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 faith...it 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 book...so 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.