Easter Sunday loaves

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Easter weekend in Rome: we went to Tivoli, east of Rome for Easter lunch for friends and a walk in Villa Gregoriana. It’s a park in a ravine, with paths, waterfalls, and grottos. About an hour and a half to walk down and up, it was lovely and green. On Good Friday we’d headed to Marconi to get me a new espresso machine for Accra, which I brought back safely in my suitcase and have now used for excellent cappuccini. It is getting easier to get OK Ghanaian coffee in Accra, which helps  (though I mix it 50/50 with my Italian Lavazza).

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From our local Garbatella supermarket: How about a piglet head?  (We resisted.)

As usual I took advantage of the lower temperature  in Rome to bake bread without collapsing in a sweaty heap. Accra is really hot and humid this week, which slows life down. It’s too expensive to run A/C all the time, so we have fans strategically placed around the apartment and try to manage, saving A/C for the bedrooms at night. So a few days of lower temperatures in Rome where it was comfortable to cook were very appreciated. Plus seeing friends, having the first Aperol Spritz in a sunny piazza, going for walks in spring sunshine – all very nice.

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No-knead Easter Sunday bread  (this made 5 small loaves)

1200 grammes white what flour (here, 00)
350 grammes wholewheat flour
175 grammes quick-cooking oatmeal
125 grammes sunflower seeds
25 g fresh yeast (or 12 grammes dry yeast)
3 tsp sal
1.35 litre lukewarm water

Dissolve the fresh yeast in the water, then add everything else. I was using up what we  had of seeds and oatmeal but the ratios seemed OK. Mix everything well, fold and fold with a strong spatula. Cover bowl (I use a plastic shower cap) and leave it to double for a few hours at room temperature. I folded it again, then divided dough between five small parchment-lined bread tins. With bigger tins this might make 3 large loaves. Leave to double again, with a kitchen towel covering the tins. Heat oven to 220C and slash the tops with scissors right before loaves go in, so edges do not crack. Bake for 45 minutes or so, depending on your oven. For these, I tool the loaves out of the tins the last ten minutes to crisp up the base  a bit, as the dough is quite wet and it can otherwise end up a bit pale. (Lesson learned.) Cool on rack before slicing.

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Catching up: Norway, London, Accra, Rome, Accra…….

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Catching up here after a lot of traveling on the last six weeks: first a white Christmas in Norway, lots of concerts and family. Sledding with our nephew. A bit of Christmas baking: this was sent by my sister, who is very fond of giraffes.

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Christmas presents from my parents: Norwegian food, some for my in-laws in London, some bound for Rome, and a few items for Accra (kaviar, apple jelly, prim). The reindeer sausage was delicious, and with all the cheese Veganuary is being delayed.

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A few days in London over New Year’s, with the English in-laws, who are lovely. Homemade Christmas cake, walks along the Thames, and always on offer: “a nice cup of tea”, which is black and strong with milk  (urrrrghhhh). They know I like my tea terribly weak by British standards. I bought mince pies (4 for 10p!) and flew back to Accra.

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One week in Accra, early January. The harmattan has been weaker this year (dry, dusty winds from the Sahara) but with lower humidity it was actually OK to walk around town. But then I went to Rome for work (such a hardship).

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Deepfried artichoke, mmmmmmm……  I had really intensive days of meetings and work planning, and very little time for seeing friends, but Rome is always lovely (despite the crumbling roads, piles of garbage – it will get better). We also had two nights in Tuscany with friends, during which I made chickpeas cacio e pepe. Really good. More to follow on that.

Now I am back in Accra for a month or so before the next trip, and am looking forward to getting back to regular cooking again. Today I am just making Italian lentil-pea soup, not very photogenic but good winter food (even when it is 31C……) The apple jelly survived the trip, so I need to bake bread soon.  For now it is just nice to unpack and start catching up here.

A few days in Garbatella, and a lemon/blackcurrant curd tart

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I’ve been in Rome for a week for work, and despite the rain it has been lovely to amble round the neighborhood (Garbatella), drink coffee, meet neighbours tut-tutting over the weather, grafitti and state of the roads, and of course enjoy fall food.

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Cavolo nero at the market. And artichokes, broccolo romano, cicoria, mmmm….

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Friday night apertivi at the butcher’s up the hill, on Via delle Sette Chiese.

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Artichokes at the market: we were on our way to Eataly to see their new IKEA section, interesting. At least a good place to get ziplock bags without going to Anagnina.

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Alberto Sordi commemorated on Via Antonio Rubino.

The lemon/blackcurrant curd tart

One shop-bought pastry crust (here, gluten-free pâte brisée)
One jar lemon curd
One jar blackcurrant curd

Blind bake the pastry crust for ten min or so at 200C. I used baking beans. Then pour in the two curd jar contents, and cool until serving.

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We bought the blackcurrant curd in Maldon, and it was very nice. The artistic swirl foreseen did not quite work, but this was delicious. Also super easy.

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