So, get this – keyword for me this year is ‘house-keeping’. And I don’t mean literally, the space within the walls that I call home. Like, for example, how I started poring through a year’s accumulation of food photographs, thinking to sieve through the mass of digital images. Only to realise that I hadn’t gotten around to writing about some really good stuff, gastronomically speaking. Like this seriously (seriously!) delicious English cottage bread.
And I thought this would make for a nice departure from my posts the past couple of weeks on festive treats – goodness knows I’ve had more than my fair share of Chinese New Year feasting and (gulp…), endless, unhindered snacking.
Maybe it was also because I felt just a tad healthier (read: less guilty) when simply looking at much more wholesome foods that aren’t loaded as much, with fats, grease or sugar, which I have to admit, is a desperately needed respite from staring at cakes, pastries and fried foods over CNY. Hence, this is a really great back-to-basics food staple – the humble bread loaf.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a fresh loaf of bread, butter kaya toasts, or egg-dipped, cinnamon-infused French toast generously drizzled with maple syrup (thanks to my friend, Felicia, who triggered this craving), fill my mind to no end! Or, just making simple toasted ham and cheese, or club sandwiches, for a lunch eat-in. Filled with healthy, nutritious fillings, cottage bread makes delicious school lunches for kids. Even better, slices of English cottage bread make for a delicious bread pudding, if you haven’t yet tried it. Check out my recipe artcles on Welsh Bara Brith (a fruit-filled bread loaf) and Kugelhopf.
I’ve made this English cottage bread on many occasions, and this recipe is a keeper! The bread is very flavourful, soft and fluffy, and beats most store-bought breads, thumbs down. Yet, for all it’s softness, it’s surprsingly sturdy, and can sandwich pretty hefty fillings too. If you have an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, making this is almost effortless. And best of all, I’ve found that nothing can quite surpass the wonderful, heady aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through your home. Don’t wait, do try it!