover it again. Back to the warm spot.

At 6am the following morning, add a further 200mls water and 150g flour. Mix together and cover, leaving in the warm spot. As the day progresses check it for bubbles, if it looks a little sluggish leave it for another 24hours and if it’s got lots of happy bubbles action going on, you can make up a dough about 12 hours later- say 6pm.

Also, make sure you have a good smell of it. If it smells like flour and water it’s not ready, if it smells sourdoughy it’s getting ready to rock. Make sure before you make up your dough, you leave some aside to keep as your mother, which can now be stored in the fridge.


how to dry and rehydrate your sourdough starter

If you are keen as a bean to get started with your own sourdough baking journey and can’t access any starter, I’m happy to post a few starters out if you would like to trade something with me. I’m not doing this for coins, but I would love in return a postcard, mixed tape of your favourite Wham songs, or picture of you at your favourite corner of the world- whatever you want!  Drop me a line at…

cityhippyfarmgirl (at) gmail (dot) com.

Sorry international peeps, Australia only at this stage.


If you would like more information on baking sourdough, there is a backlog of info within here.

How to bake a basic sourdough loaf

How to create your own sourdough starter from scratch…it’s easy, promise.

If you have any further specific questions please read through the comments of this post here. There are 95 comments, which equals to a whole bunch of potential information.

If you still have further questions, pop them into the comments and I will do my best at answering them a little further down the track.

Happy baking people!



Apple Tea Bread and slurps of hot chai

apple tea bread 02 || cityhippyfarmgirl

Not super sweet, uses your favourite seasonal apples and is a little different to the regular cake like Apple Tea Loaf of times before. These apple baked goodies were eaten 77 times quicker than what it took to make them (or something like that anyway.)

Baked goods have long been a regular in my kitchen (and blog pages) with a steady stream of hungry bellies constantly on the look out for something else to eat, these were made to fill that role. If only momentarily. Something slightly different to my usual retort of…well if you are hungry, go eat an apple.

Or today, eat an apple tea bread!

Now, the traditional Apple Tea Loaf is something that conjures up imagery of proper tea cups, rainy afternoons and a little polite conversation.

Never one for convention, I thought I’d shake that up a bit. With waiting mugs, slurps of hot chai, coffee and cold milk. A warm sunny morning, celebrating another birthday gone by for a loved one. Snatched noisy conversations were had between mouthfuls of Apple Tea Bread, (this is more how we roll round these parts anyway.)

apple tea bread 01 || cityhippyfarmgirl

Apple Tea Bread

300g sourdough starter (*add an extra teaspoon of dried yeast if you aren’t using sourdough)

1 tsp dried yeast

4 1/2 (675g) cups strong bakers flour

375mls water (approximate)

100g softened butter

100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar

1 tsp salt

Middle Part

about four apples thinly sliced

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tblsp raw sugar

approx 50g extra butter into 16 small cubes

Add all ingredients together except softened butter and salt- either by hand or mixer. If using a mixer, do so for about ten minutes. You want that dough really worked before adding the butter in, the gluten needs to be well-developed.

Gradually add your cubed softened butter into the dough, also adding the salt. Continue to mix for a further ten minutes. If doing by hand, work it in well.

Dough should look smooth and coming together off the sides of the bowl.

Place a damp tea towel or plastic shopping bag over the top of the bowl. This creates a gentle humid environment for your bread to rise. Leave it for an hour or so.

On to a really lightly floured surface, give your dough a brief three-way fold or knock back. Back into the bowl for another hour or so.

Divide your dough into 32 equal portions, (this recipe makes roughly 16 apple tea breads.) Rolling 16 of them into balls, which are then flattened and rolled into round discs, placing them on to your baking trays.

Divide the other 16 portions in half again, creating 32, and roll each portion into long sausage type shapes. Gently twist the two snakes around each other, in a rope like fashion placing them around the edge of the round dough disc.

Place finely sliced apple in the middle and allow to prove for roughly another hour or so, (this really depends on the season, if it’s hot, it’s quicker!)

