"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Saturday, May 2, 2015

That Bread!

 We had a dinner party here last night and the star attraction food-wise was this crusty bread.  I thought I'd share the recipe with you as it's one of the most satisfying things I've ever baked, and I don't even eat bread.  People literally love it and it's so easy, assembled the day before too which always gives a good feeling of preparedness, even on a normal weekday evening.
The recipe is titled No Knead Crusty Artisan Bread and for good reason, there is no kneading, just a bit of stirring in a large bowl.  The bowl is left on the counter covered in plastic wrap while the dough bubbles and rises for anywhere from 8 to 24 hours... then simply turn it out on to a floured bread board while preheating the oven, let rest for a bit and then bake for approximately 40 minutes.
The recipe itself has some important detailed instructions regarding the preheating of the dutch oven, lid on and then off to achieve that golden crust... you can read it for yourself right here (there's a nice print-friendly version of the recipe if you scroll down).

Isn't that a beauty?
 I typically use my trusty Staub dutch oven though last evening I baked a double batch in my super-size Le Creuset.
The trusty Staub.
 For the main course I prepared Mimi Thorisson's Chou Farci, though I did have to adapt the recipe to be pork-free.
 I do enjoy that cookbook though many of the recipes need a bit of a change to exclude all pork products, which are often incorporated into French country cooking.
 I used a grass-fed ground beef sourced from the local organic butcher and I made two to feed the crowd of ten.  I could have made a third and it would have been gone in a flash.
Chou Farci Times Two
I also threw together a tomato salad with a shallot vinaigrette, a nice accompaniment to the Chou Farci, and the bread of course.
 We normally serve wine, champagne or sparkling wine and a good scotch during cocktail hour but in celebration of the approaching summer I thought I'd try serving some gin-and-tonics.
I don't have much confidence serving proper cocktails because I don't drink anything besides some white wine.  I did have the sense to buy some limes, tonic and pop the gin in the freezer (along with my favourite French sauv blanc) and fortunately my friends arrived and took over the g&t assembling.
Gin conveniently stored alongside the headache ice pack.
 I think they enjoyed the Tanqueray Rangpur because that bottle is empty this morning!  Hopefully no-one is in need of my headache ice pack.

Wondering about frock get-ups?
Eshakti dress, Repetto heels, Brora coat.
 For the second time this week I wore this Chinoiserie dress from eshakti.  This frock wasn't my idea at all, my friend Janet at The Gardener's Cottage highlighted it in a post and I thought it was darling and festive.
 It's a lovely dress with a cotton lining so it's very comfortable.  Eshakti offers custom sizing, lengths and the option to add sleeves or alter the necklines, it's quite an interesting way to order up a frock.  Thank you Janet!
I hope you have a lovely Saturday.  We're planning on working around the house and garden... we've had some interior details finishing up this past week as well as crews here getting the garden and terrace in order.
 It's warmer and sunny here this morning and I hope the day is fine where you are too.
xoxDani

27 comments:

  1. The dress is so pretty, and the bread looks like a hit! I do like gin and tonics on the rare occasion I have a cocktail, and in the summer I like gin and bitter lemon even better! Nice crockpot Dani!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KnitYarns I think a g&t is a perfect summer drink, makes me wish I could stand gin. Thanks!

      Delete
  2. Dani you are the supreme hostess and look so fabulous while entertaining! That bread, I can already smell and taste it ( I eat as little bread as possible, when it is so good though!!) Your dress is gorgeous; I must go and take a look at eShakti!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Giveaway from The Enchanted Home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karena that site is jam-packed full of things but it's worth a look for custom options and to find a dress that is actually knee-length. Thank you!

      Delete
  3. I've been off bread lately but that loaf might coax me back to carbs! Gorgeous dress. Love the fabric and the custom approach is intriguing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen I completely avoid all gluten so I don't eat this but it does look tempting. The fabric is so pretty on this dress I had to try it, I bought it in the middle of winter and I couldn't wait to wear it.

