Herbed anniversary bread

Herbed bread

This is a lovely time of year at The Ordinary Estate. Each evening after dinner we walk through the balmy flower-scented air, sipping glasses of fine wine. We wend our way down tree-lined lanes, to inspect our fields and vineyards. Ha ha! Our yard isn’t big enough for one tree, let alone an entire boulevard of trees! And we’d be drinking two-buck chuck! And our boys would have dug some kind of small pit in the yard that we would trip in and twist our ankles! We live in an 1850s industrial-style house, attached on one side. Our whole town is like this, and we all have small, connected gardens. Here’s ours…

Our backyard

That’s it! That’s the whole thing. But, we have a beautiful tiny herb garden, and I’m completely smitten with it. Here it is…

Herb garden

And as you know, if you’ve been paying attention, I’m very fond of the idea of making a wild mix of herbs and greens that I combine in a sort of patchwork quilt of surprising flavors in tarts, or soups, or potatoes. Well, yesterday I made a special meal for our anniversary, and I made this bread. I shaped it in a ring to symbolize our marriage (but you could make any shape you like). As I think about it, herbed bread is a nice metaphor for marriage – sustaining, comforting, but full of flavor and surprises. As I ate it I thought the flavors were wonderful, all together, but it’s hard to pick out any one thing that makes it so. The work of growing the herbs, and kneading and shaping the bread is wonderful, fun, fulfilling work, just like a marriage.

This bread has a nice crispy crust and a very dense crumb. (I love saying things like “a very dense crumb”!) I used a combination of dried herbs and herbs from our garden – sage, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon, basil, oregano, thyme. All lovely!!

At our wedding, instead of a band or a DJ, we made mixed tapes (yes, cassette tapes, children) and played them on a boom box out of a window. The dancing was divine!! Here’s one song we had…Parliament I Been Watching You. We cooled it down with a slow number!!
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Oatmeal pepper crackers

oatmeal-pepper crackers

I had mentioned that a pastry crust should be so delicious on its own that you can make it into crackers. Well, I had some oatmeal-peppercorn crust leftover, so I did just that! Light and crispy – worth mixing up a whole batch of dough just for these.

Here’s Johnny Flynn’s Leftovers, to listen to as you make them.
Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit – Leftovers
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