The travelling bread oven has just come back from Firle, E Sussex where I spent a glorious few days at the vicarage there, guest of the vicar who is called Pete. Pete is a fascinating chap with a passion for good, local food and a deep and broad knowledge of the natural world. Every day he would call me over to look at things I would probably not have seen: a tiny migrating bird who was simply resting on his window sill, a little late summer butterfly, or a terrifying spider in the bath tub. He loves all creatures and won’t even wash the spider down the drain because he does not want to kill it (I would have been applying a fire hose to the spider, sorry spider). The house is full of life (both beautiful and not so beautiful) and the facts that Mertyl decided to have kittens again and none of the chickens died on my watch (like one did last time) added to the bliss that is teaching baking in Firle.
We did two basic bread classes and two sourdough classes. The students were utterly charming, coming from Black Heath, Bexhill, Brighton, Lewes and the surrounding towns around Firle. The weather was glorious and some of us even went out to pick damsons while the bread was rising! Juliet came back to Firle from Brighton to take the basic bread course, having done the sourdough course in May. Jean came down to Firle to do the sourdough course after having done the Bread Angel course in London this summer. I even had a student who knows a friend of mine who is running a pub in London! There is a small world indeed! I found the time to meet with Robin, the Community Chef in Lewes who is holding an exciting bread event with Andrew Whitley, founder of the Real Bread Campaign in Lewes in November and also met up with Mike the Baker who builds bread ovens and makes great pizzas at festivals in and around the south coast all summer long.
I now have the satisfaction of knowing that there are several more people in the world who can make lovely bread and I know their friends and families will be delighted with the bread and crackers they can now make. Thanks to them all. Thanks also to Pete for the use of his house – I hope he gets through all the rye bread that was left behind for him! If you would like the recipe for Pete’s very favourite bread, please click here and if you would like to know a bit more about Pete and his views on bread, the universe and everything please click here.