Herman the Friendship Bread

I love sourdough – indeed, every day I purchase a sourdough roll from the local bakery. Therefore, when my mother came to me and told me that her next door neighbours had turned up with an icecream container and a note about a hungry sourdough called Herman, I ended up adopting him.

Yesterday Herman I turned 9, and received his second, and final feeding. Last night I divided him up into thirds – one third to go in the fridge for me to feed and nurture and make sourdough loafs from, another third I passed on to a friend, and the third I baked into the suggested cake.

With a few variations:

Here’s the slightly healthier Herman recipe:

  • 1 C sourdough starter (1C of Herman)
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1/2 C raw sugar
  • 1 large egg (or 2 smaller eggs)
  • 2 t vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil
  • 2/3-1 C of Apple pie filling (99.5% apple, 0.5% cinnamon)
  • 10 (or so) dates cut into pieces

1. Place Herman Starter in a large bowl and add the other ingredients in the above order, stirring regularly.

2. Pour mixture into your chosen cooking implements – I used a flat pan approx 8 x 8 inches and a small round cake tin, maybe 4 inches in diameter.

3. You can leave the mix in a warm place for a while, covered with a cloth or gladwrap and it will rise somewhat.

4. Place the pans into an oven heated to 175 degrees celcius or 350 degrees fahrenheit. Bake for 25-45 minutes, checking regularly. The flatter the pan, the faster he will cook.

5. Check with a skewer once he gets golden brown on top. Allow to cool before cutting and enjoying.

Tomorrow I shall make sourdough loaf or ciabatta with the same starter (some of Herman Jr), because this starter is quite heavily fed on sugar, it shall be interesting to see how the loaf turns out. From now on, however, he will be on a sugar starvation diet and will be fed mainly water and flour instead of flour, sugar and milk.

Photos will come.


Pumpkin Balls (with peanut sauce)

Inspiration for this recipe came from a meatball and spaghetti recipe in Julie le Clerc’s “Made by Hand”. The original recipe was for chicken mince, but one day as a bit of a lark, I decided to substitute mashed pumpkin.
It worked a treat!
Since then I have added to the recipe, making it my own, and it now contains rather more flavours than the original. Indeed, it also bears a slight resemblance to Alison Holst’s pumpkin balls recipe – which I found afterwards, despite having owned her “Meals without Meat” for some time! Like all my recipes, measurements are approximate – when making my own mixes like this, I rarely measure quantities. If you see a * it means that the quantity is an estimate – add more or less to taste or for texture.

Pumpkin Balls

  • 500 g (approx half) a buttercup pumpkin/squash
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 C cashew pieces*
  • 1/2 tsp crushed garlic*
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C breadcrumbs*
  • Seasonings (salt, pepper, paprika, whatever you prefer)
  • Feta cheese

1. Chop the pumpkin into small pieces and put into a microwave proof container with lid. Microwave on high for around 8 minutes or until soft and crumbly.

2. Slice the onion finely and saute it in a pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Add garlic. Toss in the cashews about halfway through and lightly fry them.

3. Grate the carrot and toss it into the pan too, stirring it around until it softens a bit.

4. By now the microwave should have finished. Pour the pumpkin into a bowl. Add the onion, cashews and carrot.

5. Lightly beat the egg and pour it in too, stirring thoroughly. Season if you desire it.

6. Add breadcrumbs until you get a texture that feels about right – not too stiff but not too liquid either. If you’ve any experience in the kitchen, you should be able to recognise when it is enough.

7. Crumble the cheese into the mix and stir it in.

8. Shape the mash into balls. For this I recommend wetting your hands first. Place each ball on a lightly greased oven tray.

9. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or so, until it looks plesantly browned. Turn the balls at 10 minutes for an even baking.

10. Serve with a salad of your choice.

This tastes nice with sweet chilli sauce – but tonight I was feeling a little more adventurous and decided to make a peanut sauce. I used the recipe here and it worked very nicely. I used water as I had no coconut milk and microwaved it in one minutes bursts, stirring it each time until it gained the right consistency.

If you like cooking and playing vegetarian, keep watching this blog – as I have many more recipes to share – including my quest for the perfect vegetarian burger and how I make my own tortillas – admittedly using a recipe I found on the Net!