2013 in my Kitchen: Bread & Turkey

My bread

Two things have left the strongest mark on my cooking in 2013: bread and Turkey.

Bread took me by surprise. I didn’t think it was my kind of thing. Too laborious, I thought, and like many, I was wrong. I found in it a rhythm of life that I didn’t even know existed, let alone that I fitted into it. It only goes to show that you never know what you’re going to find and love, even when you think you know yourself pretty well. I look forward to whatever lies ahead.

Sourdough starter

My rye starter at home

Rye flour and starter

I started making sourdough bread almost by chance. William, the excellent baker behind the Natural Bread Company, was giving some of his rye starter at the East Oxford Farmers’ Market, and I took some. I knew I loved sourdough bread, so I thought why not. I’d give it a go. I never thought it would stick with me, but it did. I found a passion I never knew I had for the feel of the dough in my hands and the meditative repetition in kneading, a fascination with the dough rising in the oven. I found I had an instinctive idea of what I wanted my bread to be like: nutty, crusty, and with a mixture of wholemeal or spelt and white flours. I found a deep connection with the process and the matter in my hands. It just felt right.Well proven

2013 has definitely been the year of the bread, but 2014 will be, too. I’ve still got a way to go. I want to improve my shaping, and judging the proofing times to improve the look of my bread. I’m not quite ready to write here, but I will when I am ready.

Natural Bread Company

William’s rye bread at the East Oxford Farmers’ Market

The trip to Turkey and the workshop at Sapanca in photography and Turkish cooking in September have introduced me to this varied and interesting cuisine. I discovered and fell in love with some fantastic ingredients: tomato and pepper pastes, pul and urfa biber (red pepper flakes and smoky Urfa pepper flakes, respectively). I’ve enjoyed exploring it afterwards, too, and cooking from Olga’s brilliant blog Delicious Istanbul.

Vegetable bulghur pilaf

In my kitchen, vegetable bulgur pilaf adapted from Olga’s recipe at Delicious Istanbul

So here’s a warm good-bye to the 2013, and a hearty welcome to the 2014!

Hope you have a good one, too.

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15 Comments

  1. well they do say that bread is the staff of life. An appealing retrospective look at 2013. Happy 2014!

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  2. Your bread looks so delicious. It almost seems wrong to use the same word for what you have there and the stuff that is bought in the supermarkets resembling cardboard🙂

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  3. I love baking bread too. It’s so satisfying seeing the bread dough rise, not to mention the wonderful smell fresh bread creates in the house. Your photos are fabulous too!

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  4. That loaf looks delicious, I am glad that you fell into making bread – it was meant to be it seems. I love making my own bread, although I admit that I don’t always give it the attention it deserves. It tastes so much better than any I can buy though and now I can’t bring myself to buy any. I would rather go without if time has not permitted me to bake any.

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    • I know what you mean. Though I do have a couple of tricks up my sleeve when the time to make bread runs out. Soda bread is what I make when I don’t have the time to make bread. I should post the recipe here soon.

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  5. Hi! What a beautiful blog you have ! Thank you for commenting on mine. I am now going to go and read some more of your posts, it all looks so good🙂

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  6. Yes, I need to get back to making bread more often. I have almost given up! And to think I even made my own sourdough-starter a few years back! The weather is right here in Delhi to start a fresh culture…

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    • I’ve been making it regularly for about 14 months now. I didn’t think it was my thing, but turns out it is and I’m absolutely hooked!
      Yes, the warm weather makes things a lot easier.

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