Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Misty mornings and utter mortification


I'm loving the darkening of the season.  Cold, damp, misty mornings.  Low sun and early sunsets.  Long indoor evenings.

Quilts are out.



Pigs are in.


A few seasonal blooms.  I love the leaves on this little cyclamen.  And the way the buds unfurl.  And the way they flower in the darkest days of the year.  Tough, but incredibly beautiful and delicate looking.


I found a book on bread at the library.


Turns out it is rather brilliant (and I'm not being paid to say that).  I picked it up because of the chapter on sourdough, and I've really learned so much from it.  I tried sourdough once before, but it was like a brick.  Now, I do believe I've cracked it.  It's all explained in quite a lot of detail, but James Morton also takes quite a relaxed attitude to making it.

I started with some easy (non-sourdough) rolls that everyone loved.


Then I moved on to Advanced White Bread.  Fancy huh?


First I made a sourdough starter, which took a couple of days.  In fact it seems to be getting livelier the older it is.  Here's the flour and water stage.


Then I kneaded some dough and left it to rise.  It really amazed me how bubbly it was.


I don't have a picture of the finished thing, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Yesterday I made a sourdough overnight in the bread machine, and it honestly is amazing how much it rises without any ordinary packet yeast in it at all.


No yeast!

There are lots of other ideas I'd like to try.


I love the idea of natural yeasts, which are left to prove for much longer than ordinary dried yeast.  The book says that once you have a sourdough starter it can be used in pretty much any bread.  In the meantime it's sat in the kitchen quietly bubbling away, and being fed once a day to keep it going.

Last night was parents' evening at school.  We all went together.  During the littlest's turn we were having a light-hearted chat about being good.  Jokingly he said that Daddy is naughty.  The eldest, to my horror, piped up and said, "Mummy's really naughty, she swears all the time!"  I was literally left speechless.  I really don't, I promise, although a bad word may have slipped out a couple of days before which was probably what he was referring to.   I sat there in front of the teacher going pink, then red and wishing the floor would open up and swallow me.  It was actually like being back at school.  I'm sure I will be the talk of the staffroom now.  "Of course, you know his mother swears all the time, it explains a lot."  I'm actually a pretty quiet person, so they probably also have me down as some sort of psychopathic Jekyll and Hyde character as well.  Careful not to set her off.  Sigh.  I spent the rest of the time in a bit of a trance.  No idea what any of the children are doing at school at all.  Mostly I was concentrating on not swearing.

54 comments:

  1. I think I may have sworn a little bit, when I got them back home...

    ReplyDelete
  2. As an ex primary teacher I have heard worse about what parents get up to!!!

    James Morton was in Great British Bake Off one year wasn't he? Must admit I'm not a short day and damp weather fan!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sue. He was indeed, he reached the final I think.

      Delete
  3. Out of the mouths of babes! I shouldn't be unduly worried about it, CJ. I can tell you things from my time in the classroom that would make your hair curl (curlier)! I'm inspired by the sourdough experiments. I don't make enough of my own bread. I tend to eat it. All. By myself.

    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Leanne, I hope she takes it with a pinch of salt. The sourdough has been quite a revelation. Amazingly bubbly, after my first failed attempt. It fascinates me, I'm often to be found peering into the bowl and trying to get any passing small boy to be amazed with me.

      Delete
  4. Oh no! I'm sure the teacher didn't think twice about it, though, and knows he was just joking around. Those kids will keep you on your toes:) I hope baking some delicious bread helped take your mind off it. Those rolls look delicious! Hope you're having a wonderful day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, I hope so, but he did say it in a very deadpan voice. Hoping you're having a good weekend too Kari.

      Delete
  5. Oh bless - kids! Mine are always dropping me in it...though on a positive note, your bread looks absolutely lovely.

    Nina x

    ReplyDelete
  6. Last night at supper my friend's son piped up that he has a rash--on his bum! Tee hee! His poor dad was purple. I'm sure the teacher thinks, like most of us, that if the worst a parent is doing is accidentally swearing sometimes, then that child is lucky indeed. I so enjoy your blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can always rely on boys to make you laugh. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog, thank you so much for visiting.

      Delete
  7. That cookery book looks very interesting. I made some sourdough and after feeding it for 7 days you then had to throw half way before using it was a disaster after that happened. Your bread looks so good. Did you make the quilts too?
    Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It took me a couple of goes to get the hang of what sourdough needs. I did make the quilts, the tops are sewn by hand and the quilting was done on the machine.

      Delete
  8. Hi CJ, your story about school is hysterical. I am sure the teachers hear all sorts of very funny things. Love your bread, I think I can smell it all the way over here in Florida.
    Hugs to you,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Meredith, I'm sure you're right.

      Delete
  9. I love this post - the story, the pictures, everything! Well, I'm sorry for the part where you were mortified.

    My husband started baking bread, and then sourdough bread, and when there is a week where he doesn't get to it, I'm so disappointed ...

    Thanks for stopping by my blog - I really like yours!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting here too Bridget, and for your nice comments.

