I remember hearing a story ones. It was about a king that had a remarkably beautiful wife but was in the habit to stray …
One day the mistress he was with at the time asked him: “Why do you come to me when you have such a treasure of a wife at home?”
He said to her: “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. So I will just show you: What is your most favourite dish of all?”
“Pheasant with mushrooms” she said. “OK, then, winked the king, as he was walking out of the door”
Soon after he left, there was a knock on the girl’s door and a lackey walked in, carrying a domed silver tray. As he crossed the room, a fabulous aroma followed him. He sat it on the table, slowly, full of importance: “For you, madam” he bowed, handing her a note. She took it, full of curiosity and broke the king’s seal with great anticipation: “Enjoy lunch! A king’s treat!” ..”Oh, my!, she thought, This is amazing!” and run towards the tray, lifting the silver dome impatiently. And there it lay – the meal of her dreams – a whole baked pheasant, skin beautifully golden and crispy, sat on a bed of butter fried wild mushrooms! She didn’t even waste time sitting down and never noticed the lackey backing out of her rooms quietly. In a great hurry she started tearing tender pieces of meat and scooping the mushrooms with them, into a bigger than one can eat mouthful. Then – straight in the mouth, tasty juices running down her chin….”Heavens! I wish this never ends!”She thought to herself…Soon the bird looked like a cat has gotten to it – a mere skeleton, bones scattered around the tray. There was no trace of the mushrooms. The lady, looking much less as a lady than an hour prior (mind you, if you’ve seen her stuffing her face you would have said she wasn’t a lady at all!) was sprawled on a sofa, rubbing her well rounded belly, contempt and drifting into a glutton’s sweet sleep. “Now, this is life” she whispered to herself…
What seemed like a wink later, “knock, knock, knock” the door went. ” Half awake she stumbled on her feet and reached the door…”who may that be now?” Opening the door, her eyes met another silver dome, carried by a different lackey. He bowed and pushed by her, sitting the tray on the table, where the “remains” of the first meal were still on. “What’s going on!” she asked, wide eyed “Your dinner, madam” and left with another bow. The lady lifted the dome, and here it was – another beautifully cooked pheasant! “This is great! Again? I can eat this EVERY day! It is fabulous!” With newly found hunger she devoured the second one and lied down to a well deserved sleep.
Early the next morning there was again a knock on the door, followed by (now) the familiar routine of a silver dome greeting the eyes, followed by a bowing lackey. “Oh, what treat will it be today?” the lady thought, rubbing her eyes, still half asleep. Off she went to lift the silver dome, only to unveil yet another roasted pheasant…”Hmm, she thought..ones again? Hunting season must be open, probably the king’s kitchen is swarmed with those little treasures…Well, I’m not the one to complain in the face of a great meal!” Needless to say her enthusiasm decreased with each meal, delivered 3 times a day like clockwork from there on. Always pheasant. Always beautifully cooked. Always the same way….
When the king arrived for his “visit” a week later, he saw a few silver domes on her table that weren’t even lifted…
“Hello, my darling, how are we today? I see you are not very hungry? You seem to have missed breakfast AND lunch!”
“Are you kidding?” She said in despair, looking towards the table “I am sick of pheasant! Day and night, and daaaay, and niiiiight! I don’t want to see one as long as I live!”
“Ahahah” the king laughed a wholehearted laugh, “I though pheasant was your most favourite thing in the whole world!”
“Well, it sure was! Before you made me eat it till I got sick of it!”
“Aaah, I see!” the king said, grinning widely, “So what do you think about my beautiful Queen now?”….
Moral of the story?……I’m BAY LEAFED OUT!
Honestly, for the last two weeks, all I’ve smelled, cooked and eaten has had bay leaf in it. Although I still say it is one of the greatest herbs out there, I’m well past “pheasant” point!
My experience has given me a lot of “food for thought” though and I can even “see” the foundations of a cook book featuring bay leaf …
It is so versatile and goes such a long way! For now, I do need a break!
But before my bay leaf fever goes completely away, here is the last thing that I’ve made, which is still filling the house with a beautiful fragrance – Bay leaf and cheese bread rolls!
Easy does it with those ones You know I don’t like to overwork myself..not that I’m lazy, but hard work is for those workaholic “fools” I just don’t get…Actually, OK, I’m lazy and proud of it.. Come on, who agrees, that if something can be done the easy way, one shouldn’t go out of their way to make life hard for themselves? … You know what I’m getting at, right? All the guilty build up.. Yup. It’s true. Ready-made-packet-bread-mix! Plus I’m using a bread machine to make the dough. Slap me, but it bloody works!
In my defence, I’m still doing a bit of manual labour at the end.
I like Hovis’ bread. It’s a must in my daily shopping cart. So in my view there’s nothing wrong with buying their bread mix and messing up the whole kitchen. I adore the smell of freshly made bread in the house, be it made from scratch of from a packet. Today It was the turn of Hovis’ granary range. I have the whole variety, sitting, waiting in my cupboard! I Love it. All you add to it is some water and some fat. Usually, I use olive oil and keep my ticker in the “healthy zone” But today I’m all IN with bay leaf flavoured butter. To find out how I made my own, go to http://greedyfoodster.com/2013/08/06/the-bay-leaf-the-chocolate-and-the-toddler/ :-)
The butter and the water go in the bread-maker’s tin over the dry mix. I set the machine on “dough” program and let it do the hard work.
If you don’t have a bread maker, then go out an buy one!
Hah, just kidding;Combine the ingredients in a bowl and work them well with your fingers ’till combined. Tip out on a flowered surface and start working the dough, palm in, pounding hard. It will take good 5 minutes for a smooth, well rounded dough. Oil the bowl and put the dough back it. Cover with a damp cloth and let it proof (in a warm place) for an hour. At the end you should have a dough that has increased it’s size at least twice! Back to my kitchen now, the bread machine is churning away. A quick head pop in the fridge results in dragging out a half-full plate of yesterday’s cheese treat.
Brie, Cheddar, Port Salut and Stilton. What a great combo!After the cycle has ended, the risen dough goes out on my flowered board and I spread it a finger thick Chopped cheeses goes on top And the whole thing is rolled tight Then chopped into 2 inch thick pieces Which are spaced out on baking paper and left in an warm oven to proof for further 15-20 minutes.
Here is my little secret – While I am rolling and “working” away on the rolls, I turn on the oven to full heat. By the time I am ready (5 minutes or so) it is nice and warm. Heat goes off and the rolls go in! After 20 minutes, take the risen rolls out and brush the tops with the remaining bay leaf butter Pop back in the oven, turn the heat to 180C fan/gas 6 and bake for 25-30 min ’till lovely and golden. You will know when they are ready! The aroma will guide you! I just devour them warm, as they are…nothing else is really needed!
How much more loaded on flavour can you get!!?
Ok…maybe a tiny bit of cold butter…? Yum!