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Adventures in Food… Learning to Bake Bread Part 1

 

So I have finally gotten round to baking bread and it’s going great! I started two weeks ago and have been taking my bread in for lunch everyday at work since. I started with white bread and made in in a loaf.

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I realised my yeast was slightly out of date, but went with it. This one used olive oil, which was new to me, but I liked it.

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I let it rise in the bowl and then again in the loaf tin (I should have probably let it rise a bit longer in the tin) and then dusted it with flour.

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It came out wonderfully golden brown and smelt amazing. I tried an end piece warm with some butter and it was heaven. I say I should have let it rise a bit more as it came out a denser loaf than I would have liked, but was great as doorstop ham sandwiches.

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The following week I made a crusty cob, which used butter instead of the oils form the previous bread.

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This one rose wonderfully in the bowl as I pretty much left it all day. so it came out nice and round and fluffy.

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I then shaped it into a round ball-ish shape and let rise again.

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I had to improvise a bit as my house got a bit cold, so under the radiator it went and it worked a treat.20131117-145616.jpg

I then dusted it with flour and let it bake into a wonderful golden cob. This was amazing! Lighter than the previous loaf, which meant I got more portions (2 weeks worth of sandwiches). I may have also gone a bit overboard on the yeast as realise my scales had a funny moment while weighing it out, but had already put it in the flour. But it worked out really well.

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I loved kneading the dough and letting it rise then watching it turn into bread. It was quite therapeutic really, so I’ll be carrying on working my way through the book I have and trying out different breads with different flavours.

 

Wandering to Uffington White Horse

A couple of weekends ago my parents were home and we spent one day of the weekend visiting a National Trust place non of us had been to before – The Uffington White Horse.

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This is thought to be the oldest white horse known, having been constructed in the Bronze Age. There are several around where I live and even more in the wider area. It’s hard to see the whole thing on the ground, so I included a photo of the book above. It was also lovely to spend the day with my parents doing something easy and free (if you have National Trust membership).

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My dad likes to read all the signs and stand right on top of things!

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My mum is content to view things from above.

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I really love the history from my local area. Being close to Stonehenge and Avebury it’s too easy to forget what else is around and the white horses are amazing! Lots of people were out on a warm, but windy day.

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It is a bit of a walk from the car park, but on a day like we visited you could see for around 30 miles (my dad guesses) and could see Swindon and Didcot and maybe Oxford.

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This was the map my dad used to guess how far we could see. I love maps like this, but normally you can only see directly in front!

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I love the random history and myths you find on these signs. For example it is thought that the white horse leaves his hill once a year to eat the grass in the manger below 🙂

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I love that everything is still a mystery. No one know why these kinds of monuments were built or what they were for. But they are impressive today and when you think there would have been a lot less civilisation around they would have have stood out even more!

The other myth is the flat hill that can be found below the horse and above the manger is to be where St George slew and buried the dragon. Nothing grows on top of the hills and it is believed the dragons blood is the cause.  The other legend is that Uther Pendragon is buried there!

20130818-152052.jpgThere is also a castle above the horse – well a castle in the sense the is a ring mound of earth, that is thought to have been a castle. It was fun to walk around and see for 360 degrees!

I would highly recommend visiting this place is you are between Swindon and Oxford!

 

Food As A Security Blanket

I’ve talked about using food to comfort before, but I’ve really been thinking about this week as it is something I need to change in order to live how I want to live and have a healthy relationship with food.

I use food as more than just food. This would not be a problem if it was a once in a blue moon occurrence, but it is more like everyday.

I’ve been asking myself these questions after seeing a post by Ashley over at Coffee, Cake and Cardio:

  • Why am I overweight?
  • Why haven’t lost weight?
  • Why aren’t I able to keep the weight off?
  • Why do I use food for comfort
  • What is missing from my life?

It’s been hard to be totally honest with myself, but I know it is for the best. I’m not going to put my answers on here, as I am still trying to get my head around the answers.

Part of my plan is eat healthier and stick to my budget. Part of why they link is because I spend money on food I do not need. I fund binges on money that could go towards other things or from money I do not really have.

Therefore this changing my realtionship with food is extra important to me. My strategy is to meal plan and then make a shopping list based on that. I will include things I enjoy, but should only do so in moderation as to not deprive myself. I also want to reduce the amount of trips to the food shops that I currently do.

So I’m going back to ordering an organic vegetable box from a local farm. I have gone for a weekly fruit and veg box and plan to base my meals around what I get each week. I am also ordering milk and eggs from the farm too. My plan is to then do one or two other shops a month to avoid having to pop to the shop on my way home from work or at the weekends.

I know I’m making a lot of changes in a short amount of time, but this feels right. It’s also not all new changes. It is bring together things I know work for me and focusing my effort into them in order to change my relationship with food and live how I want to.

I have my fitbook and now I have to subscribe back to the Ki Fit. I’ve lost my display in the move so will be searching for it tomorrow in order to sign up for Monday.

I’m feeling good about all this 🙂

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