I woke up to a rather grey Saturday morning. The sun is still a bit shy but it is definitely getting milder outside. Snowdrops and crocuses are everywhere making the dull wet grounds colorful and the daffodils are nearly in bloom.
I got a lovely parcel from my friend in Amsterdam – a box of Easter eggs. The Dutch Easter eggs are especially nice, hopefully they will survive the next 3 weeks.
The worst thing about this part of the year is lack of good fruit and vegetables. I am so fed up with all the roots, cauliflowers, cabbages and apples that lost their sweetness. It is still some time before we have all the lovely spring peas, chives, radishes and strawberries. I decided to re-subscribe to Abel&Cole and my first seasonal box is arriving on Friday, hopefully this will stimulate my imagination as they often have things I am not even able to find at my local farmers market.
Last week I got some Jerusalem artichokes and decided to make a warm salad.
The artichokes were roasted for 45 minutes at 180°C with thyme, bay leaf, olive oil and some salt. In a separate tray I roasted some hazelnuts for 10 minutes to make the bitter skins fall off. The artichokes and hazelnuts were combined with rocket, fennel and vinaigrette dressing. I suppose there is still a tiny small room to get creative.
And of course we baked bread again, this one was spectacular, the best one so far. It’s so important to keep going and experimenting, making mistakes is a part of the learning process after all. We made 2 large sourdough loaves, I think our work colleagues will be sampling it on Monday.
The bread was slightly moist, chewy and full of big air bubbles, the nutty flavor was there and the crust was superb. Long proofing time is really the way to do it.
I truly don’t think we will go back to buying bread ever again. Baking is a very enjoyable process and I love feeding the starter, it is like my pet. I had a bit of a comedy moment this morning when the starter fermented so much it popped the tupperwear lid up and spilled out of its container. It is a living creature.
Today is the first proper spring day, the sun is shining and I could feel its warmth on my face. In our bid to discover as much of South West London as possible we cycled down to Tooting Bec Common.
It’s a fantastic common with large green spaces and little bits of wild, lots of brambles and gorse, duck ponds, an outdoor café and the wonderful lido.
When I walked in and saw colorful changing rooms and a blue sheet of water reflecting the sunshine I was speechless.
Dating back to 1906 when it first opened it is the 3rd largest lido in Europe, the largest in England, open to members every single day of the year and to the public from the 24th of May till the end of September. I will be sure to go this year.
I used to go to an open air swimming pool in Amsterdam every week, it didn’t matter if it was cold or rainy, once I was in the water it felt wonderful.
Back at home I am having a fantastic Gaskell time. Two exciting books just hit the shelves: David Eggers’ Zeitoun and Nancy Mitford’s Wigs on the Green. The latter has landed in my mail box already.
Somehow my book pile has managed to grow again and as work is busy (animating dog food and shooting commercial with UK’s favorite pop princess) I don’t get that much time to read. Better get back to it!