I found myself in the Cornucopia that is Cork’s English Market the other day, and with Conor Bofin’s recipe for pork belly fresh in my mind, I headed straight for the butcher’s counter. I somehow seemed to end up with the porcine equivalent of Giant Haystacks, and I anticipated significant quantities of leftovers, so I was in need of a bread which would make the most of the belly sandwiches to follow. Sticking with the leftovers theme, the inspiration (and ingredients) for this recipe came from my kids’ breakfast dishes yesterday morning. Continue reading
Having been subjected to a general anaesthetic for knee surgery the day before, my circadian rhythm was clearly struggling to re-establish itself yesterday morning. Bright as a lark, I found myself perusing recipes and blogs on the cursed ever-present smartphone. One of my favourite sourdough bloggers is dmsnyder on thefreshloaf.com, and I was taken by his San Francisco sourdough with added wholewheat, which looked and sounded divine. My drug-addled brain calculated that I would have just enough time to squeeze in a bake before heading back to bed in around 21 hours time, so slipping on my dressing gown, I glided (hobbled) downstairs to get to work. Continue reading
We’re currently ‘enjoying’ a typical Irish May; with summer on the horizon the winds have picked up, and although the newly planted shrubs in the garden would probably benefit from the heavy rain, I think they are too preoccupied with recovering from the previous night’s frost to be able to make the most of it. Any thoughts of food still revolve around hearty, warming dishes and salad season feels like it’s months away. And so, when planning the weekend’s menu for the family, soup was an obvious choice for one of our lunches. Not just any soup, but peppery, meaty oxtail soup which I adore.
Now there’s nothing wrong with a good oxtail soup and crusty white sourdough, but I really fancied coming up with something much more robust which could hold its own against a bowl of liquid beef. This onion and parmesan combination sounded good in my head, and it didn’t disappoint on the table either. The aroma as it bakes is just gorgeous, but this bread is not for the faint-hearted. It really does deliver on the flavour front. Continue reading
Bread is a staple foodstuff; one which most of us eat and feed to our families on a daily basis. Bread produced through slow fermentation using a mixed population of yeast and bacteria has been an important part of our diet for millennia. But bread has changed over recent decades, and the product you will now find on most supermarket shelves bears very little resemblance to ‘real’ bread which can be produced in a less industrialised setting. For reasons of aesthetics, extending shelf life, shortened production time, and improved machinability (reducing wear and tear on factory machinery), most retail bread has been subjected to chemical processing and refinement which has robbed it of its flavour, texture, and most importantly much of its nutritional benefit. Continue reading