The unseasonable warmth as we welcome October has thrown a lot of notions I had out the window.
Alas whilst it opened up the possibility of giving the old shorts a further airing, and allowed for some fabulously well received al fresco beers and a bottle or 2 of prosecco on a Saturday, with Pete and the camera shy MC, my recent library book bounty has remained bagged up in my knapsack waiting for a cold snap and the perfect conditions for an indulgent weekend around a blazing oven.
Except this weekend I had already purchased the goods for a bake off to remember. I had soaked some dates and raisins in orange juice for a fruit loaf, I had bought extra butter and honey as well as tons of plus for a plum cake I spied on Orangette (as found in Tender Two by Molly). I had also got an uncontrollable urge to make a Mushroom and Leek quiche that I have found in Bills The Cookbook by Bill Collison, a recent cookbook purchase from TK Maxx. I’m afraid the iPhone is the devil, in that before I would see such books and desire them, but walk away. Now I scan the barcodes on the Amazon app to see if the sticker price is indeed a good one, and if so I tell myself I’m a fool to leave it be. In this case, it was water damaged slightly, so I managed to further negotiate the price down to half its discounted price on Amazon.
Yesterday I began my day running nearly 8 miles. Today, I began walking glacially around Waitrose with my trolley, planning meal after meal. I began with a fruit loaf. The notion for this began over a text conversation last week with one of my bestests Anne, who had decided on doing a fruit loaf herself. I guessed her recipe. So I copied her. I took my basic bread recipe of 500g bread flour, 10g salt, 7g fast acting yeast, 1tbsp honey, 150ml milk and 150ml warm water, and added 3/4 tbsp ground mixed spice, with 2 handfuls of raisins soaked in orange and a few chopped dates. I mixed them together to form a dough, and kneaded the dough as with any other loaf. It was bizarre to do this, as you constantly feel the texture of the raisins beneath your hands which makes you feel like stopping to pick the foreign objects out from under your hands. But I continued until I had a smooth, springy dough.
Once proven, baked, cooled and buttered with jam, the fruit loaf received the critical eye and palate of Pete. His review was “it tastes like a current bun”. My initial thought was knock him about the head with the rest of the bread, but I thought about what he said. That was exactly what I wanted to achieve. A fruited loaf, and that’s what it is. And it holds up to it’s competitors.
My quiche on the other hand was a rather difficult endeavour. Pastry is still something I wish to get a better grip on. I tried to use the odds and sods of the butter packets in the fridge, which included a bit of lard. The pastry was so very delicate. In order to balance out the strength of the leeks, horseradish and cream filling, the pastry was herbed slightly with some classic provencale herbs. The overall result of the quiche is that it looks and hopefully tastes fantastic. I am saving it for a Monday post work supper. And by supper I mean tea. Apologies for the use of supper. You are perfectly with your rights to hate me a bit for that.
And lastly cake the cake. Wow. It’s a puddingy cake. Heavily spices with cinnamon, flavoured with honey, light brown sugar and golden syrup and with a whole punnet of plums sunken in the batter, each piece is dense, sticky and sweet through the fruit against the spiced cake. It’s divine, and will be a go to for me all autumn and winter long. I can see it sitting on our Christmas table this year.
So yesterday I went to see a possible wedding venue. My response? No thanks. It’s not that it was wrong. It was a venue in a woods, a sawmill, reclaimed wood and smooth finishes. But it was small, ill equipped and badly proportioned for my dream do. Back to the drawing board, not that I’m looking to set the date right away. After three bakes and a roast today, my dream is for the next house to be found ASAP. I’m completely over baking in a room 8 feet by 8 feet.
Right, bedtime. Very tired. And sticky from the heat. Hope you are all well. Keep me posted.
Blog later folks.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad