Recipe Requests

If anyone would like a recipe, baking tips or help with choosing the best baking equipment - please ask!

Simply follow the blog and post a comment or send me an email.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The hunt for the veg.

Has begun.

We are off to a Christmas farmers market tomorrow to start the stock of the Christmas day dinner. We are having a ham cooked in cranberry and apple juice and it will be roasted. Usually I use honey and coca-cola. I love Christmas ham. I could never be a vegetarian.

Veggies so far - roast potatoes (done in goose fat - much higher temps result in much crispier on the outside and fluffier on the inside tatties!), soy broccoli, honeyed carrots and parsnips and two stuffings (one normal and one gingerbread). So these all have to be bought, although I am leaning to sourcing the meat at the Farmer's market and then going into town to find the veggies closer to the day.

Christmas pud. I havent the stones to make one from scratch just yet - the whole stewed fruit in a bag thing looks waaaay complicated. I will be buying a little one and probably be getting a sponge pudding as well (christmas pud being the aquired taste that it is!).

Stuff I will be baking - a wreath cake. I found a mold that puts a sponge into a wreath shape, but the wreath itself is segmented into portion size - put them together like a jigsaw to make the cake look like a wreath! Does that make sense?

Black cake - this is a Jamaican traditional cake, heavy fruited with all the fruit being marinated in lots of madiera and rum for anywhere between 2 weeks to 6 months. First year I am going to try it as I had an open bottle of madeira that needed a use. Will let you know how that turns out!

Whats on your list?

Sunday, December 12, 2010


It wouldnt be Christmas without it - lovely, sugary tablet that melts in the mouth and gives you a ridiculous sugar rush. I have used the recipe from - here it is! Turned out really well for a first go, although I did end up with the obligatory boiling sugar burn on my finger. I made vanilla sugar in August, and it has been used here.

Its fantastic. If I dont mind saying so myself...



  • 1kg white cane vanilla granulated sugar
  • 1 tin (appx. 400g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • fresh milk to damp sugar

Notes on ingredients

I prefer cane sugar, as beet sugar can make the tablet taste a bit like turnips. Unbleached sugar works well too, but causes little crystals of dark molasses to settle out. Aunt Celie's recipe didn't add any flavouring, but I've found that vanilla makes it just that bit better. If you don't have time to make vanilla sugar, skip the added flavour altogether. It'll taste almost as good, and far better than synthetic vanillin would.
Condensed milk
This is whole milk that has been heavily sugared, and boiled down to a thick, slightly caramelized, sticky liquid. Evaporated milk (the same, but unsweetened; as used in coffee in the Netherlands) doesn't give as good results.
This has to be unsalted, of the highest quality, and no margarine can be substituted. This recipe is so high in calories that you'd be wasting your time trying to save any by spoiling the taste.

How to make vanilla sugar

Simple, but time-consuming: Bury a dried vanilla pod deep in a bag of sugar. After a week or two, fish the pod out. The vanilla sugar is ready; you should be able to smell the flavouring from outside the bag.
Vanilla pods, though expensive, can be reused many times. They are worth it for the subtle flavour they impart.


  • large pan, not non-stick
  • big wooden spoon
  • glass of cold water
  • teaspoon
  • plate, as spoon rest and tester for mixture colour.
  • large shallow baking tray, carefully buttered.


The mixed ingredients before heating
Damp the sugar with cold milk in the pan. Add the butter and the condensed milk, and turn the heat on medium-high.
It's an idea to put a little dollop of the uncooked mix on the spoon rest plate. I find comparing the colours of the mixture as it cooks a better way of judging readiness than using a sugar thermometer.

The colour of the mix just as it boils
Keep stirring evenly until the mixture comes to the boil; this usually takes about ten minutes. If you start getting brownish streaks (caramel), turn the heat down a little, and keep up the stirring effort. If you get black streaks, you've burnt it. Good luck with cleaning the pan …

Once the mixture boils, turn the heat down low. Stir occasionally to stop the mix sticking. When it's simmering, the mix can be more than twice its original volume, so let's hope you've chosen a big enough pan.

Boiling for 6 minutes; slightly darker
You'll notice the mixture darken slightly; keep stirring now and then. It'll take about 20 minutes for the mix to cook.