Place a tiny cube of cold butter within the circle of the dough and sprinkle with a little extra sugar and cinnamon.* Bake at 200C for approximately 20 minutes.

* If you would like to have these for breakfast, just make them up the night before, pop them on a tray, cover them, and leave them overnight in the fridge. All ready to be baked in the morning.

apple tea bread || cityhippyfarmgirl






Loving…forgetting baked goods: Morning, Noon and Night

hot cross buns || cityhippyfarmgirlcosmos || cityhippyfarmgirlfull moon || cityhippyfarmgirl

Loving… that moment when your son happily tells their father that they’ve eaten hot cross buns for three meals in a row! Not loving the fact that I kind of hadn’t noticed, but loving I was told after it all, and hey they were fed weren’t they? And that’s surely the main thing, right?…errr right?!

Loving…growing cosmos, lots and lots of them.

Loving…Exploring new places along old country roads.

Loving…late night visits to closed sea pools with full moons rising over the sea, and opportunities for wild kids to run just that bit wilder. Doing that, is seriously soul filling stuff after a week of things being fairly rubbish. (Now, did I mention that I had fed my kids unknowingly hot cross buns three meals in a row?)

Loving…new days.

This years Hot Cross Bun Recipe…juuuussst in case, you too run out of meal ideas.

Hot Cross Buns

300g sourdough starter

1 tsp dried yeast

4 1/2 cups strong bakers flour

375mls water (approximate)

handful of chopped dried apricots (or whatever dried fruit you like)

handful of chocolate buttons (optional)

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar

100g softened butter

1 tsp salt

Add all ingredients together except softened butter and salt- either by hand or mixer. If using a mixer, do so for about ten minutes. You want that dough really worked before adding the butter in, the gluten needs to be well developed.

Gradually add your cubed softened butter into the dough, also adding the salt. Continue to mix for a further ten minutes. If doing by hand, work it well.

Dough should look smooth and coming together off the sides of the bowl.

Place a damp tea towel or plastic shopping bag over the top of the bowl. This creates a gentle humid environment for your bread to rise. Leave it for an hour or so.

On to a really lightly floured surface, give your dough a brief three way fold or knock back. Back into the bowl for another hour or so.

Divide your dough into equal portions, (this recipe makes roughly 16 portions) rolling them into balls and then on to your baking trays. Allow them to prove for roughly another 1-3 hours, (depends on the temperature- dough should neither spring back or leave an indent) or overnight in the fridge. Again covered by either a damp tea towel or plastic shopping bag.


75g (1/2 cup) plain flour

100-125mls water

2 tbls raw sugar

Mix ingredients together and use a piping bag to squeeze out crosses just before popping buns in the oven.

Bake at 200C for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

Sugar Glaze

1/4 cup raw sugar

1/4 cup water

Heat the glaze and brush buns as soon as they are out of the oven.

Eat with enthusiasm.


Ever given your kids the same meal three times in a row unknowingly? Had a bit of a rubbish week, with the weekend being the perfect antidote?

Tell me, what are you loving at the moment?

[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]


Keeping it real

tomatoes ||

It was the array of vegetables quietly lying in their own individual plastic that finally broke it for me. I felt deflated, defeated and pretty bloody miserable to be honest.

Moving cities was always going to have its pockets of turbulence, I knew that. It’s a transition period where you have to nut out what’s what, who’s who, where’s where and build up from that right?.

I knew that, it all takes a little time.

So why was I feeling like I was carrying round a basket full of sad, looking down at my plastic encased vegetable dinner options?

Because I forgot. I did have options.

While I had been trying really hard to keep things as uncomplicated as possible, while I nutted out a seemingly endless supply of other issues that needed attending, packed a household, unpacked a household, grappled with a grumpy oven, the weather defied all odds, new garden beds were created and I mostly single parented the summer school holidays. For those reasons, I resorted to supermarket vegetables, some bought bread, and more plastic encased food than I cared to think about.

Except I did care, and combined with the transition of moving, it made for a pretty sad face round here.

