My first attempt at a ciabatta.
One of the advantages of being an embittered, reclusive sociophobe, with nought but the Radio Times for companionship, is that you do have plenty of time for cooking - especially on a Bank Holiday weekend when the new meds have just started to kick in. Kitchen-wise it was so on this weekend at Skint House.
Apart from anything else, I was into days 3-5 of nurturing two new sourdough starters - a strong wholemeal one and a strong white one (the photos are of day 5).
On Saturday I found Richard Bertinet's ciabatta recipe here on this Canadian blog. I especially loved the part of the video where he shows how to stretch the dough prior to proving and thought 'hello, I fancy a bit of that!'. And really, for a first attempt, it didn't turn out half bad.
On Sunday I picked up this bad boy for £1.99 and got 3 litres of glorious chicken stock out of it; and there were, of course, meals aplenty - and five of the recipes are included below.
But the great discovery for me this weekend was a cake that proved something of a hit at the inaugural meeting, last Wednesday evening, of the Band of Bakers - an informal gathering which provides 'for people in South East London who love baking to get together and share their latest creations over a few drinks' The event was held at Bambuni. If you live in the SE15/SE22 area and haven't yet been to this cracking deli/coffee shop then shame on you. You can see what you're missing from these photos of the event. I didn't go myself (there's a strict lockdown policy in force here at Skint House) but word soon got around that a chap called Charlie had brought along a stunning rhubarb and ginger cake. Then, the very next day, he shared the recipe here on their blog. A grateful nation salutes you, big man.
I realised recently that it was getting a bit clumsy to have links to different recipe categories and then have to scroll down through a dozen or more recipes each time you wanted to find one particular dish.
So, now, each one of the 200 plus recipes has its own individual page, links to which can be found in the recipe index. I reckon that makes things a bit neater.
L: Rocamadour (£1.55 each 35g); C: Childwickbury (£6.95 each 200g round); R: Tomme Bluette Chevre (£2.30 per 100g)
A seasonally apt all goat's milk trio of cheeses this time around - springtime on a plate. For me, the star of the show was undoubtedly the Childwickbury - smooth, spreadable and milky, slightly lemon zesty, it's probably the cheese God uses on his bagels instead of Philadelphia.
You can't see it from the photo (I think they're on the underside) but there are a few blue veins on the chunk of Tomme Bluette - however, to taste, you'd hardly know it was a blue cheese at all (or, indeed, a chevre). I loved it as it was, but I'd be interested in trying it when more fully veined.
The Rocamadour was the only one of the three instantly identifiable as a goat's milk cheese, and had been perfectly aged. Its intensity made a nice contrast to the freshness of the Childwicksbury and the smoothness of the tomme.
This lot cost £7.55 - five pence over our imposed limit. But £3.50 of that was for the half portion of Childwickbury and it was so worth it. If the wedge of tomme had hit the scales at 100g, we'd have been fifteen pence under, so I think we can allow an overspend just this once.
The following notes are, as ever, courtesy of Robbyn Linden from The Cheeseboard, the corner (literally - see below) shop of my dreams.
SHORTLISTED FOR FOOD BLOG OF THE YEAR 2014