Week four of lockdown

We are just going into week four of lockdown. We are all well, for which I remain eternally thankful.

Our small London townhouse houses us all plus Bertie the ancient spaniel, who seems perpetually confused by the presence of his tribe around him.

We are managing, despite the absence of outdoor space which is the biggest hardship. Evenings are Cards for Humanity games doing our absolute best to gross each other out. I bake bread when we run out. The kids are starting to go stir-crazy. There’s only so much Xbox a body can play.

Sleep patterns are totally screwed and new routines need to be forged before peace can return. All are trying their best, but grumpiness and flare-ups are happening, which is normal, I guess. The Easter eggs that I ordered didn’t make it in time.

I learned to make Waterford Blaa rolls, which seemed to go down well. I’ll be making another batch of these today as they’re relatively quick and easy to turn out.

The blossom is out. We have sunshine during our days and we are all well. In these times of extremity, there are a lot of people doing a lot worse. We have food. We have each other. I am grateful.

Once lockdown is over, our Skye life beckons, and seems tangibly close. Despite the news that no work could start and is delayed until people can move freely again, Francis emailed a photo of the house sign that he’s been able to carve whilst the island is in lockdown. It was a wonderful and unexpected boost to our spirits.

We will get through this.

Wild yeast bread

I’ve been baking bread for years but have only recently decided to experiment with sourdough, bread made with wild yeast in the form of a starter, or “mother”.

My “mother” is feisty and active, and I’ve called her Fran after a certain lady I once knew of the same temperament. I started her several weeks ago. She sits in a jar in my fridge gradually maturing and is starting to provide the most wonderful bread.

My hope is that by the time we’re on the island and a fair hop away from the local shops that we won’t have to rely on them for fresh bread, especially if the weather is bad, but that Fran will be turning out a loaf every few days.

Sourdough is an ancient form of bread and is easy to make (starter, flour, salt and water) although there is a bewildering amount of conflicting advice out there on t’interweb.

As with all things, this will take patience and a gradual coming into what works for my oven and me over time. I’ve made five sourdough loaves so far, two rye, three with stoneground wheat flour, and I’m still working through the best way to do this. The latest attempt, shown above, was from a baking in a pot in the oven and looks the most successful so far ☺️.

I’m off to slice this for breakfast now. Have a wonderful Sunday!