Tag Archives: Medieval Food Group

Home-baked bread

bread loaf
Fresh from the oven

I’ve made the odd soda bread loaf  in the past, but I’m currently pretty serious about getting into a routine of baking our own bread, inspired most recently by watching the River Cottage Everyday ‘Bread’ episode. At some point, I’d also like to try establishing my own sourdough, but I wanted to start with something straightforward. I was pretty happy with the look and taste of this chunky little loaf.

So, if you also happen to be looking for a  fool-proof home-baked baked bread recipe then I think that you really can’t go past this Simple White Loaf recipe from River Cottage.

Proving it's child's play! One of these was shaped by a four year old.

I especially love this recipe because it yields two beautiful sized loaves which means that you can immediately freeze one when it’s cool.  Make a few batches of these and you’ll soon have a load of your own bread available.

My nearly-4-year old loved kneading the dough too and got to shape her own loaf by copying me, so the dual loaf idea is great for including your kiddies in the bread-making process.

kneading the dough
Dough is the best toy in the world

There’s something very rewarding about slicing into your own bread, the aroma and the taste is somehow more fulfilling when you’ve crafted it with your own hands.

Tip:  If using your iphone/ipad as a recipe book, read well ahead and make mental notes. Scrolling with doughy fingers = not good. 🙂

Recipe:  River Cottage Simple White Loaf 

If you need visual instructions, you can watch this six minute River Cottage Bites Basic Loaf video.

The pilsner drought

Egads! Nearly nine months without pilsner. Now that spring is upon us,  thoughts of this  long-lost summery flavour are torturing me.

pilsner.jpgI have purchased what has become my holy grail, my golden chalice – a single bottle of Pilsner Urquell, my little Czech friend. This beer (but not this actual bottle) was first brewed in 1842. It’s a timeless classic flavour – one of the staples in my so-called ‘Medieval Food Group.‘ You see, it’s not the alcohol I crave, it’s the pure crisp nutty, fruity, hoppy flavour of this finest beer. All pilsners are lovely – but this is the original.

It takes but one simple sniff and then the first sip transports you to almost mythical wild summery fields of barley and ancient hop vines. Not getting it? For a visual taste, see this photo of a barley field and this photo of hops growing – it’s like they’ve bottled a landscape.

The only drink that has given me anywhere near the same kick in the last nine months is hot Milo. If hot Milo was a landscape it would be warm and wooly in a time of cold – like this photograph. Beautiful, but not half as mystical somehow.

Ok, so I’m getting silly now, but I’ve never claimed to be sane and quite frankly any distraction from impending labour is a good thing, so don’t laugh at my fantasy fields of flavour. 😉

I’m not quite sure when I’ll get to quaff this amber nectar, and it may be many many many months in the future. I’m not really sure if you can have a quick beer to celebrate the birth or not? Is that allowed? I don’t know. More to the point, I don’t really want the little one getting his/her first taste of pilsner by-proxy from me in the first few days of life.

So, although I dearly love the baby in my belly and am looking forward to meeting the new lifeform – reuniting with the nutty golden taste of pilsner will surely be a semi-religious experience for me sometime in future.

For now, I can look at the pretty pictures and dream …

Brew this in your cauldron

I’ve been thinking about beer. Lots of girls don’t like beer but maybe that’s because they have only experimented with the common garden variety. Outside of the garden, in the wild fields of wheat, flowers and hops, grows the finest ingredients that go into the finest beers. Thats right, beyond the garden gate are beers with herbal fruityness, wood, the freshest soil, the taste of fresh rain.

You think I exaggerate? I do not. These flavours are out there. Try James Squire’s Pilsner or the unbelievable Mac’s Blonde Coriander and Orange or their Wicked Blonde (a pilsner I dream of having never sipped it yet), or even any variety of Honey Beer.

Real beers like these taste of the earth.

Proper beer, like the finest pilsners, belongs to what I like to call the ‘Medieval good group (MFG)’. This little known food group consists of foods and drinks that when consumed transport you back to the times of your ancestors. They taste like the earth or fields and flowers, like carrots with their tops on, these are raw beers that grew and were brewed by loving hands, minds and hearts. They have natural stuff in them.

The MFG is fairly specific, in fact because I invented it, I guess I can pretty much include anything. In fact I think the MFG is specific to the person. Not just any foods fit into this group. You don’t know if a flavour belongs until it is consumed. You will know when a food or drink belongs to your own MFG when you taste it because you get that feeling of timeless taste, wholesome goodness, the food is literally growing you healthy.
Example of foods that have made it into my MFG are:

  • roasted chestnuts
  • pilsner (mainly the boutique brewers who brew from wild)
  • Mac’s Coriander and Orange beer
  • porridge
  • mead
  • sweet potatoes
  • chick peas
  • hazelnuts
  • real ginger beer
  • Paris Creek biodynamic yoghurt
  • okra (it’s so hairy that it’s scary but in a curry it’s gumminess does something amazing)
  • heirloom vegetables (I’m looking forward to purple carrots and brown capsicum)

I know there are more. I will find them. If you are looking for your own MFG, start with naturally brewed beers. Once you hop, you can’t stop.