Monday, 7 July 2008

Bread and beauty

The gorgeous Abi has started a fabulous group over on Flickr called Day2Day- Take Five Ordinary Beauty.
It's made me start looking at things the way we were taught to when I was an art student, to see the beauty in the ordinary, to seek inspiration through the commonplace. Of course, back then, we didn't have digital cameras: we had sketchbooks and cameras with film *the music to the Hovis adverts starts up in the distance*
Anyhoots, here is my visual bounty for the past couple of weeks:

1. snack (d2d, day 1), 2. in the kitchen (d2d, day 1), 3. cworfeee (d2d, day 2), 4. in the night garden (d2d, day 3), 5. treasure (d2d, day 4), 6. bite (d2d, day 4), 7. day2day, day 5, 8. alium seed head2 (d2d, day1/week2), 9. alium seed head (d2d, day1/week2), 10. sunbathing lavender (d2d, day 2 week 2), 11. peppermill (D2D: 3/wk2), 12. waiting (d2d 3 week2), 13. i heart recycling (d2d: 4/2), 14. comfort eating (d2d: 5/2), 15. english summer (d2d: 1/03)

Would you like to know how to make that delicious looking bread from photo 14? Of course you would, for you are hungry for knowledge and easy-to-make baked produce. It's a Nigella recipe (oh, for a change...) from this tasty book.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I'll begin...
She's called it 'Lazy Loaf' but I prefer the far more catchy name of

'Sweet Mother of Holy Fuck! That is a Damn Simple Loaf to Both Make and Eat!'

200g ridiculously expensive but ridiculously tasty sugar-free muesli (I used Dorset Cereals Organic Fruit, Nuts and Seeds)
325g wholewheat bread flour
1 x 6g packet of easyblend yeast (or, in my case, a 7g sachet of Sainsbury's Fast Action Dried Yeast)
2 teaspoons Maldon salt or 1 tablespoon table salt
250ml semi-skimmed milk
250ml water

1. Mix together the muesli, flour yeast and salt in a bowl, although you could use a bucket or other recepticle should you wish, if you want to be a bit wierd. Here is how I stir:

2.Pour in the milk and water. I like to do it like this:

Obviously, if you have access to a cow on a diet (remember: its semi-skimmed milk we need here), you may want to administer it straight from the udder.

3. Mix this unholy cacophony of staples so that it looks like one mahoosive bowl of porridge, like this:

4. Grease or line a loaf tin and pour the porridgey goo in.
5. Put in a cold oven then put it on at 110*c / gas mark 1/4 for 45 minutes.
6. Turn the oven up to 180*c / gas mark 4 for 1 hour. Spend this time berating the fact that you didn't make it last night and should have had something for breakfast before embarking on this bread quest. Take the butter out of the fridge so that it is soft and ready (insert your own crude metaphor here)
7. Hallelujah! That annoying 'beep beep' of your timer heralds the dawning of the Age of Sweet Mother ... bread! Release the loaf from its 180*c prison and allow it to cool for, if you can manage it, a few minutes. Warm, fresh bread is fabulous: mouth burnt by fresh bread is tedious.
8. Slather in butter, jam or just adoration and try not to eat the whole loaf before your family gets home: that's the trickiest part.

Bon appetit!