So, running aside, I've made more bread - Paul Hollywood's seeded loaf - the toasted seeds smell wonderful when it s baking, but I still reduce the amount of the various seeds in it as I find them impossible to knead fully into the dough. A malted loaf - this didn't rise as much as I would have preferred (a cardinal sin of attempting to kill the yeast - not with kindness, but heat) - but it still tasted good. I will try that one again. I moved away from Paul Hollywood to go back to Linda Collister - the baker behind a large number of the recipes in the Great British Bake Off books. I have her "The Bread Book" (a present a number of years ago from my baby brother - another baker) and "Country Breads". I made a blue cheese and pecan loaf - using up some ends of Lanark Blue and Stilton and a Pain de Ruecht - a sourdough. I have had a jar of sourdough starter on the go since 31 January last year. It spends some time in the fridge then, when I want to get it active again, I sit it in the kitchen for a few days, feeding it. Once the actual dough is made for the loaf, it needs a slow rise, generally overnight, so not a bread for the impatient.
I got hold of a good recipe from Ruby Tandoh - salted peanut caramel shortbread - which looked pretty irresistible to me, so I had to give that a whirl. Lovely! I did contemplate making a black bun, for the first time ever, as the prize at a run on Hogmanay, but decided it was going to be too long a bake, so opted for some biscuits instead (which probably took as long to decorate as the black bun would have taken to bake!)
It wouldn't have been Christmas without me getting a book or two - "Nopi" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully was one of the presents under the tree, so I have tried the courgette and manouri fritters, substituting haloumi for the manouri. Not bad, but the one I really loved was the spiced chickpea patties with coconut and curry leaf paste - the flavours were pretty spot on - lucky I had a coconut to hand! Sometimes I do buy something fairly at random, then find a recipe to fit. I've every intention of making this one again but, as it takes a while to make, it might be another for holiday time. The dinner yesterday came from "Plenty More" - a cauliflower cake - way better than it sounds - it did actually look like the picture illustrating the recipe - and got the thumbs up from my other half.
Having time on my hands has meant getting a bit crafty - some knitting and sewing. I've knitted some Christmas decorations, intended for fund-raising later this year, and sewn up a couple of cushion covers - small beginnings, but I did say I was determined to get the sewing-machine out far more often. A present of a book of "Mini Christmas Knits" from my friend and fund-raising partner meant trying out a few things to continue in my aim to reduce the mound of remnants of wool I have gathered over many years, knitting many jumpers. One day I may succeed! Sadly, back to work tomorrow.
|A forlorn reindeer....|