      Delete
  10. In my teaching days, I heard some really scary things. I am sure you're doing just fine. I'm glad you're getting into bread, isn't it fun? We've had our current sourdough starter for almost seven years and it's wonderful to have around. Have fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the reassurance Jennifer. Bread is indeed fun - fantastic that you've had a sourdough starter for seven years, I'm impressed!

      Delete
  11. Teachers must hear all sorts of things from the children in their class, I certainly wouldn't worry about a few swear words, even if you do say them "all the time". The bread looks delicious, I've never made sourdough. Lucky little piggies getting an indoor hutch, our bunnies stay outside through winter but we bring them near the house and we make sure they're nice and warm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Piggies aren't as tough I don't think. They don't much like it below about 10 degrees C. Apparently it halves their life expectancy if they stay outside during the winter. I always like bringing them in out of the cold and the draughts. They do have some outside time on the grass when the weather is okay though.

      Delete
  12. Oh I love everything about this post. I too love the darkening time of year: misty mornings and quilts. I also will have to check out that book. Sounds fabulous!

    Oh and our children say the darndest things! xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think I might look for this book in my library. I'm looking to make something for Thanksgiving that will be a little out of the ordinary. Although, I hope I can put it together even half as good as you have here. Nicely done! Also, I love the quilts you have out. How cozy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Devon, we're really needing them here now. It's headed towards zero at night (that's 32 F), so it's nice to have something extra over the top of the duvet, expecially for the little people.

      Delete
  14. A post for the time of year what with quilts and bread making.
    I had to laugh at your last paragraph. Flighty xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I can just about laugh about it now!

      Delete
  15. Oh children, dont they drop you in it ;). Your sourdough bread looks wonderful, I had a starter on the go a few years ago but I neglected it and it died sadly I might have another go one day....

    ReplyDelete
  16. Meant to add, I'm sure those teachers know how to read a person's character. I'm sure they could tell that you aren't the "swearing all the time" type. Also, they of all people probably know (and experience) kids saying ridiculous things! It will eventually turn into another funny story to tell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do hope so. I did suggest to him that he find her the next day and tell her that I most certainly do not swear all the time! I think he did regret saying it when I explained afterwards that she might believe that of me now.

      Delete
  17. I once got stopped by a policeman doing 34 on a 30 zone. When the guy approached the car No 1 proceeded to tell him that I drive super fast all the time and never within the speed limits.... he was 3. (which is sooo not true by the way). Needless to say I got fined!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no-o-o-o! I think that tops mine. I'm thinking the policeman probably had a laugh about it afterwards though.

      Delete
  18. Hi CJ, just popped over and so glad I have! What a feast for the eye's - your blog is beautiful! The book will be going on my wish list...I am smiling widely at your parent's evening experience whilst feeling for you at the same time ;) Kid's eh? xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lynn for visiting. Glad you have enjoyed it.

      Delete
  19. Our guineas are indoors now too, they are such pampered pets!
    Oh dear I bet the teachers had a good laugh at your 'swearing' they've heard worse stories I'm sure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ours are pampered too I think, but they are so sweet they deserve it.

      Delete
  20. Hi CJ, I thought I recognised that man on the cover and yes, he won the Great British Bake Off last year and was brilliant! I must get that book! Parent's Evenings, oh dear! I have a bit of a reputation at my kids' school and I'm afraid that I get the teachers to explain their actions to me. I spoke to one last week on the phone and started off by saying 'have I met you?' to which he replied 'OH YES!'. Oh dear!! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm laughing. It's good that you're so involved!

      Delete
  21. I love this time of you year too and your photos capture it so well. I love the pretty cyclamen, it is so lovely to see a little bit of colour. That books looks wonderful, as does your attempts!! Very impressive xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  22. Beautiful quilt. Will you share your bread recipes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Endah. I might do a post on the sourdough and the other bread I've made, but I don't always measure carefully, and it tends to be done by instinct rather than as an exact science!

      Delete
  23. That bread looks so good. I have had the most wonderful wNder around your blog "thank you"
    The quits are stunning also!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Linda, and thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Kids do like to drop you in it don't they!

    The bread book looks fab ... I saw a snippet about it on television when they were following up last years Bake Off contestants but it's good to have an impartial review. I think I might treat a couple of folk I know to a copy for Christmas, it's well within the £10 limit I set.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a useful book, I do like to have things explained, I find it really helps.

      Delete
  26. Your bread looks delicious in your lovely photos. I love Cyclamens, too. They do help to brighten up a winter.
    I had to smile at the comment from your eldest. Just the sort of thing to make you speechless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed it was. I said quite a bit when I got home though.

      Delete
    2. Yap, really delicious in your lovely photos. I am feeling hungry... haha :)

      Clipping Path , Clipping Path Service , Photo Retouching Service ,and Image masking Service

      Delete
  27. Oh no! I'm sure the teacher was relieved that some of their parents are actual real human beings! I swear a lot (not in front of the kids!) but I do love a good swear now and then. Very bad of me, I know. That first photo of the misty morning is just fantastic, and your rolls look amazing. x

    ReplyDelete
  28. haha how mortifying. I must remember that flower for winter. Last year I planted something that was meant to bloom in December, and there was still nothing by March. Was so disappointed!

    ReplyDelete