Sunday, 29 January 2012

I Can't Quit.

No matter how I try, it’s an addiction; I can’t stop taking pictures of food, and writing about it. I know I said that I wouldn’t but like all addictions it’s very hard to stop. And of course, food is just so addictive.

But it’s not just about my food, Oh no! Yvonne made a rather good Beef Chilli yesterday, to greet me on my return from work. (Went well since you ask)

As with all her cooking; it was excellent, served with a Jacket Potato lightly coated in Olive Oil and Sea Salt before baking. There was enough chilli left for a repeat performance today, maybe with rice and a piece of home made Garlic bread.

See what I mean, food is just so easy to wax lyrical about, even when it's not your own work, as long as it's lovingly prepared.

There will now be a short break in the food writing, as it's that time of year to start the vegetable garden off, we are talking early Carrots, First Early Potatoes, Lettuce and Horseradish. Plus a bit of horticultural housekeeping. Then it's back to food, with Crumble, Sourdough and anything else I can work into the piece.

Also a discussion about my parallel existence? All will be revealed.

The gardening has been done, no pictures (because it's not a very exciting subject, pictures of bare earth), but I have put the potatoes into sacks of compost, planted carrots and lettuce, and put my Horseradish root into a big pot (Tip: don’t plant horseradish in the garden, as it will take over and you’ll never get rid of it) I also cut down my autumn raspberries, they are taking over as well, I need to train them properly this year.

I discovered that my shed roof is leaking, and the wood is soaked and starting to disintegrate, so the whole roof will need replacing, that’s a job for a couple of guaranteed good weather days, fortunately the basic structure of the shed is sound, so it should last a few years once I get a new roof on it. I’ve got a few days off, so I will order the bits and hope for dry weather.

Yvonne has also done another card. Once again it's superb.

I started the Sourdough process again, using Wholemeal Spelt flour; apparently you need to have a name for your starter, as it's a living thing, so I've decided to call mine “Hortense”. After 5 days I should be able to use it in bread, and then it's just a case of keeping it alive. What can possibly go wrong?
Hortense's House

Hortense is Born

I feel like I'm living in two worlds, one of which is the friendly relaxed Devon world, and the other is the frantic, impersonal world around London. The changeover point seems to be at Stonehenge, about mid way on my journey, to the West, life is easy going, drivers are courteous and smiling, to the East there is never enough time, drivers are more selfish and pushy and nobody seems to smile. I know which world I prefer, and I'm constantly reminded of the reasons I downsized.

Norma and Phillip are coming round for a meal on Weds next week, there needs to be a bit of planning there, I think Yvonne’s doing a choc cake, the main course will be Chicken and Chorizo with roasted veg and patatas bravas. We will have various tapas to start. Along with home made wine and liquid sunshine should be good.

Oh yes, Crumble, we still have Blackberries and Apples left from last year, so a crumble seemed to be in order, also I have now perfected making Custard in the Microwave (Skimmed milk gives me a warm smug dietary feeling) I did have a bit of bother with the crumble recipe, there was a misprint, it said use Margarine, but once I’d got that sorted and used Butter it was fine.

Also I started a 24 hour ferment Ciabatta, I haven’t done one for a while and it does taste superb, it's based on Richard Bertinets method in his book "Dough", thats what got me started. Not only that, but it's only 3 weeks till my bread course and I’m starting to get excited.

The Overnight Ferment

This entry seems a little bit disjointed, I'm feeling a bit hyper-active today, George will be coming home very soon, but due to bad weather in Oz she can’t get to the Gold Coast for her flight. In running around I've caught my T shirt on the door handle going into the garden and ripped a big hole in it, twas an Xmas pressie too. (Sob)

Anyway, the ciabatta dough rose nicely overnight, and I added more flour etc to it, and left it in the mixer on fast until it started climbing up the dough hook. Two hours later it's doubled in size and I have to form it. One mixture of dough will make several rolls and loaves, and because I add Olive Oil and Semolina to the dough it keeps for a considerable amount of time. This has always puzzled me, my bread, which contains only a few natural ingredients, keeps fresh for longer than supermarket bread, which contains preservatives.

Hortense has come to life, and when I fed her today I noticed that she was starting to bubble, last time I tried to make a sourdough starter it was slimy and smelling by now, so there’s hope. By Wednesday I should be able to start using it.


 The Ciabatta is oout of the oven and cooling, two rolls for lunch and loaves to last until Wednesday (Maybe)

I seem to still be addicted, despite my best efforts I have ended up writing about food again.

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