On baking duty

It’s been a while since I had a nice, homey Saturday of rest and simple pleasures. So that was what I designated this past weekend to be. 

I’d been meaning to make a focaccia for the last three weeks. No particular reason but I’d had it in my head to make a large one and freeze it in slices so when we wanted to make a garlic bread it would be easier, and nicer, than buying a baguette based, pre-garlic buttered version. I seem to be making my way through the Richard Bertinet book ‘Dough’ in the last few weeks, I think more for the fact it’s been out on the kitchen table all that time so an easy reference point. But making the olive dough from the recipe I found in there was very satisfying and seemed to work a treat. The texture was good but I think I over-proved it at the first stage as it wasn’t as olive-y and soft as I’d have liked it to be. Need to keep more of an eye on it next time. 

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Rosemary and sea salt. And for that extra special touch, I used the sea salt we had bought whilst staying in Reykjavik, Iceland. 

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Finally, for dessert to match a southern US style meal consisting of bourbon marinated short ribs, porcini macaroni and cheese and fried green tomatoes – a key lime pie (normal limes, not key limes, unfortunately)

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First time I’ve made one and it’s surprisingly easy – a crushed hobnob biscuit base mixed with butter and baked for ten minutes. Then whisk egg yolks, condensed milk and lime juice and zest and bake for another 15 minutes. Then cool. Lovely! Serve with whipped cream and some extra zest if you have any limes left. 

This week is going to be full of bakes; my grandparents diamond anniversary and I volunteered one bake, and ended up planning two: raspberry custard tart and pear brownies. And nominated for a Friday bake at work too so who knows what they’ll end up with! 

Next weekend I need to revisit my cat tree – it still needs to be reinforced so the top doesn’t wobble! But Mabel did voluntarily go and sit on the 2nd level by herself yesterday – no treats involved – so I’m still very proud of myself. I think it might be a while before I give up another entire weekend to a DIY project though, it’s too tiring! 

 

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Bit of baking, bit of planting

After I had gone to do our weekly shop I realised I hadn’t picked up any bread. I usually get a harvest grain loaf from the supermarket which has good flavour, but I always feel guilty as we never finish it in one weekend, and by the end of the week its stale and has to be thrown out! So for breakfast I thought I’d get some dough together…

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A small loaf for toasting slices and a few rolls for my lunch during the week (plus they freeze well). This time I followed a kneading technique by Richard Bertinet – different from the usual knuckle and palm of hand method. You make a very sticky dough and really give it a good bashing before first proving. I mean really throw it down on the counter, stretch and fold and then throw again until it’s lovely and pliable. And no longer sticky, just elastic-y! Seemed to take less time and really got a good texture in the bread…

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I’d recommend his book ‘Dough’. I’ve tried the bread and the scone recipes now and I can safely say both are easy to make but with fantastic texture and taste.

Planted some more leafy greens today, for the late summer season. I was tipping the mixed salad leaves into my hand to sow and thought they looked like little sea-smoothed pebbles. What do you think? I liked the effect of their colours against my soil-ingrained hand.

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More Cavolo Nero, Rainbow Chard, Mixed salad leaves, Little Gem lettuce, carrots, radishes, runner beans and spring onions now in today. Fingers crossed the weather holds for a nice autumn crop!