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UK: You can use the Real Bread Campaign bakery finder: Virtuous Bread favourites include: London: West Country: The North: Weymouth: Down Dorset Way: East Sussex: Courses: Millers: Sweden: Bakeries Stockholm: Valhalla – Balhallavagen, 174 Ett Bageri – Jungfrugatan, 70 Riddarbageriet – Riddargatan, 15 Bakeries Hamburg: springer bio baekerei

Fart Cake Girl

I have been weeping with laugher on and off all day.
This morning I looked at my blog dashboard which lets me know how many hits the site gets, where people go, and what words they search in order to find the site.  Among things like “baking” or “bread” or”sourdough”, someone typed “fart cake girl”.
**recovering from [...]

Poem for St George’s Day

St George’s day feast
Snap me off at the stem end
where I emerge firm and ruddy
soft tip running to
muscular hinge as I leave the earth.
Envelop me in warmth and moisture.
Roll me in your mouth:
nibble, chew, and bite
from your fingers -
finish by wiping my remains
from your chin.

A new poem…

Jane Mason, Gingerbread girl, publishes a poem about archetypes.

**Squeal** The list for the sour dough share save scheme grows…

Jane Mason, Gingerbread Girl: Sour Dough Sharing Save scheme to speed up baking sour dough at home grows!

Participant List (to be made more efficient when I figure out how)

1.  Kerry Lawrence Brook House Les Charrieres de Malorey St Lawrence Jersey JE3 1FU joined:  12 April 2010 2.  Huw de Chroustchoff 11 Wokingham Rd Reading RG61LE joined:  16 April 2010 3.  Darlene Hewlett Lhergy Cripity 63 Clos de Corvez La Rue Hamel St Clement JERSEY JE2 6JF joined:  16 April 2010 4.  Edward Mackereth 9 Almorah Crescent St Helier Jersey JE23GU (or Darlene could just walk it round) joined:  16 April 2010 5.  Max Thomas 53 Midmoor Road London SW12 0ES joined:  16 April [...]

Rye sour dough + wheat or spelt flour bread

To make a rye + wheat or spelt loaf you can use a rye sour dough that has been refreshed within 4-5 days.  To do this, take 4 tablespoons (50 grams) of your sour dough starter out of the f ridge and do the following: 1.  scrape the sour dough out of its container and pop it [...]

100 % rye sour dough bread

To make 100% rye sour dough you must have a lively sour dough starter!  To do this, take 4 tablespoons (50 grams) of your sour dough starter out of the fridge and do the following: 1.  scrape the sour dough out of its container and pop it in a bowl 2.  add 1 and 1/4 cups (150 [...]

Instructions for refreshing and maintaining your rye sour dough

Welcome to the wonderful world of sour dough!  It takes a little bit of planning and the results are definately not instant, but they are worth while.  Most important:  please remember tha t it is virtually impossible to kill sour dough.  Follow the instructions, make sure take 50 grams (4 Tablespoons) of sour dough out of the [...]

More sour dough for the share save scheme

Jane Mason, the Gingerbread Girl, expands the sour dough share save scheme to include a rye sour dough starter. Take your pick!

Basic White Wheat Sour Dough Bread (no yeast)

I am going to be honest with you.  This bread is a hassle to make because there are lots of steps and lots of elapsed time involved.  However, if you have a rainy week end and you are sort of pottering around with no particular commitments, this is a rewarding bread to make.  You need [...]

Wheat sour dough pancakes

To make sour dough pancakes you need a lot of sour dough!  To do this, refresh your starter as follows: 1.  Scrape the sour dough starter (1 cup/225 grams) out of the container into a mixing bowl. 2.  Add 2 and 1/2 cups (375 grams) of white wheat bread flour (please do not use any other kind of [...]

Absolutely delicious wheat sour dough breakfast rolls

As ever, make sure you are using a newly refreshed sour dough by following the instructions here. Breakfast Rolls Step one: In a big bowl, mix together: 1 cup (8 fluid oz/230 mls/225 grams) of sour dough 1 cup (8 fluid oz/250 mls/250 grams) of scalded milk that has cooled down thoroughly 2 cups (300 grams) of the flour of your [...]

The Sour Dough Story

Jane Mason, writer and artisinal baker who specialises in sour dough discusses sour dough bread as a summary to the chapter on baking without yeast in her book on bread.