Shopping had turned into being surrounded by an endless supply of uninspiring temperature controlled chain stores, empty conversations, enough plastic to make you shudder and all filled with people who I seemingly had little in common with.

It all felt so false. The mass-produced shopping, the plastic on plastic, the convenience of it all and the questionable happiness that people seemed to get from living like this.

Is that how it really is? Was this really my chosen road, the inevitable living that was bound to happen at some point, just because we moved?

Staring at those vegetables again, and something gently clicked back into place.

Hell no. This isn’t me, this isn’t us. I Don’t. Want. This.

Readjustment, realignment, and a good rethink.

organic feast || cityhippyfarmgirl

And so slowly I’m catching up. The local transport system was nutted out, travels further afield were taken. Local organic vegetables got delivered to the door which gave me some breathing room when I couldn’t get to the farmers markets, independent health food stores were located, the toilet paper came in bulk, the huge shopping centres were bypassed and I found the beginnings of a list of a few mismatched seated cafe’s that served coffee in cups the size of my head, (and from which I danced in caffeine fuelled happiness.)

While I didn’t want the plastic vegetables, and the convenience of everything being at my door step, I do acknowledge that I needed it for that transition period, (and not being sainted) may dip back into it in small amounts over the coming few months as needed.

While we are all still very much finding our feet and it really will take a while to set down new roots, I feel a hell of a lot more grounded knowing that there has been a bunch of bread just baked, there’s kombucha on the bench top, I’ve found places that I can buy basics in bulk, joined the local library, traded cucumbers for black soldier fly larvae over the back fence, made jam, made kasundi, roasted pumpkin’s and with a contented exhale, have once again sourced our families every day vegetables bought without a single, sheet, of plastic.

For me, it feels a whole lot better to be once again, keeping it real.

herbs ||


Cinnamon Bun Day rises again

kanelbullar or cinnamon buns || cityhippyfarmgirl

It’s Cinnamon Bun Day (4th of October) and I’ve been thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone made a batch of kanelbullar, organised to meet at a favourite park, took the freshly baked cinnamon buns down to said park and maybe spend a relaxed afternoon with your favourite people who make you laugh?


I am. Now if only I’d thought of it a little earlier.

Luckily any day can be Cinnamon Bun Day, you don’t have to wait until the 4th of October to bake these cinnamon sweet bready treats.

kanelbullar or cinnamon buns || cityhippyfarmgirlkanelbullar or cinnamon buns || cityhippyfarmgirl

Have you tried them? Want to give them a crack?

Cinnamon Buns

250g  sourdough starter

1 tsp commercial yeast

675g strong bread flour

250mls milk

200mls water

100g sugar

100g softened butter

1 tsp cardamon

1 1/2 tsp salt

Cinnamon mixture

100g softened butter

100g raw sugar (or brown)

2 tsp cinnamon

Add all dough ingredients together, mix well and then knead until dough is elastic on a lightly floured surface (I use my mixer.)

Dough should be well incorporated and feeling smooth.

Pop the dough back into the mixing bowl and leave to prove for a couple of hours, with a fold or two in between, (or covered and over night.)

On a lightly floured bench, roll the dough out to a rough rectangle, add cinnamon mixture and cut into portions. Twist, roll, decorate in your favourite way then, line on a tray and bake at 190C for approximately 15-20 minutes (depending on the sizes.)


See here for previous cityhippyfarmgirl Cinnamon Bun Days and How To Twist Them

Cinnamon Bun Day

Any day can be Cinnamon Bun Day

When it storms, I bake

cityhippyfarmgirl.comfetta and pesto sourdough scrolls ||

Gumboots and an umbrella weren’t really going to cut it over the last few days here in Sydney.

Sydney, Newcastle and the Wollongong area have all copped a battering, and while the storm has now lessened, the clean up is going to go on for a lot longer.

After adventurous soggy walks to school in the mornings, there wasn’t much else for me and the small one to do but batten down the hatches, read stories, and do what I can with not much food in the cupboard.

Thanks to bread baking being a wonderful part of my life… we certainly didn’t go hungry, (fetta and pesto sourdough scrolls).


Some pictures of the storm can be found here.