      Delete
  4. I typed a long comment that blogger or Google apparently decided to eat. Ugh.

    I wish I could recreate it but I do recall complimenting your dress!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DF, I hate it when that happens! Sometimes it happens on my own blog in replying to someone and it's always the long comments that disappear!

      Delete
  5. Nothing nicer than a dinner at home with good friends and food (and some gee and tees to accompany it all). I'm glad you are championing this type of entertaining as it is all becoming as rare as hens teeth nowadays.

    Just last week my husband was bemoaning the fact that I'd not baked bread for an age. I'm going to try your recipe which is simpler than the knead method, thank you.

    I'm sure you've earned a well-deserved relaxing weekend to bask in the glow of last night's memories. Enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CD thank you and your husband will be very pleased indeed if you bake this bread, my MrBP says it is his favourite bread of all time.
      We did relax yesterday watching the British version of House of Cards, so entertaining!

      Delete
  6. That is an exceptionally cute dress! Love the seaming and the pattern both.

    I bet you give a splendid dinner party!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lisa, it's the company that makes a party I think, the key to is to invite fun friends!

      Delete
  7. Gorgeous dress Dani! Must have looked fab with the Repettos. Does Scout get to mingle or is she tucked away in the rumpus room?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scout could never be tucked away and she is a people person so she loves a party. She doesn't sit still all night!

      Delete
  8. You are such an inventive cook! I've made variations of that no-knead bread for awhile no, and it seems foolproof. Another great bread recipe is JChilds' food processor french bread. I have the perforated French bread sheet which aids in keeping the proper shape. People are stunned when you serve them homemade bread!

    Just a lovely dress and brave of you to sport sleeveless in this endless cold weather ( maybe it is warmer inland?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lane it does seem foolproof, I will look up Julie Child's recipe thank you!
      People are shocked it's true. I ended up wearing a Brora cardigan over the dress, but summer is in the air isn't it?

      Delete
  9. I'm so glad you got that dress! I love it! so this is so funny as after threeish years of reading versions of this bread, sparked by that NYT recipe, I decided I needed to make it! We must be on the same wavelength. I'm gearing up for vacation so no parties for me until I'm down there but having a quick dinner tomorrow for my sister's birthday. Planning to make this bread. It's the least I could do as she just got me two LC 3.5 quarts to make bread in! Haha. Guess I need to get off my ass and start cooking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen Andrew wasn't Janet so smart in finding that dress? I kept reading this recipe in different places for years too, why did I wait so long to try it? I hope your sister's birthday dinner goes well, nice one with the LeCreuset ovens, what a good sister!

      Delete
  10. This has been my go to bread recipe for severe years. It is the best!

    I love your dress.

    ReplyDelete
  11. hi dani! i've been baking that bread twice a week for a couple of years now. i can do it in my sleep! but nothing in the store measures up to it so i guess i'll keep at it.

    that dress! don't you love it? i wore mine yesterday to B's baby shower and i wore it to the ballet about a month ago. i love the pattern and fit. glad you like it too! xo

    ReplyDelete
  12. I will definitely make that bread this week. Didn't realize you don't eat pork, but yet to beef - is that a dietary or preference thing? How swell would you have looked in that dress? Pretty swell I think!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have to try this bread, looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dani I think I have the same bread recipe from my dad and have made it twice. The best bread and not so hard. You just need to plan the rise time. Yours looks beautiful as does the whole dinner and love that frock! Hope you had a good weekend! xo Kim

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh all this food looks so yummy. I really, really need to give it a try for this no-knead bread!
    Beautiful dress!

    ReplyDelete
  16. You're putting me to shame with all your entertaining! So good to see you're enjoying your new home to its fullest (and your new range!). Love the recipes, and will have to try cooking my bread in my Le Cresuet and the no knead recipe too. Also love your outfit, that blue is divine! And the toile! Can't wait to see more of the little finishing touches in your place… but it's such a long process - I keep saying "another month" to tie it all up at my place, but it just keeps going on!! xx

    ReplyDelete