Looking at Sunday’s entry about flatbreads and foccacia, I just realised what was missing – I forgot to write up my foccacia recipe! What I give here is just the basic recipe but there are countless variations. You can always add different herbs or some crushed garlic, top the dough with caramelised onions or roasted peppers or, indeed, stuff it with cheese and bacon for a ready-made sandwich.
Even though I haven’t been mentioning the Breadmaker very much recently, it does get a regular workout. Every so often we’re out of Brown Soda Bread and it’s just too much hard work to go down to the shop so I just throw ingredients into the Breadmaker bowl and it makes one of its little square loaves – which are, incidentally, the perfect size for the toaster.
Bread is very important to me. I love it fresh, I love it stale and ready for toasting, l love it with cheese, I love it in particular – fresh or toasted – with good salty butter. I love the way it mops up your plate after you’ve had a particularly tasty tomato pasta dish. I love the yeasty smell from the breadmaker as it cooks yet another loaf of homemade bread. I love making my own Brown Soda Bread and, most importantly, eating it. In short, I can’t fathom a life without bread. That was why it was so important, after I moved to Christchurch – before the coming of the breadmaker – to find a local source of decent bread. The only time I ever use slice pan or a sliced loaf from the supermarket is when I’m temping and need something quick and easy to make my sandwiches for lunch. But it’s not something that I’d chose as part of my normal daily life.
One of the birthday presents that came from a very thoughtful friend in Ireland was a very welcome book of Irish Cooking by Clare Connery. While this was a book that I might not have ever noticed in bookshops in Ireland, having several Irish cookery books already, here in New Zealand it is a pure treasure.
There’s more than one way to make the best of your time. And perhaps writing about Hot Cross Buns as they (hopefully!) rise in your kitchen may be winning in the multi-tasking stakes at the moment.