Sunday 3 February 2008

Baking day

I'm trying a new way of making bread - new to me, that is - in a cast iron pot. It comes from campfire cooking in a Dutch Oven (yes, a cast iron pot) and requires no kneading at all. So far so good. The dough was mixed last night and left in the boiler cupboard for 14 hours, and is now on its second rising under a tea towel. It is a very slow process, but almost effortless. I shall document its progress and post pictures, regardless of the results. I have borrowed Maggie's hugely expensive Le Creuset casserole for the occasion. Who, I have to wonder, thought of violent orange as a colour to complement any kitchen?

Yesterday I made some maple and pecan scones, using the maple syrup my Canadian friend Shelagh sent me, which comes in a cute little retro tin with a screw top, and they were very very delicious. I couldn't photograph them as I found my camera battery was flat, and well, a warm scone won't wait for a charger, now, will it. I have eaten 3 so far, and the rest are in the freezer for my own safety.

Shelagh told me a wonderful story of how, as children in Montreal, they would make an annual excursion to watch the trees being tapped, the sap boiled up into syrup, and then poured, boiling hot, over snow, and wrapped round wooden sticks, to be eaten like toffee. That got me thinking about things we foraged for and ate when we were children: vinegar leaves are what I remember most clearly, which I suppose were a wild sorrel-type plant. Not in the same league as maple toffee snow, alas. But next time we have snow, I might be out there with an ice lolly stick and a cup of hot maple syrup. Stand by!

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