Sourdough Diaries: The Start(er) of Something Beautiful

A few people have asked me “Whatever happened to that sourdough starter you were harping on about?”. Well, not necessarily in those words. I may have slipped a little defensive self-deprecation in there for good measure.

Well, I’m pleased to confirm that the starter has started starting, and indeed continued to start. In starting terms, it’s off to a startlingly good start. Ahem.

The loaf pictured above is my first ever sourdough loaf. To say I was pleased would miss out ecstatic, smug, and as surprised as you. It used a 60:30:10 blend of strong white, strong wholemeal, and rye flours. Essentially, I “adapted” Dan Lepard’s Mill Loaf recipe. And by “adapted” I mean “misread”. Continue reading

Must Try Harder

Were this blog a child, the social would have swept in days ago and removed it from the neglectful care of its cruel and distracted keeper. My only excuse is both fair and devoid of joy – job hunting. Is there any more soul-sapping, tedious, and frequently demeaning process in the lives of your average westerner? Forgive me if this seems overstated, but I’m sure most of you know just what I mean.

I’ll get to proper articles when I have more than a snatched half-hour here or there, I promise. ‘Till then, I’ll tell you about some sarnies (with both capital and small s) that I’ve guzzled down my gob-hole of late.

Whilst visiting London in order to play a gig with my band, Joyce the Librarian, I decided to kill some time between my absurdly early megabus and the sound check at the Slaughtered Lamb, by hitting up Borough Market for a browse and a bite of lunch. Unfortunately, in a typical out-of-towner fashion, I was unaware that it was “closed” on Sundays. Fortunately, and doubtless not coincidentally, Cafe Brood was open for business as usual, and so the journey was not wasted. I had a rather fabulous wrap of Chorizo & Haloumi, with all the trimmings.

Two desert-island ingredients in one package? Wrap-win.

Now, the chances are I’m preaching to the sandwich-choir here, but for those that haven’t had one of these, I highly recommend it should you be in the area. As to how it stands up to the competition the rest of the week, I can’t say, but for me it seemed that I snatched delicious victory from the jaws of hungry defeat.

On the home-front, I turned a few slices of a home-baked sourdough loaf  into a Reuben, to which I was first introduced by Ground in Brighton. Salt beef, sauerkraut, gherkins and emmental, along with Russian dressing, on a brown rye-specked sourdough was a Saturday-lunchtime treat to write home about. Except I was at home, so I’ll write to the internet. Hello internet – it was yumsome!

I also had the left over dressing with some left over chicken from our Sunday Roast. That was also tasty.

That’ll have to do you for now, I fear. Proper posts forthcoming, I promise.

Lentil-Stuffed Flatbreads; My Inaugural #ShortandTweet Adventure

You poor, neglected, breadheads. Anyone would think I cared not-a-jot for your burning desire for half-baked bread-based puns and amateur phone-based sarnie-snaps. But fear not, I have not forgotten you, I’ve just been building up to a content-fest. Oh yes. Oh, and celebrating my birthday. That too.

About that: it will come as no surprise to you, dear readers, that I’ve become a little obsessed by baking bread. So what else could a man ask for on the anniversary of his birth than a 40x30cm slab of granite, with bevelled edge and a polished top? Well, a copy of Dan Lepard’s “Short and Sweet”, that’s what. I am now the proud owner of both a beautiful baking stone, and what must surely be the modern bakers bible. Lovely jubbly. Thanks all!

And it is the latter that, as well as providing a cornucopia of new recipes to try (as well as ways to ruin my weight-loss regime before it’s begun), allows me to join in with the wonderful sorts who organise the #ShortandTweet bake-along. Each week, two or three recipes from the book are selected, announced on twitter (hence the hashtag), and then various members of the baking tweetisphere make the recipe, tweet about it, and very often, blog about it. Then the results are summarised on the short and tweet tumblr blog.

This week, I chose to make the lentil-stuffed flatbreads. Partly because I really enjoy flatbreads, and partly because I already had everything in. What? I’m a busy man. Sort of. Continue reading