Fri 26th November 21. First day with any real rain since Feb this year. A decent recipe for cauliflower with garlic and herbs I discovered yesterday, so we needed a Cauli. Off to the ‘Warehouse’ down the road a ways ands we come back with these beauties. Cauli, Lettuce, Apples and Almonds. Just what we needed.
The car was ‘In’ for service, so we were ‘Out’ for Lunch!
It was a beautiful day. The car needed a few things doing to her, a seal, and idler wheel and a change of fluids in brakes and rad. Sheila and I hate hanging around doing nothing and so we grabbed a bus down to Puerto Mogan for a spot of breakfast.
The idea was, we would have breakfast and a quick wander the get the bus somewhere else to see how the word was doing there too. The weather was too good for that though. In the end we stayed all day. Walking, talking, looking and loving. Eventually, it seemed a good idea to return before my mechanic gave up and sold the car!
Lovely day, lovely company and good food and drink. What more can a poor boy want!
Today, a little trip out. Just as far as the warehouse down the road. A sort of Aladdins Cave of treasures. We needed Charcoal for the Barbie, Firewood for the cooler evenings and some rocks for the rockery I’m building.
In February 2019, a while before we retired, we spent a happy and interesting day wandering around the grounds of Welford House near Newbury, England.
Welford has, quite possibly THE best display of Snowdrops in the UK. They claim it anyway.
It’s also a really beautiful location in Mid-Southern England. Streams abound, the grounds are huge of course and a Tea-Shop/Cafe provides some delicious hot or cold snacks to put back some of the heat lost on the frosty walks.
It’s not that far from our old home so we got there quite early, (for us), and were able to enjoy it for longer than many.
Bread making on a Sunday.
November 7th 2021. I thought I might be able to make a small video to show people just how easy it is to make bread at home.
Apart from a few issues with the video recorded on the iMac… it all went quite well….
This Recipe is Great!
This recipe is simple, quick and a great ‘Starter’ for Amateur Bakers. You don’t need to be afraid of this one!
“What do I need?” You ask… Well, of course, an oven is a great start! Metric Scales. A Bread Tin capable of taking an 800g loafAnd a stand Mixer for preference, but your hands will do!
A room at or about 20/24c, although this is not by any means desperately important… Anything above about 17c will work, either faster or slower depending on the temp.
P200 or “Strong Bread Flour”. 450g
Instant Yeast. 8g
Salt… of any kind. 3g
Sugar… again, any kind. 3g
Olive Oil. 30g
Apple Cider Vinegar 3g
Warm water. 282g
And that’s it! Combine them in the right order and Bread will happen.
Let’s assume, for a moment, you HAVE a Food Mixer. To the Mixer Bowl Add the Dry Goods
Flour, Yeast, Salt, Sugar.
Give it a stir with whatever you have to hand, Spoon, etc.
Now… To a Jug, bowl, big cup or bucket Add The Wet stuff.
Oil, Vinegar and Water
Find the Microwave…
Heat the Wet Ingredients until they’re WARM…. NOT Hot! If you can’t stick your finger in there without the nail falling off or melting, IT’S TOO HOT!
When you have got it nice and warm, add it to the Dry stuff. Again, using anything, give it a mix BEFORE you let the Mixer get involved. This stops the whole “Getting it off the ceiling” thing when you start the mixer.
Once you are happy it won’t fly everywhere, turn the mixer on. About ½ speed is usually fine.
Check it’s mixing and that it looks ok. Go make some tea, coffee, …. (Wine is ok but only AFTER you have got the stuff together in the bowl.)
You’ve got about 15/20 minutes before you need to take an interest UNLESS your Food Mixer is, like mine, a wanderer. If so, probably best to stay with it!
After the 15/20 minutes, you should be able to ‘Poke it quite meaningfully” with your index finger and it should bounce back.
Put a sprinkling of flour on your worktop/table/floor and tip the contents of the bowl out onto it.
At this point, it will resemble a lump of white clay. Treat it as such. You want it to be smooth, roughly the same shape as the baking tin and, if possible, INSIDE the tin.
Give the top a very light spray of cooking oil, Virgin Olive, for preference but Sunflower, Rapeseed or Crisco is fine.
DO NOT USE WD40 or 10w/30. It affects the taste.
Cover the whole thing with a tea-towel, kitchen paper or anything soft-ish. Don’t use cling film like the ‘Experts’ tell you. It sticks!
Leave it alone for between 35mins and 75mins, depending on the ambient temperature.
Go away. Remember the wine you left? That’s it… finish that. and some more.
About 15 minutes before the end of the time you have set to go and find it again, turn on the oven. 225c or 435f. Place a small, heatproof dish in the bottom of the oven.
When the mixture starts to get a bit too high in the tin, put it in the oven. Give it another spray, this time if water, just lightly enough to damp the top.
Into the little dish tip some water to create steam. This step isn’t strictly necessary, but the mark of a good baker is steamed up glasses and a red face.
Ok. Remember the wine again? You’ve got about 40mins this time.
40 minutes later… A loaf will now be nestling in the tin in your oven….. Well? Get the damn thing out! Put it on a wire rack, the windowsill or just leave it on the floor if you forgot to use oven gloves… Leave it to cool for a while.
After about an hour, eat the thing!
Now you’ve mastered the basic cooking needed, you can start to experiment with Tiger Bread, Giraffe Bread, Rolls, Cottages, French Bread, etc…. Good fun!
If you enjoyed this recipe, comment. If you have blinded yourself or removed the skin from your hands or even been arrested for DUI because of too much Wine…. Still comment. I shall deny liability for everything.
Tuesday 2nd November passed like many others as another happy, relaxed and warm day in our retirement.
Up at about 8.30am to make a Cup of Tea for my Lady. Then back to bed to drink it, read the papers, absorb the news and see what the day might have to offer.
The regular weekly call from our son came at the end of breakfast allowing us to digest our Boiled Eggs nicely. He calls from his lorry, usually to tell us he’s ‘on his way somewhere’ with yet another odd or unusual cargo. These calls can last fifteen minutes to around forty five if life has been interesting for one or both of us. Today, an hour discussing films, film people and the other things you would normally discuss over dinner were we all in the same house. As we are not, and not even on the same continent, we being on the African shelf out here, it all gets said in the weekly con-flab.
We have ‘Cool’ nights here… around 16 and down to about 12c at this time of year, so we have a BBQ which doubles as a Firepit in the evenings. Charcoal is all very well for heat but the charm of sitting by a flickering fire is a strong draw. Accordingly, we go out looking for ‘Firewood’ on the mountain… Fallen sticks, branches and fir-cones make a beautiful but rapid burning fire and they are plentiful, thus combining exercise for us, with a decent supply of burnables, the ash from which goes into the garden and makes great fertiliser.
Of course, this wonderful Island is so warm during the day…..
And so, we wandered for an hour or so. Found enough of various sizes to fill our wood box and keep us warm.
To our great surprise, someone is building a brand new Camping and Picnic Area here, right on our doorstep. A huge one at that. Its well progressed so I guess it’s been building a long while.
And so, with wood, sun warmed skin and relaxed, happy Sheila, we made our way back down the road to home, just in time to ready ourselves for our Tuesday evening dinner and Cinema evening.
Tonights film was, The Last Duel. A true story of a Knight and his Lady in 1386 defying the traditional view that Rape never happened at the hand, (Or other parts), of a nobleman. Grin and bear it was what you had to do at that time because, if you were found to have claimed rape and there was any way you could be proved a liar, and there were oh so many, many ways of proving that, you took around three days to die!
Very good film. Very thought provoking for a lot of reasons. Go see it.