Wholemeal Bread and Rolls

For a long time I've been thinking that I should have a 'bash' at making a 'proper' wholemeal loaf; you see in the past to avoid the heavy texture often associated with 100% wholemeal I've always chickened out and used 50% white flour.

Before I could get my 'thinking head' on, Mike D on the sausagemaking.org forum posted that he had made wholemeal bread using my Our Daily Bread recipe and that it had turned out great! The answer had been right under my nose!

I made the Soft Bread Roll recipe instead and they're fine.

Wholemeal Bread Rolls

Because I can't just leave anything alone, I made a loaf with an even higher % liquid content as well.

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Air Dried Meat and Sausage

From childhood I was told never to eat raw pork or sausage, so the concept of air drying meat, and then eating it without cooking, is somewhat alien to me. Therefore, it never ceases to amaze me how many people are happy to jump feet first into making air dried sausage, even in the middle of summer, without any form of temperature or other controls. I value my family and friends too much to take those risks.

For making air dried meats successfully, and more importantly safely, you need somewhere with the correct temperature and humidity to dry them. If you have a cool enough cellar or other area then it's fine. I don't, and with the fluctuating temperatures we now seem to get at any time of year, air drying outside or in the shed doesn't appear to be an option.

To solve the temperature problem I bought a second-hand wine fridge. However, whilst it will run at 10°C quite happily, it won't maintain the 12 to 15°C that I need. Fortunately, a friend's business makes electrical control systems and he offered to make me an independent controller for the cooler. Had I have realised that I needed this to achieve my goal, I could have adapted an old fridge which would have been a lot cheaper. Doh!

With the temperature problem solved I then had to worry about the humidity. Too high and the meat won't dry; too low and the outside will harden before the inside is dry enough to be safe. Ebay provided me with a thermometer/hygrometer for about a tenner and I found that my wine fridge fluctuates between 20% and 90% relative humidity - not good as I want to achieve 65 to 70%. I think that I have found an answer by making a box to fit inside the fridge to isolate the environment that the meat is in from the fridge itself. My woodwork is at primary school level but I have managed it - better still, it works.

The curing box

When I get the temperature controller I think I'll try some chorizo first - they don't take as long to dry as salami.

If you want to make air dried sausage - chorizo, salami, pepperoni etc - a good place for information is Adam Marianski's WedlinyDomowe.com website. Further advice can be found on the sausagemaking.org forum and Len Poli's website.

Onion Confit Quiche

Picture of the Onion Confit QuicheThis quiche was what you'd call a long shot, but surprisingly everyone loved it.

Not exactly a recipe, more a method:

A good few hours before you want the quiche, peel and finely slice a load of onions, probably a couple of pounds or so. Put them into a hot pan with some oil and butter, season with salt and pepper, stir it around and after about 5 minutes add a good slug of wine vinegar. Cook until all the vinegar evaporates, add a good sprinkling of thyme leaves, then turn the heat to its lowest and leave it, stirring occasionally, until the onion is really soft. This will probably take about 1 - 1½ hours or so.

It's best done in a large non-stick pan and I cover the onions with a wet cartouche for the last ½ hour. A cartouche is a posh name for a piece of greaseproof paper; run it briefly under the tap and put it directly on top of the onion. I don't know the exact reason why, but it works better than using the pan lid. Allow the cooked mixture to cool

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