Sooner or later the wheel of life means that we will all be touched by tragedy; either our own or other people’s. Once upon a time there was a bright, clever and funny little girl and one weekend a long time ago, she and I made bread together.
We had a lovely time knocking the dough about and decorating the rolls we made with every nut and seed in my kitchen cupboards. Sadly, the little girl grew up feeling all the tragedies of the world were on her shoulders and even the happy memories of a loving childhood couldn’t save her.
This week she couldn’t bear that burden any more and now she doesn’t have to.
Rosemary is for remembrance. Here’s Ophelia-
'There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts….
There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue
for you; and here's some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
‘Hamlet’ Act IV Scene v
and here’s Friar Lawrence speaking of Juliet
‘Dry up your tears, and stick your rosemary on this fair; and, as the custom is, in all her best array bear her to church…
‘Romeo and Juliet’ Act IV Scene vI've made a rosemary and fennel bread. It's good to remember.
450g strong flour - I used about 250/200 white to spelt
75ml olivel oil plus more to sprinkle
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp sugar
2.5 tsp instant yeast
Rosemary sprigs, fennel seeds, coarse salt
Semolina or polenta
Add water and oil to the dry ingredients and knead until smooth. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour
Roll out to an oblong about 15 inches by 10 and dimple the top with your finger tips. Sprinkle semolina on a baking tray and put the dough on it. Sprinkle over about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then sprinkle with the herbs, coarse salt and seeds. Sprinkle with more semolina and leave to rise for another half an hour. Bake for 20 minutes at 190c.
You can pour more oil over it if you wish. This is great for tearing and dipping in a fruity oil.
We're having slow roast belly pork tonight so that plus this and a leafy salad with mustard dressing will be perfect.
We'll raise a glass.
I have a room wherein no one enters
Save I myself alone
There sits a blessed memory on a throne
There my life centres.
From 'Memory' by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)