To our surprise, Robin and I discovered recently that we love spelt in breads, pastas, and other goods where it replaces conventional flours. We were surprised because we did not expect such a flavour difference. Since we had been enjoying the bread machine that we bought last year, we decided to try baking our own spelt bread just a few months ago. Initially, this was a failure, due to the recipes that we tried not being quite to our liking, and (even more crucially) due to the quickly-realised problem that spelt bread does not bake properly in bread machines. It is fine to use the machine to make the dough and put the dough through the first rise (so, load the machine and set it for “dough”). But then, you must remove the dough for the second rise, and bake it in a conventional oven. It is lovely if you follow this procedure.
The reason I am posting this recipe and these guidelines are because most of the dozens of recipes that you find when you Google Spelt and Bread Machine Recipes do not tell you this! People post these recipes and comment that their bread machine spelt bread is the best thing since … well … sliced bread. I do not know whether they have bread machines with super powers, or whether they are just lying. In our experience, which is now rich and varied, spelt dough in a bread machine rises like the Sun, but then craters catastrophically, so that you end up with a flat and too- dense loaf that is not very nice at all. Bread machines are fine, and very useful, for making the dough for a spelt loaf, but not adequate for baking the bread.
He reached out, set the glasses on the dash. In their reflection he could see trees and light poles flashing by at seventy-five miles an hour. He couldn’t see the gas station he was leaving behind. He couldn’t see her standing inside, behind the dirty plate glass window. She’d told him that she couldn’t go any farther with him. That the bus stopped there and she was going to take it to some other godforsaken little town. Responsibilities, she’d said. He’d gotten in the truck and peeled out like a teenager and it’d started to rain just like in a goddamned movie. He stewed about what could have been while he drove for the next three hours. He finally had to stop at another…
This is my version of Spanish Rice with Seafood, a favourite dish around our house. The one thing you really must have, besides the ingredients, is a large, flat-bottomed, shallow pan that heats evenly, in order for this dish to cook properly. I use my electric skillet, and it works every time. It is an unusually shallow and flat one made by an obscure company, and I bought it second hand.
Disclaimer: this is not an authentic paella, nor does it have any pretensions towards being authentically Spanish. However, I am authentically (at least part) Spanish, so I make no apologies for borrowing this recipe from my own family tradition of a meaty Spanish Rice, and altering it to suit my husband’s and my taste for all things seafood. This dish is always a hit with guests, too. I just made another version of this for New Year’s Day, and as it is a very hot summer here in Australia, everyone enjoyed its satisfying light-but-tasty qualities.
This recipe will serve 3-4 as a main dish, or 6-8 as a side dish.
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
“As a writer, I can think of no greater terror than confronting a blank page, except perhaps the terror of being shot at.”
~ Richard Castle, Naked Heat
It seemed like such an good idea: I’d take myself to lunch. Tea. Croissant. And a blank journal. A blank journal may or may not be an ideal companion. Its pages stare mutely at you as you sit, pen poised, listening to the buzz of conversation around you. It doesn’t ask how your holidays went. It doesn’t inquire after friends, family, pets, or the traffic on the way over. It just sits and, in the words of Uncle Remus, “don’t say nothing”. So I sat among the people who had the good sense to bring a human to lunch and had a private conversation with myself, inside the world of the journal. And by the end of lunch, the journal was a little less blank and a little less mute. Not a bad way to start the new year.