Forming a sticky glob in cold water; nearly ready!Boiling for 13 minutes; darker still
Transfer a little of the hot mix to a teaspoon, and plunge it into cold water. It should form a soft, sticky ball that should drip off the spoon very slowly. When it does this, it's ready.
(I'd like to add that the goo on the spoon is very tasty, but be advised that it keeps its heat inside the glob. You can burn your tongue quite remarkably. Beware!)

Ready after 18 minutes; golden brown
Ready! I like my tablet a light colour, so it's usually done in twenty minutes or less (this took 18 from coming to the boil). If you prefer a stronger flavour, simmer for longer.
Now comes the difficult bit. Take the pan off the heat, and start stirring vigorously. Try to mix in some of the crystallized mixture that has formed on the side of the pan; what we're trying to do is to get the mixture to form large enough crystals that it will set, but small enough crystals that it will still pour. Once you feel the spoon stirring slightly grittily on the base of the pan, and the mixture being slightly stiffer, it's ready to pour.
The above is much harder to explain than to do; you'll know it when you feel the change. Of course, let it set too long or too fast, and you'll end up with a trayful of gritty lumps looking alarmingly similar to a cat box.

Setting in the tray
Quickly pour the mixture into the buttered baking tray, which should be on a heat-resistant surface. Scrape out as much of the mixture as you can, as it will set in the pan to concrete hardness, and someone will just have to eat what's left in there.

Colours of uncooked mix (middle) with cooked (right)
Here's the colour change, from uncooked mixture (cream coloured, in the middle -- almost the same colour as the plate) to the final colour, which is a golden fawn brown.

Don't be alarmed if you see little crazed patterns appearing on the surface as the tablet cools. It's just the sugar crystallizing.
Once the mixture has fully cooled and set (usually overnight, if you can keep your paws off it that long), slice into bars or small chunks, and give it to your friends. If they weren't your friends before you gave them tablet, they will be afterwards.

Notes on the recipe

  • I damp the sugar with about ½ cup milk. The amount isn't critical; too little, and you risk burning the mix. Too much, it just takes a while to boil off.
  • 1kg of sugar is about 5½ cups.
  • 100g butter is about 4/5 of a stick.
  • Crystals forming as it coolsI now use a 310×480mm (I think that's 11×19") large cookie pan for setting. It fills nicely, and makes nice thin slabs.
  • My dad, probably one of the greater connoiseurs of Great-Aunt Celie's tablet, takes issue with my use of vanilla. He says that she never used vanilla, and that's what made it special. Feel free to miss out the vanilla if you want the authentic experience.
  • Though I say not to use a non-stick pan to boil up the mixture, don't go out and buy a stainless pan just for this.
  • A hint from my dad: If you've dried your throat out by eating tablet, but still want to eat some more, eat a tangerine! It magically clears your throat, and sets you up to eat plenty more.
Not part of a calorie-controlled diet.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas List

I have been good this year.

Im asking Santa for a bunch of cookbooks.

Found some great ones - Kitchen  looks to be Nigella's magnum opus so that has to be done. Apart from my love affair with Mary Berry's Baking Bible, the Domestic Goddess book is my favourite baking book (why dont they make lamenated cookbooks so that they splashes from the actual process of cooking can be wiped away? I lost the sticky gingerbread recipe due to the pages being stuck together with icing sugar..). it was also the first real book that got me into comfort food baking.

Martha Stewarts cupcake / cookie books look fantastic too. There is a fantastic idea to make a clock out of cupcakes for New Year. I wouldnt have thought of that in a million years, even though a cupcake tray is very convieniently (almost auspiciously) grouped into twelves... OK, so sometimes I not so smart.

Mary Berry's ultimate cake book - over 200 recipes for every kind of cake imaginable. It has to be gotten.

The Primrose Bakery cupcake book looks sweet (no pun intended) and its only a fiver in The Works.

And now we get to equipment. I am after a bannon (sp) for baking bread, and a linen baguette prover thingy. You know what I mean - you rest the baguettes before baking in this purpose built linen cloth moulding.

Found a biscotti tin in TK Maxx that was worth getting too. Gradiated sides. Professional. Obviously could be used for way more than just biscotti.

I am enjoying the barista machine I got for my birthday too. have cracked how to do caramel macchiatos and a bunch of lattes as well as the standard americano. Its one of those kitchen deelies that has saved a bunch of cash in the long run. As silly as it sounds, we dont go to our local Starbucks anywhere near as much as we did - because we have the syrups in and can make the coffee ourselves. Costco carries 'Bucks espresso beans and Makro carries the syrups. Get both in bulk and you are quids in.

