It was another dull, dreary January day, not suitable for doing anything outside. In that case, let’s stay in the kitchen and do something useful – like making more jam. Last year I made some jars of spiced blackberry and apple jam and it was so popular that it went so fast I couldn’t believe it.

I was sorting out the frozen fruit in one of my small freezers and found a bag of blackberries. It was obvious what to do – make more of than yummy jam.

That worked very well, so next on the list was some baking. I always make the sourdough loaf and that has to be started the night before. It is such a tasty loaf that the extra effort is well worth it. While that was going on I started the dough for my brioche.

Well, I call it brioche but in fact it is a traditional challah recipe (second one in this article). The overall result of my activities is very good. I don’t braid the dough but make two round loaves – just as good and easier to keep in the bread bin. Happiness is ……


and all this is done.

Of course, I had to pick the fruit first. Thanks to my fruit cage the birds don’t get a chance to steal my currants or gooseberries. The redcurrants are really plentiful this year – it must be something to do with all the horse manure that I put round them last autumn.

The raspberries are not covered but somehow the birds leave them alone – perhaps they don’t see the fruit so well, as it is hidden amongst the leaves.

Anyway, I had enough of the redcurrants to make some jam, did that the other day, but the highlight of today was making jelly. I boiled the fruit, stalks and all, last night, let it drip overnight and just measured it and added the suger today and finished it. When I was boiling the fruit I added a bunch of mint to it as the jelly is meant to be served with cheese or cold meat.


While all this was going on I had one bowl with my sourdough bread rising – having started last night; I’ve got to plan making my bread as it takes some time but it is worth it!

The other bowl had the dough for a brioche (challah) – that is much quicker so in the end I had one loaf and two round loaves of brioche in the kitchen, right next to the jam and jelly.

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A perfect partnership!


I like the Guardian on Saturday – it’s the only day we actually buy the paper and that usually keeps me going for a number of days. The magazine is very often a source of new recipes and it was just like that this weekend. I must admit that when I look at the recipes in the magazine I first look at the list of ingredients because at times they’re so exotic that I just can’t be bothered. This time I was completely won over and had to try it. It shows how ‘normal’ it was – I had everything to hand so no sooner said than done…


Yotam Ottolengi is one of my favourites as his recipes are the ones I like best and they seem to be manageable by ordinary cooks.

This is the second batch – the first one I made yesterday and we managed to eat it – first part last night with a few glasses of wine and today for breakfast with coffee. Very continental, it also reminds me of my home where my Grandma was used to bake something very similar – vánočka.




…but work continues.

I not only love gardening and handicrafts but also cooking and baking. Today it was the turn of pie making.

I decided on cheese and onion pie, easy to make and very tasty. I have got my own version, which means I make the pastry and the filling is  not exactly as a recipe would specify. I make it up as I go but the nearest one to it is called  a traditional cheese and onion pie.

This done, there was another thing to make. A very different treat this time, a kind of cheese balls very good to serve with wine or just on their own. This is a brazillian recipe given to me by our friend Lucia. I remember making it in her house and freezing them. A huge advantage because later it is so easy just to take them out of the freezer, put on a baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes in a moderate oven.

I cannot find a link to any recipe online but instead of that I add the one I use. It is very easy and all the ingredients are available.



150 m of oil (vegetable or sunflower)

½ kg of sweet manioc flour (casava flour in any market)

300 ml of milk

1 teaspoon of salt

1 egg

½ kg of grated white cheese (such as Wensleydale or Caerphilly)


Heat the milk, oil and salt until boiling. Heat the flour. Mix in the egg and then, finally, the cheese.



I wanted to try this new recipe, a no-kneed bread – I’m in favour of that and when Gini Johnson mentioned it on Facebook, I knew I had to do it.

002The name is a bit of a mouthfull – No Kneed Bread with Buckwheet, Rye, Seeds and Nuts but as it shows on my photo it is very close to the picture in the recipe. It takes a while to make but it is well worth the wait! Delicious just with butter, it has got so much good things inside it doesn’t need anything else.


I started making my own bread ages ago, using a mix you can get in any shop. The results were good, I was pleased with it and it certainly tasted better than the shop-made loaf.

The next step was to make my bread from scratch, proper strong bread flour and yeast. Again. good result and also an added bonus – a therapy! When you’re cross about something there is nothing better (other than digging like a fury on the allotment) than kneading the dough.

Ok, done that. Then I discovered sourdough – here I thought that I met my match. It just seemed too complicated, but after some time I gave it a go and was converted. Of course, I’ve got to plan my baking because it is a slower process but the result is well worth it.

I wanted to get the best bread flour possible, stone-ground and organic but living in the Midlands we don’t have many mills nearby. Never mind, we found one, in Wiltshire and decided to have a day out, combined with flour buying. Fortunately for me Shipton mill does mail orders so now I’m happy and get on with the baking.

There is one more development – rye bread.

The mill has a very good website with recipes and I’m using their recipe for sourdough rye loaf – fantastic! Works every time, just follow the recipe to the letter and the result is one very tasty loaf.