Today was a day when we were forced to be inside. Thanks to tropical storm Hanna, there was no baseball and no yard work or other outside chores could be done. The only logical activities were baking and reading.
I started the famous No-Knead Bread last night since I heard the forecast for today and it needs at least 14 hours from mixing to baking. I wish I could get it together enough to always have this bread on hand because it's so good. Every time a loaf comes out of the oven, I marvel at how professional it looks. And I am a professional baker. I haven't experimented much with altering the recipe (wheat flour, etc.) because it's perfection as it is. AND, I got to bake it in THIS!
behold...4 working burners and two ovens
So the bread was rising and M and I decided to really bake. Butter, eggs, and sugar were needed! And even though Nigella's baking recipes are often spotty, I've been wanting to try a recipe from Feasts in a long time. I even had a somewhat odd (to Americans) ingredient in my pantry lying in wait for this particular recipe. And the Cream-Filled Hearts are delicious! Wonderfully sandy in texture, not too sweet. My kind of thing. The dough was very soft but handled surprisingly well.
M decided she would try her hand at Fairy Cakes, I think tickled by the English name for cupcakes. For this one we tried another Nigella recipe--Burnt Butter Brown Sugar Cake from How to be a Domestic Goddess. The batter was delicious, but M thought the raw batter was better than the baked cake. And after *burning myself while making the burnt butter (and having to wait about 30 minutes for it to resolidify) and then seeing the cakes sink in a really disappointing way and come out of the pan like doody, I think this is one of Nigella's duds. I keep trying with her recipes, I think, because I like her so much. Her books are a hoot to read. M and S didn't care that they sank and had fun anyway, decorating them with half a ton of candy and garish royal icing (a la Brocket). I think I'm actually liking using royal icing more than buttercream because in my sick mind it's less fat than regular buttercream so I can eat two.
S's funny face design...see it?!
Classy decorating! My
children believe more is more and I think they're right.
So on my only whole day off from cooking I happily spent it in the kitchen. Am I a masochist? Hardly. Just look at this! Home-baked bread topped with tomatoes from my own garden (finally) and yummy cheese, toasted in the next best thing to sliced bread, my Maytag Gemini, followed by baked stuff topped with candy. Can't get much better than that.
tomatoes on toast and salad...with tomatoes!
*Sometimes I am convinced that I am functionally retarded. The burnt butter required me to stir butter in a pan over medium heat until, well, burned, and then to pour it through a strainer. It looked so good and smelled so nutty, I immediately stuck my finger in to the previously boiling FAT.