Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bread, 2, 3

I've been baking bread for two days. I haven't thought about good bread until my husband mentioned that he missed it. I also realized that I have been baking the same kinds of breads for years: french, italian country, 100% whole wheat, panetone (at Christmas), potato & the occasional breadsticks. I decided it would be a good time to try a new recipe or two or three.

The image above is bread dough after it's first rise.

The bread on the top left is absolutely delicious! It contains toasted pignoli, figs, oat bran and chickpea flour. I never would have guessed that figs & pignoli in bread would be so fabulous.
The bread on the top right contains four eggs, butter, whole wheat, 1/2 cup of honey and lemon peel. This was another pleasant surprise. How could I have been so narrow-minded all of these years?
The bottom one is too flat. It rose too long before I put it in the oven. I had started making the lemon bread and wasn't paying attention. This is a heavy bread with whole wheat flour and toasted walnuts.

So now I have six loaves of bread. Three will go in the freezer and the other three will be eaten and shared.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

about sparta soap

One of my favorite quotes from Oscar Wilde is:
" I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex. "

I am a minimalist by nature. This is reflected in my soap.

I use four oils, with the most predominant being olive, of course!

I use botanicals & clays for color in all but my absinthe soap. (top left)
The absinthe soap is colored with oxides so i could get the lovely chartreuse of real absinthe.

My soap colors are soft and muted. Botanicals I color with are indigo, alkanet & madder roots, parsley, green tea, alfalfa & annatto seed to name a few.

Examples of the clays I use are rose, white, french green and dead sea clay.
I scent most of my soap with essential oils. Our most popular soap is our caravan (right) which is scented with frankincense, myrrh & other oils.

I do occasionally use a synthetic fragrance, usually at my son's request.
He seems to favor "food" fragrances such as cappuccino or irish cream. :)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

pastel paintings

i don't have time to post much now, but I do want to post a link to these beautiful pastel paintings