Kitchen Crumbs

teeny tiny pears || cityhippyfarmgirl

Bench tops are groaning, the sink is over flowing, and there is rather a lot of flour wedged between the kitchen floorboards. If you can ignore the growing number of scattered crumbs and butter smeared finger prints on the drawers, I’ll give you a quick peek into my kitchen at the moment.

 There have been some teeny tiny locally grown famers market pears.

 Some crunchy bread ends and lazy coconut biscuits- slab style.


Lots of home grown chilli that certainly gets your attention. Hot? You betcha.

over proved sourdough || cityhippyfarmgirlThen there was Moon Bread, as it was aptly named. Over proved thanks to crazily humid afternoon- which is never forgiving with my bread. Still passed the taste test though, (this bread had sprouted millet, sunflower kernels, linseed, dark malt flour and water kefir in it.)

window sill farming || cityhippyfarmgirl

And lastly the ever present kitchen window sill of sprouting things. While the shadowed bench tops are full of things fermenting, the sunny sill is where sprouting action is. Window sill farming at it’s very best.


What’s happening in your kitchen at the moment?

Linking up with Celia this month for more sneaky peeks into other peoples kitchens, see here. 

lessons in chocolate cake

chocolate cakechocolate cake

When the lovely Mariana posted her family recipe for chocolate cake recently I decided I needed to give it a crack. Me and chocolate cake still aren’t particularly firm friends. I had fiddled about last year with my sourdough starter chocolate cake (Number Five Chocolate Cake.) I had also mentioned in this post my head start into baking a dry old chocolate cake recipe as a teen.

Being more of a Lemon Meringue Pie kinda gal, it’s hard to get good perspective in such very important matters such as chocolate cake. However, for the sake of my chocolate cake inhaling young family I would do it. I would make the cake, (as everyone needs to have a chocolate cake recipe up there sleeves right?)

Lessons learnt in Chocolate Cake

1. Chocolate cake baked in a square tin sounded like a good idea at the time but when it came time to present it on a plate I slowly realised- out of all my missed matched plates, not one of them were square. Round tin it is next time.

2. Fold that flour into the mixture, don’t over beat it. I know this, and yet I still have moments of forgetting. This was one of those moments.

3. Chocolate cake doesn’t need to have 250g of dark chocolate in it to be a chocolate cake, (hooray for that actually!)

4. When making a stove top icing, ensure the tea towel being used in order not to burn yourself doesn’t catch fire as it rests casually in the flames. (For the record, burnt tea towel smells a bit funny.)

5. When the recipe says “move fairly quickly” when pouring on the icing, do so. It’s said for a reason. If you don’t, it leads to an unsatisfying ‘scratchy’ looking top. Followed by a little high pitched squeal, tiny foot stomp and mutterings of…oh please be smoooooth again.

6. Plopping small squares of chocolate in the middle doesn’t really hide the unsatisfying scratchy looking icing.

7. And finally, really… Not a single other person really cares whether- a) the icing was smooth, b) the cake mixture slightly over beaten, and c) that there wasn’t an appropriate square plate to go with the square cake*. It was gobbled up and declared the best chocolate cake ever. So dear Mariana, I think it’s a hit.

* There was however a slight voiced concerned and furrowed brow with the burnt tea towel incident, (for safety reasons of course.) But I say, who doesn’t like a little excitement in the kitchen now and then.

Mariana’s Forever Chocolate Cake Recipe 

chocolate cake

simple, everyday sourdough


cityhippyfarmgirl cityhippyfarmgirl

I’m often asked for a basic sourdough recipe and for some reason I have never done a post that is just simply that. A simple, every day sourdough bread recipe.

Bit of an over sight really as so much of this blog is designated to bread. After three years, I still find making sourdough an incredibly enjoyable experience.

I like to make it, I like to eat it and I like seeing other people start on their own sourdough journey. The contagious excitement of when a first bubble appears of a newly made starter. The shared joy of an exceptionally tasty freshly baked loaf. The jump up and down happy feeling of a new mixer arriving. The relief and happiness of hearing that one of your recipes have been used and loved and now in turn as been passed on to someone else.

I tell you, it’s true bread nerd stuff, but I love it, I really do.

For anyone that has vaguely considered making their own bread and they would like to give sourdough a crack, this recipe might be helpful to start off with.


If you don’t have a starter here is post on how to make one.

Or if sourdough seems far too daunting at the moment and you would really just rather try making some regular bread, this post here.

Basic Sourdough Bread

400g starter (100% hydration, refreshed and bubbling)

750g flour

500mls water (approx- depends on your starter and flour)

2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Mix your starter, flour and water together either in a mixer or in a bowl with a spoon. Mixing for about 6 minutes. The dough will be kind of rough and shaggy.

Now leave it. Go find something else to do for about 40 minutes. (Bread magic is beginning…or autolysing but bread magic sounds better. You are developing the gluten here.)

Add your salt and mix again for about another 6 minutes or if by hand until you get a smooth dough.

Put it back in the bowl and leave it for about an hour.


Now you need to do a three way fold. It will take about twenty seconds, (and you are not kneading.) Dough out on to the bench. Flatten a little with your finger tips and fold a third into the middle, then the other third. Swing it round 90 degrees and three way fold the other way.

Back in the bowl for another hour or so, another three way fold, and then back into the bowl again for another hour or so.


Divide your dough up and shape it. Laying it on lined trays, banetton baskets or tins, cover it with a plastic bag and into the fridge for an over night nap (around 12 hours.) Bring it back to room temperature. (Depends on the household temperature 1-4 hours generally.)

Bake at 230C with steam, (I use a cheap spray bottle of water inserted in to a crack of the oven door when first putting the loaves in.)

Bread is baked when tapped and sounds hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.


Now there 100 types of different ways to make sourdough and each baker will always have there own little tricks and ways to do things. Sourdough is an amazingly versatile beast, that can work in far more ways than regular commercial yeast made bread. There is never a right way or wrong way in my mind. If the end result is an edible loaf of bread that people are enjoying eating, well your way works. Taste buds and preferences can always be catered for as it’s your bread and you can do what you want. As long as you start off with three keys things- flour, water and salt- combine that with time, a little love and you’re in business…the sourdough world awaits.

Happy baking.