Saturday, 19 January 2019

The Mill

I have a sort of thing about mills. We used to live in a railway house called 7 The Mill so presumably one of the bigger houses was the mill.
I don't know. Just that the river was nearby and the big house above it was presumably the mill. There was a bridge across the river. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  I sold the house within a year of my husband dying by which time I was thirty eight. I couldn't bear to live at this house we had built together. That along with the house where I lived when I was a small child, the farmhouse where we lived when first married and the house I live in now which has all the original fireplaces and a lot of lovely stained glass are my favourites of all the houses I know.
Anyway, back to  mills.  I read a lot of Victorian fiction and mills do tend to come into it. The Mill on the Floss I am about to read. I'm in love with George Eliot at the moment.  I fall in love with a different victorian writer each year somehow. Last year it was Elizabeth Gaskell and before that it was Henry James. Anthony Trollope is my top novelist. He has written a wonderful book called the Vicar of Bullhampton and a mill is the most important building in it.
My great grandfather was a miller in Stanhope. I had forgotten that until this moment. He was also a painter and painted lots of cows and hills. I wouldn't say he was a brilliant painter but we liked his paintings and I like the smell and the look of mills. I've visited many but the one I loved best was the mill where my husband and I used to go to collect our flour in the early days of our marriage. I don't even remember where it was, I think somewhere in Northumberland but it was a sort of pilgrimage. I used to make bread and make all different kinds of loaves. I made a wonderful rosemary plait and breakfast buns which had wholemeal flour in them.
Lately since my children brought me a tagine and a cookery book back from Morocco I've started making flat breads of different types. I haven't done that for years but cookery is back in my life so maybe I will carry on like that, after thirty years of not making much bread I'm addicted once again.
I am rereading Elizabeth David's Yeast and Bread cookery. My old paperback is in a bad way so I'm thinking I might buy a good hardback copy if I continue on like this.
In the meanwhile I need to find a recipe so that I can make bread in the morning. There are certain things which smell so much better than anything else, fresh coffee, a red wine beef casserole, bread baking and basil. All my favourites. My garden is filled with herbs.
I used to treasure my lovely wooden worktops in my kitchen. Now they are all covered in burn marks and rings of stuff which I put down and left. I was going to sand and varnish them but I'm not going to because I'll be so busy filling the kitchen with the smell of fresh bread and chicken with green olives and preserved lemon tagging that I don't care about daft stuff like that any more.

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried no-knead bread, Elizabeth? Dead easy and quick to mix, then you leave it to sit overnight or longer, then shape it, leave to rise again, then pop it on some baking paper and bake in a pre-heated covered pot, like a dutch oven. It's very flexible -- I've left mine in the fridge for several days and then baked some rolls for breakfast. The recipe is on line in heaps of places.