That’s Barry to you. Or Granddad Barry to Kid.
Dad or The Old Man to me and my brothers.
The Crabby Baker to the folks at the boat club where dad now spends a bit of his retirement, having a beer or helping out.
‘Ya Bloody Father’ sometimes to Mum. Not always, just sometimes.
It seems I’m always on about my Mum’s influence with food but really, Dad deserves a mention just as well.
Dad’s a retired baker. He baked from the age of 13 to retirement at 65 a few years ago.
Now that’s a hard slog in anyone’s language.
Not only a baker but keen and avid fisher and crabber.
I spent a lot of my childhood with the smell of fresh bakery products, crab bait and frying whiting fillets around our place (the same place he and mum still live in).
Or waiting for Dad to get home (bakers work ridiculous hours,) change out of his whites and take us out in the boat.
Or running deliveries in the bread van.
Cooking and cleaning sand crabs, fixing dillies, washing the boat out.
It was dad who taught me to bait a hook, how to hold a crab by the back flippers, clean and fillet a fish, peel a prawn and what a good loaf of bread looks and smells like.
So in homage to ‘The Old Man’, Kid and I are making bread.
And putting fish in it.
For this dough I started the day before with a pre-dough, which is a bit like a sour dough starter but not. Take 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water, sprinkle a tiny bit of yeast in and stir well. Leave a tea towel over the top and come back in 24hrs or so.
Now combine the warm milk (think of a baby’s bottle), sugar, salt and oil. Mix well and allow to stand for 20-30 mins until it’s good and fluffy.
Add the pre-dough and remaining dry ingredients. Fold until really well combined – if you have a kitchen aid or even electric beater here you’ll be winning. The dough should just come away from the bowl but still be a little sticky. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench and knead well.
Now place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, brush a little oil on top and cover with a tea towel ready to prove. Find a warm place with no drafts. I turned on my oven to 200*c and let it sit on top of that.
In about 30 -40 mins your dough should have doubled in size.
Tip it out again and ‘knock it back’. Knead it basically until it looks like it did before proving. Cut into 13 even size pieces. A baker’s dozen. Or you could weigh the whole dough and divide by 13.
We just guessed and nobody got hurt.
Roll into balls or ovals, arrange on baking trays with greaseproof.
Leave space between them. Now repeat the proving process.
Into the oven for about 15 – 18 mins. Let them cool.
What Kid Did
Kid was at school for the pre-dough and the dough making. After school though she was hard at it rolling dough balls and helping out with the fillings for dinner.
We’re making fish burgers and prawn rolls. This is how the whiting was always cooked at home. Dusted in flour, dipped in egg and shallow fried.
We’ve added fried potato, mayo, lettuce and tomato to the fish burgers.
For the prawn rolls I’m using some fresh bay prawns (they’re small but tasty and sweet) dressed with mayo, lime, mustard, tomato sauce and spring onions. Cocktail sauce basically.
Avocado and cucumber round out a pretty good prawn roll.
One of the defining differences, to my childhood mind, between mum and dad showed itself in the making of sandwiches.
Mum had butter evenly, faultlessly spread from crust to crust, thin shavings of ham and every salad ingredient known to man meticulously sliced and layered.
Dad pretty much had slices of butter, wedges of ham and a piece of lettuce.
I’d be happy with either these days.
We’re all after his sausage roll recipe too.
They say you can’t take it with you but I reckon he’s planning on taking that with him.
Cheers old man!