Monday, July 25, 2011

Snow Day

It hardly ever snows here, so when it does we get rather excited!
Snow dog.
Miss Dog loved playing in the snow. When I felt her paws once we came inside they were still warm. Mine were not.
Very chilly.
I had to dig for celery so that I could make soup.
Meet Raoul, the local snowman. He happens to be the tallest snowman I have ever seen. Johnny can take a large amount of credit for his existence.
No need for a carrot nose.

While all that was going on I made lunch. Soup and sun dried tomato, rosemary and garlic foccacia bread.
To make this all you need is some warm water, oil (preferably olive), a dessertspoon of granulated yeast, a dessertspoon of sugar, flavourings (optional), salt and some flour. Put your yeast, sugar and about 2 cups of warm water in a big bowl. Put in a warm spot, covered with a tea towel. Go and do something. I tried to work out why my sewing machine keeps snapping the top thread. Once your yeast is frothy in the water, add enough high grade flour to make a dough. Add a good slosh of olive oil, and your flavourings. In my case 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary and the remains of a jar of sundried tomatoes (about 4, well chopped). Oh, and about a dessertspoon of salt - don't be shy about adding salt to your bread dough, it is horrid without. Knead. Get the heel of your hand and push into the dough sort of smearing it away from you. I'll have to write a tutorial on kneading technique as I've learned some new tricks. Keep working the dough, pushing into it and folding it onto itself repeatedly until the dough feels elastic and smooth, and bounces back. Make into a ball and pop back into your bowl and rest, covered, in a warm place until double the size. Then flip it out onto the work surface and squash it, then shape and put onto a tray. Press your fingers into it to make little dips. Sprinkle lightly with salt and oil, and I put little sprigs of rosemary into the top. Very pretty. Wait until it is nice and fat again than put into a preheated oven at about 220 degrees C. until golden and makes a hollow sound when you tap it.

I must say, I am very relaxed about quantities when making bread and just follow the basic principles and ingredients provided in a Jamie Oliver recipe that I used to follow years ago. It always turns out great. You can get very fancy and develop the flavour of your bread by working with it over a longer period, but I have The River Cottage Bread Book to follow for anything beyond the basics. Johnny was exceedingly pleased to munch on this after all of his hard work bringing Raoul to life.

I've had a big play with the format of my blog. It is tricky getting everything as you want them, and some things just don't work as I hope at all. Never mind. I hope you will enjoy some of my projects and garden treasures appearing down the sides, plus my gorgeous animal family. XXX


Anonymous said...

What a very handsome snowman, he looks rather Oriental. I hope he didn't fall on his face. Is it still snowing there? We are in for a humdinger frost here tonight. The snow is still on the roofs and ground but a lot has fallen off the trees. There are quite a few broken branches. Keep warm, everyone! Lots of love, Mum. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

PS the bread looks delicious! Like the new look blog xxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Wow....I am so jealous...the snow looks sensational...and so much of it.
John and his posse (is that how you spell it?) should be very proud of Raoul.
Thanks for the bread recipe, I must have a go..looks delicious.
Stay warm, Megxxx

ps. I love the new blog

Our Red House said...

Wow, you are so lucky getting snow. It's gorgeous.

BTW, the in-laws that I wrote about live in Oamaru, which isn't far from you, I don't think - or have I got my geography wrong?