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So, I had some left over bananas and rather than throw them out, I decided to see if I could find a recipe that included spelt flour, as spelt is much kinder to my system. I found one which only had ingredients I already possessed courtesy of PattyCake at Group Recipes.
It seemed simple enough but, as can be seen in the picture, it came out looking a little overcooked. I let it cool, then put it in tin foil while I went to sleep. I already had breakfast lined up, so waited until snack time to taste it.
The banana bread wasn’t sweet, but it was moist and the crust had softened, something that worried me when I first took it out of the oven. If I make it again, I will mash the bananas more, add a bit more honey, as I didn’t use sugar, and will include some cinnamon in the dry mix.
I’m quite proud of myself, as it’s my sister, not I who is known as the baker in the family. I’m also becoming quite enamoured with spelt flour. So, any recipe suggestions using spelt are warmly welcome.
I know most people get fed up with the constant reminders of special occasions in shops, such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter, Halloween but, for me, they sometimes offer a unique opportunity: to purchase cooking paraphernalia that my sister might find useful. Two, large supermarket chains have been offering very cheap baking items, generally heart-shaped moulds for Valentine’s this year. I’ve picked some up, packed them up, and sent them to my sister in Australia. The picture above shows yesterday’s bargains: a large, silicone cake mould, and two packs of six, silicone cupcake moulds.
Generally, these kind of items are expensive when trying to purchase them at any other time of year. I always check out special isles in supermarkets about a week or two before an “occasion” to see if there is anything my sister, or I might use. £3 is the most I’ve paid and that was for a set of two ramekins. The postage is often more expensive, but still cheaper than my sister attempting to purchase something similar in Australia.
Roll on easter, and bunny and chick shapes.
Today’s blog was going to be about how I’ve done so little, but feel like I’ve achieved a lot, but I received a message on my Fitbit just a few seconds ago, saying I had achieved my 250 km lifetime badge. This means that since I received my Fitbit Zip in November, I’ve walked 250 km.
My day started late; my fault, I forgot to set my alarm. I immediately retrieved my work-out clothes from the dryer, got showered and dressed, and went for a walk in the park. I got to around 8,800 steps and then a blister hit, so I retreated to my home. Had a full Sunday breakfast, courtesy of Asda’s ready meal range, and then set about doing some washing. Did the washing up, too, and have started on another loaf of spelt bread, and went to the local M&S shop for some extra supplies. That’s it.
That has been my day. Not much done, but I think the early exercise has made me feel as though I have achieved something. Mind you, considering my recent illness just being able to walk for over an hour, uninterrupted, is an achievement in itself. Since that walk I have made my 10,00o step target for the day.
I have more to do this evening: at least three more loads of washing; some more cooking, namely dinner; and I might, if the bread goes well, attempt a banana bread.
Here’s hoping tomorrow’s efforts leaving me feeling so productive.
So I baked a second loaf of bread using (organic) spelt and white flours. I think I may have used too much flour on the board when kneading as the crust cracked, rather severely, and someone mentioned it was too dry, except I had used the same recipe as the first loaf. It was when I was going to bed I realised I had spilled some flour out of the container and thought I might as well use that to flour the kneading board, but it was an excessive amount and was absorbed by my loaf. I will be more careful next time and see what happens.
Today, I am attempting another recipe from the Doves Farm website, pikelets. Oddly, it mentions water in the instructions, but there is no water in the ingredients list, so I’ve assumed the reference was to the oil. I really hope that’s right.
I’ve not been well this weekend, so food is off the agenda. I guess that’s why I’m baking instead. The bread is for the coming week’s lunches and the pikelets are (just) because I fancy having a go at an old childhood favourite, and I happen to have the ingredients in the house. I imagine I can include the pikelets in my lunchbox, too. I wonder if I’ve caught the baking bug? [Blame lies with my sister is this is the case.]
If all goes to plan, I’ll post the results, otherwise all will be silent.
I don’t suppose I’ve ever mentioned in this blog how much I hate cooking? I find it a chore and growing up in a family of exceptional cooks who don’t use recipes means I’ve never felt the urge; there was always someone around who could whip up something delicious from what was available. Since moving overseas, I have come to rely on ready meals and takeaway. Stupid, I know, given my medical status, but I’m lazy and have no room for a dishwasher so any fancy cookware I use has to be washed, scrubbed and, hopefully, cleaned by hand. Given the state of the skin of my hands from excessive washing (a side-effect of having an IBD), washing dishes, along with handwashing garments, can be painful. Another reason I don’t cook is that no matter how closely I follow a recipe, it never tastes as good as it does when Mum, Dad, Grandma, Sis or my brother make it – most likely because none of them use recipes and, thus, when it comes to passing on the instructions often forget significant details. [I’m specifically thinking of the day I asked my Dad for his pumpkin soup recipe here; the day I asked Gran for her apple pie recipe (she made the pastry by “feel”); and the day my Dad showed me how to make curried sausages, rather than pass on a recipe for my all-time favourite dish; and don’t get me started on Mum’s spaghetti bolognese which despite having some idea of ingredients, I’ve never managed to recreate]. Then there is the fact that I didn’t really have a proper kitchen until I moved here a few months ago. Having a kitchen sink next to the stove, preparation area and fridge is very convenient.
Should I choose to follow a recipe, inevitably they are for 3-4 people and there is only one of me. I don’t like eating the same thing every day and, besides which, I don’t have that much freezer space. All in all, it’s seem a lot of bother for not a lot of reward. Why spend all that time and effort when an oven can produce a reasonable semblance of a tasty, nutrional meal without all the muss and fuss?
Of course, one advantage of baking my own bread is that the size of the loaf created using the above recipe is ideal for one person for one week. Another is the smell which permeates the whole house. Then there is the taste, and the crust. Oh! The crust. I could eat that on it’s own, even split. I may never buy bread again.
It may be possible this baking bug will lead to further cooking, but I’m not counting on it. Nor should any reader of this blog.
I have always wanted to try my hand at baking bread. I love the smell of baking bread, and I’ve watched people make various loaves and thought that it didn’t really seem that hard. I particularly like the idea of a sourdough, but I’m not sure I would remember to feed the starter daily. When I moved to my new home, I bought some spelt flour which is meant to be better for those of us with bowel dis-ease. I found the simplest recipe I could after extensive searching of the net and it was on the website of the flour manufacturer, Doves Farm. I used 250 grams of the spelt flour and 250 grams of strong white bread flour as I find spelt a bit dense sometimes. It took longer to prove than as mentioned in the recipe, but I expect that may be because I (stupidly) used cold water, instead of tepid, and it’s cold here today at around 11 degrees celsius. It kneaded easily and baked quickly in 35 minutes. Best of all, it tasted great.
Now I know how simple it actually is to bake this bread, I may never buy bread again, especially since the only spelt loaves available near me are round and small and not suitable for sandwiches. Besides which, the smell is gorgeous and the results very light and tasty. I’ve posted a picture of the cooling loaf above.
Thank you to Doves Farm for a great recipe.