Taking Stock – March

Making: a plan to try acupuncture. I can’t seem to do any amount of crochet or knitting at the mo. I’ve given up knitting the monthly dishcloths for now

Cooking: Oat & Pecan Cookies

Sipping: Twinings English Breakfast tea

Reading: Another Life by Jodie Chapman – this was the book I mentioned before. I got an Advanced Reader Copy, lucky me! It’s published tomorrow. The tale of Anna & Nick was really compelling, especially as it’s the author’s debut novel. I found it hard to put down

Waiting: to be able to travel freely

Looking: at all the anemones, grape hyacinth & pink tulips which have magically appeared in our garden

Listening: to Lo Vas A Olvidar by Billy Eilish & Rosalia on Spotify. It’s beautiful

Wishing: we could return to normal, but I think it’s a long way off

Enjoying: some sunnier days

Appreciating: being back at home. March has been very stressful, I was away for 10 days

Eating: lots of veggies this week

Liking: Schitt’s Creek I know, I am so late to the party!

Loving: Cinnamon buns with St Clements glaze. I won’t try anymore CB recipes – this enriched buttery dough is the bees knees

Buying: mixed peel & raisins to make Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday

Managing: fine, with some sleep now

Watching: the New Taskmaster series on C4

Hoping: I get to catch up with lots of friends from now on

Wearing: scruffs – a furry fleecy lined hood! Up, so have a cosy head. Not a great look but it’s comfy

Following: embroidery videos on Instagram. Addictive viewing, very calming too

Noticing: Spring has Sprung. Yippee!

Sorting: clothes, with rising temps forecast my Seasalt short sleeved tops will be coming out. It’s going to be 21 degrees, then back to 10, but wow that’s mini summer for us… The smell of thousands and thousands BBQ will be all over the land soon

Getting: Glitter Gel Pens for Easter instead of chocolate, maybe

Bookmarking: that TikTok Baked Feta Pasta recipe, why have I only just read about it? Have you tried it?

Coveting: new clothes

Feeling: relaxed

Hearing: Richard Marks singing his massive hit (sad) song

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Thanks to Pip who provided the original inspiration for these Taking Stock posts years ago. I still like reading hers.

Tell me a few things about your March?

Artisan Bread

I’ve seen this recipe on Pinterest numerous times but find that I tend to pin away without actually going back to browse my recipes or patterns enough. A very good prompt, to actually make whatever it is, is when you see someone else has successfully had a go. I bet £1,000 that there’s no one reading this (apart from perhaps five people?) who haven’t seen Lucy’s Attic 24 post on this recipe this week.

I won’t rehash the recipe since it’s all there, plus the blog post on Simply So Good who seems to originally have brought the recipe (from a US newspaper article I think) to the blogosphere.

Here’s my loaf, baked today, straight out of the oven. You can almost smell the aroma can’t you?
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Although online notes about the recipe caution against using wholemeal flour, because the bread can be rather heavy, I didn’t know this last night. Since I had a half used bag of strong wholemeal bread flour in the pantry anyway I grabbed it, before quickly mixing the dough in my Kenwood and heading off to bed.
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It’s not the lightest bread in the world, but it’s fine – much lighter than rye or pumpernickel. You can see the air holes in the loaf. It gives a nice hollow sound when you tap it on the bottom (which you do to check it’s done near the end of the cooking process.) I cooked it in one of those white ceramic pyrex dishes with a glass lid. In my fierce oven 30 minutes was enough to bake the loaf and give a nice crust, without it needing an additional 15 minutes uncovered.
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We’re really looking forward to toasting some for breakfast and eating with blackcurrant preserve in the morning. I’m going to try making some more using strong plain bread flour soon, and will probably experiment with seeds, nuts or fruits in subsequent loaves.
This recipe (if you needed any more encouragement to try) is really great. I have made bread before but it’s so time consuming and this is a really good way to short-cut the process. Try a wholemeal version, or add some wholemeal flour to white to make a mixture and let me know what you think.

As the oven was on, and I’ve already lost the extra Christmas poundage this week, I decided 20140110-134323.jpgto make some of our favourite oat and raisin cookies. Actually they’re oat and sultana this time as it’s what we had. It’ll be salad for dinner!!!

Anyway: Make the bread, make the bread, make the bread! And, have a great weekend.

11/01/14 the bread has been pronounced a big success, especially when it’s toasted as it has a lovely crunchy crust that apparently rivals the local bakery’s sourdough. High praise!

Sunday

We had a lovely day out yesterday, to a pottery then a pub where we sat by the river in the sunshine (yes! we’ve had some more sunshine!)

Then we took some nutty oat and raisin cookies I baked on Saturday to a friend. That was quite funny. We arrived and were saying what we’d been up to for the day, but honestly it was like seeing Scooby Doo in action; the nose went up, the eyes were fixed on the tin in my hand. “Cake? Is that cake? I haven’t had CAKE for ages!”

I’ve used a gallery setting for these photos, click on the first one to view in a slideshow setting at your own pace….