Another step out of my rut

Regular readers will know that over Christmas I realised that I had shrunk. Sadly not physically but in terms of my sense of self, my confidence and my comfort zone. To reverse this I have been pushing myself to clamber out of my rut. As part of that I decided to expand my repertoire of meals and baking. I had, as most of us do, a collection of recipes which I made over and over again. Sometimes I varied them a bit but basically I was sticking to tried and tested, fail-safe, do them without reference to a book, ones. I mentioned in a previous post that finding books by Jack Munroe in the library started the process and encouraged me to be more experimental with meals but I was still making the same bread, cakes and biscuits.

I got out my favourite bread book (The River Cottage Handbook No 3 – Bread) and looked for something to try. I love crumpets so thought I would begin with those. Disaster! Even though I oiled the rings well the dough stuck to them. I tried adjusting the wetness both to drier and to wetter but they still stuck. Thinking about it later I have used those same rings many times for poaching eggs and I think I have scoured them too often so that they are scratched. When I chucked the last batch of glued up rings into a bowl of washing-up water to soak the dough off I looked again at the recipe and it said that pikelets could be made from the same dough without rings – just spoonfuls of batter on the pan. I was reluctant to waste the last bit of batter so I gave it a go and – success!

Then I tried Focaccia from the same book. That worked first time.

Last week the lockdown restrictions on us here in Wales were eased a little so we can visit each other. Only 4 adults from no more than 2 households can meet out of doors. The Snails and I decided that if it rained their limery with the doors and windows open was as good as outdoors so I went to visit them. Jan had made some bread and some small cookies which were more like little cakes. Both recipes were from a book she posted about a while ago – Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa. One of the reasons I have not explored sourdough much is that living alone I only need to bake bread every few days and throwing away half the starter to feed it grieves me. On the other hand chilling it would mean re-activating it before using it and in turn that means being more organised than I can usually manage! Jan assures me that the starter only needs feeding every few days and this book has recipes to use up any discarded starter. So I bought a copy and now have a starter culture brewing.

All this experimenting and learning new techniques is quite exciting! And the higher I climb out of the rut the more possibilities I can see. Thank goodness the easing of our lockdown looks like continuing – I am going to need visitors to help me eat all things I want to bake!

20 thoughts on “Another step out of my rut

  1. anne54 March 27, 2021 / 9:48 pm

    Those pikelets look so good ~ and quite like crumpets, only a little flatter!
    It has been very hard for you folks in the UK, so it must have been lovely to catch up with the Snails, to sit and chat about seeds and knitting and all those other gentle things that make life wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales March 28, 2021 / 10:40 am

      It really was such a treat! I call pikelets ‘free form crumpets’ and you get more butter and jam to dough which makes them even better!

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  2. Laurie Graves March 28, 2021 / 1:30 am

    How wonderful to visit with the Snails! I so enjoyed reading about how you are getting yourself out of your rut. This has been quite a year for being in a rut, and the homely pleasures have kept us sane.

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    • Going Batty in Wales March 28, 2021 / 10:42 am

      Thank you Laurie. I know some people have got really depressed by lockdown especially if they live alone with nowhere to get outside. I have coped pretty well but that rut was getting rather deep!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Helen March 28, 2021 / 10:04 am

    First, I was thrilled to hear that in Wales the lockdown is being eased. I think you have been living with stricter restrictions for longer, so it must have been mind-numbingly tough at times. No wonder you got in a bit of a rut.

    I had no idea pikelets were so easy to make. I must now find a recipe for them.

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    • Going Batty in Wales March 28, 2021 / 10:51 am

      In a large bowl mix 450g Plain white flour (NOT bread flour) 350 ml warm milk, 350 ml warm water and 5g fast action yeast to a batter the consistency of whipping cream. Put the bowl in black plastic sack and stand it in a warm place for at least an hour. I mix it at lunchtime and bake late afternoon. When you are ready to bake take the bowl out of the bag – the batter should be slightly thicker, stringy and full of bubbles. Whisk in 2 slightly rounded teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and grease it with a little sunflower oil. Drop a spoonful of batter on and when bubbles pop on the surface and the top is almost dry flip it and cook for a little bit longer to brown the other side. If the batter spreads too far add a little more flour. Adjust the heat if the pikelet is too dark or pale. Once everything is working well make as many as your pan will hold at the same time.

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      • Helen March 28, 2021 / 12:03 pm

        Thanks very much for the recipe. Will try this out instead of pancakes for a change 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. nanacathy2 March 28, 2021 / 3:03 pm

    Your pikelets look delicious. Rut climbing is hard but necessary. I can’t till we can see people again. I have family visits arranged and a hair appointment in the diary. Life is looking up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tialys March 30, 2021 / 7:43 am

    Starting to get out and about as the lockdown eases will be a mental lifesaver for a lot of people – literally in some cases I’m sure. I like to hear of blogging friends meeting up. I’m now living fairly close to Sandra (Wild Daffodil) and thinking we might be able to get together at some point in the future if all continues to go well with the easing.
    Although I do feel as if my social skills might need a bit of polishing up before I launch myself back on the world at large.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales March 30, 2021 / 10:32 am

      Both the Snails and I found being sociable wonderful but tiring – we are out of practice!

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  6. onesmallstitch March 31, 2021 / 5:56 pm

    thanks for the pikelet recipe, going to give it a try. Our provincial health officer has just started 3 weeks of the strictest lockdown yet, now it is 19-39 year olds who are getting the variants. Thank goodness our weather is getting warmer, once I can get out in the garden I’ll be o.k. but won’t know how to socialize when this is over.

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    • Going Batty in Wales April 1, 2021 / 9:21 am

      The garden has been my sanity saver throughout but then it isn’t as cold here as with you! I think a lot of us are going to have to practice our social skills again – but at least everyone else will be in the same boat!

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  7. Amanda April 3, 2021 / 5:32 am

    Well that all looks and so es most delicious! Sadly I try to avoid grains but I have a great imagination and remember the flavours well. 😄

    Like

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