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French Bread Success

It’s music festival time, and so I’ve been a busy girl lately! So far, my students have done pretty well, with a couple of class winners. The festival will go on until the end of this month, so we might even get a few more winners!

I had a bit of a breather today, so I decided to tackle my next culinary project: learning to bake a loaf of bread! I’ve made quick breads and rolls before, and of course, there was that fail of a bagel experiment a couple weeks ago, but I’ve never made a loaf with yeast before.

With a veggie chili on the menu for dinner tonight, I decided to attempt a french bread to go with it. I followed this recipe as closely as I could (I think the only thing I changed was I used 1.25 tsp salt instead of 1.5 tsp). The instructions were very clear and the result was really good!

Ta da! :-) I have to say I was pretty impressed with myself. ūüėõ It was very soft inside, with a lovely flavour.

But I think I baked it a tad too long, as the crust was a little too crusty and darker than I’d intended. Note to self for next time! But as more than half the loaf has already been consumed, I’ll assume that it was a hit with my family…

I have to say that my recent forays into yeasty baking has been super satisfying. Sure, I’ve had a number of spectacular fails, but it’s been so fun, challenging, and interesting! What I find so frustrating, and yet so interesting, about recipes involving yeast is the lack of concrete instructions. They’ll often have cryptic directions like “let the yeast bloom”,¬†“let rise 1 to 2 hours”, “knead 7 – 10 mins”… It all depends on the type of flour, humidity, temperature in the room, etc. Although I curse a lot at the instructions, I also find it so interesting and fun! There’s so much to learn, and I can see how there is a delicate, complex art to it. And that is thrilling and intriguing to me.¬†I also don’t own a stand mixer or bread machine, so I do all the kneading by hand. I find it very therapeutic!¬†I have new found respect for the woman of yore who made all their bread completely by hand! I have a long way to go before I feel confident with yeasty baking, but I look forward to the journey to get there!

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I know I’m a few days late, but did all you motherly folks have a nice Mother’s Day?

We took my mom out to Steveston Village, where we enjoyed delicious halibut fish n’ chips and prowled around the old Britannia Shipyard buildings. It was very interesting, especially the Chinese bunkhouse with all its old knick knacks and pictures. (note: I brought my SLR all the way there, only to discover that there was no memory card in it. Fail. So these are all iphone pics)

And there was a nesting swan! So beautiful.

There were so many dogs out walking with their owners, and I was seriously melting with doggie love. I need my own pet!

Hey, speaking of dogs, have y’all seen the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam? It’s just too adorable, and everytime I watch, I turn into a blubbering mess:

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I want! :-) I’ve only ever had a pet fish before. And while he was cute and I loved him a lot, it just wasn’t the same as being able to floomph a wriggling, warm, affectionate little body of fur.

Anyhoo, I’ll be back soon with the long-promised next Peru post!

 

Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Kitchen Adventures

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The Royal Wedding

Ok, who stayed up all night to watch the Royal Wedding??

Well, I would have if I did not need to work today. But I did record it and watched it first thing this morning. And I admit, I totally teared up a number of times…starting with Kate getting into the car with her dad, her (very looong) walk down the aisle, not to mention the beautiful, ethereal music… The wedding had all the pomp and circumstance we expected, but was so elegant and relatively understated.

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As has already been noted on every fashion website out there, Kate’s dress was simply perfection. It was classic, timeless, romantic, and so, so beautiful. I loved the lace and the simple veil. And those gorgeous¬†earrings!

Other favourite moments and thoughts I had while watching:

  • The Queen¬†totally rocked her¬†yellow dress!
  • The unbelievable crowds outside!
  • Loved one of the signs someone made that read, “Checkmate. Kate — you’ve taken the King!”
  • All the crazy hats! Or better yet, every time Peter Mansbridge (I was watching the CBC broadcast) cracked jokes about all the fascinators.
  • The music was glorious. My favourite of the day was Elgar’s arrangement of the Jerusalem hymn.
  • Loved it when William saw Kate at the altar for the first time, and said to her “I love you. You look beautiful.”
  • And also¬†after the wedding, when they got into the carriage, Kate turned to William and said “I’m so happy.”¬†
  • Those little bridesmaids were so cute! I totally melted.
  • Speaking of whom,¬†my favourite photo from the day, which I still can’t stop cracking up when I see it:

(Source)

Bwahaha! ūüėÄ Oh goodness, that photo is just priceless on so many levels! That poor little girl… :-)

I’m totally a closeted hopeless romantic at heart, and this Royal Wedding just played right into that part of me. I had such a fun time watching it this morning! And it also brought back memories of my own sacred wedding day with Len. I am no princess, I didn’t wear a tiara, and there was very little pomp and circumstance, but, as the Lord Bishop of London stated in his address, at the essence¬†of every wedding day¬†is “a day of hope.” I loved when he said ” in marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.” What a lovely way of putting it.

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In other news, I attempted to make bagels for the first time this morning while I watched the wedding. Yah, I blame my being distracted by the nuptials for the epic FAIL that was that baking experiment.

I forgot to flour the board that I put them on, and so they stuck like mad. When I attempted to pick them up and drop them in the boiling water, they totally deflated and became deformed. I eventually was able to save a couple so that they looked somewhat like bagels:

But while they looked better, they were tough and chewy, and just not that tasty. My mother told me we should just buy bagels from now on. sigh.

And it’s been a lovely, fun week. We had a great visit with Kathleen!

We tried a new-to-us restaurant, Me and Julio. It was a great Mexican restaurant, and we had wonderfully fresh, delicious ceviche:

and plantain “ribbons”:

The day continued at Kanata’s for more good eats:

And Jen brought a fantastic game, “What?”, that was just a rip-roarin’, side-splittingly hilarious time!

And then there was this stunning rainbow earlier in the week:

That was the night the Canucks won game 7 against Chicago! :-)

And we have a new world champion!! Congrats to Patrick Chan on winning his first world title!

It’s been a good week. :-)

 

Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Thoughts

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