It’s week 3 of my rumblings, and I still haven’t written about bread, a subject so dear to my heart. To me, bread should either be crusty, hearty & whole grained, or be a sourdough. The reason is simple – both these types of bread release starches slowly which is way better for us. I do occasionally bake white bread like soft burger buns, but we eat these with protein packed meat, so the ensuing sugar rush gets mitigated.
Bread is as old as civilisation, and yet, it can be much maligned. I do not doubt some people have issues eating bread but I do think that before giving up, one should try proper, real bread which has nothing more than flour, water and salt. Calling it artisanal, unfortunately, doesn’t make it so. Read the ingredient labels e.g. bread tagged as sourdough can have added commercial yeast. Nothing wrong with that, but we should know what we are eating.
Proper sourdough has natural acids that pre-digest the wheat and release the micronutrients in it. Because it takes longer to digest, rye flour added to sourdough can help regulate blood sugar levels. (Read this article on why sourdough is good for you, and Michael Pollan’s article on the benefits of fermentation). For those who leave their crusts on the plate (brat no. 2, this is for you) eating crusts is good!
So without further ado, I am posting my first everyday bread recipe under the tab “pursuit of perfection” for a versatile multigrain loaf . Recipes under this category are ones that I have obsessed over for years, trying out lots of permutations and finally settling on what I think is the best. All of these are permanently work- in-progress so there might be updates as I go along. Recipes in this section will be detailed enough, so even novices can attack them with gusto.
This brings me neatly to Ken Forkish’s “The Elements of Pizza” which I finished reading. The book looks very promising and I am tempted to try out his pizza. I have been making pizza at home for years and have agonised about getting it right. Presently I’m happy with a variant of a recipe by Nancy Silverton (of the La Brea and Mozza fame). Fodder for another pursuit of perfection blog.
A highlight this week was the discovery of a Thai grocery store in our vicinity. I found fresh Thai ingredients and cooked stir-fried mince pork with basil, which we missed eating since leaving Singapore. Salmon featured again on the dinner menu this time with our much-loved salmon teriyaki.
Tucked away in the freezer, were leftovers from Christmas – meaty bones from the standing rib roast. The perfect way to turn them into dinner is to dip them in beaten egg (with added mustard), roll them in panko breadcrumbs, and shallow fry them until crisp. Serve it with a green salad. There isn’t much of a recipe, but the photos should be self-explanatory. And it’s just as well we don’t have a dog, so I get to use the bones for homemade stock (more on that next week).
Folks in London may have noticed that markets are running low on greens like spinach (adverse Mediterranean weather ) so only hearty greens like kale have been making an appearance. Another perfect use for kale, other than the ubiquitous kale salad (which seems to be the “it” thing to eat) is to make a Ribolitta. Sometimes all you want is an easy one-pot dinner.
Nothing beats a crusty multigrain toast with unsalted butter and homemade preserve, so I’m sharing with you a recipe of one of my favourites – dark apricot preserve with almonds.
There’s always a reason to bake something fun. With the boys back at school, we need a nutritious snack for after school hunger pangs. Salted oat crackers are perfect. I made a big batch as they pair beautifully with cheese and all things dippy like hummus and guacamole.
This week’s recipes:
And if all this reading about food is making you hungry, you know what to do…
Love your family and cook for them!