On Monday, I didn’t go to work because my throat hurt so much and this is torture for a teacher. I got a good extra day of rest and finally felt good enough to go to work on Tuesday. Talking was very stressful and by the end of the day I felt so run-down and just crashed on the couch after work. But I had promised to send over some dinners to my pregnant friend who is battling extreme morning sickness and will be for the next 5 months or so of her pregnancy. The poor darling is so tired all the time that walking around the house feels like a marathon. So, I gathered up all the strength I had to make a vegetable stir fry (it was quick because I chopped up everything the night before), packed the scones that I baked on Monday, and the lentil stew that I cooked on Monday as well, then had DFJ drive me to her house.
As soon as we got home, I spent some more time in the kitchen making dinner for my friend, Hayley, who happened to be in town to pick up a dress for one of her bridesmaid’s. That was when I started feeling the fever slowly creeping back into my body. I was cold outside yet so warm and tingly inside. It was 90 degrees outside and 78 degrees in the house and I’m wearing a sweatshirt. Poor Hayley saw me at my worst and I probably wasn’t the best hostess either. Fortunately the dinner was a success… I served some of the lentil stew that I made for my other friend (I made a ton), a soba noodle with eggplant and mango from Ottolenghi’s Plenty, and my rhubarb spelt bread that I turned into a French toast with rhubarb+strawberry+honey+chocolate sauce. Really, the only thing that I prepared was the soba noodle dish because everything else has been cooked up on Monday. As soon as Hayley left, I fell into a chillfull slumber. It was awful and several times I would wake up drenched in sweat.
So today, I had to stay home again… funny how I sometimes wish for a sick day so I can stay at home and bum around, but when I actually get sick and have to stay home, it’s not great. I’m bored, clock-watch the whole time and think, “Oh, first period is over… I wonder how so and so did, I wonder if so and so made fun of my substitute, and so on”. Also, because I’m bored I talk to myself and ramble… on and on to you… sorry. I will stop now.
Here is the promised bread recipe… It is actually a very simple bread made special by all the nuts stuffed inside. This lovely bread has a light, thin crust and is soft on the inside. The slightly burnt taste of hazelnut oil and the different nuts gives it a nice, robust taste and makes it the perfect bread for bruschetta, toast, lunch sandwiches, pasta dinners, or plain ole PB and J.
Nutty Whole Wheat BreadAdapted from Paul Hollywood’s Walnut Bread, 100 Great Breads
2 cups whole wheat bread flourscant 1 cup white bread flour
scant ¼ cup ground cashews (pulse in blender until cashews resemble flour consistency)
1 tsp salt
5 tsp yeast (active dry)
2 tbsp hazelnut oil
½ stick butter, melted and cooled
1 cup water + 1 tsp water
generous ½ cup walnut pieces
generous ¼ cup sunflower seeds
a tad of butter for greasing the dough and the baking sheet
Put the whole wheat bread flour, white bread flour, ground cashews, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl and whisk well together. Pour in the hazelnut oil, melted butter, and water, and slowly mix together with a wooden spoon. When all the flour has been mixed into the wet ingredients as much as possible, use your hands to mix until all the loose flour is incorporated.
Slowly move the dough out of the bowl into a clean counter, lightly dusted with flour. Make the dough come together by forming it into a ball. Knead for 5 minutes by pressing the dough with your palms and folding it over (repeat the press and fold over process for the given time). When you are done kneading, form the dough back into a ball and coat with a bit of butter. Also, make sure to coat the inside of the bowl with some butter. Place the dough back in the bowl and let rise for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease a baking sheet with butter.
After the first rise, knead the walnuts and sunflower seeds into the dough by doing the same process described above. This might be tricky because the walnuts and seeds will want to keep falling off the dough. Just be patient and knead it back in gently. Shape the dough into the final shape you want it to be (I prefer to make a ball) and place on the baking sheet. Let rise for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Right before popping the dough into the oven, cut a cross on top of the dough using a sharp knife. Bake the bread for 35 minutes until it turns into a nice golden brown color. Carefully, so as not to burn yourself, transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Have a great Wednesday my friends! Enjoy!