Being really, really bad with really, really good bread.

IMG_1988 Yes, I know my last post was all about me renouncing wheat.

I know. You're right. But, I believe it was some sort of God of Gastronomy who made me look through that old box. It was divine intervention, the kind of "Aahhhh" moment that us mere mortals are powerless to resist.

There's a back story people, about fate and a little late night antics and youth and romance and well...yes wheat. But I should start at the beginning...

I was nineteen when I first caught the boat from Athens to the little Greek island of Aegina. With my hair in long braids and a backpack, I found myself staying in a small hotel that looked a lot like the back of someone's house. Complete with a yiayia in the kitchen and a few stray kids with grubby grins and old taped together bikes.

Because of it's close proximity to the mainland, the island was a playground for the locals with good food and great bars. Really good bars. Lots of really good bars that one could easily lose a few hours in and forget dinner. In those days I was a tad forgetful at times.

Where was I? ....

At an hour more suited to waking than eating, I fell into a little gyros place (don't judge me!) for some much needed sustenance. My high hopes for the dinner/breakfast of champions were in doubt. Everything was anointed with a fine mist of smoky grease but when handed a warm, chewy blanket bread stuffed with (who cares) I fell deeply and madly for a middle aged Yanni in a buttonless cheesecloth shirt.

That bread! Holy heck. Salty, warm, chewy, puffy, light and lovely. What was happening? Did I have the mouthy equivalent of beer goggles? Because it was the most perfect wheat treat I'd ever shoved in my cake hole! The best part was that the whole heavenly experience was repeated for my actual breakfast a couple of hours later. This time served with cheese and fruit by my temporary yiayia.

"What's the deal with this amazing bread!!!!" I said, trying not to shove the doughy goodness into my face lest I appear to be a horrid hungover tourist (which of course, I was).

Later that day her rather pervy spotty teenage grandson handed me a piece of paper with a rough recipe, which at the time meant little to the wayward me that could barely boil an egg. I think I must have kept it as a souvenir because keeping ouzo bottles would have made me look cheap and too cheerful. :(

I couldn't believe it when I found it amongst some dodgy old love letters and faded ferry tickets. There it was, the holy grail of bread recipes in my hot little hands. In service to you, I'm going to share it. But only if you promise to put fried potatoes on it with lashings of tzatziki. I don't wan't any healthy versions or spelt flour people! This bread is the absolute best way to be B-A-D!!!

Take your Kitchen Aid or a bowl and put 5 cups of flour in it and two cups of warm water. Next add two tablespoons of yeast and two tablespoons of olive oil. Knead by hand for about ten minutes or by machine for five. Add two tablespoons of salt and knead for another five minutes by hand or three minutes by machine. Cover it in an oiled bowl and let it double in size in a warm place.

Roll into into rounds on a floured board until thin but not too thin- about three millimetres is probably good. Heat up a frypan to medium heat and add about a tablespoon of oil. Roll the oil to coat the pan and then tip excess oil into a little container for the next one. Fry bread until golden on each side.

This recipe makes a lot but it keeps in the fridge for about four days so I'm assuming my yiayia made enough for her family and her wandering guests for a few meals. She also had to get to the serious business of making amazing pastries and shooing stray cats. If you have no interlopers or doe eyed boys, you can halve the recipe if you wish.

Get on and get dirty people. Being bad was never so ridiculously good!

Breaking up is hard to do....

IMG_1535 Dearest Wheat,

I am breaking up with you. It's not you, it's me.

I just feel like we've developed some weird co-dependancy thing and I believe our relationship has become a little unhealthy. Besides, if you'll pardon the pun, I'm not sure what you're bringing to the table? I think I'd prefer to hang out with some vegetables, sorry if that makes you sad.

We've had some good times you and I. One of my happiest memories is when you came to me all toasty and hot buttered after my babies were born. Tea and toast. Perfect for the ravenous hunger of a exhausted mama. It was comforting, like grandma food, after the ravages of labour. Thank you.

...And pasta! Lord, do you remember that trip through Italy when you kindly gave me an extra five kilos! I'd never been so happy we were friends. The sauce was a bonus but the chewy, toothsome You was spectacular! I could eat bowls and bowls of you washed down with a sticky red. (remember wine??)

France. Good God. France. I fell in love with that boy with the eyes like shiny copper coins. What was his name again? Doesn't matter, it's you that I remember. Those crusty, chewy loaves of glory. Wrapped in white paper, you smelt like hay and hot earth. Lord I worshiped you, I think that might be when we started spending too much time together.

Don't worry, I'm not scared of gluten and I'm sure I'll see you from time to time. I just feel like you show up and almost every meal. I miss you too much when you're not here, it's not healthy. I want to make room for other stuff, good grains, I'm a little tired of your neediness. It's just a little hard to digest you.

I've started seeing a little spelt and quinoa and buckwheat. Maybe one day we might be able to hang out occasionally, but for now, I need some space.

I hope you understand.

Michelle xx