Monday, April 12, 2021

In My Kitchen - April 2021

 Welcome to In My Kitchen for April, 2021. It's still school holidays here, not that this affects me much, as we're not travelling and don't have children or granchildren in town, however shopping centres and roads are a lot busier at this time of year, and thankfully the weather is cooling down. Here in North Queensland, we aren't blessed with such significant changes of season as the southern states or those of you living in the Northern Hemisphere, however here we love it when the days begin to shorten after Easter as Winter approaches and the the cooler weather is just hiding around the corner.  That's when the real cooking and dare I say it, exercise, ugh, begins.

I made this large loaf of high top sourdough bread last week, a nice change from the artisan cobs I've been experimenting with, and easier to eat as toast. Then with some of the leftover starter made a batch of sourdough blueberry muffins. I was really pleased with this bread loaf, which I proofed overnight and  was a combination of rye, spelt and wholemeal flours, and had a really nice texture. We sliced half of it and froze it, and have been eating the rest each day. 

This is a great muffin recipe to make when you have leftover sourdough starter after bread making. They freeze well, and then reheat beautifully for breakfast or morning tea. They have a distinct flavour and aren't too sweet if you are watching your sugar intake, especially after Easter. They take a while to proof and finish, but so does the bread so they can be synchronised easily with bread making.

Here's my muffin recipe:
Spelt Sourdough Blueberry Honey Muffins


 2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 cups bubbly sourdough starter
1 cup buttermilk or kefir
2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 cup honey
3/4 teaspoons sea salt
2 large beaten eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil (use melted butter if you wish)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 3/4 cups fresh/frozen blueberries (I used frozen) or you can use chopped apple, almonds, cinnamon & nutmeg


Soak chia seeds in buttermilk for 15 minutes to soften until translucent .
7 to 12 hours before you want to bake the muffins,mix the flour, starter, and soaked chia, until just combined. Add a little water to moisten if necessary.
Cover and leave in a warm place to ferment. I left mine all day in a warm spot on the patio. However an overnight proofing along with the bread would be perfect.

When your dough has fermented and risen, preheat your oven to 220 deg. C.
Combine the honey, salt, beaten eggs, and melted coconut oil in a medium bowl. Beat until combined.
Sprinkle baking soda and baking powder (leavening agents) evenly over the fermented dough.

Start to fold in the leavening agents, and pour in 1/3 of the liquid mixture and any dried fruit or nuts if you are using them and fold until all combined. Repeat with the second 1/3 of the liquid.

Sprinkle the blueberries over the batter, and then finish kneading with the last 1/3 of the liquid mixture, until just combined.

The dough is a bit stretchier than a quick bread dough because of the fermentation process.

When all the ingredients are mixed in thoroughly, divide the batter into 12 greased muffin cups. You might even need up to 18 depending on how risen your dough is and the size of your muffin cups. I needed 14 just to be different.

Bake them in a preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown and risen. Leave them to cool and then enjoy.

During most of the cooking Locky our Border Collie dog is never far from my side in the kitchen. He's just hoping that a titbit will miraculously fall from the bench onto the floor. It's been a tough week for Locky, as he hasn't been well with a serious ear infection and a couple of skin issues and had to have a General Anaesthetic to have his ear flushed out. He's been off colour for a few weeks poor darling. Blood tests showed that he has a low thyroid problem, typical of mature, large breed dogs. So now he is on medication for the rest of his life, but the condition isn't life threatening so we are very relieved. Mr. HRK has been looking after him very well, giving him tablets and ear drops, and keeping his ears clean. We are so relieved though that his condition wasn't caused by his dog food, as the vet said that was a possibility. So his large packets of Hills Science dog food will be eaten, Locky loves his tucker. This photo isn't Locky at his happiest, as he had only had his procedure the day before. He loves bread making days though just like I do, and is quite partial to little bits of uncooked dough and flour that land on the floor. He is a lot happier now, a few days later.

From my kitchen window, I can see my lovely orchids that are in flower at the moment. They bring me a lot of joy. This old water pitcher was my Mum's and has been repaired many times, but I still love it and it is a nice pot stand for this pretty Oncidium orchid.

LC Little Suzie x Chocolate Drop is like an old friend. She keeps flowering every year, and I now have a few pots of this one, all broken up from the original plant. She comes into my kitchen for special occasions, but she prefers to live on the patio where I can see her from the kitchen when I'm cooking. That's when she is flowering. Otherwise they all live in the orchid house.

Cattleya LC Little Suzie x Chocolate Drop

It's a lovely time of year for orchids, the cattleyas are flowering.

