Well, because if there was one thing Blue being ill taught me it was to live for the moment. Now that he's had the all clear, there seems to be even more reason to do so, and given that we've had lots and lots of this
which has led to lots more of this
But still. It's been ages since I did a random recipe, and this is the 40th challenge set by Dom at Belleau Kitchen: take the 40th book on the shelf, turn to the 40th page and cook it.
Since the move, my cookery books have been even more dispersed than they were before, and of course, I no longer have my lovely shelf. I started counting in the kitchen and ended up at number 40 in the study with The River Cottage Family Cook Book by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Fizz Carr.
This is not so much a recipe book of family food, as cooking and kitchen related projects for children to undertake. I like it, and it's good for back to basics stuff as well as more challenging projects, including things like making your own sausages, which we have done with the kids. It's got some good stuff about food politics, about reducing waste all that good stuff you'd expect from a book of this provenance, but it's not patronising or preachy.
I pretty much knew where page 40 was going to take me before I'd opened the book - somewhere in the 'Flour' section which includes gems such as home made pasta, sourdough and pastry. And what do you know, page 40 - plain and simple "A Loaf of Fresh White Bread". Actually, page 40 was the pictures, the recipe was on page 41.
I've never used this recipe, and to be honest, it includes both oil and sugar (or honey) which I've long since ommitted from my own bread making. But rules is rules, so I made up the dough using the ingredients specified.
Where I did deviate, though, was in the kneading (or not). I've become more and more aware of the 'no knead' method of bread making, and having had massive success with this to-die-for Cardigan Bay Buns temptation (which I urge you to try) using the no knead technique, I decided to try a Dan Lepard 'hardly any knead' version on this bread recipe.
It's a revelation: with barely any kneading - just a brief flurry of folds and turns every 10 minutes for half an hour, followed by a 45 minute rise, you get awesome bread. Every brief knead the dough take on more structure, the resulting loaf is light, the crust crusty, the crumb, well, crumby. Just right.