Since Little Missy arrived on the scene, the breadmaker has been working at full tilt. The loaves aren’t the most beautiful but, then again, looks aren’t everything and the convenience and flavour more than make up for it. A few mornings a week, before the Husband heads out the door to work, he loads it up with the ingredients for a Fennel-Aniseed-Caraway Loaf and, as Little Missy and I snooze away, it kneads, proves, knocks back and bakes a loaf of warm, sweet-smelling bread. At least, that has been the routine.
No longer having the easy access to Arbutus Bread that was one of the perks of my job in Urru Mallow, I’ve gone back to baking my own. At the moment I’m on rotation between three different breads – the Seedy Spelt Bread that I mentioned a few weeks ago, a Brown Yeast Loaf that still needs a bit of work and my old favourite, the Sourdough that I mastered while in Ballymaloe.
I miss Arbutus bread. One of the great advantages of working in URRU Mallow was having regular access to good quality bread – I used to eat the sesame seed-encrusted brown crusts for work breakfast (you can’t sell them but I think they’re the nicest piece of the whole loaf), regularly bringing home spelt or rye loaves or, for a particular treat, one of the tomato and basil breads or a couple of croissants, to be heated up for the following morning’s breakfast.
Sometimes you start with one particular recipe and end up going off on a slightly different tangent. That’s what happened with these Chocolate Hazelnut Squares. After a comment by Sarah on my Lemon Traybake, I wandered over to Val’s Kitchen and took a look at the Hazelnut Caramel Slice that she made from a Rachel Allen recipe, dug out the book and started baking.
If you’re anywhere in the Mallow area this coming Saturday, 5 April, you can catch the first Mallow Farmers’ Market in the wee courtyard outside URRU – the culinary store, deli and café where I work – from 10.30am to 1pm. Stalls that will be there include my favourite Fermoy Natural Cheeses, smoked fish from Geraldine Bass’ Old Millbank Smokehouse and herbs from West Cork’s Gairdín Eden, which supply the fantastic salad leaves that we sell in URRU. Hopefully the weather will stay fine!
There’s always a new one, isn’t there? No sooner have you mastered Bittman’s No-Knead Bread and played around with jars of starter for your own Sourdough than another intriguing bread recipe comes along. I discovered this one through the NZ FoodLovers Forum, found the recipe, and discovered the book that it comes from – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois – here.
I was on RTÉ Radio 1‘s Mooney programme yesterday talking about baking and breadmaking – if you’re interested, you can listen here (I’m on after the 4pm news!) and here are some links to recipes that I either mentioned or intended on mentioning during the show.My ever-popular Chocolate BrowniesChoc Chip Cranberry CookiesLemon & Pistachio Yoghurt CakeAnd, for those breadmakers out there, here is a recipe for a simple Brown Soda Bread and – if you’re getting more adventurous! – you could try Mark Bittman’s No Knead Bread or even experiment with some Sourdough Bread.
Yesterday we had our last day of cooking in Kitchen Three. It’s hard to believe that we’re into the final few days of the course already. At least I got to murder my first lobster before we finished up, for yesterday’s Lobster with Cream and Fresh Herb lunch. The other dish I made was a Walnut and Armagnac tart with a really short, biscuity pastry and – of course – another pair of sourdough loaves. Had a bit of a disaster with the bread on Friday, however, as I forgot to put in the salt so it misbehaved and didn’t turn out very well. At least the loaves yesterday were much better, which is a relief as I’m hoping to use the bread toasted under the cheese in my exam starter – A Warm Salad of Ardsallagh Goat’s Cheese with Walnut Oil Dressing. After morning demo today, many of us have Cook Ahead time – my Yoghurt and Cardamom Cream needs to set overnight and at least that will be one less thing to worry about tomorrow although the time will be taken off. It’s nice to think that I might get the whole dinner and bread cooked in three hours but, at this stage, I’m not so pushed about that. I just want to get finished!