I am very excited though that my Tillandsias are also flowering this year, perhaps the heat has brought them on. These delicate purple flowers are quite fragrant, and the plant has been producing flowers for over a month now. They are growing quite happily in a hanging basket, although they are epiphytes and will also grow on trees.

My Cooktown orchid is also flowering nicely on the potted Fig tree.

Easter was time for a few treats, and we love these dark chocolate ginger balls from Buderim in Queensland. They also produce a lot of naked ginger in packets, a kind of crystallised ginger which is brilliant in cakes and biscuits. I often place a layer of it in the middle of my ginger syrup cake.

I bought Silvia Colloca's inspiring book before Easter, and my regular readers will have already seen the Chocolate Ganache cake I made from it for Easter and a friend's birthday. It was delicious.

Here's the cake.

You can find the recipe for my Chocolate Ganache cake here at this link.

I bought this new book about Posh Tarts for $3.00 today at a book sale, as if I need anymore cookery books, but I read them like novels. Mr. HRK spotted it on my desk, and I said we are going posh. Then he realised it was about cooking and seemed disappointed. Can't imagine why! Oh well, I'm sure I will get my money's worth. Looking forward to trying a few recipes from this one when it is cooler for pastry making.

Then there was a batch of vegetable stock to  appease the guilt after Easter.

On a sunny note, this yellow gerbera is quite the star of the show in my garden.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event, that was started by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to read more In My Kitchens. 

I have just reached the deadline for this IMK. Hope you enjoy it. 

Warm wishes everyone,



  1. wow I am in love with your kitchen window view, Pauline. You are an excellent gardener. The sourdough loaf is its deep golden crust and soft chewy crumb. Absolutely perfect! I would love to wake up to those wonderful muffins too :-))

    1. Thanks Angie, it was a good bread making day,and I love to have my orchids in flower to fuss over during the day. Take care.

  2. Wow. I have no idea where you live, but those orchids!!! Beautiful!

    1. I suppose it helps to live in a tropical climate, like Mackay in North Queensland to grow orchids.Sometimes it's challenging for cooking though:) Thanks Mimi.

  3. Sourdough discard pancakes are the only recipe I’ve managed to make from our discard. The muffins look good, but a lot of work. I love making stock from odds and ends of vegetables and bones too.

    be safe... mae at

    1. Thanks Mae, to be honest the muffins didn't seem like a lot of work at the time as I was on task making the bread anyway. The muffins came together beautifully. I'll try and progress into more sourdough discard recipes now as the flavour is quite unique. Stay safe as well.

  4. thanks for being part of IMK pauline. looks like you've had a good month! love your bread loaf; so many people are breadmaking these days but not me:) not a big bread eater. Locky is so cute; hope he feels better soon. it's finally feeling cooler here and we had to pull the doonah up last night. i love this time of year. those dark choc ginger balls sound the bomb. i must hunt some up. isn't silvia the best? i've just ordered another cookbook by a brissie blogger like i need more books!!
    have a great april
    cheers S

    1. Thanks Sherry, It seems to have been a busy month, mainly because of Locky's health problems I think but he is on the mend. I don't buy a lot of new pottery and other bits and pieces now unless we travel which we aren't doing, as we are trying to downsize a bit but I love looking at all of your new stuff. Brisbane has some very creative people. Enjoy Autumn.

    2. i've got to stop buying stuff and books!:-)

  5. Glad the 'puppy' is feeling better. Ours also sit in the kitchen hoping for food to drop on the floor. Our one particularly likes it when I make pasta. What a great idea to make sourdough muffins from your discard. I shall try that next time I revive mine.

    1. Thanks Tandy, oh yes Locky would love pasta as well. It's a lot easier to make baked goods from sourdough discard when I am baking bread as well I've decided. Will start experimenting a bit more with it.

  6. What a wonderful loaf, and the muffins look fantastic. It's so interesting to me that to you, Easter promises cooler weather, while to me, it is a promise of spring! I wonder how those differences find their way into our understanding of things.

    1. The cooler weather just makes everyone so much happier, however our cool weather is possibly still warm for you. Still we have a great lifestyle overall, with plenty of wonderful foods. Stay safe Jeff.

  7. Those muffins look wonderful! Lotta neat kitchen stuff this month -- thanks.

  8. Pauline, I haven't made a sourdough loaf for absolutely ages but do feed my Gertrude and Griffith every week. I will save that recipe for the muffins in case I get motivated to cook some. I really don't like the induction stove we put in during renovations but perhaps I should try and read the instructions again.

    1. Thanks Chel, I used an induction stove in Perth and loved the instant high heat on the stovetop. Just takes perseverance probably.


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