Local Food: bread and other things.

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Food has been taking up a fair bit of time these days! One of the things about doing the Eat Local Month is that it takes a bit more effort and ingenuity to put together meals. I don’t mind this, of course, and I take great satisfaction in cooking. I definitely find the challenge of making a meal from what is available locally quiet exciting and inspiring.

I was going to say that consequently I haven’t been doing many creative things but I don’t think that’s strictly true. For one thing, I don’t think I can blame the lack of art related activities on cooking and for another, the cooking itself is a creative effort. And since the later is a more positive spin, I’ll focus on that!

Last night we had:

Green Lentil Dal with onions and tomatoes. This was improvised from a recipe in The Vegetarian Epicure. I also made some wholewheat herb bread from The Cranks Recipe Book. To cool down we had some lovely local  green beans, cucumber and yogurt from Fox Hill.

It was a bit fool hardy to have the oven on yesterday, as it was so warm, but we desperately needed bread. I made two loaves and was going to freeze one but I think we will go through it in no time. During ELM there are fewer snacks (other than fruit and veg….but sometimes that doesn’t cut it!) so we need more bread. I’ve also got a sour dough starter on the go, so I’ll be making more loaves soon!

I have rekindled my relationship with the Cranks Recipe Book (this is a newer version than mine but I think the recipes are largely the same). The book itself feels very homey, with hand drawn illustrations, and I love to browse through it. The funny thing is, I rarely make a recipe straight from the book. I tend to use is more as a starting point, get some ideas and then adapt things to work for me.  My favourite Lentil Loaf for example (I know it sounds boring but it is very popular in our house and quite more-ish) was inspired by a recipe for Lentil Cheese Wedges.

Catherine’s Favourite Lentil Loaf

Cook 4 oz of lentils and 4 oz of grains (barley, millet, or even quinoa) in separate pots of water until soft. Drain and put into a large bowl. Preheat oven to 375 F. Melt some butter in a saucepan and add 1 large chopped onion. Fry until transparent. Add the onion, 1 egg, 1/4 cup wholewheat flour, and 4 oz grated cheese to the lentil/grain mixture and stir. I also add oregano, sage, rosemary and parsley. Season to taste. Line a bread pan with parchment paper and press mixture into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like to freeze it and reheat it later (5 days old?).

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