Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Oooh, it's a DSLR!

Much joy in the Kitchen as I unveiled my (prematurely delivered so we can capture the festivities) Christmas present from Adam - a Digital SLR! So far all the NK photos have been taken on tiny, crappy point and shoot. Even if I say so myself, I don't think I've done too badly on it but I've been frustrated by it's performance in low light and the slow shutter release. I've lost count of the number of empty frames I've got where the children have dashed off/swung out of shot long before the camera coughs painfully into action.

I'm very much still learning, mainly surviving on auto modes but I can already see the difference in the quality of light, graining etc I have a vague grasp of things like shutter speeds and fstops as I owned an SLR in my student days (which I'm horrified to discover were 20 years ago!) but photography seemed expensive in those days not only did we have to wait days before we even saw our photos but we had to pay to print every single duff shot too so my interest waned fairly rapidly.

I do feel rather conspicuous with this professional looking contraption swinging around my neck, not only do I fear being uncovered as a raging amateur but I've already encountered low level hostility from strangers. While browsing a toy stall at the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market the stall holder snappily told me to not photograph her merchandise, which I had no intention of doing, so that proved to be useful in deciding which stall to actually purchase from. I can't help thinking someone engaged in industrial espionage would be a tad more subtle ....

Anyway, on a lighter note, please admire my lovely proving basket from Jane Jennifer. I e-mailed her asking for one of her proving baskets without mentioning this blog or my sourdough bread but she saw the link from my blog to her website and put 2 + 2 together. As a result she made a basket specifically for me and my sourdough requirements. It's made from white willow because it doesn't stain the dough like darker willow would and it's the exact size I wanted. Best of all it's been handmade just a few miles away from where it's being used and loved.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Winter ingenuity!

So the snow arrived - and so did my bare rooted raspberries. At the very moment the ground froze to the consistency of concrete my precious stock arrived needing speedy planting. As our raspberries failed totally this year I'm determined to have more success (or,in fact, any success) next year so I was thrown into a panic as I feared for the lives of the hallowed canes.

I'm quite proud of my ingenious solution, I cut the top off a bag of garden centre compost and stuck the canes into the soil as a cosy, temporary home. Once the cold snap has finished I'll plant them out properly in our loving prepared, muck filled trenches. I've not visited the allotment since the snow fell but there's only Rainbow Chard and Cavolo Nero in the ground at the moment. I'm hoping the Cavolo Nero's OK but judging by the Chard at home, I'm expecting it to have turned up it's toes.

Continuing the sourdough theme of the winter, by co-incidence Adam has recently been presented with a 'Herman'. I've never heard of these but apparently it's a tradition which comes from either Germany or the Amish, depending on which website you read. It's a sweet sourdough starter which eventually makes a cake, it sells itself as a 'friendship' cake because the idea is you split the starter, keep a fifth and pass the rest on to friends. Willow's quite taken with the idea and is eagerly monitoring the regular feedings. I'm thinking of passing on ours to some of her friends at school although I am a tad concerned that the other mothers may be somewhat disconcerted when presented with a jar of white gloop. Hmmm.

I hope it's edible, I'm not sure Willow's social life would survive the white gloop, 10 days attention and feeding which results in a shoddy cake.