Since Melissa and I moved down to Brighton our friends and family have been taking advantage of a visit to the seaside most weekends and we've been very happy to oblige. Although the Brighton marathon was last Sunday, we paid it tribute this weekend with a hatrick of couples that came down to visit.
When we came back from our travels, Melissa and I made a pact that we're not going to buy any bread from the shops and we're going to make it all ourselves. Unfortunately we managed to allow another sourdough starter to die through neglect (yes it really does need to be fed every day, and until we manage to do this Melissa's not allowed to get a cat). For some reason we didn't take a picture of the wholemeal loaf that could double as a doorstop as Melissa got impatient and forgot to let it rise once the loaf had been shaped. But we've learned from experience now and the last loaf was a big improvement. What's slightly annoying about our new pact is that it takes a quite a long time to make fresh bread the regular way. So when we've had guests down they've mostly been treated to soda bread for breakfast as you can make a delicious loaf in 45 minutes from start to finish.
Having made quite a few regular soda breads we fancied a change, and for Melissa's parents we tried out the River Cottage Everyday 6 seeded soda bread (although we didn't have any linseeds so it was actually only 5 seeded soda bread):
The unusual addition of fennel seeds gives the bread a lovely flavour that goes really well with a slice of strong cheddar for a picnic lunch.
Today Melissa's sister and her boyfriend were treated to some zesty citrus shortbread alongside some homemade lemon ice cream. I was especially happy as the recipe made plenty of biscuits for me to enjoy with a cup of tea when I was hungover after Karrie and Jon's visit on Friday night:
It's really lovely having people down to visit and the bonus for me is that there's always plenty of leftover treats for us to enjoy after our guests have gone!