In a vase on Monday: A thimble of flower




imageA tiny offering in a tiny posy vase, the essence of Cathy’s In a vase on Monday party. The silver thimbles, belonging to my grandmother, my mother and me, are there for scale. My mother would be amazed and delighted if she knew how often I wear my thimble which was a 21st present from my grandmother.

And what is flowering on this day in December: lavender, viola Odorata, Jasminum nudiflorum and Daphne Odora Aureomarginata.



I couldn’t resist sharing my latest growing project. For 10 days I have been nurturing a sourdough starter from its inception as flour and water and today was the first baking day.  I am following a recipe from Gail’s artisan bakery cookbook, which I borrowed from the library, and in truth it is quite complicated but the proof of the pudding is in the eating  and at this moment, straight out of the oven, it smells and feels just right. I used a combination of wholemeal rye and spelt flours and the plan is to continue feeding the starter (seen in the pudding basin) every day and every two or three days to make a couple of small loaves.


The anemones growing at the allotment are still blooming although looking increasingly raggedy after all the wind and rain.


Mmmm. It tastes good. Quite dense and chewy but full of flavour, I really like it. If you’ve made sourdough bread and have any tips I would love to hear from you.


13 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday: A thimble of flower

  1. My husband is the bread-baker in our house. We’ve had a sourdough starter on the go since the summer and if no bread is going to be baked for a few days it goes into the fridge (and I try to remember to feed it!). His bread is delicious – wholegrain, white, a mixture, large loaves, rolls – all scrumptious. Lovely little vase today Sarah. And your anemones are STILL going!


    1. That’s a really good idea to put it in the fridge for a day in between baking sessions. I have been feeding mine faithfully for the last 10 days and although not arduous if I can skip the odd day while it’s resting in the fridge that would be good. I’m looking forward to experimenting with different flour mixes too. It’s really tasty bread and much nicer than a sourdough loaf from Waitrose. Yes, I remember your husband is a prize-winning baker – lucky you!


  2. Your tiny blooms are delightful, as to the bread, I make all my own but have never been very happy with any of the sour dough I’ve tried, I prefer to use fresh yeast although sometimes I start it the night before and create a ‘biga’ – that’s the Italian word, I’m not sure what it’s called in English.


  3. Gorgeous flowers, always so much more treasured in winter I think. And fancy still having lavender. In fact I might have a sprig or two as well, it’s only just gone over. I used to make sourdough and mix half of the flour up to leave for 8-12 hours, then add the rest and make as normal, with a 2-3 hour prove. I somehow made a fantastic starter and it used to rise really well, almost too well! Yours looks delicious, you’ve made me think I should try it again soon. CJ xx


  4. I’ve just been baking this evening after work and was thinking of starting off a sourdough starter. I haven’t tried it before as I don’t bake frequently enough to warrant it but would be interested to see what a difference it would make to the flavour (and proving times!). Your tiny vase of flowers is lovely, Sarah; I have something similar on my kitchen windowsill with two sprigs of lavender, one of coreopsis and a couple of honeysuckle stems – it’s nice still to have something to bring in from the garden!


  5. What a delightful post…love the thimbles which link the women in your family. The flowers are testimony too to the strange weather we are having. Making sourdough bread is like gardening…so many variations, so much dependent on weather, mood, timing. It is really a journey. If you search my blog, you will find some entries. My best one so far is one based on Swiss Dark Flour with the addition of walnuts and fennel seeds. Its such fun to explore different recipes. Sometimes we want an altogether rest and have other types of bread, during which times I freeze my sourdough.


  6. A delightful little vase with perfect floral specimens and I too love the connections down the female line. I was amazed how long the jasmine I cut from the Edinburgh flat lasted when I got it home – it is still almost pristine 2 weeks later. Can I show off and say my sourdough starter will be 2 years old next month?!! I keep mine in the fridge all the time and take it out a few hours before I am going to use it, adding a teaspoon of flour if I remember. I have every intention of trying different recipes but tend to use the same ones mostly, often using a mixture of starter and dried yeast – and I always rise it in the fridge, usually overnight, which is meant to develop the flavour. I make basic flatbreads most often because I like to use these for lunch and they cook so quickly, 7 or 8 mins baked directly on the floor of the hottest oven in my Aga


  7. That’s a lovely collection of small flowers! I have never tried sourdough myself… we have so many good bakeries nearby so I take the easy option and buy it occasionally. The starter is also available from the baker if you ask nicely, so perhaps I should try it! 😉


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