Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Xmas, New Year, New Job...& Bread

Well now, Happy New Year! We celebrated in the resort, but the weather was dire, with an odd storm blowing in from the North. Oh well, just another part of the Aitutaki Adventure - mist flying horizontally through the restaurant! Christmas day was lovely, with pressies, a trip to Church, a LOT of champagne, and a yummo (an Aussie term, I believe) roast pork lunch with the Best Gravy in the world! Now for 2011...

January is the month of...job-seeking, school holidays and bread-baking. I'll tell you pretty quickly which one is much more fun than the others!

So, bread! Funnily enough, I had bought a bread-making book with us when we moved to Aitutaki as I didn't know that there was a bakery on the island (let alone 3!). Needless to say it has languished un-opened and un-loved until last weekend. The kids thought it would be a great idea, so we got the recipes of of mothballs and gave it a go. Many hours later we turned out an OK-kind-of-loaf - much kneading and several risings produced a well shaped, firm-but-not-too-firm loaf that was quickly devoured.

Being the researcher that I am, as soon as the loaf was eaten I was on the web searching for tips and hint. Maybe our dough had been too dry for the french load I had I need a steam oven to make it crusty...why on earth do American websites have to make so many disclaimers about stupid things such as "ovens are hot - you may burn yourself"...

Then I stumbled across the secret (or not) of the millenia - you can make bread Without Kneading it. Not only that, but it is better in every way!! The "NO KNEAD" method of bread making has probably been around for quite a while. Apparantly there was a recipe in the New York Times in 2006 which has oft been copied and tweaked online. The recipe I decided to follow came from a blog called The Italian Dish.

How basic is this - slap together some yeast, water, salt and flour and LEAVE IT. Then bake some of it. Then stash the rest of the mix in the fridge. Then bake it bit by bit over the next week or two. The result: light, crusty, rustic, 'artisan' bread, slightly chewey inside and a total dream.

The only problem I have seen is that once it comes out of the oven, the loaf only lasts half-an-hour before it has been devoured, dripping in melted butter.

So now, having made home made bread for the last few days, we are getting tricky, adding a few glugs of maple syrup/honey/golden syrup to the mix with some sultanas/fruit cake mix and some cinnamon and nutmeg. Voila! Divine loaves of fruit bread for breakfast toast. Heaven! And terribly addictive. In fact, it is currently 5.52pm, I should be cooking our dinner, but I have been waylayed by yet another slice...

And as for the job hunting...well there have been a few various things of interest...Canberra, Noosa and Melbourne. The thing is you have to immerse yourself in each possible opportunity to get the idea if you want live there or not. So that means researching schools, rentals, lifestyle and as soon you get into it, the opportunity goes past and the next thing comes along.

It's really just a waiting game while Michael sends off a few applications. Nothing happens quickly this time of the year.

In the meantime, we survive the holidays with a few swims and a lot of (or not enough) patience!

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