Managing amid the mayhem

I find it hard to wrap my head around the state of affairs in the world at the moment but there isn’t much I can do apart from separating ourselves as much as possible from potential ‘CV catch’ zones and trying to ignore all the hate speech and negativity being spewed out from so many different arenas to so many different undeserving recipients.  I find I am struggling day to day between being depressed and unmotivated to feeling completely helpless and wondering why we bother at all. Then the next day I’ll be up repairing things and finishing off unfinished parts of the exteno, trying new recipes and bread formulas. I’m not quite sure if I’m joking when I say we can’t leave the kids to try and sell this unfinished project once we succumb to CV!

We did of course have to cancel our Europe trip but that’s ok, I cooked meals that are popular dishes at the places we would have ventured to. Possibly my favourite was this Moroccan almond honey and vanilla layer cake with amlou filling that I made for Mr ATMT’s birthday. Amlou made using walnut oil rather than very expensive organ oil is now a regular addition to dishes here.

Moroccan almond honey cake with amlou.
Sourdough croissants

I’ve been baking (therefore eating) far more than I ever normally do, I’m trying to get my sourdough croissants to a level I’m happy with,  just about there!

Crumb shot of the interior.

Sourdough croissant crumb shot

Sourdough sweet Danish cinnamon buns (Kannelbullar),

Making croissants involves making laminated pastry. To make it a more practical approach I’ve been using the method to make puff pastry, at least pies and things can go into the freezer and be eaten over an extended time rather than being scoffed over a day or two like I would with croissants!  I’m working through The Tivoli Road Bakery Book and find it one of the best I’ve invested in. I don’t buy many books any more when so many resources are available online. These are chicken curry pies from that book.

Sourdough cinnamon doughnuts. Ridiculously delicious, ridiculously large!

I also had a go at making/curing our own bacon. This too will become a standard activity around here. I won’t buy this rub again even though it was terrific. Using this the first time just gave me the confidence to check out the process and now I see how easy it is I’m sure I can whip up a great rub mixture in no time.

Out in the garden.

I almost needed to check the GPS to find my way out into the garden I hadn’t been out there for so long! I had planned on adding some more fruit trees a few years ago and never got around to it so now seemed like the time. A plumcot planted around near the pear tree and a donut (Angel) peach planted where I had to remove a fig that had become too invasive in the veggie patch. This is the plumcot planted before pruning the initial shape to encourage a fan espalier. Pruned and initial training of branches ties on. These will be adjusted regularly to bend them slowly and gently. Stone fruit wood is brittle and not as easy to manipulate as many other trees. I suspect the bottom branch will also come off but I’ll see what happens at bud swell time.

Pear 2013

The pear tree I planted July 2013 is well and truly established now. It was time for a complete makeover as I didn’t get to prune it last year. Just look at the size of the trunk now!

Notice the bamboo and timber stakes that were originally used for training are still there. Never did get around to a more formal framing structure.

Pear prior to pruning and a tidy up 2020

A rather severe pruning  and some straightening of branches. Looks much happier!

And the best reason to stay positive.

This little beautie is another fan of my sourdough. Makes me smile, those eyes………… Now 9 months old, seems impossible.

This smilie little munchkin in between her brothers was born the week we first went into lock down and it was the hardest time of all. Not being able to easily give support to our daughter and help out with the boys was very difficult.  She first smiled within her first week and that’s all she does! Smiles, smiles, smiles. She was about 7 weeks old in this!

Stay safe, stay at home and cherish those closest.

That, at the end of the day is all that matters.