One thing I wish I was better at is bread making. All my previous attempts have been middling to poor, the problems generally boiling down to heavy, unrisen, yeasty smelling bread. Not to be defeated when I saw this book on sale at Foyles last week I was wooed by the step-by-step photography and snapped it up. The first loaf I made turned out beautifully. It was a Nutty Yogurt quick bread - perfect for me as there was no getting your hands sticky or waiting for it to rise, just mix everything together in the bowl and then put it straight in the tin and on into the oven. One hour later, voila!
It was very gratifying to hear Miles walk into the kitchen and exclaim, "It looks like proper bread!". And it tasted proper too. I'm looking forward to working my way through the book and to overcoming my bread demons.
Finally, a little historical tidbit.
Miles and I spent the weekend with his parents at their house in Winchester. Along the road that runs from their house to the centre of town are these old cottages (I'm not sure of the date, but given that a bit further along the same road there is a building from the 15th century I think we can safely say they are pretty old!).
The detail I love are the little plaques you can see on two of them.
They are fire insurance marks: before municipal fire brigades, insurance companies ran their own private brigades. In the event of a fire the firemen would check for a plaque to see if the building belonged to their scheme before setting about tackling the blaze!