An outstandingly good potato bread

20200730_141005I’ve been planning to make potato bread ever since the Honey & Co cookbook landed in my Christmas stocking back when we were still living full time in Turkey. I’ve just checked and that was Christmas 2014. Ooops. A lot of loaves have been baked in both of our kitchens since then, but only this week have I finally managed a potato version.

I was swapping bread notes with some instagram bread-baking chums and Stefano Arturi from ‘Italian Home Cooking’ very generously shared the recipe that he uses – from the 1996 book ‘Baking with Julia’ by Julia Child. As ever, I felt the original recipe involved unnecessary faffing, so I’ve further simplified it. Continue reading “An outstandingly good potato bread”

Pizza bianca with potatoes, bacon & rosemary

IMG_20200619_122326_142It has to be said that lockdown is beginning to lose any appeal that it may have had in the beginning (the fact that it has rained non-stop for the last ten days may have had some bearing on that, I admit). I can’t remember whether we are 11 or 12 weeks in, I can no longer be bothered to count, and anyway I can’t see out from under my fringe. We remind ourselves daily that we and our families are incredibly fortunate – none of us has had Covid-19, nobody has lost their job, everyone has a secure home and we are all financially keeping heads above water – for now at least. Continue reading “Pizza bianca with potatoes, bacon & rosemary”

Vegan banana bread with candied walnut topping

Vegan banana bread (600 x 356) resizedI am fully stocked with flour again – a box containing five large bags of organic plain flour from the Cotswold Flour Mill arrived on my doorstep a few days ago. I am not intentionally stockpiling, but they are struggling with the sheer volume of orders, so are currently only delivering if you buy the entire box. Hopefully it will last me until the shops return to normal, whenever that will be. Continue reading “Vegan banana bread with candied walnut topping”

Springtime minestrone with wild garlic & butter beans

20200504_195728I have set myself a challenge of going to the supermarket an absolute maximum of once a week (though I do allow myself a quick dash into the village store to get fresh milk and fresh fruit in between). Robin is staying at home apart from our daily walk on the Bissoe Trail, owing to his advancing years and marginally dodgy ticker, so I figure that the fewer times I expose myself (and ergo him) to our new friend Corona, the better for everyone.

This means we end up with an odd collection of bits of this and bits of that in the veggie drawer, inevitably leading to either a cheesy-veggie tart or a bowl of soup. Last night we had severe storms down here on the coast, don’t you know, so soup was just the ticket. And the sourdough starter was calling to be topped up, so it seemed the perfect time to bake a couple of loaves of rye/durum wheat sourdough for dunking purposes. Continue reading “Springtime minestrone with wild garlic & butter beans”

Smoked mackerel paté & quick-pickled cucumber

20200401_151858 (2)With the end of Week Two of temporary ‘lockdown’ fast approaching, we are starting to get the hang of it. This week we should have been in Warwickshire and had planned to meet some friends for lunch – instead we had afternoon coffee and buns and a surprisingly satisfactory chat via Zoom. Continue reading “Smoked mackerel paté & quick-pickled cucumber”

A very good gluten-free loaf

IMG_4024I promise I am not on a mission to simplify other people’s recipes, but I saw a recipe in this weekend’s Guardian newspaper that I was keen to try, but didn’t actually have all the ingredients to hand. However, I couldn’t see anything in the list of ingredients that couldn’t be replaced with something I already had lurking in my pantry, so threw caution to the wind and gave it a go. And the result was excellent, even though I say so myself.

And before you think ‘uh oh, bread, complicated and time consuming,’ think cake mix rather than bread dough. For this loaf, you literally have a bowl with some (gluten-free) flour in it, plus a jug of wet ingredients, then you pour one into the other and mix with a spoon. No kneading or stretching, just a quick mix, then a little wait while it proves and you get on with something else. Continue reading “A very good gluten-free loaf”

33p sourdough loaf

IMG_20200517_124950_827 (600 x 600)Every time I switch from Cornwall to Turkey, and vice versa, I give away my sourdough starter to other bread-making friends and neighbours, then begin a new one when I get to the other end. However, when we went back to Turkey last September, and having managed to produce a particularly potent batch, I decided to take some with me. Unfortunately, despite being in a sealed plastic pot inside two zip-lock freezer bags, it sort of exploded while in the hold of the plane, and then got out into my suitcase. Ooops. This was not ideal, as we had a two-day stopover in Göcek on our way back to Kaş, so I had to sit and pick lots of little concrete-like blobs of dough off the least-affected garments, so that I had something to wear. The other slightly unexpected outcome was that all of my clothes had a vague whiff of a brewery about them. Oh dear.
Continue reading “33p sourdough loaf”

Oven-bottom bread (and my life as a water spaniel)

IMG_3401Raining. Again. And I’ve been in the country less than a week and I’ve got a cold. How did that happen?

My life at the moment is a whirlwind of ibuprofen (throat/headache), pholcodine (irritating cough), Strepsils (anything not covered by the above) and gallons of water and tea. The upside is that I don’t have to go out for anything, there are no urgent jobs to do, there’s plenty of firewood, we’ve got English telly and I’ve got about a squillion second-hand cookbooks to work my way through. Continue reading “Oven-bottom bread (and my life as a water spaniel)”

‘Village’ bread

IMG_2325I am surprised that some of my friends, many of them accomplished cooks and bakers, are afraid to bake with yeast. I find this slightly baffling and try to persuade them that now we have rapid action dry yeast, it is much like using baking powder, it just takes a little longer.

I think another reason many people shrink away from baking bread is that they think it will take up too much of their day – really, it won’t. The great thing about yeast is that it is pretty resilient as long as you keep it away from the very few things it hates – too much heat, too much salt or too much acid, so you can pretty much leave the dough to get on with things once it is mixed. Oh, and don’t feed it too much sugar or the dough will climb out of the tin and try to take over an entire floor of your house. Continue reading “‘Village’ bread”

Rye and oatmeal quick bread

IMG_2282.jpgOur friends Jean and Ian are arriving from the UK this evening, and will be staying with us for a couple of nights until the apartment they have rented is ready for them on Monday. In fact they have just called en route from the airport to say that they were slightly delayed by the police having to board the plane when they got to Dalaman, to arrest someone who had apparently sampled a little too much duty-free – unfortunately he didn’t just go for the usual old-fashioned drunk and disorderly behaviour, but decided to throw in a bit of indecent exposure to boot. I’m really not sure if I am ready for the gory details – I might have to get the brandy out for Jean’s arrival. I guess that’s what happens when you travel with Easyjet… Continue reading “Rye and oatmeal quick bread”