Of Saints & Beetroot

Aren’t you supposed to have a gentle day on a Monday if you are retired (and tired) and there are no great committments and there’s practically a full week before your income tax returns have to go in?

That was the intention but (bread) jobs started to line up right from the git-go.

First and most important item – lunch. The only choice was, what sort of pizza? There was dough in the fridge that wasn’t going to survive another day.

Second item – Beetbrot. Half the beetroot baked the night before so ready to go.

Third, tomorrow, Tuesday 25th January, is the feast of Santes Dwynwen, Welsh patron saint of lovers – got to have her bread!

So, started off with the Beetbrot. Why didn’t I do all the prepping yesterday?

I’m really lucky to be able to bake bread for Carrie, our local cheese maker – http://www.cosyn.cymru/en/home/. I’m sure she thinks I’m doing her a favour but, the stuff I get in return! A whole jar of her amazing yoghurt goes into the mix and gets blended with raw beetroot. Then she asks if I have a use for, to her mind, unsaleable soft cheese that’s over-matured and become very hard. This gets cut into very small cubes and goes into the dough – and the pizza. Haven’t got a clue what the pizza is going to be at this stage.

A lot of bakers are desperate to get a really red dough that will cause their customers to gasp. My solution is to roast half the beetroot and cube it for the dough, and to puree raw beet with the yoghurt and water. Unfortunately my raw beetroot was of the golden variety and the dough came out the palest pink – not that this bothered me at all.

The problem with Torth Santes Dwynwen is it’s stuffed with apricots and the apricots were somewhere on the A55 from England with Mr Amazon. Tracking gave me a two hour slot so took a chance, knocked up the dough anyway. Half way through fermentation they arrived. But a nasty case of multi-tasking resulted in the kitchen floor being covered in broken glass, awash with cider. In the rush to get the apricots chopped and in the dough I clipped the top of my pint pot and it crashed onto the quarry tiles below. Don’t think I succeeded in hiding my feelings.

Moving on to lunch (please). Pressed out a large (400g) base and covered it with tiny cubes of Carrie’s extra matured Brefu Bach. Fried up onions, aubergine, mushrooms and, while they were cooling, ran up a herby, raw tomato sauce spiked with a little sherry vinegar.

Spread the veg mix over the base and topped it with artichokes and piquilo chiles. Squirted a few stripes of tomato sauce on later in the proceedings.

Baked on a tray in the Pico, 300C Top and Bottom, 20 minutes.

And, using the famous Toothy as a backdrop …

Come the evening, first in was the Beetbrot (formula here). 250C Top, 220C Bottom, 15 minutes steam, 50 minutes total.

Then the egg-washed Santes Dwynwen. 250C Top, 220C bottom, steam 10 minutes. The reduced to 220C Top and 190C Bottom. 40 minutes total. Second coat of egg-wash half way through.

Torth Santes Dwynwen breakfast this morning …

Here’s a link to the story of Dwynwen and her bread I posted about four years ago. Told in my usual inventive way …

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