You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘sourdough’ tag.

Sourdough proving

I’ve probably said it before, but Mr Rigg is the baker in our family.  I think mainly because I just told him he was going to be, and he’s got on with it, and does it quite well now.  It’s one of those skills that improves each time you do it, so it doesn’t make sense for me to attempt a handmade loaf of bread (I’m sure I could manage the ‘bung the ingredients in the bread machine’ version).

For his birthday, I bought Mr Rigg a kilner jar of sourdough started from Hobbs House Bakery.  With me attempting to avoid yeast as much as possible, I really wanted to encourage him to try a sourdough, and we are now onto our third loaf.

Homemade sourdough bread fresh from the oven

The first couple we had teething issues with – Mr Rigg and I both like to try something once and be perfect at it instantly, or we usually give up.  They seem to cook too quickly on the outside but not on the middle, they were still too undercooked in the centre, and just general niggles like that.

I’m pleased to say Mr Rigg has persevered, and last week’s loaf was a great improvement.  As you can see in the pictures above and below, it rose well in the oven and had a good texture inside.  Right in the middle we discovered it was still a little sticky and could have baked for a little longer – but we are learning, and improving, and most importantly not giving up.

Homemade sourdough

The only downside is that I’m finding it difficult to cut out wheat with all this delicious bread floating around the kitchen, something I’m attempting to do as part of my pregnancy.  I’m determined that my final month of being pregnant will be wheat and gluten free, so perhaps we won’t be baking in August.

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Scrambled eggs on toast with garden herbs

Sometimes it takes the simplest of meals to remind you what real, good food actually is.  I had this revelation last night as I tucked into my dinner for one of scrambled eggs on toast.

Mr Rigg was away for the night and my dinner choice was based on the fact that I really couldn’t be arsed to make anything more just for myself.  We have a lovely farm up the road who produce organic eggs, so I always have a large tray of their eggs on hand for quick meals.

Picking chives in the garden

This time I had treated myself to some of their white Leghorn eggs, which I scrambled in my own sweet fashion – melt a healthy amount of raw butter in a saucepan, crack the eggs directly into the hot butter without whisking prior (I had two whole eggs and an extra yolk).  Next I turn the heat down and let the eggs cook a little in the butter without touching them, then I use a spoon to break them up.  This way you end up a mixture of quite distinct ‘white’ and ‘yolk’ but also some standard pale yellow scramble as well.

I considered skimming some cream off the top of our raw milk to add to the pan of eggs, cream in scrambled eggs is divine – don’t bother with milk! Anyway, that seemed like too much effort, so I just seasoned with salt and pepper and added generous amounts of snipped mint and chives from the garden, plus some pretty purple chive flowers.

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This is a fantastic new website with a map tool to help you find ‘real bread’ and locally produced flour near you.  Just pop in your postcode and it shows you places nearby that sell high quality bread and local flour. 

Here’s my map (click on it for a larger version):

There’s some places I’ve not heard of before that I’d like to go, and there’s some places that I knew baked their own bread, but I didn’t know how good they were at sourcing local ingredients.  This website gives you a series of ‘ticks’ for most places next to each of their loaves of bread.

The Smokehouse near us looks like this (click on it for a larger version)…

Website: www.realbreadcampaign.org

For Christmas Eve dinner we like to eat a baked Camembert and nothing else.  It is pure indulgence and feels very wicked, but it is a tradition of our own making and it feels like something special.

We bake the Camembert in its box – just take the lid off and pull open the paper.  This time I scored the cheese with a cross, added a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a garlic clove, sliced in half and wedged into the cut cheese. 

After about 15-20 minutes it comes out as gooey liquid cheese encased in its rind – which is my favourite part of it.  It goes a bit crispy but chewy at the same time.

Usually we just have a bowl of rustic bread, roughly cut into hunks to dip into the cheese.  This year we also opened a jar of Real Ale chutney to go with it. 

Although I can be a purist when it comes to dishes like this, refusing to dilute the taste of hot runny cheese and bread, I must admit a dab of chutney with it was delicious.

We ate it in front of a cosy log fire…

Does anyone else have Christmas traditions they’ve created for themselves?

Mr Rigg is home from work, we’ve got the Christmas carol’s on, the Camembert is out of the fridge ready for tonight’s baked Camembert cheese fondue, and I am feeling tremendously Christmassy.

Our night before Christmas involves eating a lot of gooey cheese with chunks of sourdough bread and going to midnight mass at our favourite little village church in Dunham Massey.  And we have snow.

Wishing everyone a very happy night before Christmas!

Image: Pretty Little Green Things

mushroom pate on sourdough bread

mushroom pate on sourdough bread

Simple.  Easy to make.  And delicious.  I could quite happily eat this from the bowl until none is left.  But it’s also quite good on fresh sourdough bread or toast.

We used, what is possibly my favourite bread, French Campilou, a sourdough loaf from Barbakan (www.barbakan-deli.co.uk).

French Campilou bread :: Barbakan Deli, Manchester ::

French Campilou bread :: Barbakan Deli, Manchester ::

I am not that good at measuring things out, and for a recipe like this I don’t think you need to be exact. I used a glug of wine, and roughly the right weight of creme fraiche and cream cheese, but just added more to suit how I wanted it to taste. These are the joys of cooking.

Mushroom Pate

Serves 4 -5

1 small onion or 2 medium-sized shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200g (or more) fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tbsp dry white wine
75g creme fraiche
100g cream cheese
large knob of butter
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onion and garlic and cook until soft.

Add the mushrooms, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook on a medium heat until the juice from the mushrooms has almost gone.

Pour in the glug of wine and cook until its evaporated. Transfer the mushrooms mixture to a bowl and let it cool.

When it has completely cooled, you can blitz it up – a coarse texture is nice. Finally, you stir in the creme fraiche and cream cheese and mix until its all incorporated.

Taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed. At this point you can put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to let it set, or just smear it onto some fresh bread and enjoy!

This recipe is taken and adapted slightly from A Year of Family Recipesby Lesley Wild of Bettys (www.bettys.co.uk).

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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