Tag Archives: focaccia

Bread, Birds and Butterflies

I just caught the end of the Bread Group today. Gail is at a conference in London (as is Prince Charles, though I’m not one to gossip…) so they ran their own session today. The result was a variety of loaves baked using a focaccia recipe. I use those words carefully.

I’m sure they will all taste great, even the ones that look like illustrations from a medical textbook (due to the inclusion of sun-dried tomatoes) but if you were expecting focaccia that looks like the picture in cookery books you won’t find much of it here.  I was actually left with the impression that the bakers of the flatter ones were generally thought to lack imagination by the rest of the group.

My favourites were the ones that looked like small loaves. I bet they will taste really good with a bowl of soup. I made that observation several times but ended up leaving without other bread or an invitation. I may have to investigate Photoshop and the possibility of adding more wrinkles if this sort of thing continues.

Meanwhile, we have had young goldfinches and wrens around the feeder and the blue tits are now feeding lots of caterpillars to their young in the nestbox. I’m not sure this is doing the butterfly garden a lot of good but nature is all about give and take.

I’ve seen two more Common Blues about, though the butterfly showing isn’t great at the moment. One of them was a female, which is always a bit difficult as female Common Blues are brown. Annoying though this may be, I have to admit it isn’t their fault because as they evolved nobody told them they were going to be called Common Blues. Compared to some species, they aren’t that common either.

Ah well!

Flowers are looking better, and I did mange to get some photos. It’s a shame the few pollinators I saw about were so quick I couldn’t get a shot.

Tomorrow it’s Sheffield, though we’re hoping to get into the Peak District on the way back. We may to Wigtwizzle. I’m not sure there’s much to see, but with a name like that (which I just discovered on the map) how can you resist?

On the way back we may even find time to visit one of my favourite bookshops.




Focaccia and nettle soup

It was the baking group again today, though they were slightly thinned out by holidays. It’s always good to see them because they are a happy lot. This is good when you’re baking (as some of my attempts have been horrendous and several, despite exhortations to “re-use the dough” have ended up in the bin – sometimes scraped from my fingers, and sometimes propelled with at speed). The fact that Focaccia was bread of the day was a bonus. It always smells so good.

I wasn’t baking today – I lost my baking mojo a while back and my enthusiasm has faded. I need to start getting it back now, particularly as several schools have been asking for bread making as an option when they come to visit. The smell of freshly baked focaccia and rosemary is just the sort of thing to bring back that enthusiasm. Not that I’m overly enthusiastic about the school sessions – it can be a bit of a dull day for the kids when you keep dragging them back into the kitchen for the next stage.


That reminds me, I have a teacher to ring back.

At the end of the session I gave out nettle soup. One or two slunk out without taking any (though I bear no grudges) but several drank it cold there and then and the rest took pots home with them. I’m easy with foraging and can take it or leave it, but it’s good to produce food from found ingredients and to introduce people to new experiences. It’s also, as somebody once said in a book, good to eat foraged food once in a while because it gives you a range of nutrients. However, there are reasons that we eat spinach instead of nettles, with the stings being just one of them.


I have actually set myself a target of learning something new every day this year. My learing for today was that I didn’t know how to spell focaccia. In fact I just had to check it after writing that.

Finally, can anyone tell me how ro swirl cream into soup and have it still look good by the time you’ve switched your camera on. In an effort to raise my game last night I swirled the cream, sprinkled the freshly picked chives and took this picture that looks like a curdled face.