Sunday 14 January 2018

Lesson 158: Croissants au Beurre

In preparation for my pastries course at the cookery school next week I thought I'd have a go first and see.

First off, the pasty made fine in the kitchen aid, it took much less than 6 min to ball up on the dough hook, but it wasn't smooth at this point.  I didn't get any fresh yeast so used some of the water (warm) and dried yeast mixed.  This is the pasty rolled out, and the extra butter placed on top.  It would have been nice to get it more square at this point, but probably didn't matter too much,

Now after arranging into 4 layer.

After a chill, more folding, and more chilling, here's my 50cm x 50cm pastry rolled out.

Half cut up, and made into mini croissants. 

All out, ready to rise.  However it was 11pm at night, so no chance of a nice warm kitchen to rise in.  All in the oven to keep the cats from licking them, one of the ovens was slightly warm from being used that evening.

The next morning - unsurprisingly the ones in the warm oven had risen more than the others, although still not really enough.

After baking at about 185C fan for 15min.

The full set - more risen ones on the left.  Both tasted fine, the smaller ones were just a bit more dense.  The larger ones didn't have any real air gaps in like the ones you buy - I suspect this is partly insufficient rising and partly a trick to make them cost less to make!  Still, they all went (40!) for breakfast and lunch that day, with a request for Pains au Chocolate next... 

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Heading up high in the wind

The forecast was windy - the impact of storm Eleanor hitting the west coast of the UK bringing 70mph winds.  We stuck to the plan of heading up higher, mainly since all the route was fairly level with no ridges or cliffs to be careful of.  In the event the wind was high but pretty consistent, so much easier to compensate for.

Difficulty: 5
10:13, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (212)
11:45, 3.2km 1h31 506m, Bakestall (673, Wainwright)
13:37, 7.2km 3h23 830m, Great Calva (690, Wainwright, Hewitt)
15:11, 13.0km 4h57 855m, End (210)

We parked at the obvious off road space for half a dozen cars, after passing very close to where we had stayed a few years earlier.  The footpath goes straight from here following the Cumbria Way.

Following the path, with Bakestall straight ahead.  The route skirts around the base to the left, before going steeply up just where the hillside juts out slightly.

The fairly steep uphill section.  It was so grassy that it really didn't present many problems.

And up into the familiar cloud cover at around 600m.

Finally at the top of Bakestall, sheltering from the wind as usual.

We headed down, careful to stay to the right of Birkett Edge, using the fence to the right as a guide.  From here, it's straight down back to the Cumbria Way, then up the other side to Little Calva. 

We stopped at the bottom and had some lunch in the shelter of the wall next to the path, before heading back up the other side, another steep ascent.

After following another fence uphill, the path curves off to the right, heading up this gully towards the top.

Poppy at Little Calva.  So Little that the others had marched off, towards Great Calva that was lurking in the cloud.  Did I already mention it was quite windy?

At the top of Great Calva.  The walk up to the top was another where I held onto Poppy and Evie to stop them getting blown off their feet, and to make sure they kept on walking uphill.  We got enough view to know that it could give spectacular views if only it was clearer, so yet another peak that we need to revisit in good weather! 

Heading down the hillside, back towards the Cumbria Way, with our children showing a rare moment of unity.

We kept a good pace back along the path, since it was a very easy flat surface.  The views back were stunning, with Bakestall rising up to the left of the path.  A great end to a great week.  The lack of rain was a huge bonus that day!

Tuesday 2 January 2018

The Steep Approach to Mellbreak

The forecast was a wet start but clearing later.  It was another walk where I perhaps wasn't as direct as I could have been about the route we were taking, to avoid any doubts creeping in before we were committed to the first steep climb.

Difficulty: 5
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Isabelle (15), Grace (13), Evie (10), Poppy (7)
10:02, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (127)
12:00, 4.4km 1h58 500m, Mellbreak (512, Wainwright)
14:17, 8.9km 4h14 773m, Hen Comb (509, Wainwright)
16:00, 13.5km 5h58 872m, End (126)

We set off from the same car park as a few days earlier, this time heading into the village before striking out past fields and into the hill side.

We could see Mellbreak looming out of the clouds, and that steep climb up the end of the ridge.

I think Poppy had the easiest time of it on the loose rock, she was just too light to disturb the surface.  I did have to rescue Caroline though, after following the wrong mountain goat like child up the route.

Made it to the top, along the ridge, and up to Mellbreak.  We were rewarded with strong winds and heavy rain fall.

Still, coming down out of the clouds did get some nice views over Crummock Water.

Now at the far end, we stopped for lunch.  It wasn't raining much by then, we just had to cope with a very soggy path and crossing a stream.  We did the usual job of Grace jumping over first, and then the two of us helping Poppy to cross.  This time we didn't quite coordinate - Poppy held Grace's hand, jumped, I didn't think she would make it so held on, Poppy landed in the stream... Swiftly pulled out but quite soggy and upset.  We managed it the second time.

Now at the top of Hen Comb, admiring the views.

We headed down the obvious path, getting to the wall at the bottom of the fell.

Interesting 'basic' style here to cross over.  We carried on one the intended route which crossed over Mosedale Beck before rejoining our outward track.  However there was a conspicuous absence of any type of crossing, and the beck was too wide to try and cross.  At this point we climbed back up and headed north, following the path through woods to Mill Hill farm buildings.  It was quite a direct way back to the car park, but I don't believe it is a public right of way, so we just stuck to farm tracks and paths and made sure that we stayed well clear of the sheep in the field.  Not the ideal end to a walk, but hopefully minimal impact.  I wouldn't advise following the same route, unless there is now a crossing over Mosedale Beck.

Monday 1 January 2018

Fellbarrow on New Year's Day

We had a late start after a delicious cooked breakfast for New Year's Day, so we picked one of the shorter walks we had planned.  It was a great morning, with a clear blue sky, unfortunately the afternoon was not quite so nice.  So a little shame to lose the best walking conditions of the week, but the sausages and bacon were worth it.

Difficulty: 3
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Isabelle (15), Grace (13), Evie (10), Poppy (7)
11:29, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (135)
13:16, 3.5km 1h47 393m, Low Fell (423, Wainwright)
13:59, 5.5km 2h30 486m, Fellbarrow (416, Wainwright)
14:57, 8.7km 3h28 495m, End (134)

There were a whole lot of cars in the two car parks, quite a change from the rest of the week.

Lovely conditions, although some ominous clouds where the wind was coming from.

Up the steep grassy slope to Darling Fell, looking along the route down and up again to Low Fell.

Last views before the clouds descended. 

At Low Fell, with virtually no view, heavy rain and high winds.  Surprisingly we didn't stay for long.

Occasional views of distant peaks through the mirk.

Now at Fellbarrow, conditions still pretty wet and windy.  The plan was to retrace our steps, but I'd spotted a marked footpath on the mapping app on my phone, so we made a circular walk of it - this path got us down off the hillside faster, so was a much better plan.

We found the right track down towards the road, which is running from right (north) to left (south) in this photo. 

Looking back up, still pretty nasty up there, but much better lower down.  All in all a satisfying walk, but one to test the spirits a little...