It’s a cool and silent night with incessant rains over the weekend. Ears are now attuned to the pitter patter of the rain on window glass, ledge and on leaves. The murmur of water spouting out of the drainpipe is soothing and sleep inducing like a lullaby. Eyes heavy, we turn off the lights to retire for the night. Barely had we slipped into the sweet slumber when the boisterous croaking of frogs shredded the silence of the night. “Must be a bull frog”, muttered my daughter, miffed up at being disturbed.
Next morning we discovered a multitude of toad spawn firmly and safely enclosed in a jelly in our pond. Bare stems of a curry leaf plant close by revealed some fattened caterpillars and some more butterflies in the making.
Warm aroma of leaf mold suffuses the air as we carefully tread on the wet ground to check the movement perceived behind the bushes and lo!……..we discover a majestic crow pheasant foraging in the mound of leaves and multifarious vegetation that springs up after rains.
This is the second Crow Pheasant sighting of the year.
The yeasty aroma of freshly bread makes me rush back to the kitchen where my Rustic Potato Loaves are being baked for the dinner.
Rustic Potato Rolls
The recipe is from Leslie Mackie, from the book Baking with Julia. I have adapted the recipe from here.
In the recipe, the rolls are baked in a baking stone. I have used my baking tray. The recipe has a spoonful of dill added to the dough. I have added oregano. Loaves have to be transferred to the baking tray with great care. They should be placed seam side up.
4 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 medium size potatoes (Boiled, cooled and mashed)
2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup warm water plus a little more (reserve water from boiling potatoes)
1 teaspoon dry oregano or mixed herbs or fresh herbs of your choice
Dissolve yeast in ½ cup warm water. Add mashed potatoes, oil and salt. Add flour 1 cup at a time. Knead well. Keep adding water if required. The dough will feel dry initially but will come together soon. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes till supple, soft and slightly sticky but not wet.
Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. It may not double in size, but will rise noticeably.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
Punch lightly and cut the dough into two equal halves. Take one half, flatten, start rolling from one end until almost to the other end, stretch gently, dust its edges with flour and finish rolling. Roll back and forth to taper the ends. Repeat with the other piece.
Place dough on a parchment paper, seam side down. Cover with a kitchen towel, leave to rise for 20 minutes.
Before placing the baking tray in the oven, throw three ice cubes onto the oven’s flour, shut the door.
Roll the dough onto greased baking tray carefully, seam side up. Slide in the baking tray. Throw in some more ice cubes. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or till the loaves turn golden brown. Turn the loaves so that they are evenly browned.
Remove from the oven and cool in the rack.