I’m under the influence, no, not of alcohol, I never touch a drop if I’m driving, or drugs regardless. In the kitchen, I’ve been known to sip a glass of wine when making dinner plus use it as an ingredient, and it’s not even that. I’m under the influence of bloggers, some named below and others who also have a knack with good food such as Ardys, Meeks, roughseas, Marianne of East of Malaga and Sandra of Notes on A Spanish Valley.
I cobbled together a kit (potato scrubbing gloves, ricer and bottle of Madeira) under the influence of Roger of Food, Photography & France in my quest for the ultimate version of one of the G.O.’s favourites – Sausages & Onion Gravy with Mash. I did taste the Madeira and found it most appealing. It’s almost due to be replenished as it has become a go-to ingredient in early Autumn meals slow cooked in the big Chasseur pot, and the tagine used for the first time ever influenced by Glenda of The Passion Fruit Garden. When the weather cools right off I have plans to make ChgoJohn from the Bartolini Kitchens’ Beef Cheeks.
Under the influence of Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and Celi of TheKitchensGarden I made bread. A while ago Celia offered me an offspring of her Priscilla but I was too chicken to accept. However the sourdough idea at least has been bubbling along in the back of my mind.
It got an incremental push when I made an unusual find in our apartment complex communal recycling area of a bread maker with an attached note indicating it was working. That was the beginning. I successfully & gleefully made a small (750 gram) spelt loaf. The G.O. adores white bread and is so-so about any other kind. Both of us do better eating less rather than more bread of any type. He however pronounced my spelt loaf not only edible but good, with only a tinge of surprise in his voice.
A couple of weeks later I attempted to make a larger (1200 gram) loaf but the bread maker responded with an E01 message (apparently indicating the unit was to hot) and couldn’t be persuaded otherwise. So I extracted the contents, gave it a quick knead, waited, it rose, kneaded, waited and put it in the oven with fingers crossed. It rose, browned and filled our apartment with the aroma of baking spelt loaf. Oh my God. It worked.
1200 g loaf
5 cups organic wholemeal spelt flour
1 sachet – 7 grams – dry yeast
3 teaspoons pink Himalayan rock salt
3 teaspoons organic raw sugar
3 tablespoons organic olive oil
450 ml room temperature water
Mix by hand until combined.
Rest until doubled in a warm place covered with tea towel – about an hour.
Knead briefly on floured bench – about a minute.
Place in large oiled and/or non stick loaf tin.
Rest for further 20 – 25 minutes – optional*.
Bake for 30 minutes on lower shelf of oven that has been preheating for about 5 minutes (set to 220°C/Fan 200°C/425°F).
* “Spelt naturally proves and rises more quickly than conventional wheat flour, so bake it as soon as it has doubled in size.” Spelt flour doesn’t require as much kneading as “the gluten in spelt flour is a little unusual. Unlike wheat flour, which is quite resilient and often needs a long kneading time (with breads) to strengthen its gluten and give the bread structure, the gluten in spelt flour breaks down fairly easily. This means that it is pretty critical not to over mix it, or risk having a crumbly texture imparted into whatever you’re making.”
Once the Spelt loaf has cooled I find it slices better having been stored in a plastic container in the fridge, and is better toasted.
Under the influence of Glenda of the Passion Fruit Garden I consolidated my cookbooks on a shelf of their own, adding a pre-loved Elizabeth David Italian Food, and a gorgeous pack of Kitchen Tarot cards influenced by a tea tarot image from an unrelated Kourtney Heintz post.
I doubt I’ll ever be organised enough to do In My Kitchen posts, and although I never say never it’s unlikely I’ll ever be in the league of Celi’s pig in the kitchen but when I’m in the kitchen I’m in good company.
Postscript: The lovely Celia has added me to her IMK list 😊 If you want to join in go to In My Kitchen.