Well I will wrap this up - thats all for now. If anyone knows of anything that should be on the list and  missing out, then let me know ;)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Its that time of year again...

Time to bake some mince pies!

To be honest, I usually cheat at this - and this year is no different. I got some Jus-Roll sweet shortcrust, some M&S mincemeat (they have both Classic and Chocolate varieties this year.) and went about the job of assembling the pies.

Take a cupcake tin, a 2 1/2 inch cutter, roll out the pastry and cut out the rounds. Put the rounds straight into the tin, no prep needed as they will shrink back from the sides when they are cooked. Fill with your desired mincemeat and top with a festive patry cut out - I use star cutters. Egg wash and bung in the oven for 25 minutes on a moderate heat until the patry is golden brown.


Mince pies for everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Birthday Baking!

Its my birthday today and I have been suprised by a large amount of brownies done for me by the hubby! they are fantastic and a joy with the horlicks ice cream. Thank you so much!

I also recieved the gift of a Union Jack tiered cake stand from my mate Vax - the brownies look spectacular on it and I can see its a gadget that will be used very much from here on out.

Such a great day :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oven Overdrive

Had a baking day. Well, couple of hours as we have the FIL here for a few days and I thought some homecooking would be good (he travels a lot so doesnt get too much).

Have done some gingernuts, a lemon cruncy top cake and the treacle bread is in the oven.

The house smells fantastic.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vital Cookbooks

I really should be writing more in here.

I havent done a great deal of baking this past week - but I did knock out a batch of cranberry muffins (Craisins ROCK for this), some cookies and a loaf of bread.

If you havent already have a go at the basic white loaf in the River Cottage Family Cookbook, its really straight forward and turns out really well. It has a couple of good tips in there - high heat for the first ten minutes of baking, then down to moderate, then turn the loaf upside down in the tin, high heat again and brown the base off to finish it.

I picked up the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook as well and it is phenominal. Loads of lovely tips in there - a four week guided plan for creating sourdough starter, and a guide to making croissant ferment. So many things to try, with the croissants being top of the list.

So much to do! So much to do!

But its all good for the Soul ;)

Monday, October 18, 2010


I have been getting things together over the last week for my new bakey projects - cake decoration. It started all innocent-like with getting swept up in the cupcake fever that seems to be taking over everyone. Everywhere you go you see specific tins, cases, decorating supplies and stands - all dedicated to cupcakes. I staved off the urge to go mad for these for a long time, but have eventually succombed to the idea.

Lucky for me, my Mam did a cake decoration and sugarcraft course at college around 13 years ago. She spent an absolute fortune on equipment for her new hobby, and after a couple of years, put down the pastry cutters and palette knife in favour of holistic therapies. I have nicked them. A great big workmans tool kit of goodies. There were even colourants and glitters in there - out of date, mind you, but there none-the-less.

So, I am armed with some equipment, now I need some inspiration. I am after the Martha Stewart cupcake book - I flicked through it in a hobby store the other day and there are some fantastic ideas in there. I need some practise too. I have only done rudimentary piping before, so no doubt will have icing stuck to my glasses before long.

Rock on.

Monday, October 11, 2010

So my eustress trigger is baking. Like you didnt know already.

There are two different kinds of stress - Distress and Eustress. We feel distress when we are unhappy, agitated or anxious about an activity or event, we feel eustress when we are uplifted, focussed and driven by an activity or event.

Something that I teach in my meditation classes is to chronicle your stress levels via events and activities. This can be done over a day, week, year or lifetime. Whatever you need to do in order to get a handle on what consitutes a stress trigger for you.

So - take an average day, average events and figure out a timeline. With each event, give it a stressor indicator from 1 (being not stressful) to 10 (being very stressful). Next look at the type of stress that has occurred. Is it something that has caused distress - anxiety, friction, anger, worry, or eustress - anticipation, excitement, happiness, achievement.

By looking at these things you will begin to figure out what consitutes stress triggers for you. Obviously everyone has different ones, so figuring out what yours are is a valuable exercise. When you hit on a stress trigger, and you are aware of it, you have a greater control over your reaction to it, and thus a greater control over your stress level. If you know that a certain event or situation will set off a distress trigger you can pre-empt your mental and emotional response to it, and diffuse your reaction. And the flip side is that when you recognise your eustress triggers you can encourage and activley enhance the uplifting experience that comes with good stress.

