Saturday, 15 December 2012

(Just Like) Starting Over - Bread diary 15/12/12

Last weekend I was at a sourdough course at The One Mile Bakery. Sourdough is a mystifying process with as many theories, processes and recipes as there are bakers. My own view, as with most things, is to find what works for you and don't worry about it. I've been working with sourdough a little over the last couple of months with varying results and found the contradictory information on the internet and in my books baffling so my aim was to learn one technique that I could repeat and master, then vary as I want.

I've also been having problems in the last month or so with my loaves splitting around the side and it turns out that my shaping was at fault. This is something to work on and this first attempt is better.

I've already covered a baking course at OMB fairly comprehensively but suffice to say that it was a fun day and I feel much better equipped to make bread just like the ancient Egyptians and Californian cowboys used to!

Here is my first post course loaf, a 50/50 white and wholemeal loaf using Shipton Mill organic flour and a starter that I bought from Hobbs House bakery. His name is Gruff.



And just in case learning sourdough wasn't challenge enough, I'm also experimenting with this:


This is a baking dome that I bought from Bakery Bits last month. My oven at home is a very small fan oven and struggles with producing a good crust. The idea behind this is to use the stoneware cloche to create an oven inside an oven, creating an even the temperature and retaining moisture to produce a cracking crust and oven spring. So far my results have been mixed while trying to find the right temperature and bake time but it does always produce a marvellous crust and as you can see a high spring.


I'm starting to ponder festive bread too and I'm working on a recipe for an enriched, sweetened dough that we can eat on Christmas morning.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Spanish Eyes - La Cuina tapas review

A couple of weeks ago I took a good friend out for dinner for his birthday. His choice. He chose La Cuina, the new Catalan deli and tapas restaurant in Canton which is where Patagonia used to be. As it was a celebration I wasn't actually planning to blog it but I can't help myself, although the details (and the photos) might be a little sketchy.
La Cuina dining room
La Cuina dining room

 I follow La Cuina on Twitter and the week before they had tweeted that Wednesday is paella night, we booked in for the following Wednesday and I was a tiny bit disappointed to find out that Wednesday night is NOT in fact paella night and the owners were absent, but no matter, tapas is no second best as far as I'm concerned.
Jamon, goats cheese, salad - La Cuina
Serrano ham, goats cheese, salad - La Cuina

We ordered 2 rounds of tapas, a mix of cold tapas (cheeses, ham, olives, tortilla, breads) and hot tapas (croquettas, fried potatoes, chorizo) and a very decent bottle of cava for £17. Apart from the fact that the olives were pitted (why?!?), overall I was impressed with the quality. The fried potatoes with chorizo in particular stood out.

Fried potatoes, croquettas - La Cuina
Fried potatoes, croquettas - La Cuina


Olives - La Cuina
Olives - La Cuina



La Cuina dining room
La Cuina dining room
I liked the dining room, decked out in reclaimed church and school furniture, tastefully understated Farrow and Ball colours and a simple colour scheme in keeping with the simple but tasty food.

La Cuina - deli
La Cuina - deli
For the tapas (7/8 plates), a bottle of cava, a creme catalana and 2 pretty decent sized armagnac the bill came to £57 which I was happy to fork over. Service was attentive and friendly. This is no fine dining but is lovely simple food made with great produce.

There will definitely be a repeat visit soon but next time I'll be calling ahead to book paella!


La Cuina, 11 Kings Road, Canton, Cardiff

029 2019 0265

http://www.lacuina.co.uk/


La Cuina on Urbanspoon
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