Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sally Lunn Bread

As a girl I enjoyed reading all of the American Girl book series. It is hard to say which was my favorite, but looking back I think it was Felicity. Reading her book series brought the colonial era to life in my imagination. When I was around 10 years old my family visited colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, which definitely increased my enthusiasm for the 18th century. 

Last week my mom returned my copy of Felicity's Cookbook. I had loaned the book to her a while back and forgotten all about it. It was fun to review the recipes and historical facts sprinkled throughout. When I saw the recipe for Sally Lunn bread I thought that it was a recipe I should try soon. I remember eating a turkey sandwich made with Sally Lunn bread when we visited Williamsburg. The bread was so delicious and unique.
My one setback was that the recipe suggested using a tube pan/angel food cake pan. At the time I did not have a tube pan and was not willing to purchase a new pan just to make this bread.

Much to my delight I found a tube pan over the weekend at our local thrift store! I noticed some writing and numbers on the bottom of the pan. Adam did a little on-line investigation and discovered the pan was made in the 1950's. I am convinced that vintage bake ware is often superior to new bake ware. I guess if has lasted over 50 years it must be well made. : )
 The Sally Lunn bread was a big hit with Adam and Jemimah! It really was a lovely treat on a chilly, rainy spring afternoon. Especially when enjoyed buttered with red raspberry leaf tea. I found this fact from the Felicity's Cookbook interesting: Felicity made tea from raspberry leaves to protest the high tax on tea that came from England. Over the past few years I have read so many articles about the health benefits of red raspberry leaf tea, it really is a nice alternative to black caffeinated tea.

Sally Lunn Bread
3/4 cup milk
1/4 warm water
 1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp.)
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1. Measure the milk into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Turn off the heat.
2. Measure the warm water into a small bowl. Add the yeast and stir. Then stir the warm milk into the yeast and water.
3.Measure the butter and sugar into a large bowl. Stir them until they are creamy.
4. Crack 1 egg into the mixing bowl of butter/sugar and beat the mixture. Add the second egg and beat the mixture again. 
5.Stir the flour and salt together in a medium mixing bowl.
6. Stir about 1 cup of the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. Then stir in about 1/3 of the yeast mixture.
7. Add more flour and beat the mixture. Then add more yeast and beat the mixture again. Continue adding yeast and flour in this way, beating the batter unitl it is smooth.
8. Cover the large mixing bowl with a clean towel  and let the batter rise in a warm place for 1 hour. When the batter has doubled in size, remove the towel. Stir the batter quickly to take out the air.
9.Use paper towels to grease the tube pan with shortening or butter.
10. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Cover it with the towel. Let it rise for about 30 minutes, or until it has doubled again in size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while the batter rises.
11. Remove the towel and bake the bread on the center oven rack 40-45 minutes.
12. Remove bread from the oven. Use a butter knife to loosen the bread from the sides of the pan. Turn the pan upside down to remove the bread.

If you try this recipe I hope you will enjoy it as much a we did! It is a light, moist, delicate, bread. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Dreaming of Spring

Yesterday morning we awoke to more snow after an incredibly windy Thursday. It has snowed a little bit today, but when I remember that it is April I know that spring can't be too far away!
This picture was taken through my kitchen window. Unfortunately I scared a couple of the birds away when taking their picture. Jemimah and I are both avid bird watchers. It has warmed my heart to watch as Jemimah has learned to identify the sounds and names of the different birds that visit our feeder. I think her favorite may be the mourning dove. Last year when she first heard the plaintive coos of the mourning doves she was frightened, and assumed it was some mysteriously spooky creature. When I told her that it was simply the doves talking to one another, she was quite pleased. We have been blessed with a variety of brilliantly colored birds: crimson cardinals, yellow gold finches, black, white and red woodpeckers, plus a variety of less vibrant beauties.
We discovered our first tulips and daffodils peeking through the snow. I am dreaming of a sunny spring morning when they will all be in full bloom!
Adam has started some vegetable and zinnia seeds. They are setting on an old sewing table in our bedroom by the window. The table was given to me by an elderly lady my mom and I once cleaned for house for years ago. She knew of my love of sewing and wanted me to have this table. It had belonged to her great-grandmother and was made sometime in the 1800's. It is very handy, as the legs fold up into the top. This makes it easy to carry from one room to another, as needed.
It has been wonderful to watch as they grow towards the sun. What a blessing to see green!
Every week we make a batch of no bake cookies. No bake cookies are Jemimah's favorite snack. She loves to help mix and press the cookies.
They are quick and easy to make, plus they are delicious. Here is the recipe for those who may be interested in making some too.

No Bake Cookies

In a saucepan combine:
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil ( I use a rather generous half cup)
Heat until melted and thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and add:
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
Mix well and then scoop out mixture into cookie sized portions onto a cookie sheet (I cover my cookie sheet with wax paper for an easier removal of the cookies). We then press the cookies flat with the bottom of a glass, however this is not necessary, just our preference.
Currently I am reading Rainbow Cottage by Grace Livingston Hill. The description of grandmother Ainslee's gardens are breathtaking! I wish I could step into the pages to see her gardens myself. : ) Rainbow Cottage is a lovely story. I always enjoy G.L. Hill's description of home and homemaking.

Recently I discovered this pattern for knitted dishcloths. I am knitting the smaller size, which is just perfect for small hands that love to help in the kitchen. The cotton yarn color is called "Sunshine", I thought that was quite fitting. I  feel like I am knitting with a ray of sunshine on these gloomy days.
This afternoon I listed a couple of new apron in my Etsy shop. This blue apron was my favorite, I especially liked how the darker blue binding and white trim looked against the calico.

I hope you are all enjoying a peaceful weekend. If you are still experiencing colder temperatures and snow, stay warm! : )

"For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield." Psalm 5:12