Tuesday 14 January 2014

Lauren's Sage and Rosemary Bread

Even in January there are still some hardy herbs to harvest. I was gifted a large rosemary from my friend's garden (thanks K!) and it continues to thrive throughout the winter.  My sage was just a small sprig when I planted it along a fence five years ago and also provides lots of flavour to those classic hardy winter meals like stews and soups. 

This bread is great with a comforting bowl of soup or fantastic on its own.  The loaf gets a nice crust when baked in a cast iron pot but is fine baked on a pan as well.

Lauren's Sage and Rosemary Bread Recipe

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons yeast
about 2 cups of warm water
 2-3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh rosemary plus a few sprigs to garnish
2-3 tablespoons of finely chopped sage plus a few leaves left whole to garnish

1.Add flour and salt to mixing bowl with bread hook attachment
2.Fill a  one cup measuring cup leaving enough room at the top to add honey and yeast.  Leave for a few minutes until yeast dissolves
3. Add wet ingredients, mix for one minute, add about half a cup more of warm water.  Dough should start to form into a smooth ball, if it appears too dry add more water.
4.  Add finally chopped herbs.
5.  Let dough rise for 45 minutes to 2 hours depending where you and your bread need to be that day.  Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it down into a ball, this should take just a minute, don't spend a lot of time kneading, you have better things to do.  If you have some aggression to get out beat on the dough vigorously and tell your family it is a necessary part of the process.  Make the dough into a roundish shape and let rise 30 minutes to one hour, again depending on how much time you have to get this bread done.  Preheat your oven to 450f.
6.  As gently as possible plop your ball or bread into a cast iron pot with lid (or any ovenproof pot with lid).  Gently press a few sprigs of rosemary and sage into the top of the loaf before placing on the lid and throwing in the oven.
7.  After 30 minutes remove the pot lid and let the bread bake for another 10 minutes until it is brown on top.  The bread is at its best one to two hours after it comes out of the oven.

A version with raisons or organic garlic is really nice with the herbs.  A bit of grated cheese can be added though I'll line the pot with parchment as the cheese can stick the loaf to the pot without it.

Perhaps a little warm carbohydrate comfort in loaf form can help us all get through the drudgery of winter.  Let me know how your bread turns out.

Sunday 5 January 2014

craving spring!

Christmas is over, the New Year's resolutions have been made, the sun is out and I'm craving digging in the dirt. I obsess over where I want to move plants around in my garden but the ground is frozen so I will have to wait a little longer.  For now I'm getting my spring/gardening fix indoors.

Tulips caught my eye at the store the other day and came home with me:

I also bought some miniature daffodils (narcissus tete a tete) at the grocery store and planted them in a couple glass containers along with a few huckleberry branches.

And I finally resurrected my hanging terrariums that had dead plants in them and a layer of dust on the outside of the glass. I planted them with air plants and moss.
I borrowed a cow from my daughter although she claims that cows don't belong in there!