Today was to have been the start of our annual autumn writing retreat, a week-long escape I and as many as a dozen other authors look forward to.
For the first time in the twenty-one years since we began running these events, our retreat has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Not a huge catastrophe in the greater scheme of things but I'm going to miss the group energy, shared discussions, and brainstorming sessions we held each night. (Not to mention the laughs!)
So in honour of our missed reunion I'd like to share my recipe for Cheese Onion Bread which I make every time we go on retreat and which has become somewhat of a tradition.
To the authors who were signed up to come this year, make up a batch and, as you eat it, pretend you're sitting in the hall at Trinity. And since we're all social distancing anyway, make this a week to get as much writing done as you would have there.
We'll be together in spirit!
Cheese Onion Bread (1 loaf)
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1 tbsp. dry yeast
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
1 cup tasty (cheddar) cheese, grated
1/2 cup spring onion, finely chopped
whole wheat flour
Whisk milk and egg together. Stir in yeast and honey, and allow to stand until yeast dissolves.
Add enough whole wheat flour to form a thick batter and stir 100 times.
Cover and let rise for 50 minutes in a warm place. (At Trinity I set it beside the wood stove!)
Stir in salt, cheese and onion. Add enough flour to make a dough (Sorry, I've made this recipe so many times I don't know the exact measurement but it's roughly about 1/2 kg (1lb) or 4 cups total - including what you put in to make the batter)
Knead dough until 'earlobe' consistency. (About 10 mins)
Return to an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 30 mins.
Punch down and let rise a further 20 mins.
Shape into a cob and allow to rise on an oiled baking tray as oven heats to at 180C/350F.
Bake 50 mins or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.