Monday, 19 September 2011

A bit blue

Have you seen the sky today? It's the bluest blue. Without a spot. Spotless blue. It's a good piece of sky to be walking under. Talking under.

There's something uncomplicated about this shade of blue. A shade darker, and it would turn sombre, more thoughtfut. A shade lighter, and it would be cold and impersonal. But the blue on top of my head today is 'happy blue'.

And there are so many things in the house that match the sky. It's not a conscious collection of things in 'happy blue'. They seem to have collected themselves somehow. And now, there are swatches of sky strewn in every room.

Today, I need all the happy blues I can get. Ma and Baba left for India yesterday. We dropped them off at the airport for their long flight back home. Back to their own space. Back to friends. Back to the comfort of familiar chores.

But my house is terribly empty. And for days I'll miss the routine we'd all fallen into. The chatter. The cups of tea. Long walks. And longer meals. The house has suddenly become quiet. A bit sad. It's a different kind of blue.

So, I did the only thing anyone can do to banish the sad kind of blue. I baked bread. There's nothing like the smell of a loaf turning golden in the oven. Surely it must be the happiest smell in the world? The smell of warm, freshly baked bread, brown and crusty on top, soft and fluffy inside. If one could bottle the smell of a just-baked bread, I'd buy it for a grey day.

Lemon thyme, green peppercorns & cheddar bread

This bread defines delicious. Really. It's perfect, even on its own. Its softness seals in the tangy  fragrance of lemon thyme, the heat of the green peppercorns, and the cheesy, melted saltiness of cheddar.


2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup lemon thyme leaves
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp green peppercorns, roughly crushed
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbs butter melted
1 tbs olive oil to fry the onion and garlic
1 tsp olive oil to grease the bread tin
1/2 cup cold milk
A sprig of lemon thyme to garnish

In a pan, heat olive oil and fry the onion and garlic till well browned. Let it cool.
In a big bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, fine sea salt and pepper. To this mix the lemon thyme, green peppercorns, fried onion and garlic and cheddar. With your hands, mix them well, and quite firmly, slightly bruising the leaves.
In a separate bowl mix the eggs, olive oil and melted butter. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add a bit of cold milk if the mixture feels too tight.
Grease your bread tin. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven, at 160 degrees C, for 45 - 50 minutes. Insert a knife in the centre of the bread. If it comes our clean, the bread is baked.
Garnish with a sprig of lemon thyme. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. Awww... I hope you feel better soon! It's really hard and I understand what you are going through...
    I am sure that bread make you feel a little better at least! It looks gorgeous! I can eat an entire loaf of that :)

  2. wow- your photos are gorgeous in this post. i love that you can find beautiful blue in all of your rooms!

    the bread looks like perfection. i hope it gave you some comfort during your blue period.

  3. Mondays invariably spells baking for me. I am baking bread right now as I type this comment. It is wholemeal and full of pine nut goodness.

    If you ever find a bottle of bread aroma anywhere, give me a shout out please.

    This cheese-peppercorn bread sounds delicious. would like to give it a go sometime.

    P.S. All shades of blue are my favourite. The photos are gorgeous.

  4. thanks chinmayie! i must admit, that bread was really worth baking. just a few crumbs left now :)

    thanks caitlin. i really enjoyed shooting the blues this week :)

    ah, now i'll remember you every time i bake bread on a monday, anita :) you must try this recipe one of these days - it was so good.

  5. Now that is my kind of treat: SAVORY! Beautifully written and photographed as usual! Oh, I am enjoying the blue skies again, too! We are going to have quite a warm week and I'm not complaining!

  6. lovely clicks.. i agree that there is noting more comforting than baking some bread.. i love my yeast breads!
    sending you some happy blue vibes!

    Richa @ Hobby And More Food Blog

  7. Beautiful photos and a lovely post! That bread is going on my "must make" list immediately! Thanks for sharing!

  8. thanks annapet! savoury is your thing, yet you spend your mondays baking the most gorgeous, sweet muffins! :) send me some of yours, and i'll send you some of mine!

    thanks richa! i sure could use some happy vibes today.

    i hope you enjoy the bake, sevimel. thanks so much for dropping by, and leaving a comment.

  9. Yum, this looks amazing! I love savory quickbreads...a nice alternative to cornbread or rolls. This recipe sounds totally delicious! :)

  10. This bread looks fantastic, what a great combination.
    Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño

  11. Oh, my, Pia! I've been hopping about the blogosphere as of late, and I must say that I feel like a winner today landing on yours. What lovely writing and foods! I'm so glad to be here.

  12. What a beautiful quickbread! Love your photos and writing, Pia :)

  13. Thanks Sara! Savoury breads are a big favourite in my house too. You must try this one sometime.

    Glad you liked the combination of ingredients, Laura Jeanne. It was completely dictated by the refrigerator! :)

    Thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment, Julia. It makes this blog worth putting together each week. So glad you enjoyed it.

    Thanks Yuri, really appreciate it.

  14. Saying goodbye is always so hard isn't it? Hope you are OK. That bread looks incredible... a must try I think! Emma :) PS. beautiful pics too, blue is such a lovely colour!

  15. thanks emma. this bread really was a treat. you must try it sometime. when you want to warm up the new house in munich, maybe :)


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