I had a 'roasted garlic and herb' grinder from Sainsburys. I used it a lot for speedy seasoning, despite the fact I've always got garlic in the house and herbs in the garden. When I'd emptied the jar I was reluctant to buy a new one as they aren't cheap, and it got used up quite quickly. So I checked the ingredients and decided I could make my own blend up quite easily. Black and pink peppercorns, dried onion and garlic, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, celery seeds, and some dried herbs which seldom get used. A teaspoon of coarse sea salt - and Robert was indeed your father's sibling! This amount filled one and a half jars'
They now grace my newly tidied spice shelves, along with the basil, wild garlic, and mixed herb salts I made up a few days ago. I do love my shelves. I know that's sad, but I get great satisfaction out of seeing all my bits and bobs (there he is again!) lined up. I'm determined to pick blackberries this autumn and jam them.
I went for a walk in the sunshine the other day, just round the village.
As I wandered nearer to the edge of the village I noticed a lane I hadn't been down before, which led into a small wood. There was a stream running through, with several planked 'bridges' to cross.
It wasn't a particularly salubrious looking stream, very copper - coloured so no doubt polluted with something or other.
However, it was a jolly nice walk, and good to find a little bit of village wilderness! Had it not been a beautiful sunny day I doubt whether the idea of walking through the wood would have appealed.
Here you see the results of my first attempt at sourdough. What a palaver! Luckily I didn't have to make the starter from scratch, my music friend Marj had one on the go - she is a recent trier-outer of this method. Next day I made the 'sponge', which was left overnight in the fridge. The following day I added flour salt and sugar and water to the sponge and kneaded it - I have to say it is a beautiful dough to work with. This then sat to prove for 3-4 hours, knocked back and shaped into batons and left to rise a further 3 hours. Quick-bread it aint! Into a hot oven for 30 minutes. We had the result today for lunch - well some of it. I had a shop-bought sourdough loaf to compare it with. According to Jim and Mike mine was better but then they'd have to say that, wouldn't they! Personally mine could have been a bit lighter, less dense, though it wasn't 'solid'. Lovely flavour, which is what all the long proving is about.
This is the crumb - the shop-bought one had larger holes, less tightly packed as it were. I am quite pleased with it.However it isn't the kind of bread you make on a whim. I'm not sure I'd want to be trying to think ahead all the time to make sure I was at the right stage. But it is lovely bread. Well, I shall keep feeding my 'starter' and see how it goes. Anyone else have any experience of sourdough baking? And here below we have a couple of plain white mini-bloomers. Bog standard, but just like a lovely crusty roll.
Make the most of this sunshine I think we are in for a blustery weekend, to say the least!
PS I don't believe this! Having ten minutes read while supper is bubbling away to itself - reading a Katie Fforde book. The two girls are out for a woodland hack.
"Oh look, wild garlic," says Zoe. "It's late for that, isn't it?"
"I suppose it depends where it's growing. I made some great pesto with it the other day." said Jenny.
This stuff is following me about!!