Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Its a Long Story, Part Two.

Next morning, the dough has risen overnight.

Now it needs shaping, then its into tins and back in the fridge.

We're now at 26 hours by the way, and we could be finished in 7 more if we left it out of the fridge for 6 hours then baked it. But I'm going for more flavour so another 8 hours in the fridge, then 6 hours out and then bake.

After four hours out of the fridge, they had risen quite a bit,

but I gave them a bit longer before baking at 220 degrees for around 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature had reached 95 degrees.

And here's the result,

Monday, 28 April 2014

Its a Long Story, Part One.

Readership of my Bread Blog has waned somewhat, so I thought that I would put this post up here, as it is a bit more general interest.

I make a Rye Sourdough for Oats Health Food Store and Cafe in Brixham. Its Organic of course and uses this fine flour,

My Rye starter has been going for about 18 months now, I made it from my Spelt starter, splitting some off and feeding it Rye Flour until it had developed fully. After this amount of time, there is no real trace of Spelt in it, just a nutty rich flavour.

Here it is straight out of the fridge, where it snoozes between jobs.

Anyhow, my loaf takes around 40 hours to make, if that seems like a long time, its not all work, the most important thing is the time. It actually takes lesss than 30 minutes to do all the steps.

So the method is as follows.

Day one, early, take 225g starter,

Add 113g flour and 113g water,

mix to a paste, cover and leave.

After 6 hours, its starting to get active, can you see the bubbles?

after 12, its really getting going. compare with the picture 2 back.

Then add it to the other ingredients, 900g Rye Flour, 675ml water, 90g Honey, 23g salt and mix well.( I beat in a Kenwood, using the 'K' beater for 13 minutes on low speed)

Leave it for three hours at room temperature,

then put it in the fridge overnight.

Continued tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Thank You Amy.

Yvonne brought this dog in a well know hobbycraft shop, as she wanted a different project to occupy her while she recovered from her operation. She was inspired to cover it with patchwork pieces,

I think he (she) looks rather cute.

And now I can reveal the lucky recipient of the dog, as I have just become A GRANDFATHER!!!! (I guess now I will have to start acting responsibly!)

My clever and talented daughter Amy, (with her husband Harry's help) has produced her best work yet, and made me so proud of her. I hope she doesn't mind if I introduce Elsa to the world,

It almost feels like yesterday when I see her, as she is the image of Amy at that age!
It's a wonderful thing to see the next generation of the family, and gives me a warm feeling inside. I love her to bits already.

Thank you Amy.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

George is Home (And gone again)

Georgina came down for a couple of days on her whistle-stop tour of England, we picked her up from Totnes Station and went out for a meal, after we had demolished a large Saffron Cake!

Next day we went out for a trip around Dartmoor for a spot of lunch.

and then for a cream tea and to visit the Alpaca's,

Now she's gone to visit Amy, then see friends and I saw on facebook yesterday that she's in Turkey!
That's the thing with my George, she's a free spirit, things happen around her, all at speed and like a breath of fresh air, she's off before you realise.
Meanwhile, we have been tidying the garden in the good weather, I found some carrots that I had missed last year,

The fence that features on my title page has taken a real battering from the winters winds, a new one will be in place soon, maybe I'll put the bunting back, or maybe something different. It's three years ago that I started this blog, so maybe time for a change.
We had roast lamb yesterday, you might remember I saved portions of the leg that I slow roasted, and I got one of them out of the freezer,
I like to reheat it in gravy to keep it moist, so I made one using the water from the potato boiling, with veg stock powder, lamb stock and seasoning. This I poured over the sliced meat in a casserole dish,

 and warmed it whilst the potatoes were roasting. And it was very nice.
In other news, my novel "Freefall" is now available in hard copy, for those of you without kindles and the like. The link is here, 
or for a preview of the first 5 chapters try here,
Happy reading.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Blast from the Past

Driving back from Gravesend yesterday, I left at 0130, after bringing a ship down from Dagenham. It had been a quiet day, only two jobs and a spell as duty pilot, so I was well rested for the journey.


Now that I have had my car for three years, the seats have just got comfortable to my bulk!, and the diesel engine is nearly run-in. Consequently I now average around 80-85mpg on the round trip of 460 miles, which saves me a fortune. To do that I have to drive a little slower than I used to at age 25 (not difficult) and it takes me half an hour more to get here (or there). I know because I tested it, doing one trip at 70mph and one at 55mph. The former cost me around £20 more in fuel, over the course of a year that's £760, so I grit my teeth and slow down.

