I’m very rarely on my own. That sounds like a strange thing to say but it’s true. There is always someone or something happening. From a ringing phone to a chattering cat winding around my legs as I cook. The incessant ping of phone notifications. From dinner for two to a busy train carriage.
But I was on my own yesterday. A whole day off.
I didnt have anything to do nor did I have to answer to anyone. I could do whatever I like. I could go and eat burgers. I could go for a drive. I didnt have to even wear make up. I could turn my phone off. I could attempt to get the garden ready for winter. I could do a bit more Christmas knitting/crocheting. I could lie on the sofa with a face mask on, eat pitta chips and shout at Jeremy Kyle. The latter being the most likely.
I went food shopping before 8am. Blame my body clock. I ate pitta chips and shouted at day time TV. I wore a face mask whilst making bread. I ignored the knock on the front door (a clandestine peek, with dough covered hands, confirmed it was just a windows salesman). Roasted slices of butternut squash and cooked bacon with a cocoa maple glaze. I ate this sandwich.
Pumpkin Seed Bread
80gr pumpkin seeds
420gr strong white bread flour
1 sachet of easy blend yeast
1tsp table salt
1tbsp olive oil
250ml-300ml warm water
1, Preheat oven to 200o/c and place the pumpkin seeds in a heat proof bowl. Roast for 8-10 minutes, tossing every 2 minutes until golden brown, hissing and split. Leave these to cool before blending into a fine meal.
2, In a large bowl, sift the flour with yeast, salt and ground pumpkin seeds together and rub in the butter.
3, Briefly stir the olive oil into the water and adding slowly, bring the dough together until it just forms a ball.
4, Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball.
5, Clean and lightly oil the bowl, add in the ball of dough and cover with lightly oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place for around an hour or until doubled in size.
6, When doubled, knock back the dough and give it a couple of quick kneads. Reshape into a ball and place into your load pan. This is my favourite loaf pan.
7, Recover with the oiled cling film, return to the warm place and leave it to rise again for another hour or so until, again, doubled in size.
8, Preheat oven to 230o/c and bake for 25-35minutes until golden brown, and the underside sounds hollow when tapped.
9, Leave to cool before slicing.
Peppery salad leaves
Cocoa Glazed Bacon
1, Cocoa glaze the bacon by mixing 1/4tsp of cocoa powder with 1tsp of maple syrup and spreading over four thin rashers of smoked streaky bacon.
2, Grill under a medium heat until just crisp.
Roasted Butternut Squash
1, Preheat oven to 160o/c and lay two round slices of butternut squash on a baking tray. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.
2, Roast for 20-30minutes or until soft and caramelising around the edges. Leave to cool and carefully cut off the tough skin.