Photo from Bankside across the Thames, Summer Bank Holiday 2014
The way I usually make bread is that I make a bunch of loaves every other week and freeze them so we always have nearly fresh bread – a loaf that has been frozen freshly after cooling down and then is thawed in the microwave is definitely nicer than a days old loaf, and much more achievable than baking every day.
I’ll start with a fairly new creation I have come up with when I had a lot of sourdough starter to go through, but our freezer had died so I had no way of keeping a large amount of bread.
So I made a very dark and heavy, pure sourdough bread. It is based on my rye only sourdough starter, and made with wholemeal rye and wheat flour, sunflower seeds, linseed and mixed rolled grains – I use Holland and Barretts’ muesli base, hence the name of the bread.
After a couple of iterations, I came up with the following recipe that yields a moist and rich bread with a noticeable but mild acidity – perfect if you love German or Eastern European wholemeal breads, but aren’t a fan of the really sour tasting varieties.
400g rye sourdough starter
100g wholemeal rye flour
200g strong wholemeal wheat flour
100g mixed rolled grains
100g sunflower seeds
Work all the ingredients to a smooth dough, preferably in a bowl as the dough is a bit on the wet and sticky side. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for 6-8h – I do this overnight.
Work again quickly, shape into a longish loaf, roll in rolled grains and put it in a greased baking tin (I use a fairly big, long one). Cover with a cloth and leave to prove for 1.5h. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250°C. After proving, mist the oven with some water and bake the bread in the tin for 35 minutes, reducing the heat to 220°C after 5 minutes.
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Assorted breakfast cereals, ceramic bowls, retail grade display fridge
I found this in the canteen of a large institution in London. This installation is recreated every morning to supply the employees with ice cold breakfast flakes. I did not investigate how cooling affected the crunchiness of the flakes.
For the vegetables:
2 stalks of celery
1/8 of a celeriac
All diced to about 1 cm
4 cloves of garlic
1 small red chilli, de-seeded
Pinch of ground cumin
A large handful of each dill, parsley, fresh coriander and basil, roughly chopped
3 tbsp tahin
1/2 preserved lemon, flesh discarded and peel finely chopped
Add a good glug of olive oil, the vegetables, garlic, chilli and cumin to a deep frying pan and put on a medium heat. Fry for about 5 min, then salt lightly and cover. Keep cooking over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti al dente. If the vegetables threaten to run dry, add some water from the pasta.
You can wash and chop the herbs while the pasta is cooking.
Put the tahin in a small bowl, and add some pasta water spoon by spoon, stirring all the time until it has the consistency of a runny batter.
When the pasta is done, drain it adding a good bit of the water to the veg – you want to see a bit of liquid, but the vegetables should not be floating. Mix the pasta, the tahin, the herbs and the lemon carefully into the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper to taste – you might not need any salt as the pasta water should be quite salty. Rest covered for a couple of minutes for the tastes to blend, then serve hot.