A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend bought a pasta machine. It was really inexpensive – around £20 – and of surprisingly good quality. So, since the machine itself was rather economical and pasta making is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, I decided to write an entry on the process. Firstly, it must be said that although the process can get a little fiddly, it is relatively easy. Strangely, it feels more like an activity than any other type of cooking in which I’ve ever partaken. As such, though it takes a little time and ample dedication, it never really feels like a chore. In fact, you almost forget that any end product will come of your efforts.

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One of the most attractive aspects of baking is that one can easily make use of a plethora of different ingredients. As such, my rediscovered penchant for savoury oven antics shall soon find itself with broadened horizons. After all, there’s no fun in baking exceedingly delicious bread, if it doesn’t have a personal and interesting twist. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little dull bread from time to time, but doing so is merely functional when compared with the eating of more complex loaves. Now, before you all rush for your collective soapbox, I ought really to further clarify my position. I’m not purporting the stance that bread which is both monochrome in both colour and flavour isn’t delicious, or fantastic, merely that a little extra is required to satisfy my intrigue. Granted, onion isn’t the most remarkable ingredient to employ in the baking of bread, but its flavour comes through magnificently.

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Baking bread is one of those inimitable acts of kitchen purity that appears to impress a great deal everyone one should stumble upon. Thankfully, once one has achieved the knack for bread baking it isn’t at all difficult, barring the odd catastrophic mistake. Indeed, this recipe is born out of one such mistake, an error which left me with what can only be described as a weapon of seed infested dread. Well, either that or an incredibly dense bird feeder. Anyway, following on from that mistake it seemed appropriate to give the idea one more chance. So, the original and inestimably mistaken recipe found itself consigned wholeheartedly to the rubbish dump, never to see the light of day again. This time I would go it alone and use only my bread making instinct to make a delicious loaf. Thankfully, my efforts were rewarded with the boule you see before you.

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Although I have the utmost respect for my fellow food bloggers, I’ve found that an awful lot of people shirk their pastry making duties. The excuse is invariable – making shortcrust pastry is difficult. Well, quite frankly, it isn’t – there are lots of rules, but if they are followed one’s pastry should be perfect every time. The other thing which makes my mind boggle is the inclusion of eggs or sugar in shortcrust pastry. A good shortcrust should contain nothing but plain flour, butter, water and a pinch of salt, whether intended for a savoury or sweet filling. Happily, such a recipe is also exceedingly frugal, as you shall soon see!

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