Poppy Seed Bread

It being Valentines Day, this is a post about love. There are no chocolates or hearts in this story, no romance or champagne. It's about some bread and a six year old boy and a virus. Sounds unpromising no?

Anyway, here it is. I made this bread yesterday for Fin's lunch. Nick was away in London and we had nothing in the house. I dropped him at school, peddled home, threw this bread together and cycled back with a wholesome lunch all wrapped in brown paper. I stood outside his class out of sight for a moment and watched him giggling over his work with a little shiny haired girl before heading home again.

Ten minutes after I got home, the school called to say that Fin had been sick, so back I went to pick up a pale quiet boy, who insisted he could cycle, no taxi please. I unpacked his untouched lunch.

Fin tossed and turned through the long afternoon until he finally fell asleep, tiny in my huge bed, with the fairy lights on, clutching piggy. I sat there for a while, drinking him in. Long black lashes lay heavy on his pink cheeks, a comforting thumb stuck in his mouth. I remembered that for all his chutzpah, he was still a baby, my baby.

This morning he was up with the lark, smiling and bouncing, all restored to health. I felt less perky and struggled to surface from the long broken night I'd just had. Fin rattled downstairs and reappeared in the doorway with a glass of water, asking could he do anything for me? I sat on the edge of the bed as he helped me on with my socks like an old lady.

Downstairs, he presented me with a heart sticker and pointed to his 'How Do I Feel?' chart, it was set to 'happy'. We decided that some toast was in order to celebrate his recovery and sat companionably munching. Chatting about this and that; glad to have this stolen day together. Waiting for Daddy to come home and complete us.

Update for 2011! I would now soak this bread, bearing in mind what I know about phytic acid. It makes it less quick, but ultimately much better for you. See the bottom of the recipe for alternative directions.

Quick Quick! Poppy Seed Bread

This makes a very small loaf, double the quantities if you want a larger slice and cook for extra time.

Double line the inside of a small loaf tin or butter and flour it. Preheat the oven to 180C fan assisted, 200C if not.

Whisk the following together in a bowl until frothy.
100ml olive or almond oil
2 large eggs
3 tsp honey (or 2 tbs of maple syrup)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Sift these dry ingredients into the bowl.
60g sorghum flour (or millet flour)
60g white teff flour (or brown teff / buckwheat flour)
25g maize flour (or more ground almonds)
25g ground almonds (or 20g coconut flour)
25g brazil nut meal (or brazils ground fine or more ground almonds, or other nuts)
2 tbs poppy seeds
4 tsp ground flax / linseed, or 25g crushed flax
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle over the juice of half a lemon and 150ml soda water (plain water will do) and stir everything gently until mixed. Scrape into the loaf tin, level the surface and bake for 25-30 minutes until springy and deep golden brown on top. If you like a crisper crust, take the loaf out of the tin and give an extra 5 minutes in the oven.

Cool on a rack and eat when cool. Slice and freeze any you don't eat there and then, to toast for breakfast.

Soaked version: Put all the flours/nut meals/seeds, flax, cinnamon, lemon juice, oil, honey and water in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside overnight (for 12 - 24 hours) to soak at room temperature.

When you are ready to bake, heat the oven, prepare your tin and mix in all the other ingredients, beating well to get some air in and make sure that everything is well incorporated. Bake as above.