Well first sourdough loaf completed, for a first attempt not too bad even looks like the picture in the River Cottage Bread book I have been following.
The process took approx 36 hours to complete so this is real "slow food", firstly you make your sponge with some of the starter ( this is the creature in the cupboard), this is left over night, apperared to be successful and became all frothy, this is then the next morning mixed with more flour to form the dough, this is then needed as normal, the mix is quite sloppy and sticky, but after 10 mins kneading, looks a lot more light normal dough. This is then left to rise until doubled in size, this took about 3 hours for our mix, amazing considering we haven't added any yeast, this is then knocked batch and left to prove again to improve the flavour, this took about 3 hours, you then bake. Result is a very holey chewy and deeply satisfying bread, crust was a bit hard, but this was my first go at sourdough.
Make this absolutely delicious sorbet with elderflowers and freeze for us later in the summer. Goes particularly well with strawberries / gooseberries, in fact any other soft fruit.
225 grammes white sugar, in 600ml water, boiled for 7 mins to make a sugar syrup, take off heat and add 8 elderflower heads, peel and juice of 3 lemons, allow to cool fully, then churn in ice cream maker. Alternatively if you don't have an ice cream maker, put in freezer box and freeze for an hour, then , beat and refreeze, keep doing this until you have a smooth finish to your sorbet.
Never wash the elderflowers as you loose the flavour, just pick off any insects , leaves etc
4 large flower heads, (I sometimes use a few more depends on the size of the heads),
2 lemons sliced,
2tbsp white wine vinegar.
Put all the above in a bucket and cover for a couple of days ( don't worry if it goes scummy), then strain and bottle.
Ready after approx 2 -3 weeks, best served chilled.
Just watch out for the pressure rise in the bottle, you may need to chill your bottles to calm fermentation or alternativelt degass every couple of days.
I was very fortunate early this year to secure a whole Jacobs lamb which had been raised on Cuerden Valley park by the wildlife trust.Apparently they ahd been so sucessful that they needed to cull a few. The meat was a bargain and was of the highest quality and food miles were minimal given that it travelled approx 2 miles to be slaughtered. I then collected from the butchers in front of the slaughter house in Bamber Bridge. This has meant that my stock of home made mint sauce ran out a couple of weeks ago, so now is the time to replenish stocks, especially as the mint is going bonkers in the garden.
I returned to the faithful WI recipe I have used before, its easy peasy, just strip mint leaves from the stalks, chop the leaves fine (I do this in my food processor) and then pack in a clear glass jar, top up the jar until all the mint is covered with basic bog standard malt vinegar. Store in a cool dark cupboard.
Once you come to use it (leave for at least a few weeks, couple months even better) , dilute with more vinegar and a pinch of sugar.
Attended this fine establishment for a Lancashire Evening and wine tasting about a month ago. Firstly Lytham was a revelation, quietly sophisticated, Chicory was great, excellent food all sourced from within god's own county ( Lancashire) and accompanied by excellent wine.
I've got creature in my kitchen cupboard, it needs feeding every day and doesn't like metal.
What is it ?
My sourdough starter ! recently I have really got into bread making and everytime I make bread things are getting better and better. Initially I had problems getting my dough to rise well and the laof was rather heavy, but I went with advice on the internet to have a more moist / sticky dough and not to be afraid of it. Well I am pleased to say this has really helped. I have now progressed to Sourdough, for the unitiatied amongst you, this bread raised with natural yeasts. I am into natural yeasts in a big way given that elderflower champagne uses natural yeast to create its sparkle. I have to keep feeding it for a week , before I bake with it.
I am hoping for a wonderfully flavourful bread , so lets see.
Further inspired by HFW (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall) on his recent River Cottage, a couple of weeks ago we set about our first real brew !
Early June saw us scouring our local hedgerows for young oak leaves to turn into wine. Apparently you need young leaves otherwise the end result can tan leather rather than produce drinkable wine, so following HFW recipes in his "A cook on the wildside" we started off the batch, initially in a large plastic bucket for its first ferment, and now in a demi john with airlock. So far so good, we have regualrly bubbles of C02 being given off, so the yeast is working. So will update you in a couple of months when we "rack" off into bottles and get to taste the fruits of our labours.