From a daily stress trigger examination, punch it up to weekly, yearly and lifetime. Take all the time you need. You are examining your past emotional and mental responses to stress in order to control your future ones, to allow for a clear-headed response to all levels of stress.

Stress is a part of life. But it doesnt have to be a bad part.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Cakey Disaster

Well it happens ever so often...

I finally got into the kitchen today after a busier-than-usual week doing DIY stuff. I have missed baking. Its such a chill-out activity for me, I can gather my thoughts and focus on each operation of the process. Its a clarity of mind thing.

Anyway, I knocked together a batch of traditional gingernut biscuits to start off, just because there were only a couple of hobnobs left in the packet and you NEED biscuits to live. They are an old favourite, so its a no-brainer when it comes to process. I make them extra gingery and add some cinnamon because thats the way we like it, even though its not part of the recipe.

As I was doing this our next door neighbour who we have been plying with free eggs from our hens, showed up with two massive bags of Bramley apples from his tree. So a Devonshire Apple Cake was decided to be the first option to use some of the apples. I have been meaning to have a go at this cake for a while and have been hanging out and waiting for the apples to start dropping.

So - get the mix together. Its a standard cake mix - flour, eggs, fat, sugar - add some chopped walnuts and sultanas and blitz in the mixer for a couple of minutes. No problem. Grate apples. Prep tim. All the usual stuff. No real difficulty here. Pour in half the mix. Spread out the grated apples and dust with cinnamon. Put on other half of mix.

Dont have the right size cake pan. Oh dear. What a time to find this out. Still, its only an inch under what the recipe calls for so I figure it will be fine. Hm.

The cake goes in and is set for and hour and a quarter. The buzzer goes and I peek in. There is cake mix all over the floor of the oven and down the sides of the pan. Bugger. No worries, so it wont look too good, but at least it should taste nice. I try with the tester and it comes out clean. So out it comes and starts to cool on the wire tray.

After doing a bunch of other stuff (including prepping some raw horseradish from the garden which I will talk about later), making pizza dough and bathing the baby. I come downstairs, have dinner and we are going to have cake and tea as dessert. Slice into cake. Big gooey mess of a cake.

Right now we are about three hours after I starting making the thing and its only just come out of the oven. So either the cooking time is off or the oven is on the blink.

There are some pics to follow, but hopefully it will at least taste nice and be fully cooked by now.

Keep your fingers crossed ;)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

No Baking

I have been redecorating the house so had no chance to get into the kitchen properly.

I am missing it terribly!

Still there is a blueberry muffin recipe to put up soon (with lots of pics) and I am hankering after a lemon cake and some ginger biscuits. I can feel the whole gingerbread season coming upon us..

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Quiche Construction

When I think Baking I usually go straight to the sweet side of it. Cakes, biscuits and even sweet breads, so I thought I would shake up a bit and put down a savory bake - starting with something simple, a quiche.

They really don't take a lot of thought to stick together, and its more a matter of assembly and construction than it is measuring and mixing.

Its helps if you have your own hens, and a ridiculous amount of good, free-range eggs that need using up, but thats just me.

Basics - use a roll out pastry. Yes its a cheat.

Assemble what fillings you would like. In this one I did a basic ham, onion, sweet pepper and cheese.

Beat the eggs  and add some milk to dilute. If you have some cream, chuck that in too. This pie dish was about 8 inches across, and I used half a dozen eggs.

Construct - layer the onions, ham and pepper (or whatever fillings you are using) in the pie dish and cover with the eggy mixture. Top with cheese and a few twists of black pepper, and perhaps some herbs of your choice.

Bake in a medium oven until it is done. Its done when the egg has "set" - you can test by lightly shaking the pie dish - if the egg looks runny then it isnt quite finished.

It should last around three days.

Have fun!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Great Sourdough Experiment - Part II


I have done better. But here is the next stage.

Last time we had the started just, ahem, starting.

After five days of feeding, watering and talking to the jug of yeasty batter it was pretty much ready to use.

So this happened next -

Pretty active stuff...

Once it was like this I measured out about 300g as I wanted a big loaf, and make up the same amount of bread flour. Add a bit of salt and add any watere needed to make a shaggy, decent-feeling dough.

Next knead the hell out of it for a few minutes.

Once that lovely elastic feeling comes to the dough, put it in an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and put somewhere warm overnight to prove.

