Sunday 13 September 2009

Daily Bread

When I was young and troubled, trying to get a handle on life, my Aunty Thora gave me a book to read. "This might help put things into perspective for you." She said. It was the "Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám", translated by Edward Fitzgerald in the mid 1800's. You may have heard quotes from it, possibly the most famous of which is;

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness -
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.  
Today I went to the park with my family. Canaan, who is 10, had arranged to meet his school friends there, so we all went. I am recuperating from a bout of Tonsillitis and a week long fever of 40°C, so I sat under a tree with Omar and read a little while I watched them play. Sora gathered horse chestnuts, Rohan and Sean played by the creek with Mika keeping careful watch.
The dappled sunlight through the leaves played across the pages as I read. It reminded me once more how precious the moments are that we spend in this world, and how lucky I am to know it.
Oh, I have deadlines. And orders. Work and financial pressures. Just like everyone. But my life is more than that, and I cannot sacrifice my health or my family for such transient things. I seem to be getting less and less time to do more and more things these days. Even I have limits. It is important, therefore, for me to regularly reassess my priorities to make sure I'm on the right track and not missing the important things in life.

We came home for lunch. Mika had baked bread; I had cooked soup; We enjoyed them as a family. Later I will have a goblet of wine with Mika. Today I will just be happy; tomorrow, I shall be quite happy to work.   

Our Basic Bread

260ml of Luke Warm Water
1.5 teaspoons of Dry Yeast
4 tablesoons of Sugar
1.5 teaspoons of Sea Salt
3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
200gm Plain Flour
200gm Gluten Flour

Mix the ingredients in a bowl in the order given. When thoroughly mixed turn out onto the bench top and knead for ten minutes. Put into a bowl and cover with a damp cloth to rise for an hour. Punch it down and reshape it, then let it rest on the bench for 30 minutes. Oil a baking tin, roll the dough and place it into the tin, covered with a damp cloth again, and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes.
This recipe can be varied by using wholemeal flour or adding grains, and it is always successful for us. It also works perfectly well in a Bread Machine if you have one. I use Olive oil, but any mono or polyunsaturated oil or Butter is fine. Never use margerine or other hydrogenized trans fatty acids, they are bad for you!