I have an Ipod connection on the car sound system, and it's brilliant as far as I'm concerned. A while ago, I copied all my record collection onto it, and add to it with new stuff, so much so that its now full. When I brought all the vinyl, I never thought that one day I would have it all on a machine not much bigger than a cigarette packet.

I usually put it on mix play when I set off, so I never know what I'm going to hear next, and then use that as a starting point to pick albums/artists as they pop up. Yesterday morning, I got the first track from "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and quickly found the rest of the album.

Although it's 40 years old this year, it still sounded fresh, and the instrumental "Funeral for a Friend" sent shivers as it always has done. I enjoyed every track, even the ones that I wasn't so keen on at the time, they evoked all sorts of things in my head as I listened, things I had forgotten and things that I never will.

So before I knew it, I was 90 minutes into the trip, the nostalgia had really kicked in and I hunted for more of the music of my youth. For a time it was 1974 and the world was a different place, I won't say better because there are things I have now that I didn't have then, I think different is the best description.

Today is also my eldest daughters birthday, I can't believe its 29 years ago, I remember the joy I felt then and still do and as I see what an amazing person she has become, I realise that although the past may have been good, for me It can't really compare with the present.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


During my day at the Market, as a guest of the West Country Deli, I had a chance to see the Great British public at their best and worst.

Jo, my host, was charm and professionalism personified, and never seemed to stop, giving 110% for her customers. Everyone who tried my bread was complimentary, and even if they didn't buy anything, they could not have been more encouraging.

One of Jo's customers, an obvious holidaymaker, spoiled the day by suggesting that the coffee was expensive "For a dump like Brixham." Not that it was bad coffee or a dirty cup mind, just that our town was a dump.

Well speaking as a native, born and bred, I felt insulted by that opinion, after all the price was not a secret, nor was it any more expensive than anywhere else in town. Something had upset her and her reaction was to rubbish her hosts. Jo however could not have been more polite (more than I might have been) in her reply.

So in case you have never been, here are some pictures of the "Dump,"



What do you think? I love it and feel lucky to live here.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sunday Market Report

This is a copy of my Bread Blog entry.

After a long nights baking, we are ready to go, I have about 120 Rolls in 5 flavours and a few Focaccia to sell, my "Real Men Bake Bread" T shirt and all the gear to present my stuff.

There was a good response on Facebook to WCD's post and the sun is shining. I have to see Red Earth Kitchens and get some of their Millionaires Shortbread and Scotch Eggs for tonight's meal, apart from that I can man the stall from 10-4.

I'm taking the stuff down and bringing my car back, out of the way.

Some 'in progress' pictures.

I set up at 10am and made my first sale at 2 minutes past!

I had a pretty steady day, even though a few regular stallholders thought that it was slower than some. I passed the break-even point just before lunch and ended up making a good profit.

All in all, I sold 66% of what I took, the left overs will be used up during the week with soup or pasta meals, while some has gone in the freezer.

Strangely, the Chocolate Rolls didn't sell at all, only 5 went. On the other hand I sold all but three of the Beetroot and Onion, most of the Cheese and Onion and about half of the others. 9 of the 12 Focaccia went as well.

I also had plenty of positive comments, which was nice, and hopefully the whole thing will lead to a bit more business for myself and for the West Country Deli.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Big Day Tomorrow

Straight lift from facebook:

We have a special treat for you tomorrow. Richard from Well Bread! An artisan baker from Brixham will have a 'pop up shop' in the deli offering you the chance to taste & buy his handmade bread rolls. Food miles less than 1.
Can't say more than that really, now all I have to do is get baking. It's going to be a long night!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Back to Work

Well that was a bit of a shock to the system! I drove to Work in Gravesend, more miles in 5 hours than I have driven in the last 6 weeks. I actually felt tired at the end of it. Mind you I had a good sing, or at least it sounded good to me?

Before I braved Gravesend, I went to see Naomi for a meal and to drop Easter eggs off, plus some stuff for Amy-Rose. Nice to catch up with her and Eamon, after their mini break in Prague, (thanks for the beer) and chill for a while.

Work wasn't too busy, just two ships to do, this one into Tilbury Lock (0.5m each side)

and this one up to Erith.

Then a nice early morning drive home through patchy fog. Now I have a few days off and Georgina's homecoming to look forward to.

But before that, it's the Market on Sunday, so I will have to start getting ready for that on Saturday evening. I hope I sell enough to make it worthwhile, maybe I can think about a regular presence.