We Gotta Get Out of This Place!

Ever feel like you are in a hole and the more you try and dig yourself out, the more ensconced in the weight of the earth closing in around you?  I’ve been trying to get to the bottom on my ‘to do list’ now, for the last 6 months.  And with the school holidays fast approaching, I know I am just not going to get there. I guess I just have to consider my journey through the list as one, long expedition to a place of total fulfilment and at which I shall never arrive.  Mustn’t grumble though, eh?!

Jo’s Loaves has been in business TWO years this month and I’m starting to plan a different stall to mark the occasion for Hexton Farmers Market, which is next Friday.   As a largely self-taught baker, it often takes me a while to be confident enough to venture out of my comfort zone and run with new ideas; some of those ideas have received rave reviews, so I intend to bring out my ‘hot hot’ buns, my summer [bread] pudding and possibly another newbie, which will be a surprise (mainly as a surprise to me, as I’ve not thought of anything yet….).   I’ll also be selling my crunchy Real Bread Croutons.  I was dismayed that many people at Offley thought, “Oooh, croutons; – soup!” 
As a rule, I’m more of a crusty bread fan with soup, and I tend to put croutons in a salad.  Most people are familiar with Ceasar Salad, but you don’t have to limit yourself to that.  Here is my easy peasy recipe:-

1.       Take a some washed crispy lettuce leaves (Little Gem, Romano, Cos) or any lettuce
2.       Add cubes of cucumber & tomato and some sliced green or black olives (or not)
3.       Shake on a few capers (or not)
4.       If you have any cheese in the house (soft goats from Wobbly Bottom Farm is best) put in a few small cubes or some freshly grated parmesan (or not)
5.       Tear over some fresh Basil Leaves – or shake over some dried ones – or oregano or coriander (you see how flexible salad can be???)
6.       Throw in your Real Bread croutons
7.       Throw in anything else you think might be nice -chopped red pepper, spring onion, sun-dried tomato from a jar (or not)
8.       Dress with a dressing – make your own with some Rapeseed/Olive oil and a little wine/balsamic or cider vinegar seasoned with salt and pepper and/or dried herbs OR buy one (I’d never buy one).

Nom. Nom Nom. I think I shall be having a few of these throughout the summer, along with all the lovely local delicacies from all the little farmer’s markets that I attend.  Who needs Asda, eh?!


Where was I?  Ah yes, grumbling about all the things I have on my to do list, and behold, here I am, finishing one of them as I type.  I digress.  Before next week’s market and planning my ‘surprise’ new bread (nope, still none the wiser…) I have a weekend of bike riding so my son can practice his newly learnt de-stabilised skills and a 5K RACE FOR LIFE in Stevenage on Sunday (Please sponsor me on this link - Race For Life JoJo's Page).  

I also have a Spa day (gosh won’t that be tough…), a haircut, and a very exciting day planned in Chipping Sodbury, to bake with the adorable Tom Herbert, or Mr “Fabulous Baker Brother” off of Channel 4 as he’s also known.  I’ve also got my ‘normal’ job (which is far from normal) keeping me busy in between.  I have a very untidy office, a tax return and a pile of receipts yet to get started and a pile of ironing the size of the shard.  So why am I still sat here????  Best hop to it I guess.   
In the meantime, can I just recommend a fabulous gift for yourself or a loved one, to attend my Better Bred Bread course at the Novelli Academy Cookery School (in other words, his house)! Click this link to find out more details.  Happy summer everybody! x