Thursday, 4 February 2010

Bread Makers and Microwaves

February 2010

I just can't get on with it, well I could but I won't.

All that kneading is fine, faffing about with the yeast; again fine. It's the rising and knocking down, if I'm really honest it's the waiting, knowing in the airing cupboard under a damp tea towel is a bowl full of potential I just have to hang around for.

Alright so when bread from the Breadmaker is ready it's got a hole in the middle where the paddle has been and it turns out a slightly strange shape but it's good, it keeps well and makes toast that can win hearts at 2am.
My Breadmaker was a birthday present and it came with me, I like to rebel against the instruction booklet by following the "basic white" recipe and changing the white flour to spelt, granary or mixing in a handful of oats, nuts or seeds. It makes the house smell good and there's none of that impatiently hovering around the airing cupboard - when it's ready it will beep and I can get on with my life.

I know my brother's brilliant beekeeping girlfriend Em won't tolerate a breadmaker in their house but hopefully I can redeem myself by shunning the microwave...
...a microwave I can do without. The only reason I would use one would be to heat up leftovers, but invariably food tastes so much better when it has been heated on the hob or reinvented in the oven. Reheat a stew, ratatouille or soup on the hob the next day and the flavour intensifies and really develops. Reinvent leftover curry by spreading it onto a sheet of puff pastry topped with some strategically placed diced Paneer or Tofu and bake in the oven. Serve with yogurt and cucumber salad. There are very few dishes that when they have become leftovers don't benefit from a topping of breadcrumbs and herbs (maybe a cheeky bit of cheese) baked in the oven.

I might be getting a reputation for food snobbery. I've got some fantastic friends without whom I would not be as back on my feet as I currently find myself. When I quizzed Frank (a particularly helpful soul of late) what would his favourite meal be (as I wanted to cook for him in my newly unpacked kitchen) he replied "Fish Fingers, mash, beans and mushy peas". I wish it hadn't made my heart sink but it did, sorry, it did.
I tried to rationalise and relish the potential challenge of a smokers palate. I thought deep breath Mim, it's fine you can handle've made fish fingers from real fish, carefully seasoned breadcrumbs (from homemade bread) and you can make great mash, a ratatouille of haricot beans and a fresh light pea and mint puree...
...he was having none of it. "You can't improve on the Captain", he said. "I have no doubt you can cook but Captain Birdseye has hundreds of years of experience...and a beard".


  1. Don't be a martyr. Microwaves are fine. Who wants to heat baked beans or tomato soup over the hob?

  2. Oh go on heat beans on the hob! Go crazy add a knob of butter
    and some black pepper, treat ya self! X