One last recipe before packing up - vacation time is coming and I couldn't be happier
This will be my last recipe before we take off for our hols. I honestly can't wait to hit the road and unwind, relax. At least I hope I manage to relax, because being a bit of a workaholic where it comes to my writing, I tend to drag work with me anywhere I go - even if it's only in my head! Still, I will do my best at easing the workload, though there might be a few bouts of writing and an atempt at finishing off the first edits on my soon to be published sequel to Preternatural. But I intend to take it easy, that I do.
I'm actually feeling tired and depleted, this year, in need of rest. I've worked so hard, these past months, even if I got nothing much to show for it. I've tried my best at keeping up good content on this blog, despite the fewer and fewer visits it keeps getting and the lack of feedback, I've tried to keep up with reading and commenting other blogs, encouraging other bloggers with their work, and that has depleted me, because I always end up feeling like I give so much of myself and get nothing back. It's emotionally overtaxing and one ends up feeling like one is invisible.
I have also struggled with marketing and publicising my books, putting them out there and trying to raise interest in them, and in this I always fail miserably. It goes so much against my grain I end up feeling physically sick for doing it, but alas! how is anyone gonna find out my books if I don't push them? It's contradictory at best, I want people to read my novels and enjoy them and give me some feedback, I shy away from pushing said books and asking for reviews. Because when it comes to Amazon, your books don't get read if you ain't got no reviews, know what I mean?
Aside all that, I also struggle with my own mind and sense of self worth: there's a constant battle in my head between me thinking I'm super good and my books are all the rave and I should be there along the Sarah J. Maas's and the Cassandra Clare's of the world, and me thinking I'm crap and my stories are all crap and my writing is so bad it should be burnt at the stake. This is just as taxing as all the rest, and it is the one thing that never leaves my mind. That and the coming up with new stories.
So yes, yes, yes, I am in need of relaxation and rest, carelessness and sleep, beach days and barbecues, sangria and cold beer, salads and ripe fruit. I need to get my feet in the sand and the water, I need to feel the salty tang of the ocean, I need the ease of Summer mornings when on holiday, no rush, no worries, just plain sailing. I also need the comfort and homeliness of good, homebaked breads, so I am sure to be packing one fresh baked loaf to take with us for our breakfasts. And I'm sure I'll be baking a few soda breads out there.
This particular soda bread is one I have baked on repeat quite a few times. It plays on a combination of chocolate and nuts, so it's addictive enough and filling enough. Also, it helps when those chocolate cravings start coming in - PMT much? or is it only me?? I have baked it with chocolate and hazelnuts, chocolate and walnuts, but this one particular version stole the show. I had a few doubts I would like it as much as the two previous ones, but it ended up surprising the shit out of me and became my favourite so far. Wanna try?
Here's what you'll need for it:
- 200 gr strong bread flour
- 100 gr oatmeal
- 50 gr rye flour
- 50 gr white corn flour
- 1 tsp soda bicarbonate
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg, large
- 300 ml buttermilk or yogurt with a few drops of balsamic vinegar and a few drops of coffee
- a handfull of coarsely chopped peanuts
- half a cup of chocolate, coarsely chopped
Pre-heat the oven at 190º. Place all the dry ingredients on a bowl, add the peanuts and the chocolate and mix thoroughly together with the help of a fork so all the dry ingredients combine. In a separate bowl whisk the egg and the into the buttermilk/yogurt and coffee mix, and then stir the liquids into the drys with the help of a fork. Once it starts to bind, pour onto a floured surface. Using your lightly floured hands, pat the dough and bring together without kneading it, forming a rounded ball, and move to a baking tray covered in a sheet of baking parchement that has been floured. Use your hands to flatten the dough only slightly into a disk. Scour the top with a knife into any design you may fancy. Bake in a ventilated oven for about 40 to 45 minutes, allow to cool over a rack, and enjoy with when it's still warm. The chocolate slightly melting in the dough will have your toes curling and your lips smiling out of joy.