* The recent cold winter weather has brought some unexpected treats in recent days, beautiful winter walks and plenty of opportunities to sample some thoroughly stodgy fare. My friend Liza came to visit us from Sweden and we have delighted in having an excuse to increase our winter walks and sample some local culinary delights.
* This week saw us hiking on the shores of Lake Windermere amongst a thick blanket of snow, stopping for a winter picnic of local delights, including Eccles Cakes and pork pies. Liza had brought us a present of mats made from sheepskin and I can honestly say that this was the most comfortable lunch stop we’ve ever experienced during a winter hike !
* The woods around the shores of the lake were truly stunning , sounds were muffled by the layers of snow and the air was crisp and clean. We descended into Near Sawrey and spent a few moments showing Liza the home of Beatrix Potter. In the garden a trail had been prepared for junior visitors, this was just delightful, especially if like CC and I, you love rabbits !
* On the home front we have adopted a cat from our local rescue centre, she is an absolute treasure and sits contentedly purring on every available lap. As you can see,she has CC trained perfectly already!
* The cold weather has also brought the perfect excuse for baking, we made a large batch of bread using ‘The Cook’s Book’. Frankly, although comprehensive in its methods, I’ve rarely encountered a more complicated recipe for such a simple item ! In the past the only bread I have made is Soda bread, which is child’s play and I heartily recommend trying this to enjoy with homemade soup or spread thickly with butter and honey.
Recipe For Soda Bread
1 tsp Baking Soda
1lb white bread flour (450g)
1 level teaspoon of salt
– Preheat oven to 230C
– Sieve flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl.
– Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk.
– Spread your fingers to form a large fork shape and use these to mix in the buttermilk, drawing flour from the sides of the bowl. the dough will be a very sticky consistency – do not overmix !
– Gently roll into a large ball with floury hands. Pat gently into a round approx. 2″ high.
– Place your dough on a lightly floured baking sheet, with a sharp knife cut a deep cross into the dough. Prick the four triangles made with a knife ( to let the fairies out !)
– Put in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 200C, then bake for a further 25 minutes.
– The bread is ready when you can tap the bottom and the sound is hollow.
– Wrap in a teatowel immediately for a softer crust.