I have been slightly remiss on keeping up with the blog at the latter end of this week. Partly because we haven’t solved our oven conundrum yet, a situation which lends itself to less innovative meals, and partly because the bat mobile is still out of action thanks to the clutch slave* breaking which has meant we’ve had to rework our travel timings to include buses or walking. But mainly because we have a new addition to our family who we picked up on Thursday evening.
So, in honour of both my first birthday as a blogger, and the excitement of it all, I am going to break my usual pattern of behaviour and insert another photo
May I introduce you to Billie, our beautiful eight week old chocolate labrador puppy, who is heart-meltingly gorgeous in every way. Her full name, for those who may be interested, is Billie Jo Bob, (chosen by the wee boy), although we are just using Billie for everyday wear.
Now who amongst you didn’t go ‘ahhh’? Not many, I imagine.
Beautiful distractions aside, we still need to eat and although our oven may have gone on a permanent holiday, we do have other gadgets, such as the bread maker, that can cook. So today, at the request of the wee one, I made some cinnamon and sultana loaf.
I tend to use a basic bread recipe and add stuff to it, then call the bread whatever I may have added.
So, my basic bread recipe (apologies, it is in ‘old money’) is 14floz lukewarm water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 20lb 10oz good strong white bread flour – I always get my flour from Bradshaws – 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 generous teaspoons dried yeast.
To make this particular loaf I added another 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and a bowlful of sultanas. I like my fruit loafs to have a lot of fruit in them, you may feel less inclined to pack in the fruit. It is, once again, your own personal taste.
Now this is the thing. The nutmeg is a rough guess really as I have been using whole nutmegs and grating them. So in this bread recipe, I grated some nutmeg into the flour mixture until I got a little weary. But I’m guessing it was about half a teaspoonful.
Put the bread machine onto a sweet bread setting and start. I have one of those machines which is not as meticulous as I at getting into the corners, so I tend to give it a starting hand with a spatula. At some point, about 10 – 15 minutes in, the machine beeps like a very annoyed alarm clock for approximately one minute. This is when I add the sultanas. Then leave the whole thing to bake, which in my case, takes 3 hours and 25 minutes.
I never find bread maker bread tastes as good as bread cooked in an oven but it does the job. The top of the loaf always looks as though it’s just recovering from a debilitating bout of influenza, and the bread maker ‘paddle’ as it’s called, has to be pulled out which leaves a slight gap in the bread half way through the loaf, but none of these slight irritations are insurmountable and, quite frankly, we are very lucky to have the bread maker at all.
Finally, whilst the bread top is still warm, melt a dessertspoonful of castor sugar in a drop of boiled water and brush on the top of the loaf.
Delicious warm or cold, with or without butter. Perfect with a cup of tea.
*Whoever named car parts should take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves where they left their soul when they named the inner workings of a car.