Last Sunday morning I crept out of bed at 3.30am and again at 5.30am to refuel our wood oven and to check on my bread that had been proving all night. In the darkness, at the wood pile I felt the lightest mist on my face and I knew that the day ahead was full of possibilities and goodness.
Our second Flour and Fire Day was different to the first. This year we had one more year of cooking in the wood oven behind us. Our children were all one year older, making them more independent and freer to roam and explore. The returning bakers had a year of baking experience behind them which meant we could really trade knowledge on proving, shaping, slashing, equipment and all things sourdough.
Our friend Paula kindly volunteered to give us a hands-on haloumi and ricotta making demonstration. Cheese making complimented the bread making perfectly. Similarly to bread making, cheese making is often a process of hurry-up-and-wait, as Paula so rightly described it. When we weren't attending to our loaves we were attending to the cheese which gave our day rhythm and purpose.
The food for the day was assembled from mostly home raised, home baked and home grown produce. We squashed pieces of freshly sizzled hand made haloumi straight from the fire between chunks of warm sourdough baguettes, real food at its best.
At the end of the day, as the sun set behind the wood oven the drinks and stories flowed.
This day filled me with a sense of community spirit, generosity and sharing. It has also proved to me that it is possible to make things happen, even if it is on a small scale.
If you can, gather some like-minded friends and family and make food. Talk, listen and share. Let the children join in, or play in the dirt or both! Perhaps the world would be a better place if more people could do this.
Thank you to the families who attended our day. It wouldn't have happened without your enthusiasm and contributions. Thank you Paula for your professional cheese making and for so generously sharing your delicious haloumi with everyone. Thank you also to Terry for fuelling the fire, helping with the photos and always believing in my schemes.
What we ate, for anyone who is interested.
Morning tea: sausage rolls, vegetable and chickpea non-sausage rolls, quince and almond tart, cheese and crackers
Lunch: slow cooked camp oven lamb shanks, fresh pasta, pesto, salad, baguettes, fire sizzled haloumi
Afternoon grazing: scones with jam and cream, cheese and crackers, affogato served with pistachio biscotti, chocolates, warm ricotta drizzled with olive oil