interlude food


It was St. Patrick’s Day a few days ago. My original plan was to make some sort of Irish Car Bomb cupcakes to celebrate, but I’m trying desperately to reduce my refined sugar and alcohol intake, so I opted for a less decadent baked good instead: Guinness quick bread. Why quick bread? Because I am hungry and impatient and didn’t want to wait for a rise and a proof and a second rise, etc. I typically have good luck with these easy bread recipes, however on Wednesday luck’ o’ the Irish was not with me — even despite my Irish heritage and the fact I was wearing green. Quick bread is designed to be simple and provide near-instant gratification. You can literally throw everything into a bowl, stir it about 50 times and shove it in the oven. 50 minutes later you have steamy fresh bread to slather with your sweet fresh butter!

Guinness Quick Bread with fresh homemade butter, yum!

If only it had been so easy on St. Patrick’s Day… Having all but one of my ingredients on hand, I set off to find one can of Guinness. In London this would have taken me about five minutes because around every corner a news agent is selling singles of the Isles’ finest booze. (more…)

I came across a recipe for fresh butter on The Simple Spatula the other day, and it inspired me to try it for myself. I have made butter only once before. It was 1985. I was wearing charm necklaces and knee-highs and saddle shoes and still had naturally platinum blonde hair. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. McGee, was teaching us about food science. I remember little about this section of lessons apart from a series of glass jars filled with different food bits (apples, cheese, oreos) that we monitored every day for mould growth, weird smells and other changes that make wide-eyed 5-year-olds squeal…. And I remember making butter.

We sat in our sharing circle on the itchy, brown standard-issue school carpet and tried to sit still as Mrs. McGee explained that we were going to change the milk in the giant mason jar she was holding into butter. And then she started to shake it. She shook it to her left and right and above her head, and after a little while, she passed it to one of my classmates. And shaking commenced. I don’t remember how long it took 13 kindergartners to churn butter, but I remember holding that huge glass mason jar full of cream in my tiny paws. My finger tips barely reached around the glass and I remember how carefully I had to shake it for fear of dropping the thing and ruining the butter experiment for everyone. And sure enough, by the end of the afternoon, we had created butter. (more…)