Wow – Ciabatta!

23 March, 2016

Wow! I’ve been meaning to have a go at ciabatta for a long time, but it seemed so complicated (it’s a very wet dough) that I kept finding something less complicated to do instead.

Today I decided to bite the bullet, though, and I’m very chuffed with how it’s come out!

This was a ‘fast ciabatta‘ recipe that I didn’t even start until late morning. I totally messed it up right from the start by adding far too much water, but I tried to salvage things by adding more flour until it looked as though the dough might eventually be able to form a ball around the Kenwood dough hook. That approach isn’t ideal, as it throws out the proportions (of flour to salt and yeast) but ho hum… It seemed a shame not to keep trying, and eventually it did come together.

I left the dough to rise while I went off to choir, and for about an hour more on my return while I took Piglet out. Then I more-or-less poured it out onto the kitchen table, divvied it up into sort-of rectangles and let it rise again for another hour. After that it went into the oven for 20 mins and at the end I had a pile of lovely-looking little ciabattas! Awesome 🙂

It tastes pretty good and has lots of uneven holes, as it should. I’ve no doubt that it can be better, but I’m amazed that it came out as well as it did in all the circumstances.

After a modicum of cooling I converted two into mozzarella and tomato rolls, and very scrumptious they were. I’m definitely planning to make this again, and will try to get the water right next time 🙂

The best bread rolls I’ve ever made!

13 March, 2016


Kudos to James Morton and his ‘Brilliant Bread‘ book! Finally, I’ve managed to make a decent crusty roll 🙂

What a gorgeous morning!

7 March, 2016

Toadstool garlic

Because I was working on Saturday I have today off, and for once the Weather Gods have smiled on me and I’ve been blessed with a truly lovely day.

I was planning to spend a fair proportion of the day in my PJs, watching television, but when I woke to golden sunshine and crisply freezing air wafting in through the attic window I couldn’t stay in bed, and Piglet made it clear that she couldn’t stay in the house.

We therefore went for a brisk trot around some local fields, and on the way back I stopped to gather a bag of wild garlic. I’m planning to make soup later. I haven’t got a recipe yet, but I’m thinking wild garlic, potatoes and mushrooms. Yumsy yum!

Piglet has now gone out with her beloved dogly walker, Sonja, for her second walk, and is hoping to see her bezzy mate Poppy. Catty is installed on a bin in the yard soaking up sunshine, and I’m going to try out a new bread recipe from James Morton’s Brilliant Bread book: crusty rolls.

Life is good today 🙂 TTFN.

The Cafe at the Museum in Manchester

6 March, 2016


I was in Manchester yesterday, and a pal and I needed to find somewhere for a coffee near Oxford Road.

Happily, somebody suggested what turned out to be the absolutely brilliant Cafe at the Museum, which was just across the road. It was not yet 0930 when we arrived and so it was quiet, but it was immediately obvious that I was going to have to make an exception to my ‘no breakfast’ habit!

Lots of things on the menu tempted me, but in the end I went for my choice of three of the astoundingly yummy-looking homemade salads they had on offer, all ready for lunch. They were just as good as they looked. My pal had what he said was a fantastic bacon sandwich — you can see from the pic below the lovely sourdough bread it arrived on. The coffee was delicious too, and the staff were friendly and helpful. There was great cake as well, but I confined myself to a photo on that front. It was truly the most delicious and happy-making experience I’ve had in a cafe/restaurant for quite a long time!

We nipped back over later in the morning for further coffee, and weren’t surprised to find people queueing for lunch. I even spotted a pigeon on the way out eating a bagel!

Very highly recommended! If you’re in Manchester then it’s definitely worth a detour.


Celebrity Masterchef — The Final!

21 September, 2012

I don’t normally watch Celebrity Masterchef (preferring Masterchef, The Professionals), but I’ve watched this series.

My money is on Danny Mills to win tonight, though it could be Emma Kennedy. I think it’ll be Danny, though. Good luck to all three of them 🙂

Masterchef synesthesia

1 July, 2011

Thanks to HMP3 for drawing my attention to this. Brilliant! 🙂

Whooohooo! Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim!!!

27 April, 2011

Major GOOD for Tim, the amazing American cook 🙂

I love Masterchef, but I’ve never seen a series where just about everybody’s been so fantastically talented.

Tim was a star from the start, though, and I’m so glad that John Torrode kept him in. All the finalists were fantastic cooks, but Tim’s cookery was different, inspiring and exceptional (IMO, anyway), and right from the start it seemed clear to me that he deserved to win.

Congratulations, Tim, and the very best of luck to all of them. My heart broke a little bit when the veggie, with a love of Asian street cooking, went out in the last round. I’ve no doubt, though, that all of the last 5 can make a big success in the cookery business should they really wish to do so 🙂


27 April, 2011

It’s already finished, I think, but I’ve not watched it yet… So I can’t search for a picture because I’m afraid that it would show me who has won.

Tim–the American–has seemed to me from the earliest rounds to be a truly exceptional cook, amongst a group of people who are themselves all all outstanding in the context of those who normally compete in Masterchef.

Who’d have thought that I’ve ever have found myself supporting an American to win Masterchef!? He who cooks best deservest to win, though: and therefore my vote is all for Tim tonight. I just hope nothing horrible happens with anything unusual he decides to present! Thank goodness Thingy Torrode has managed to overcome Whassisname Grocer Greg’s opposition to anything that doesn’t conform to the tastes/combinations/cliches that have come before!

Fingers crossed for Tim ♥ ♥ ♥

Mini potato rant

8 April, 2011

Perhaps this is just me, but I find it incredibly annoying to find bags full of tiny spuds at the supermarket when I want to buy potatoes for mashing or roasting. All the big ones have been removed, so that they can be sold seperately as baking potatoes. Or at least that’s my theory.

It’s extremely annoying! The tiny ones are too small to make decent roasties, and by the time they’ve been peeled they’re so small that they disintegrate into mush if I try to cook them for mashed potatoes. I tried to get some decent King Edward’s or Maris Piper this morning, but all the bags contained one or two medium sized spuds and a collection of tiddlers. I had to buy some okay-sized nameless ‘white potatoes’ in the end, which is something I swore I’d never do.

Grrrrr! Roll on the day when I can grow my own…

Whooohoooo! The best cook won :)

3 November, 2010

Claire Lara wins Professional Masterchef, 2010

Whoohooo! Congratulations to the amazing Claire Lara on winning Professional Masterchef this evening.

Right from the first round she was in a class of her own, and it was an absolute thrill to see her win the competition tonight. The other two were brilliant as well, but Claire was extra special.


Another year to wait, then, for the next round of my favourite cookery competition. I’m already looking forward to it 🙂