Friday, March 13, 2009

Over the weekend, we went to Bristol for a break. I had a breadmaking course in Bath which Lisa got me for Christmas. It was run by a French baker who has a serious objection to, among other things, sliced bread and kneading.

The first objection is mainly due to the huge ingredients list you get on shop-brought bread – when all you really need in it is flour, water, salt and yeast.

The second objection has a lot to do with getting the right amount of flour and the right amount of air into your bread. The technique he taught is difficult – and I’m planning to try it on my own this weekend – but it was very successful.

We managed to make (using one recipe) bread sticks, fougassi, ciabatta and a tin loaf… there was even a bread-based quiche…

A really good course… although I’ll see on Sunday whether I manage to pull it off.

However, it was hard work, and what with that and Lisa’s day looking after George in Bristol (and the fact that we hadn’t got much sleep on Thursday night), we were both a bit tired. A pity really because we had a baby sitter booked to come to the hotel room so we could go out and have dinner. We could barely keep our eyes open.

Having returned from Bristol, and met up with our next door neighbour who’s wall was also demolished last week, he showed me what his CCTV camera (which he’s got pointed at the street – partially as a sign of the times, and partially because he suspected that this would happen sooner or later).

It shows quite clearly what happened as the car from across the road sped backwards into our front garden, paused for a couple of seconds, then screamed off into the road to crash again.

What surprised me was how quick it all was. From the time he started out of his drive to the time he left our garden was only about 5 seconds – and yet, although I was asleep when I heard the crash, I was at the window to see him drive out…. It must have been loud because I’m not out of bed that quickly when George cries!

Met up with Russ in town on Thursday, which was nice. We went to an itallian restaurant next to the Silver Cross pub on Whitehall… a rather bizarre experience as its management has changed since I was last there. It’s now done out like a Greek temple, but filled with full sized knights in armour for some reason. The menus are huge laminated books with what pretends to be a photo of each dish – only the photos are of generic pastas with other ingredients badly photoshopped into them so that the whole thing looks like a child’s collage….

Anyway, it turns out at the end of the meal (while they were hoovering up the floor around us) that they no longer take cards – only cash. Helpfully they accept euros, although we didn’t have any – so we had to simply give them all the cash and bits of fluff from our pockets and hope it was enough… it wasn’t, but they let us off.

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