The next day punch it down, knead it for a couple more minutes and press out into the desired loaf pan. The white one is on the left, the malted one on the right was the leftover started I had and decided to finish it off with this loaf.

Leave somewhere warm (I put mine next to the TV..) for two hours. Or until it has filled out a bit more.

Bung in the oven for 45 mins - 1 hr depending on the size of the loaf. Basically until it sounds hollow. High heat, mines a fan oven and it goes in at 200 degrees, a conventional one will be around 220, which I think is gas mark 7ish.

Ta Dah!

It hasnt risen as much as I would have liked, but Im still learning with this. So far my bread is very hitty-missy, and although this one was a tad flat, it tastes good! V tangy and full.

Have fun!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Baking Withdrawal

I thought after a flurry of recipes and foodie reports I should have a look at the reasons behind why we do this. After all there are some aspects to being in the kitchen that arent nice - the cleaning up for one.

But the main reason to do all of this is to feel connected to what we need to survive. Food is obviously the fuel that we need to live, and in a basic human kind of way, what we need to thrive and ultimatley once thriving, continue the species.

So in that respect, food, cooking and baking become something primal. Something necessary. Vital.

Maybe that is why baking appeals and can trigger, emotional reactions. There is always the reminder that not only we need this action in order to survive, but with baking in particular, there is a connection to memory and to home.

Most people learn to bake from their parents or grandparents. Usually its from a Mother. The emotional connections with baking encompass the relationship you have with (one of) the most important people in your life, and certainly (for the majority of us) the most important person in our childhoods.

I was taught to bake by my Mam, who was taught by her Mam...And on it goes. That being said, my Dad was a professional cook, and worked for many years in an industrial bakery - but he didn't teach me cooking, in fact I never witnessed him cooking anything other than cheese on toast (that was what I needed to get better when I was ill) as in retrospect, he would have been pig sick of cooking for people by the time he got home form work.

Still the emotional connections of baking take me back to being a child - so maybe thats a trigger for me, and no doubt, many others, as to why it is such a calming, soothing, warm activity.

As an adult the activity of baking is something I find to be meditative. There is a specific action and reaction with baking, exacting measurements, solid process that is completed in order to produce something valuable and beautiful all at once. Meditation is the same way. With this concentration, focus and determination, you achieve a higher awareness of self.

Im sure I will ponder more on my own (and others) emotional connection to baking, but for right now the baby needs some porridge.

After the ecstacy....The laundry.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Today's Dabbling

I love Malteasers. And I love Malteaser cake. So I adapted the recipe and made Malteaser cupcakes! Bize sized loveliness..

I made a batch of traditional gingernuts too as we were out of biscuits. These are so easy to do, take about twenty mintutes to make - and that includes baking time.

The Sunday roast is about to do in - but that is the hubby's duristiction and then I will be reporting on the Grand Sourdough experiment - part deux. The starter is ready!

If anyone would like one of my recipes, please feel free to ask!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I was supposed to do something today


That was it.

Im going to do it tomorrow. Ive just been knackered today. Thanks to my four month old Baboo with a slight dicky belly.

Vanilla ice cream.

Thats the other one.

And I might just have to chop up the brownie and mix it in with the ice cream.

Im going to bed before I drop.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Baking List

So much to do today, and Im not too sure I can be bothered to do it all.

I have a list in the kitchen of things that need making - just because. So far we have..

Blueberry muffins - Im not great with muffins. I cant seem to get that Starbucks-style massive top on them no matter how hard I try. The ones I do make tend to come out tasty, they just dont look right. Anyway, I also have frozen the blueberries from our two blueberry bushes as and when they have been ripening, so now have a bunch big enough to make a decent batch of muffins. I also have a glut of milk for some reason (I think it was because I made batches of ice cream last week and had leftovers) so that will come in handy too.

Quiche - its easy, its healthy and when you have four mad hens in your back garden who lay like there is no tomorrow, you end up with so many eggs that you give them away (we are SO popular with the Jehovahs Witnesses that come around door to door - not only do with treat them like human beings, but we keep them in free eggs, as much as they have tried to pay us. They end up leaving egg boxes along with copies of the Watchtower for us. Whatever floats the boat). And the toms from next doors plants are ripening, so they can be used too. Another giftie for giving away eggs - three large, and almost ripened tomato plants from Walter and Maureen next door. Not bad going. To think all we have had to do is put up with Miranda - the insane white chicken who went crazy, and now thinks she is a cockeral after hanging herself between two garden chairs.

