Thursday, 5 January 2012

Black Bread, Borscht and Back to Normality

Hello! It has been a while! I don't think I have had a free second for the past three weeks...but seeing as my house guests are having a lie-in this morning I thought I would take advantage of the quiet house and sit down and share a little something.

The past three weeks have been full of family, good food, laughter, drinks, long walks, blustery winds and...well...overindulgence.  I won't sit here and make you jealous with a long list of incredible food I've eaten and gifts I have received, but I will say that sitting under the tree just waiting for me was my much pined for copy of Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet.  Finally!

It was at the top of my wish list (and mentioned in a few not-so-subtle notes left around the house) and lovely Davey took notice and there it was waiting for me on Christmas Morning.  I asked for Short and Sweet in good has been touted all over the blogosphere for the past few months and Dan's Guardian recipes are mentioned over and over again on twitter.  Asking for a book without perusing it first is a risk...but not in this case.  I can honestly say that I anticipate making every recipe in the book...

And so I got started...

Yesterday's weather (and the weeks of overindulgence) had my body screaming for a supper of soup and bread and...nutrients. Thinking about it I am not sure what came to mind first...the bread or the soup...but  either way they managed to compliment each other really nicely.  Borscht and Dan Lepard's Black Bread.

On paper this bread sounds out of this world...for real...I mean the ingredient list includes treacle, coffee, cocoa, carrot and fennel seed...huh?? Well, I trust Dan (no photo of the loaf in the I just had to dive right in) and I have to say I wasn't let down.

The dough is really sticky and I was a bit nervous about it actually being cooked through, but once it was cooled the bread turned into a really soft but dense loaf with a deep treacly flavour.  Dan suggests substituting honey or golden syrup for the treacle and I think that I might try that next time.  This bread can stand up to some really strong flavours, we had it slathered with cream cheese and topped with smoked peppered mackerel, cucumber and red onion...a sort of stand in for dark rye.

Served with a thick borscht and plain yoghurt with the wind and rain battering the windows I felt energised, I felt nourished, I felt back to normal.


  1. lovely description! that bread looks really wonderful. I can't remember the last time I put plain old boring sugar in a loaf of bread, treacle works better every time in my opinion!

  2. I must say that bread and soup looks delicious. I'm sure it tastes as good as it looks. I'm afraid i am not guite so adventurous as you, although i did make some broccoli and stilton soup the other day and it tasted good. Happy New Year to you ........xx

  3. Thumbs up on both the bread and the soup, a lot of work went into making Short & Sweet so I am delighted that you are so pleased with it!

  4. It looks like a gorgeous loaf - I love the colour and texture of it. I think I'd be wary of all those different flavours too, so it's good to hear they work well together!

  5. It looks super, and the pepper mackerel sounds perfect with it. I have the book but have only made some pastry so far, it was great, but I forgot to photograph the mince pies, one for next Christmas perhaps!
    Happy New Year to you, Jude x

  6. immediately caught my attention with the title black bread!! looks liek it turned out fantastic. Also made borscht 2 days ago and was wishing for some good bread to dip into it, gahhhh.