Reading Sourdough by Robin Sloan will make you want to bake bread

I always enjoy how Sloan’s books (like Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore) features tech and the tech world.

In Sourdough, Lois works as a software engineer at a robotics company in the Bay Area and one day her favourite sandwich and spicy soup shop closes and the owners leave her with their sourdough starter. It’s an unusual starter as it requires music and lots of love. Lois doesn’t know anything about breadmaking but she sets out to learn and starts making these amazing sourdough breads and somehow they have these strange faces on them.

Reading this requires some suspension of disbelief but if you’re up for it, it is a fun quirky romp.

Baking, by contrast, was solving the same problem over and over again, because every time, the solution was consumed. I mean, really: chewed and digested. Thus, the problem was ongoing. Thus, the problem was perhaps the point.

Sourdough made me both crave spicy soup and freshly made bread.

However I am not a fan of sourdough bread although I was tempted to try making a sourdough starter to see how that works.

In the end I decided to try making a fougasse, which I had first seen on Great British Bake Off, a wheat-shaped bread that looked simple enough.

I used this recipe from PBS which supposedly is a Paul Hollywood recipe.

It’s an easy enough recipe but maybe not for beginners as the dough isn’t the easiest to handle. I would recommend following the recipe and using a mixer or bread machine to knead the dough as it’s a bit of a sticky dough.

The recipe calls for various fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage. And of course I had none of them. So instead I put together a blend of what I had around my kitchen – some dried Italian herb mixture and some Ras El Hanout. On hindsight, I should have added some sliced olives in, but as I hadn’t made this (or eaten) this bread before, I wasn’t sure what the addition of a damp ingredient would do to the dough.

It turns out that there are recipes for olive fougasse and other fougasse with more than just herbs in them. So that’s an experiment for another time. Meanwhile, the fougasse was a great accompaniment to a bowl of soup. Or just something to snack on at teatime as it’s quite a light bread.

While doing some Googling about fougasse, I learnt that fougasse was traditionally used to check the temperature of ovens – how long it would take to bake would give a rough estimate of the temperature.

I definitely need practice when cutting out the slits in the dough!

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It’s Monday and the kids are back in school!

Hooray! Spring Break is over!

(Not what my kids are saying, just me)

For the past four weeks I’ve been working on this afghan stitch-along with The Crochet Crowd and I’ve learnt quite a few new things like crocheting cables and popcorn stitches. And this week I’m working on putting the final border on.

We didn’t do all that much over spring break – the husband was busy working so we didn’t get to travel anywhere. But we did some fun stuff around our city,  plenty of play time and playground stuff, and when a pineapple express decided to head our way, the boys got building their Lego Ninjago sets!

Currently…

Reading:

The Dog of the Marriage – Amy Hempel

Watching:

Together with the kids, we’ve been watching The Kids Baking Championship via Sling TV. It’s quite amazing what some of these kids (aged about 11-12) can do, not just in terms of decorating but also their choice of flavors.

Listening:

The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish

Eating:

Homemade walnut bread with Brie

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

Cooking:

Not quite sure yet this week. Pork chops perhaps.

Some fried beehoon or rice vermicelli with carrots, green beans and tofu.

Last week:

I read:

A Kind of Freedom – Margaret Wilerson Sexton
Sourdough – Robin Sloan
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – JK Rowling (audiobook)

The Owl Service – Alan Garner

I posted:

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday and someone turned 7!

It was an exciting weekend – the start of spring break and a 7th birthday!

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There was cake (a chocolate cake with strawberry frosting and raspberries inside).

And of course presents. He got some dinobots and books and Pokémon things and clothes and more!

And there were rides. As a birthday treat we took the boys to Great America for the first time and the birthday boy sat on one of those really big roller coasters. It didn’t go upside down (it’s the type on wooden tracks) but it sure looked scary! He later said he was kinda scared cos it went up so high. Even my husband said it was really fast.

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

All sorts of things – finishing up the Big Family Cooking Showdown (I can never remember the name and had to go look it up!). I love Good Girls! And The Good Wife which I never finished watching and now requires a rewatch from the beginning.

Listening:

Just downloaded this one

Eating:

Cake of course!

Drinking:

Tea

Cooking:

Tonight, a slow cooker pork stew with five spice, star anise, cinnamon sticks and dark soy sauce.

Last week:

I read:

 

A Song of Ice and Fire George – R.R. Martin
See what I have done – Sarah Schmidt
Fables Deluxe Edition Book One  – Bill Willingham
The Countess Conspiracy – Courtney Milan

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Tuesday (oops)

Last week I…

Made a supposed to be Marble Cake, baked some baguettes, tried out a new Japanese restaurant, and we watched our friends’ kids for the day (it was their anniversary).

Currently…

Reading:

Bailed on:

Watching:

Good Girls

Listening:

I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb (read by Archie Panjabi)

Eating:

Baguette

Drinking:

Tea

Cooking:

Using up the rotisserie chicken and making a baked pasta – the kids have tennis class today so I try to make something in the morning that I can easily heat up

Last week:

I read:

Courage is Contagious: And Other Reasons to Be Grateful for Michelle Obama – Nicholas Haramis (Editor)
This was an audiobook

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place – Alan Bradley

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday and I’m reading See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Last week was brought to you by …

Ramen!

Singapore-style kueh

And homemade walnut bread and cloverleaf rolls

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

The Big Family Cooking Showdown – I loved Nadiya in the GBBO!

Listening:

Courage is Contagious And Other Reasons to Be Grateful for Michelle Obama by Nicholas Haramis (Editor)

Eating:

I had some toast for breakfast with Yorkshire Gold with milk but I wish I had more of this delicious kueh that the husband took home from this Singapore forum he went to. The kueh is made somewhere in the East Bay and was seriously so good. The green and white striped one on top called kueh salat has a layer of sweet glutinous rice and coconut custard. It’s one of my all time favourites and I’ve had some in Singapore which aren’t even as good as this one.

Cooking:

Yesterday I made some fried noodles with bokchoy, cabbage and thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce. So that will be dinner tonight.

I hope to also make some rendang, a spicy dry curry found in Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia. But the paste is quite spicy and the kids won’t eat it. So will have to figure something else out for them. Maybe a beef stew with the same cut of meat.

Last week:

I read:

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death – MC Beaton


Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine – Gail Honeyman


The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place Alan Bradley

I posted:

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms Pat by Patricia Williams

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton

A dreary morning makes for bad lighting but reading this book has cheered me up. It’s a delightful romp about a poisoned quiche entered in a village cooking contest. Agatha Raisin, recent incomer from London, can’t cook to save her life and had in fact bought said quiche from a bakery, sets out to put things right.

Warning: grumpy main character; lots of microwaved meals; might make you think twice about retiring to little English village

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms Pat by Patricia Williams

I’ve been writing mini reviews of books read on Litsy and Instagram, and I thought I’d post them on my blog as well. I always feel that blog reviews should be longer, more thorough (whereas Litsy posts are limited to a certain number of characters). But often, I am daunted by the thought of sitting down and writing a proper blog post. So maybe putting these short reviews are better than nothing!

I hadn’t a clue who Ms Pat was before I borrowed this audiobook (turns out she’s a comedian) but there was something compelling about the way she unflinchingly tells her life story – teenaged pregnancy, life in the ghetto, drug dealing, an abusive relationship. Despite all this, she doesn’t give excuses, she doesn’t lay blame, and instead appreciates those who have shown her the way, to reach further, to dream.