One of my favourite things in life is New Year’s Day breakfast with the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day concert on telly in the background. My great grandmother used to watch it and so did all her children. I’ve kept their tradition, no matter what I do or where I am for New Year’s Eve, I always watch it. By the time they play the Blue Danube as the encore, I am relaxed and happy and then the final encore, the Radetzky March always brings a smile, ready to face whatever the new year has in store. Most other times of the year I think Blue Danube a bit cheesy but so perfect on New Year’s Day.
This morning, I woke up early and made Nigel Slater’s Cider loaf from Kitchen Diaries II, which I got for Christmas from Beloved. Easy and pretty quick to do. Looks fabulous: I used 250g each white and malted granary bread flours (didn’t have spelt flour recommended in the recipe), biggish teaspoon of salt, lukewarm milk (150ml) with a teaspoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of quick acting yeast dissolved, then added to flour and salt along with 250ml cider. Nigel’s recipe uses 35g fresh yeast, which converts to quite a bit more than 2 teaspoons of quick acting (according to Leith’s) but I thought 2 teaspoons would be plenty for the flour quantity/ proving time and I got a very good rise. Knead for a couple of minutes, then leave to rise for an hour, knead again gently for a minute, leave for half an hour, then knead briefly and shape into a ball and put on a floured baking sheet while the oven heats up to 240 degrees C. Sprinkle with flour then bake for 30 minutes – I actually turned the loaf upside down to crisp the bottom a bit more for the last five minutes. We had it for breakfast, still warm with ham and scrambled eggs. It was delicious, soft in the centre with a great crumb. Nigel recommends this with bacon and celeriac soup, which I might make later.
As we were visiting Beloved’s family between Christmas and New Year, we ended up not quite finishing all the leftovers from the eating marathon that is Christmas and, as I loathe throwing away food, I did a bread and butter pudding yesterday afternoon using half a small brioche loaf and half a Plum pudding we had left over from Christmas Day. I adapted Felicity Cloake’s Bread and butter pudding recipe from How to cook the perfect… series on the Guardian website, warming up 200ml whole milk with half a vanilla pod, added zest of half a lemon and, once cooled, 3 eggs (beaten) and 100ml cream. Poured that over buttered slices of brioche and plum pudding in a buttered dish, left to soak while oven reached 180 degrees C then baked for 25 minutes. It was heavenly! We still have a bit left and this is one leftover I’m very happy about.