Monastery bread and homemade jams



I haven’t been able to make bread for the past couple of weeks now so didn’t want to let today’s heat stop me. Thought I’d try Monastery bread from River Cottage Bread Handbook. Still a little obsessed with oat breads and this recipe called for 3 handfuls so it suited perfectly. Other than that, I used a mix of malted grain flour and wholemeal bread flour (recipe said ‘brown’), a bit of honey and melted butter, little bit of yeast and some sourdough starter. Fabulous crumb and that great oaty texture that I just love. Just had some, still warm with butter and new jams – strawberry and gooseberry, which I’ve only tasted as I made them a couple of weeks ago but haven’t tried properly. Am pretty impressed, especially as I worried that I may have burned the gooseberry one a little. It is totally fine. Strawberry jam is quite intense and the gooseberry one has just the right amount of tartness. I used River Cottage Preserves handbook for both recipes.



Photos are not very good, we get too much sun in the flat in the afternoons so it’s all a bit hazy and washed out. ¬†Going to disappear now to the cinema to watch the last of Edgar Wright’s ‘cornetto trilogy’, can’t wait, flat might even cool down by the time we get back if we’re lucky.

Strawberry picking and jam

I have my very own strawberry jam! Very excited! As it’s the first time I’ve ever made it, thought it would be nice to go to a pick your own farm for strawberries. Took a day off work and set off early to Parkside Farm near Enfield. Glorious weather and I’m glad I was there early before it got too hot. Glorious strawberries too.parkside farm strawberries close up


I only needed a kilo for the jam, recipe from River Cottage Preserves Handbook, but could not stop myself from picking way more than needed.

parkside farm strawberries


I also got very overexcited at broad beans, so yes, picked way more than needed…

parkside farm broad beans


I’d completely forgotten that the walk back to bus stop was up a hill. Total fruit & veg weight (including green onions and gooseberries) was 7+kg…



Strawberry jam, made, bottled, cooling. I feel this will go very quickly but the girl at the farm shop said they’ll have strawberries right up until October so I can go back for more if needed.

Having picked a lot more strawberries than needed, am also making a cheesecake for Beloved’s family get together this weekend and strawberry ice cream. Should still have some left over too. Marvellous.