My week started with a cooking adventure. I made bread for the first time. It didn’t go too well. But the second time around it worked a charm. So here are some things I've learned about baking bread:
- There are different types of yeast. Read about them here.
- You’ll probably use instant or active. The main difference is that instant can be mixed in with the flour, while active should be mixed with water.
- Instant yeast will last 12 months (after opening) in your freezer.
- The bread continues to cook while it’s cooling, so be good and don’t cut it for a couple of hours at least. Some people suggest a day or more. But they’re clearly crazy.
- You should probably make this recipe: No kneading required! But pay attention to temperatures.
- Fresh bread is the best with ripe avocado, a generous squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper.
Apart from making bread, I’ve been blogging about sea creatures over at I Know My Goat. It's not exactly food or music, but there are otters holding hands. I've been recovering from the surreal and wonderful This is Not Art festival, at which I managed to eat a lot of free food, and scored a delicious recipe for rhubarb and strawberry coulis.
And finally, I've been listening to Voss' debut long player, The Inland Sea, which I'm pretty sure you should be listening to also. Especially if you like well crafted songs about myths and maps and legends, sweet and ambling violin, vocal duets, and the sound of rain.
The Inland Sea is concerned with Ludwig Leichardt's quest to cross the continent, which was, in turn, inspiration for Patrick White's novel Voss. This mess of artistic tribute somehow suits the album, which takes fiction as inspiration perhaps more than fact.
It isn't hard to see much Australian fiction as an attempt to rewrite history - to reinterpret convict suffering not as judicial punishment, but as spiritual trial: at the end of which we receive the promised land, having earned it. This artistic endeavor sees us make heroes of criminals and prophets of madmen. It's an uneasy inheritance, but Voss seems to embrace it. Ludwig Leichardt didn't die: he disappeared into myth. No death mask marked his passing, but perhaps we have been making them ever since.
Recurring themes of domesticity and tribulation, great flights and love, find their way into the lyrics. It's a bit rough around the edges, and hesitant in parts – but it's also surprising and a little bit sublime. A little bit like an inland sea.
Buy it online here. It comes with a gorgeous poster by Alice Carroll (last seen here making jam) and the lyric booklet is tied with string.
Charley's Forest Hall