An amazing fact about marzipan…

Not eveyone likes marzipan as much as I do.  Now, granted, that might be difficult seeing as it is one of my favourite foods and I can eat it any way it comes:  modelling marzipan by spoon; cake marzipan by package; marzipan filling (via excavation); marzipan in any form at all.  What is not to [...]

Easter makes me think of Easter Bread

It’s coming up to Easter and that makes me think of home baked Easter Bread.  Virtually every European country has Easter bread of one sort or another.  I have tested and tried; tried and tested and have come up with a few rules of thumb:
1.  The dough for Easter Bread is rather like a brioche [...]

Virtuous Bread – The Interview

In one day I have managed to bag interviews with three complete and utter stars in the food world that will appear in upcoming editions of Virtuous Bread.
Anna del Conte – one of the leading Italian cook book writers in the world, living and writing in the UK
Johan Jureskog – one of the top chefs [...]

Virtuous Bread – a nascent global movement from the Gingerbread Girl and her friends

Virtuous Bread is an organisation dedicated to extolling the virtues of making and eating good bread and, in doing so, forging the link between good bread and good deeds.
Bread is a metaphor for all food – and for life itself: “Bread is the staff of life”, “Know where your bread is buttered”, “Don’t take bread out [...]

Virtuous Bread – Vision, Mission, and Content

Our Vision
For everyone around the world, Virtuous Bread is a platform that makes it easier and more fun to buy, make, learn about, share, and eat good bread and, while doing so, create a strong link in our minds between eating good bread and doing good things.  The focus is definately on bread but, “man [...]

Recipe from Julia’s kitchen

On a recent trip to Germany to learn more about how they bake bread there, Julia effortlessly scooped some lemon sorbet out of a tupperware containter which signalled: home made. Pause. Think. Effortlessly scooped. I do not associate that with home made. I associate home made (no ice cream maker) with stuff that closely resembles ice cubes. It’s the method that’s the trick. Read more (and the recipe) here.

Get ready for Easter (and beat the winter blahs)

Eat more…hot cross buns! (yum)

Lessons Learned (again): Six reasons a consulting project is likely to fail

When will we learn?  Christopher and I asked ourselves this when we were discussing what we could salvage out of the recent client situation.  We knew, in September, that the project was n ot well set up – indeed, was likely to fail; but we did it anyway.  What were we thinking?  As ever, we were (being [...]

Caveat Emptor

For all of those prospective buyers of high end strategy consulting out there:  beware. The difference between a “contractor” and  “consultant” has become utterly clear to me over the past few months, and no more so than in the past few days.  Let me s tart by saying there are good and bad contractors and good and [...]

Perversity in extremis (don’t get too excited)

I am baking away the professional blues, having completed the contract with the client and having not been asked to extend it.  Same client I have suffered and written about in all recent posts and yet, perversely, I hate the fact that they have not extended with us – I would much rather have gotten [...]

The Bush pub in Ovington – no need to bother

I used to love the Bush pub in Ovington.  It is at the bottom of a tiny lane on the banks of a burbling river with swans and ducks, a lovely garden, log fires etc etc.  Once upon a time th ey had great treacle tart and fabulous chips but sad to say…no more. Lunch with Sam [...]

Effect of the Leadership Lurch part 2

“And another thing,” I hear myself saying as I contemplate the effects of the Leadership Lurch.  If the first effect is a confusion between control and leadership, the second i s a confusion between outcome and output. I know it should be obvious that output and outcome are not the same, but at my angst ridden client, [...]

Recovery from failure – with a little help from a friend

I am delighted to be able to write that I have recovered my usual bounce.  All feelings of failure have flitted out the window.  I would be  even more delighted to be able to say “ne ver to return” but that is unrealistic and anyway success needs failure just like light needs the darkness.  I was [...]

Effect of the Leadership Lurch part 1

Earlier I wrote about the Leadership Lurch at my client.  Here, I am writing about one of its more pernicioius outcomes:  the confusion between leadership and control.  Yes, yes, I know I wrote about my feelings of failure just a couple of days ago, but a girl has to have defense mechanisms or she’ll die.  So, [...]

On Failure

I decided today that I would quit my project.  Yes, that is it.  Quit.  This is a bittersweet moment.  Sweet because I don’t want to work with this client in this role one moment mor e that I have to, and bitter because I have arrived at this moment through failure.  I have failed utterly to [...]

The Gingerbread Girl officially has international reach!

