Thomasina Miers on Sourdough

Only just noticed (all right, Sue has been trying to get me to read it all week) but Thomasina Miers gave a recipe for panzanella in last Saturday’s Guardian. Her introduction contains the most succinct and unfussy description of why you should eat sourdough. Click here to view.

Guess what we’re having for lunch?

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Handsome Chaps

Yellow Mustard Seed

Wholemeal Wheat.

Simple is best.

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Onion, Rosemary & Mustard Seed

Onion, Rosemary & Yellow Mustard Seed Loaf dematerialising.

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Hang on Marcus

Three litres. New scotch bonnets fermented five weeks. Special consignment of Jay Butters’ cider vinegar delivered by son Rob. Fortified with previous vintages.

Sorry Marcus. At least another four weeks before it can be broached. Better next year.

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Write it Down!

That’s what I tell myself. You know all too well that you won’t remember the changes you made to a bread formula next time you come to use it so WRITE IT DOWN!

My sister Anne is coming to Bethesda with her husband Andrew this weekend for his birthday celebration. Quite understandably he decided years ago that Bethesda is the only place to do your birthday. Unlike all these food industry suckers who avoid gluten so they can lay out much more dosh on freeeeee products, Anne has a serious gluten and wheat allergy.

So I pull out Paula Wolfert’s The Food of Morocco to check out some breads that are gluten free naturally (because they’re made of chickpea flour for instance) when out drops a folded sheet of paper:
I obviously took my own advice several years ago and wrote it down. Except I didn’t say what “it” was.  What the hell kind of bread is that?

Some time during the following hours the little light started to flicker. It wasn’t bread at all. It was – Southern Fried Chicken. Top of the column on the left, the marinade ingredients; next section the seasoned flour in which to coat the chicken before frying. The rest of the figures I have no idea about.

So, don’t just write it down. Say what it is.

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Two little Borodinski’s should have been baked yesterday. Eleven o’clock last night, after four and a half hours with no discernible movement, I left them out over night.

Seven thirty this morning I was amazed they hadn’t collapsed. Fifteen minutes at 240C, thirty five minutes at 180C, twenty minutes de-tinned in a cooling oven door ajar.

Need to cherish my rye starter …

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Why is it that if you want a decent pizza you have to make it yourself? Maybe it’s different in big London but then I’m told the the streets are paved with gold down there too.  Round here they seem to think that a wood-burning oven = good pizza but they turn out a topping on something that resembles a scorched tortilla.

The base is the thing. It’s made of bread dough and bread needs to rise. So when you see it go through a counter-top sheeter before your very eyes at the restaurant, have the topping slapped on and straight into the oven, you know you’re not in for a gastronomic delight.

A rule that should be broken: the “experts” tell us that toppings should be carefully considered and chosen, that a pizza is not an excuse for using up scraps and left-overs. At this point I don’t care if my creation is declared not to be a “proper” pizza. In this house the routine goes, “Fancy a Pizza for lunch today? What have we got in the fridge?”. Well yesterday we had left-over tomato sauce, some cold lamb, half a carton of aging mushrooms, half a large onion, the remains of a block of mozzarella plus some sliced red onion dressed in olive oil and rosemary.

It was jolly tasty.

Bum, just noticed I missed a bit of grated parmesan.

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