Monday, 29 June 2009

I killed my sourdough

I think I killed my sourdough.

I'd been having trouble with mould appearing on the surface and it seemed like I was regularly having to scrape off the mould and grow the starter up from a salvaged tablespoonful.

I added a slug of 10% acetic acid vinegar thinking that would keep the mould at bay. And the lactic bacteria like it acidic, don't they?

It also kept the yeast at bay. Dough made from this starter is now showing no signs of growth. I am quite upset.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Porter, fish, rice and seaweed

At the farmers' market on Saturday, I came across a stall selling seaweed. It's the first time I'd seen it there and of course I had to go and have a chat.

I bought some sea lettuce and some kelp. The sea lettuce looks like, well, lettuce, while the kelp is large brown sheets resembling floppy celluloid.

I had a couple of mackerel fillets as well which I thought would go nicely with seaweed and rice. I chopped the seaweed (warning: fresh kelp is the slimiest substance in the universe) and sauteed it with onion, ginger and green bell pepper while I cooked some rice. When the seaweed was cooked, I removed it and briefly seared the mackerel just enough to cook it. I trust my fishmonger but I'm not sure he guarantees that things are fresh enough to eat raw. Then just a quick seasoning with soy sauce and vinegar and a dab of wasabi on the side.

I had a bottle of smoked oatmeal porter with this, because it's precisely the sort of combination I've wanted to try for ages. Did it work? Well, it worked with the seaweed and vinegared rice. I wouldn't go so far as to say it worked with the mackerel, but it stood up to it better than any other beer would. There was a slight metallic tang, but while that is usually disastrous for me, in this case it was quite pleasant. The seaweed and rice combination was much nicer, though. Against the acid of the vinegar the sweetness of the beer shone through, and in return brought the seaweed's marine, iodiney flavours to the fore.

Smokebeer update

I'm drinking a bottle of Smokebeer #2 now. I think it's still a little green. The smoked malt seems to need a fair bit longer to mature; it is really lager malt after all.

It's a bit thin. I might mash hotter next time, and use more dark malt.