Back again! I should be studying for my midterms next week but considering I made a batch of pastry dough and my first loaf of bread ever after I got home from school, I think I am doing all right. Actually, by me typing out some of the recipes here, it should help me study for my midterm, right?
Well, at school today I made an apple pie, some puff pastries and a soufflé. I haven’t tried the apple pie yet and the puffs needed some cream inside but I devoured three ramekins-full of soufflé and gave another to my bike messengering roommate. Thus, with a belly full of whipped egg and gruyere cheese I set out to get some things done around town. First stop was Queen West at the Spice Trader (www.thespicetrader.ca), a fine purveyor of organic spices. The lady in there (I haven’t learned her name yet, but I will) gave me a bunch of free stuff today; Pacific smoked sea salt (Alderwood scented salt), fleur de sel, and a nutmeg nut! I bought some Kosher salt as well.
Next, I did some maintenance on my bicycle, namely getting a seat post that isn’t 4 inches long and thus way too short. The Renegade is now sporting a new red seat! I also bought some bike lube that has the consistency of corn syrup. It is supposed to be good for the wintery conditions I haven’t been riding in because I was a lazy bum.
By that time I was feeling a little peckish so I stopped by Gangster Burger on Queen. I will be positive and say that if you ignore the bun, the burger was pretty good. The bun however, seemed so much lower in quality than the rest of the burger. They were also out of bacon when I got there so I ordered the Capone, which doesn’t usually come with bacon anyway. They did serve Coca-Cola in glass bottles, and before you judge me, it is the drink of choice to compliment a burger. Let’s be honest here.
A stop at the grocery store and I was stocked with yeast and shortening for all my baking needs. I went home and started the pastry dough:
It went like this:
5oz all purpose flour
5oz pastry flour
3.5oz cold water
a pinch of salt
Sift the flours and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Pinch in the shortening with your finger tips until you get pea sized crumbly balls (see the photo). Add 2/3 of the water (I added the whole thing all at once and it was fine). Work the dough just enough to make a ball. Wrap the ball up and cool it in the fridge. When ready, dust the working surface with flour and roll out the pastry dough to the desired thickness with a rolling pin.
I didn’t get to rolling out the dough today but it seems silly to stop halfway through a recipe. After tucking a pastry dough ball neatly away in the fridge I started on my first batch of bread, ever. I had always been sort of afraid to try bread because I heard it was hard to get right and it took a lot of time. Well I tried it and that is sort of true; it did take a long time and it wasn’t perfect but making bread was relaxing, fun and the bread actually tasted good! NO, I DID NOT USE A BREAD-MAKER! Sure it was a little dense but I will research and find out where I went wrong and hopefully come out with some fluffy aromatic French bread that will stimulate every sense known and unknown to man. Hey, if nothing else, the bread kinda looked cool!
Oh, you can see my new scale in the corner of the bread picture. A lot of the recipes we complete in school require the use of a scale, so by sheer necessity I had to buy one… I actually really wanted to buy a scale. The plexiglass on the front was a little cracked so I got a deal on it. I really like it so far as it has some really nice features that make reading it a joy.
This past week has be christened “Beef Week” by many for obvious reasons. We made steak two ways, both of which were fantastic, steak and kidney pie and roast beef, beef and vegetable stew, beef bourguignon, poupiette de beouf, and osso buco.