Before I head off on my honeymoon* in Skye, I thought I would share with you today’s baking efforts:
Chocolate and zucchini cake, using courgettes from the allotment. The recipe is from the Chocolate and Zucchini cookbook, which I found (I think) via Chatirygirl. Seriously, if you love food and cooking, and you haven’t found the Chocolate and Zucchini blog yet, go and look at it. Right now. (Then come back and read the rest of this post).
The cake is to take away with us, so we haven’t cut into it yet, but there is a serious amount of chocolate in this cake. (As an aside, for any allotmenters with a surfeit of courgettes at the moment, I also recommend Nigella Lawson’s courgette cake – the lime curd alone is to die for). I am looking forward to testing it tomorrow as we snuggle up in the cottage on Skye!
This is the second thing I’ve made today:
I’ve never had much joy with bread. I’ve tried many recipes using baker’s yeast (the dried kind – can’t get hold of the fresh kind for love nor money) and it’s never risen very well. As it happened, the day I discovered the Chocolate and Zucchini blog, the current entry was a post about sourdough. I was intrigued – a form of bread using a culture of wild yeasts found naturally on flour? It sounded wonderful. So I made a starter culture, using this tutorial. Last week I made my first loaf, using Clothilde’s method (in the above C&Z post) which rose well, but which was a bit overcooked as the oven in the new house is more ferocious than the one in the old flat**.
The above photo shows today’s loaf, my second attempt at sourdough, and I’m very pleased with it. I haven’t cut into it yet so I can’t attest to the texture, but it looks like it’s risen pretty well. I used 400g of white bread flour, and 100g each of rye and wholemeal flour. I only used about 350ml of water, along with 200g of the starter “sponge”, and it was still a fairly sticky dough to knead by hand (I gave it about 10 minutes). I baked it in my very handy Le Crueset casserole, which was a Christmas present a couple of years ago.
I’ll be back in a week, hopefully with photos and tales of my adventures on Skye. And may the baking be as good as it looks!
* No, the honeymoon sweater is nowhere near finished yet.
** Somewhat ironically, the “old flat” was built around 1890 and the “new house” around 1770…