Panettone with Natural Yeast / Lievito Naturale / Pasta Madre – using KitchenAid

Before I get started, if you want to read the details of my failed experiments, please visit

Fables de Sucre

I have added my own notes and directions for times and speeds using my KitchenAid Professional 600 stand mixer.

This recipe makes a 1kg (2.2lb) Panettone, but the total can be divided into smaller amounts for use in cupcake/muffin tins etc.

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Cooking with less water (“waterless”).

Despite the title, it actually all started with a manual food processor.

This one.

I got mine in expected vintage condition on eBay – $26 including shipping.
It worked well, but when I did a bit of cross-referencing on how to use it, it started working brilliantly.
I learned the techniques from videos on good ol’ YouTube – mainly ones by/in association with SaladMaster (whose name is on the modern-day standard of this machine).

I soon learned that you could get a free [brand new/non-vintage] processor of your own by hosting Saladmaster at your home for a food preparation party which includes a dinner at their expense. Sounds fun, right?
There’s always a hidden motive with these things, though. Or not so hidden.
The main function of the dinners are to get you to buy from their selection of very expensive ($thousands if you want full sets) “waterless” cookware.

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Six practical ways that you can keep cooler without air conditioning.

I wrote a rather detailed account on how we survive the summer heat without air-conditioning here:, but there was some concern that perhaps I’d included too much detail, so here follows a concise list of suggestions without any of the stories or experiences. Read the rest of this entry »

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Surviving the summer heat without air-conditioning.

This is the story of our personal experiences in our 1870’s Victorian Italianate house in Northeast Ohio, USA. This recount should be enough of a practical guide to enable any reader to unlock the clever designs of their old house to make it through summer much like Victorians did.
If you would prefer a very concise guide (void of personal experiences) this may better suit you.


When we bought our house in 2007, it was little more than a vinyl-clad shell – and a fairly worn one at that.
Certainly not boasting the grandeur of its appearance (above) in the 1980s.
It boasted a sizeable air conditioning unit for relief from the summer, and two (yes, two) furnaces for warmth in the winter.
Now. If sweet music had been playing on a record as you read the opening sentences, this would the point that it scratches to a halt.

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Revival of a 1936 Chambers Model A Range (Style No. 11-A-22)

“If you can move it out of the basement, it’s yours.”
Some of the my more interesting projects have started with that phrase … but WHY, OH WHY do people put these impossibly heavy objects in their basements, and how on earth do they get them down there? Are today’s lifters that much weaker than yesterday’s?

With a range, I suppose there is a logical explanation: canning.
People would do canning in their basements to cut down on heat in the house (not sure quite how that works out, as our cool basement helps to keep the upstairs floor cool, which at least helps keep bare feet cool). Read the rest of this entry »

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Computer only recognizing one of two external harddrives.

In the event that the posting at ceases to exist, here are the instructions that allowed me to plug two 3TB WD Hard drives into my HP TX2.

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3.5 months later …

So much has happened and yet so much hasn’t happened that I wanted to happen, that I hardly know where to begin.

As I write this, I’m sat in the kitchen. You know, this one:

Harrington House and Gardens kitchen

Unfortunately, however, there are piles of dishes around me, seeds drying on the side, other seeds in packets waiting to be planted, rhubarb in the sink waiting for cutting and freezing or canning, Eliza on my lap – somewhat cranky after a nap … you get the picture … and if you don’t, no, I’m not going to post one!! Read the rest of this entry »

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The first month at home

Finally, after 11pm last night, it started to sink in that I wouldn’t be driving to work in the morning. Ever. (Well at least not in the foreseeable future.) It’s taken a month for the realization to really sink in.

I worked like crazy to get as much housework done as possible over the weekend

I started in on the timetable for Eliza’s education this morning: We started by singing some nursery rhymes, then went on to addition of one (up to =20), reading, science (how plants grow from seed to flower), and piano practice.

I’ll be starting on lunch shortly, and then she’ll have a play before her nap.
The only ‘timetabled’ activity for this afternoon will be painting.

Her attention span was around 10 minutes, which was perfect.
I had allotted 20 minutes, but was going to be happy with 5 or 10.

So there you have it… my morning. Read the rest of this entry »

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Propagation of Potatoes

I’ll start this post with a disclaimer: I’m not a  potato expert by any means. I’ve grown potatoes for only three years.

I’m always interested in self-sufficiency.
Seed-saving is something of an obsession, though it’s largely been theoretical as opposed to practical (i.e. I’ve not had much time to seed-save on the scale that I’d like).

If you’ve researched the topic of potato tuber saving for planting next year, it will not have taken much time at all for you to discover that the risks of diseased tubers and lower yields increase drastically with each set of tubers that you replant.

The only way to bypass tuber-transmitted diseases is to eliminate the tuber.
Ultimately, you WILL want a ‘seed’ potato to plant, from which your crop will be harvested, but how you get that seed potato is the topic of this post.

In a booklet from the late 1800s titled ‘The Potato (How to Cultivate – Chemistry of the Potato)‘, the authors detail the use of single-eye cuttings, and how stems can be cut into sections, each of which can be planted, resulting in yet more plants (see pages 3-4).
In my first year of growing potatoes, I actually pulled sprouts from some of my purchased seed potatoes, and planted those. They grew. They produced tubers.

However, it was really only this present year that I delved into the topic further, and came across the following two links to papers produced by the International Center for Potatoes out of Lima, Peru.

The two documents only appear readable at Google’s Italian site, and it is unfortunately not able to be saved/printed, but there is invaluable information if you’re interested in cutting your seed potato supplier out of the equation.

Stem Cuttings, a Rapid Multiplication Technique for Potatoes

Single-Node cuttings, a Rapid Multiplication Technique for Potatoes


Additional information can also be found from page 111 to 114 of the book ‘Potato Seed Production for Tropical Africa‘ (this link should take you straight there.


Now, go forth and propagate!!

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All about Snoods

I’m not sure what got me onto the subject, but I’m all about snoods right now.
A snood is a pretty hairnet/hairbag of sorts.
They can be knitted, crocheted, tatted, solid, open, netted … with or without ribbons …


I love all [well, most] things vintage, so figured that I’d collect some of the free instructions for vintage snoods.
They will all be crochet instructions, and I will reference the site from which they were taken.
Why am I pasting the information here? Just in case the sites from which I’ve copied them cease to exist.

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