Back in time for tea

Travelling the world, hopefully with a cuppa in hand

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Making and munching our loaves

We loved it burnt bits 'n' all

At the risk of sounding like a food blog, we’re going to tell you all about our bake day yesterday where we made our first decent loaf. After visiting the excellent Apple Day at Burwash Manor and meeting the lovely ladies of Cambridge Cookery school, we were inspired to give bread making a go ourselves. After hearing the River Cottage bread book highly praised by our friend Paul, we ordered ours last week and stocked up on some flour in anticipation of its arrival.

We’ve dived in at the deep end and are in the process of trying to make a sourdough starter. The premise is that you provide a cosy home of mixed flour, water and air and wild yeasts do the rest, bubbling and fermenting away. You then use a dollop of the starter mixture instead of yeast when making sourdough. Our starter has been going since Friday evening but there’s not much to report yet. Once it’s going, it’s a bit like having a pet. The starter needs feeding and splitting regularly. If looked after well, they last for years. Now next time we want to go travelling the question will be ‘who’s going to look after the yeast?’.

After setting that up, we got stuck into making our first white loaf. To save a bit of time we started on Friday night and left a bowl of flour, yeast and water bubbling overnight. On Saturday morning, we just had to add some more flour and salt to make a dough. The step-by-step instructions were really useful and guided us through kneading, rising, shaping and proving. As the day wore on, we felt increasingly proud of our breads and ourselves – we were baking naturals!

However, a series of mistakes later, we felt very much like the novices we are. It all started when we switched the oven on way too early (on max) while our breads still needed lots of time to prove. We followed the book here but we’ll know better next time. Secondly, thirdly and fourthly, our three loaves wouldn’t all fit in the oven at once, we cracked a pirex dish we’d put in the bottom of the oven to steam┬áthe bread and all our loaves got what could be kindly called as ‘over-browned’ but is more commonly referred to as burnt. Not to despair, we still felt proud of our achievement and even more so when we tucked into our yummy homemade bread for tea. It was soft, light and slightly doughy with a lovely nutty flavour from the pumpkin seeds on the crust. The other two loaves have been sliced and stored away in the freezer for us to enjoy another time.

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Back on broadband

We’ve finally been reconnected to the internet so I can now update you all on the big move back down to Cambridgeshire. The move itself took place last Wednesday (a week and a half ago) and went relatively well, although it was a massive effort with all our stuff only just fitting into one big luton-style van. Despite our new house being a fairly roomy two-bedroom house, we have struggled a bit to fit all our stuff in. It’s a little overwhelming to have so many possessions again after a year of living out of a backpack but at the same time it’s been really nice on an evening unpacking things that we love and haven’t seen for a long time. We’ve also been able to unpack all our souvenirs and place them around the house and they have definitely helped with making the house feel like ours along with trying out our rice cooker, making some ice cream, and having a BBQ in last weekend’s heatwave.

Today Lou will have finished her first week back at work and we’re looking forward to seeing Donna who’s visiting us this weekend.

By the way there was a slight postscript on the whole idyllic cottage that fell through. After moving in here, Cheffins, the useless lettings agents left us an answering machine message asking if we would we still be interested in it as it had come back on the market again. Who knows what had happened to the other couple, but it’s now far too late for us! We were very English in our outrage and condemnation and made absolutely clear our displeasure by deigning not to ring them back.

 

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