Thursday, 27 May 2010

Bread for Mr Jones and a Quilt for Baby J

To say I have been pretty useless in the kitchen for the past nine months would be an understatement. First there was the fish fingers and smash stage, then the "Oh my god is that onions and garlic frying?" stage followed by the "I can't eat that it made me sick last time" couple of months. BUT given that I haven't been sick for two weeks now - yes a whole two weeks - whoooo hoooo! I have been getting myself back in the kitchen. I've even made Mr Jones' packed lunch on several occasions.

On Tuesday I made bread - homemade foccacia in fact - this was not due to some latent desire to awaken my inner baker, but actually because it's pretty tricky to find a good foccacia around here. M&S have changed their Italian Bread range and it has gone from distinctly edible to horribly bland. And Waitrose - that home of all things delicious - has been found extremely wanting in the bread department. We have the Hambleton Bakery of course - but waddling into town seemed like more effort than a bit of cursory kneading.

So to Jamie Oliver I turned. I cheated and used the Kitchenaid for the messy bit - why have a dough hook and get your hands covered in flour and yeast I say. Once the dough was suitably mixed and smooth I pummeled it myself until it became gorgeously plump. Then I left it in the airing cupboard to prove amongst the towels. After a bit more pummeling I doused the each loaf in chopped homegrown rosemary, salt and olive oil. Then it was back to the airing cupboard for a bit more proving.

A word of caution - when proving bread in your airing cupboard ensure your tray has high sides. I now have several towels scented with rosemary olive oil waiting to be washed.

After baking for 20 minutes we had warm fresh bread to eat with our homemade chicken caesar salad - sans homemade croutons - because I burnt them by leaving them in the oven while I watered the veg patch!

Also occupying me this week has been the quilt for Baby J. It's pretty much finished - not bad for a first attempt. Some of the blocks don't quite line up and the edging was a handstitching mission - but I'm pretty pleased with it, especially as I only had some patchy (no pun intended) instructions from an old book to guide me.

One day perhaps I'll be able to make beautiful quilts like this talented lady or my Godmother Sue - who sent me a beautiful one to commemorate my wedding day. I think my sewing machine skills need improving first - I seem incapable of keeping seams straight!

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