Posts Tagged ‘rye’

Sorrel soup, rye bread and bluebells (or: Back to my spiritual home)

“Every day is like a day on the farm. Every meal is a feast. That’s a day in the Marine Corps.”

Well, not the Marine Corps at all. My favourite farm.

What’s that you say? You don’t have a favourite farm? Pffft. All the cool kids have a favourite farm. And mine is Waltham Place.

I went there in March on a fruit preserving course and had been itching to get back. Since getting my groceries from Abel and Cole, I am totally on the soup scene, for using up the leftover vegetables the day before my new delivery. So when I saw the soup and bread course, I booked myself in straight away!

After my last traumatic journey to the farm, this time around was relatively easy. In fact, on the bus to the farm, I saw the exact same two ladies who had rescued me last time and went and thanked them again.

Arriving at the farm, I saw the familiar faces of Nikki and Adrian, who run the courses. You feel you are in safe hands as they gently take control, ensuring everyone has tea and biscuits and helping the group of strangers to gel.

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We got straight into some chat about what makes good or bad bread, the fact that bread has been around for thousands of years and about mixing your dough with the end of the wooden spoon.

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Apparently that’s how the Italian grandmothers in Tuscany do things!

I mixed and kneaded and shaped and then left it to prove in the warm kitchen….

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…before starting on some sorrel soup.

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I’ve not eaten – and certainly never cooked with – sorrel so I was a little nervous but Adrian ripped off a leaf tip and got munching, encouraging me to do the same. And it was surprisingly tasty – lemony but not sharp. More like a salad dressing which had been made with lemon. It was bursting with flavour. I couldn’t believe I’d never eaten it.

After making and straining the soup…

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…the bread was also finished proving and baking. Mine was a rye bread made with a sourdough starter Adrian had been brewing up for five days.

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We each then quickly threw together another loaf. I did a plaited white loaf next (which I got started on before I could photograph it, sorry!).

Then we had a fabulous lunch of our own soups and a previously baked loaf for dipping. It was so good. Sorrel soup, people! It’s the way of the future! Lemony but savoury. It didn’t need any seasoning as it has such a rich rounded flavour of its own.

Then we went for a lovely walk around the estate, which was much greener than my last visit

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The chickens!

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One of the cows! (Danda says I can have a cow, although it’s still a no on the chicken.)

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Any day now, this place will be head height with long grasses and colour!

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The Japanese garden will soon be looking lovely too.

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The lime tree lined walk.

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The blanket of bluebells starting to cover the forest floor.

We returned to the centre, oversaw the baking of our second breads (one person had decided to mark his with what can only be described as a nipple, a bread nipple, if you will….)

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…and sat down for some well earned tea and cake…

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A coffee cake on the left and a fruity tray bake on the right. Both were delicious, obviously.

A lift back to the station from a fellow course student would have finished the day off nicely, apart from the 3.5 hour journey home because of train delays. But even that couldn’t ruin the loveliness of the day 🙂