Saturday, 15 December 2018

The Third D.I.Y of Christmas - A 3 Day Sourdough Starter

This is a Gluten Free Fail-Safe Sourdough Starter. Strictly speaking this is a cheats' method, as I use a pinch of yeast and milk just to get the right kind of lactobacteria started.

Gluten free sourdough - Our Handmade Home

Since being diagnosed coeliac I have really struggled with the texture of Gluten-free bread products - Especially pizza and naan bread, where the chewiness is quite important to the enjoyment. Gluten-free flour has no, well, no gluten in it, so it lacks the spring and thus, chewiness that comes with a wheat flour. The sourdough replaces this springy texture perfectly.

A few binned attempts at coeliac friendly sourdough and I discovered this method in an old Nigella Lawson book. My main alteration is the use of rice flour instead of rye flour. I don't know why rice flour works and other GF flours don't, but having spent megabucks on other attempts just trust me on this... it works.

Gluten free sourdough rice flour - Our Handmade Home

You need:
150g rice flour (available in large supermarkets or online)
200ml warm water
1/2 tsp milk
pinch of instant yeast

STEP 1 - Put everything in a bowl and whisk it all together.

Gluten free sourdough mix - Our Handmade Home

STEP 2 - Cover the bowl with a lid (or clingfilm) and leave for 3 days - it should buble away nicely and smell a bit like natural yogurt.

STEP 3 - (make sure you wait 3 days) Use 1/2 cup of the starter to make something yummy.

STEP 4 - Pour the remaining mixture into a jar and 'feed' it regularly with equal parts rice flour and water.

Coeliac sourdough - Our Handmade Home

Theoretically your starter can live forever, as long as it is fed regularly, the flavour and smell improve with age. Try to use it every day or 2 and always replenish what you have taken out. If any runny stuff appears on top just pour the liquid off and 'feed' as usual. If you prefer you can keep it in the fridge and feed it only once a week.

Uses for your sourdough -
I use it mostly for pizza (click here for my pizza base recipe) and pancakes, I just add a 1/4 cup of starter to my regular batter/dough. However I have also used it for naan, gingerbread and regular little buns and loaves.

Total Time - 3 days
Total Cost - £2 ish (for the rice flour)
Total Christmassy Rating - 2/10 - which is a bit lame for the 12 D.I.Ys ... but when you consider sourdough pancakes on Christmas morning, its an easy 8/10

Thursday, 13 December 2018

The First D.I.Y of Christmas - A Wreath For The Front Door

I've made our own wreath for the front door every Yuletide since forever - Before we had a garden I would beg for polybags of hedge clippings from friends and relations, over the years I've adapted my method and love the resulting natural wreath.

Christmas Rustic Wreath - Our Handmade Home


You will need:
  • Rigger Gloves (I eventually found some decent ladies size at a good price - huzzah)
  • An old metal coat hanger, or about 80cm of strong pliable wire
  • Secateurs
  • Green stuff from a garden

How to make a Christmas wreath - Our Handmade Home

STEP 1 - Raid your garden (or ask permission to raid another) for anything that is still green - Ivy and Holly are the best - aim for nice long lengths of 50cm + if possible. This year I found some nice Privet with interesting flowers on, Privet can be nicely bendy too, as is Laurel.
Herbs, such as Rosemary and Lavender, seem like a great idea, but I have found them to wilt quickly once picked.

STEP 2 - Bend an old wire coat hanger into a rough circle - a plastic waste paper bin helps get the shape right if you are finding it tricky.


Basic DIY Wreath Instructions - Our Handmade Home



STEP 3 - Begin weaving round and round with your lengths of greenery. This might take some trial and error, I just keep twisting the twigs round and round the wire until I'm happy with the balance and shape.

Make a Xmas Wreath - Our Handmade Home


STEP 4 - Trim the bits you don't want, add more of what you do. Once the wreath has some structure to it you can poke in extra little bits to fill the bald patches.

STEP 5 - Hang on a door. I've looped string round and over the top of the door, securing it with a drawing pin on the inside.

Natural Christmas Door Wreath - Our Handmade Home

You will see that my style of wreath is very rustic and a bit wild looking - feel free to let your artistic flair be reflected in yours by adding ribbons, lights, sparkly things, teddy bears with wires up their butts.

Total Time = 30 mins
Total Cost = £0
Total Christmassy Rating = 7/10

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Lobby Renovation - Part 5

I've been up to loads of other stuff this month so we've not made much progress in the lobby, just tinkering round the edges.

I've put up hooks, loads of hooks, more hooks than you could shake a... yeah, OK, 12 hooks ... which is 12 more places to hang a coat than we had last month. Woot!

Hooks on a brick wall

We dug out an old picture frame which we bought 14 years ago, for our first flat.... awwww! We spray painted it matt black and I mounted an Ordnance Survey Explorer map in it.

Who doesn't love a good OS map?

Framed OS Explorer Map - Our Handmade Home

We like to walk lots and live in a good location for it, I thought this would be a cute addition to a hallway, though I can't tell you how wrong it felt taking scissors to an OS map.

I still need to decide where it is going and drill into a stone to mount it. I absolutely love how it has turned out, reminds me of a walkers pub somewhere in the highlands.


Then, in a moment of inspired madness I painted the front door yellow.*

yellow door hallway renovation

Its growing on me and certainly brightens up the room.

*Painting the INSIDE of our scabby front door led me to filling, sanding and painting the OUTSIDE of our scabby front door.
Which led me to filling, sanding and painting some tiny little cracks in the masonry around the outside of the front door... the old paint in the tin was not the same colour as the old paint on the wall after fading for 6 years...
Which led to a trip to Homebase, £50 on new paint and a weekend painting the front of the house.
Which explains why I haven't made much progress in the hall.

Sorry, no photos of the front of our house, less we get mobbed by unruly blog fans demanding autographs.



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