Ok, ok, it’s in a small way, but I am dead chuffed about it.   A week ago a man left a comment.  He has a website devoted to cookery for children and it is really lovely.  It is http :// and he is called Dean Malcolm and he was my very first comment from a stranger so Dean, [...]

Vicars are not so very special: A response to Anne Atkins

Based on her article in The Times on 6 January Anne Atkins would have us feel sorry for the poor vicars who give up "decent income, chance of promotion and career structure, mortgage and h ome...public recognition, financial security" and that she and her husband expected "appreciation" from "intelligent Christians" for making this sacrifice. More appreciation than nurses, or firemen, or teachers or fireifghters or any other of the vocational workers who give up all the same things for their chosen path? Clearly, yes. But why?

What do you think? (you understand I am asking myself…)

Poetry Submissions Department Faber and Faber Ltd Bloomsbury House 74-77 Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DA UNITED KINGDOM

Early morning baking and other matters

More jet lag (when will I NOT see a three as the first number on a clock in the middle of the night?).  Try as I may I cannot make it past about 21.00 and then crash asleep as if I were hit by a train.  Up, however, with the returning clubbers which is a [...]

Consult versus Tell: the fine leadership balance

My team mate and I had an extraordinary meeting the other day with a CEO who seems to be about to swing from his habitual “consult” leadership style into a more “tell” style.  Ordinarily that would not worry me too much except that he has been at the extreme end of “consult” which means that his point [...]

Club Gascon lost top spot – restaurant review

For fifteen years now Glub Gascon, a restaurant in Smithfield, London, has been my favourite restaurant in the world.  The food was great, the foie gras menu was long, the wine list was creative, and the service – all French staff – was enthusiastic and interested. Not any more. Yesterday, Christopher and I went for our annual [...]

Flowers! Flowers! And the odd glass of red…

Earlier this year, the APs and I went on a little trip out West.  In addition to staying in a magical house in Shropshire and visiting places in Shropshire and Wales, we went down to Exeter to visit some friends who do many things including farm.  They have dozens of breeds of happy rare chickens […]

The stolen garden harvest in it’s entirety

It’s Singapore so that must mean jet lag. As I sit here, my computer saying 20.24 (here it is 04.24) I can only judge my complete exhaustion by the fact that my typing has gone out the window.  I can hardly see let alone be dextrous.  Forgive spelling mistakes.  Forgive everything, in fact. Earlier I wrote a [...]

It’s not about what you think, it’s about how you feel…

Love and loss inspires an awful lot of writing and here is mine…

Poems about the rest of the world

Some musings from my ROW travels from Africa to the Middle East...

Poems about the UK

In the garden
Dirt under my fingernails
proclaims the advent of spring,
and summer’s slow continuance.
My ankles and calves are mud-streaked
grubbing around in weeds like caterpillars,
seeds come to visibility as tiny green promises.
I am face to face with
the reality of miracles.
The man who sang
There’s a man who stands and sings by the river.
The colour of a country night [...]

Poems about Japan

Do you too like Haiku?

Poems about Mexico

This morning I was served tamales
By a woman who’d been beaten
Near the street where eight crosses made of marigolds
Stretched out
To protest
Against the impact
Of the ignorant
On the innocent.
In the church
Crosses of flowers and flickering candles
carpet the floor of the empty church.
At the feet of the virgin
a lone Indian man kneels, weeping silently,
his sombrero by his side.
His [...]

Poems about Thailand

We hitched a ride
on a boat going North.
The elderly ladies giggled
and tugs pulled barges full of gravel.
An old man sang sentimental songs into the microphone.
Under Bangkok
I counted boxcars
On a Bangkok night,
Underneath the elevated highway.
A fruit seller waited patiently
His papayas on melting ice.
The elderly beggar man
Slept on broken concrete,
His face turned to the wall.
The Other Side [...]

Sri Lanka – June 2009

I travelled to Sri Lanka in June to visit a good friend, Sonaali.  I was distracted during this time because the war was on when I arrived and was over when I left.  Emotions were more than usually heightened and I felt vulnerable and disconnected.  It was not all bad! I saw the elephants at the [...]

Poems about Sweden

Swedish Spring
Bits of varnish flake off
as I slide the knife over the rough
wood of last summer’s paddle
The smell of varnish and tar
mix with the North wind that comes from far
away where there is still snow
Here where the grass is brown but the buds are small
you plant,
singing to the tiny green shoots to make them grow.
If [...]