Television show: The Good Life, sit-com, UK, 1975-1978.
What does it mean to me?
The Good Life is another of the British comedies I grew up loving as I sat on the couch with my family in convulsions of laughter. I just loved the joie de vivre of Tom and Barbara Good in their (often inept) quest for self-sufficiency. Meanwhile the well-meaning but upwardly mobile neighbours Jerry and Margo made me laugh.
In hindsight, my childhood had quite a lot in common with the Goods. We lived on a large country town block with chooks, the occasional lamb, fruit trees, a vegie patch with a scarecrow. My mum baked bread and cakes, bottled fruit, made jam and tomato sauce. We also liked a laugh!
Not that we were self-sufficient. Though my mum had to make a half hour drive to the nearest town to go to a supermarket, she bought unhomogenised milk at a local dairy and fruit and vegetables from the local Italian green grocer.
NB: In the USA, the series was renamed Good Neighbours to avoid confusion with another show of the same title.
I was delighted to find a snippet of a Good Life episode on YouTube in which Barbara serves Tom bread and cheese for dinner. The cheese comes from their goat Geraldine and the bread, baked by Barbara, is enormous. Jerry and Margo are visiting. They mention rather proudly that they are having game soup and smoked salmon at their place. I know which meal I would prefer.
I originally planned to make my own vegan cheese to serve with some home made bread. Vegan MoFo has found me rather busy. After baking cheeze crackers with vegan parmesan (above), I was inspired to try similar flavours in bread. It was still bread and cheese but the cheese was in the bread.
I have only recently started to bake sourdough bread. This was my first loaf that I experimented with anything but a rather plain white loaf. I did intend to follow a recipe but couldn't find the one I wanted so I made it up. All things considered, it wasn't too shabby.
The dough was a little stiff, possible from the polenta and from me deciding during kneading that some nutritional yeast flakes and lemon juice might go well. So I kneaded them in. Not advisable. Nevertheless the dough rose, perhaps a tad much. The final loaf had a good crumb and was reasonably moist, though perhaps a little less so than other sourdough breads I have made. Not a perfect loaf but very edible.
We all enjoyed the bread in sandwiches and with dinner. At first Sylvia baulked at the sight. It was yellow. Fortunately she got past the shallow judgements that characterise her eating. (Tonight I made her favourite tofu bacon but I accidentally bought a softer tofu than usual. It was a struggle to get her to eat any.)
I am keen to keep experimenting with sourdough recipes. But I still feel like I am getting a feel for sourdough. Despite this I gave my mum some sourdough starter to play with last week and she really enjoyed it. Explaining how to make a loaf felt like the blind leading the blind but she is a capable bread baker and made a lovely loaf.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Heidi's easy little bread
Two years ago: Loss, spring garden, rice bake, soup, tacos
Three years ago: MLLA Holiday Pasties
Four years ago: Fruit scones, yellow and uncertainty
Five years ago: NCR: Spring Strawberry Soup
Sourdough polenta cheese bread
An original recipe from Green Gourmet Giraffe
350g starter from the fridge (not fed recently)
450-550g plain white flour
300g filtered water
3/4 cup polenta
1 cup vegan cheezly parmesan (about 100g), grated
3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp sea salt
- Feed starter with 100g flour and 100g water. Leave to double in size - about 10-12 hours for me.
- Feed starter 200g flour and 200g water and leave until really bubbly - I did this in the late evening and left mine overnight and during the day until about 2pm.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of flour, polenta, parmesan, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice and sea salt. Check texture of dough and add a little more flour if needed - it should be slightly sticky but together enough with a bit of flour to knead (I put in 1 cup flour here but wonder if a little less would have better.)
- Knead dough for 10 to 20 minutes until it is a pliable consistency. With the polenta it was slightly more gritty than regular bread dough. Knead in extra flour as needed to get the right consistency.
- Place in bowl covered with plastic wrap and leave to double in size. When you press your finger into the dough it should not bounce back. I left mine for about 2 and 1/2 hours.
- Stretch and fold dough (ie handle it gently) and place in lightly greased bread tin or baking tray until almost risen in size. I suspect mine had risen a bit much after 2 hours. Meanwhile preheat oven to 210-220 C.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until crust is brown and loaf feels hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack and do not cut for at least an hour after coming out of the oven.
Bellavista Terrace: The Best of the Go-Betweens
This post is part of Vegan Month of Food September 2013. This year for Vegan MoFo I am cooking recipes inspired by some favourite tv shows - and veering off topic occasionally. Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my Vegan MoFo posts.