Lemon cake - I have lemons in. Thats the only real reason. Maybe because the one I made for my daughters Naming Day last week I didnt get a sniff of let alone a bite. Im not complaining. Honest.

Biscuits - maybe gingersnaps because they are so all-purpose, works as a pudding with a dollop of lemon and ginger ice cream as much as dunking into tea.

Horseradish gifties - I dug up the horseradish plant that has been making a pitch for world domination as its ready for harvesting anyway, and half of it can go to the allotment for next years crop. I planted ONE thong. I dug up over THIRTY. One thong keeps a family of four in horseradish for a year. What the hell am I going to do with all this bloody horseradish? Horseradish mustard/mayo/creamed sauces as Christmas pressies. Thats what Im thinking.

What do you mean you dont like horseradish?

Sourdough - still ongoing. At least another day for the starter to establish.

I called our local college the other day to check out the food courses. The hubby and I can go and do our basic food hygiene for £45 a pop, and only one of us would need the licensing cert. This is for the future. When we open the cafe. Oh its SO gonna happen.

I also found an artisan baking school a couple of hours from here - next march they are running Italian baking on one day and French baking on the next. I might be having a trip away...

You know considering I was only going to write a quick list and then log off, this has turned into a mighty long post.

And the final thing - Im writing for posterity - I need to write down the thinking behind Tea Vs Coffee - the eternal struggle to find the Truth... (thanks to my friend Julia)...;)

Have a good day, folks

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Grand Sourdough Experiment

So heres the deal - everything I have read about bread baking all points to Sourdough. Capital letter. And from my tries in the past, it has always been difficult to get a really good loaf.

That is until I got a random packet of Doves Organic Rye flour with an easy sourdough recipe on the side.

After six days of painstaking waiting, building up the started and finally baking it it turned out...OK.

Im not giving up on sourdough, and have started a starter two days ago, in a basic strong, white bread flour.

Its alive. ALLLIIIIIVVEE! The yeast is doing its thing and making the whole mess of starter dough move, bubble and spit. It looks amazing, in a really primordial way.

As soon as I figure out how to stick a  photo in a post, then I will prove it (no pun intended..)

The first time I ever tasted sourdough was in San Francisco when me and my (now hubby) were dating. And lets face it, thats the best place in the world to taste your first sourdough. I fell in love with it (and with the guy) and bought cultures to bring home and create myself. Unfortunatley I didnt realise that in order to keep the starter from dying on you, you NEVER freeze it. Well after two loaves made, and the novelty of the sheer amount of attention the process takes, I thought I would freeze the starter to make more loaves at a later date.

The starter keeled over and died.

I will get around to sending for some more from teh home of sourdough, but until then I will be using my cheaty methods and adding a pinch of yeast and letting it develop over a few days.

So anyway - here is how you make a sourdough starter -

200g of flour (rye is traditional, but any bread flour will work)
a pinch of yeast
mix in enough hand-hot water to make a sticky, shaggy mess of dough. Sloppy is the word, here, folks
cover with cling film and put somewhere warm
feed with a little more (like 50g) of flour and enough water to keep the same consistency every day over the next four days.

With any luck you will have a big, bubbly mess by the end of it that smells very strongly of beer. Fermented bread. Wonderful.

Next post will have how to make the actual loaf ;)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Alchemy of Baking.

So I thought I would start this up as over the years I have become ever so slightly obsessed with baking. Not just the recipes and the better tastes that you get with home cooked food,  but moreover with the effect that it has on people. Why does baking give that warm fuzzy feeling? Why does it cause people to talk more freely, laugh louder and be more relaxed.

The experience of creating something from diverse ingredients to somehow add an emotional value and resulting in that effect is something that intrigues me. And I guess I would like to find out how that comes about.

The Alchemy of Baking...

This mixture of food and emotions to create better (best?) flavours and sensory experiences is encapsulated in this act. And there are two sides to the story as well, because the creation of the food is an all out experience for the baker too - a moment of meditation, a realisation of sustenance and somehow because of that, survival. It speaks to the core of us all.

A truely holistic experience for all involved. So here we go - I will babble on like this throughout this blog, no doubt, and will throw in the recipes and emotional results of the baking.

Thats the plan, anyway - see where we go from here.