Bread for the Boys!

Bread for the Boys is so easy to make and a sure fire winner. There is so little to it and the results are brilliant, always.

Take 200g of plain flour and 200g of whole meal bread flour and mix it with a sachet of yeast from the supermarket. If you want to add some flavours, do it now. I like a handful of crushed walnuts. Add enough warm water to make a sticky dough. Now knead it for 10 minutes. Stretch and pummel with the heel of your hand. This has only taken about 15 minutes.


Put the lump of dough in a bowl, cover it and let it stand in a warm place for about an hour or so, until it has substantially risen. The dough, and the warmth do this bit for you.


Now knead the dough again, same old stretching, pushing away with the heel of your hand, for another 10 minutes. This is the vital bit.

Light the oven. I use a calor gas oven so the temperatures are all a bit hit and miss, but I think in the region of 180 degrees should do the business.

Shape the dough into whatever you fancy, buns, plaits, a tin, whatever, and then let it rise again.
Bang it into the oven for in the region of 20/25 mins. It’s done when you bang the bread’s bottom and it sounds hollow. You could use a skewer, if you’ve got one. Push it in and pull it out, and if there is no dough on the skewer, bingo!


Easy. Give it a go. For 20 minutes kneading, good fresh bread every time. Try it with homemade black currant jam. This is the basic recipe. Mess with it. A bit of walnut oil in the mix? Once you’ve got the hang of it be creative.

In a Jam.

The black currant bushes are absolutely groaning with fruit. The weather might be inconsistent but it suits fruits!

It’s been wet, warm and sunny  by turns, perfect for fruit. The bushes were planted in the hedge by a previous owner. They aren’t tended or looked after in any way whatsoever. The variety is unknown.

The bushes in the fruit patch just 18 months old, planted last, back end, ‘Ben Lomond’, bare-rooted, in ground well manured in March  and tenderly nurtured, haven’t cropped very well at all.

Bushes that are going particularly well are the gooseberries. We planted two varieties, ‘Invicta’ and ‘Careless’ two years ago, bought from a Garden Centre near Lancaster.

Both are heavy with fruit  promising a really rich harvest  within a couple of weeks. I think a liberal dose of good French manure in February did the business there.

It’s odd how the ‘wild cards ‘ flourish. In the vegetable garden we have ‘guerilla’ Horse radish and ‘rogue’ Jerusalem artichokes. They were not planted this year but are thriving nonetheless when left to their own devices. Good old nature!

So the plan is this year, to harvest and then throw pieces ‘back in’ for next year’s soups and sauces

But there in the freezer  is much of last year’s black currant crop. It has to be used. The household brooks no waste! So it’s jam. Linda picked up a brilliant recipe from an old French friend. It’s so easy .

1 kilo of fruit. 1 kilo of jam sugar. Just equal quantities, really. Into the pan. No liquid added. Bring to the boil. Boil for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes it will pass the cold saucer test. Put a splodge on the cold saucer, wait a second, then draw a spoon across it and it will leave a groove. Whilst it’s still warm  put it in clean jars with a greaseproof ring ( we use the inner bag of a Cornflakes packet cut into circles) and seal it. Shazam! Jam! And it works, so experiments with other fruits are on the cards.

Put in less sugar and it could be a fruity mixer with yoghurt or a mixer with bland old vanilla ice cream from the supermarket and re-frozen, to return as ‘home made black currant delight’!