maandag 23 september 2013

Homemade Bread & Other Trials

Life can be sweet despite the hectic, frightening and unplanned events that throw you off course. Sweet like a slice of homemade raisin bread :)

It's been a bit of a crazy week here at Pale Rose cottage, well not exactly crazy but really busy. I shall make a brief list to give you an idea. Feel free to skip it and get to the good part :)

- The girls had to go to the vet for some shots. Smelling funny and having been scared by the drive, the many dogs & those nasty needles, Charlotte had a little accident in the carrier. Oh dear!

- I found out that from now on I have to pay for my fysiotherapy, Insurance no longer covers.

- A birthday package we sent in the mail got lost & never reached the birthday boy.

- Then my Mom had to go to the hospital for some tests. Of which we do not have the results yet... Not feeling too Zen about it.

- To top it all of our mixer got broken. So the 2 breads we had started to bake had to be finished completely by hand. Costing more time & (me personally) more patience then I expected at first.

But like I said, life can despite it all still be sweet here at Pale Rose. Yesterday we all watched a beautiful documentary about Whales and Dolphins. We also got a notecard in the mail from our friends J&H. Our garden was visited by several birds this morning. I'm reading a great novel... The busy days are over for now, still I wish to talk a bit more about one of them.

After ChloĆ« and Charlotte had been to the vet and gotten vaccinated for several diseases we all felt in need of a treat. Running to the village shop and buying a chocolate bar or some pre-packaged blueberry muffins that sound a lot better than they taste was not appealing. We would have to drive there (5 minutes only), we would have to pick something and nothing is close to homemade. Everything loaded with Sugar, e-numbers and all those preservatives... It's not worth the money or the calories, if you ask me.
So we started thinking up treats in our heads instead. Thinking turned to talking about goodies. "Oh do you know what I would LOVE to eat right now..." "Really? I would like to have some...." It kinda becomes a game.

A recipe that has been in the family for over twenty years & always comes up when we play the name your favorite food game, is raisin bread. Mom used to make it for us regularly and I remember it being in my lunchbox often, making me smile.

A quick scan in the pantry showed me, that all things needed to bake a raisin bread where there. We could even bake two if we wanted to & I did want to (happily) on a grey afternoon. Mom started the baking and I joined her in the kitchen as it's warm there. Not just from turning up the heat, but from that cozy home-y atmosphere that baking bread together creates.
The dough was super elastic & difficult to mix even with the machine. After only a few minutes of kneading our mixer started to produce a funny scent and refused to turn round any longer. Oh no! it was broken and could not be fixed... Instantly I knew that it must have gotten damaged as I was making my flower paper & felt pretty bad about it.
Especially now that we would have to bake the bread "old school style". I washed my hands twice and got stuck in. We needed to complete the product we looked forward to. Everyone knows that baking bread can be great fun, but when you are not feeling 100 percent, the skies above your home are grey & you know you are personally to blame for breaking the machine... It's not making you as happy as it would normally. 
After a few more minutes the charcoal cloud that had emerged above my head floated out of the kitchen & was replaced by a golden sun.  As our breads started to come together and looked really good, my mood immediately got better. Before the second rise mom and me were laughing again.

As I had already decided to buy a new mixer & empty out my piggy bank for it, all was well in my mind ;) We sat down with a cup of tea and when I looked over at our Amaryllis bulb, I counted 10 flowers and noticed a third stem  getting higher. Promising perhaps even more blooms.

Unbelievable almost 10 (plus) big bright red flowers appearing from a single dry bulb that we planted not that long ago. Above a picture of the first buts turning scarlet & below how it is today. The first flowers fading, those fiery flames slowly toning down but still immensely beautiful.

Time passed quickly as the scent of fresh bread spread around our cottage. Embracing our thoughts and hearts in its own sweet way. A little later, cooling down from the oven, both breads looked absolutely amazing and I took the picture seen below. Could hardly wait for dinnertime to come around.

So this was the result before slicing & in the very first picture of today's post I'm holding a plate with some of its lukewarm slices. Perhaps you can see how airy it is and how the raisins have stayed apart. That's one of the things so great about this family recipe, no dark line in the bottom of the bread, but evenly distributed.

Have you been baking this week? What did you make? Like Raisin Bread? Or prefer raisin buns? Got your own Amaryllis? How is it doing, more flowers then us?? Different color? Do share!!!

Till next time,
Jo's Daughter

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