This summer, in the midst of finishing my job in Budapest, ushering my parents, sister, and brother to various parts of Europe, and moving away, both E and I also turned 30!
E comes first–in early July. For his birthday, we took an amazing road trip around Scotland. (I wrote about our itinerary here!) We celebrated E’s birthday on the Isle of Mull, trying whisky and finding as much haggis as he could stuff himself with and wandering around the beautiful island. We ended the day with the best fish of my life, back in Oban, where we were staying.
I followed E to our 30s, in mid-August. This time, we didn’t get to fulfill any bucket-list trips, yet we have been traveling non-stop, it seems, since we arrived back in America. Although we did have airline vouchers that happened to expire on my birthday, the fact that I was about 7 months pregnant made the idea of being on a plane longer than 2 hours (and even that is a stretch, let me tell you) quite horrible. So we used our vouchers to visit the cheapest destination we hadn’t been: Charleston, South Carolina.
Besides Texas and the odd layover, I have never been to the South of the United States. In fact, I have never really been to the East Coast in general.
Turns out, I loved Charleston, despite the fairly unbearable heat and humidity. It is so, so picturesque, with adorable buildings and brightly colored walls and stately trees. We also got time on the beach, with sugar sand and near-bathwater temperatures. And THE FOOD. I think the South might have some of the best food in this country. Especially for a pregnant girl who really only wants all the comfort food (and fruit).
I admit, I struggled with turning thirty. Especially as my life looks absolutely nothing like I thought it would (and really, do I want it to? Should it? Does anyone’s?). However, it seemed harsh to have a big birthday like this when I was jobless, homeless, insurance-less (thanks for that one, America), oh, and did I mention pregnant? When you add turning 30, I think that’s a lot to handle for anyone.
Now that it’s been a month since I turned thirty, I am no longer homeless or jobless–and now that I actually am thirty, I feel…strangely relieved. Like, happy that the birthday is over and I can focus on other things. Weird, I know.
One of the things I’m focusing on is, as cliche as it sounds, the things that bring me joy. And one of these things is most definitely baking!
And week 3 is…bread week! Always one of my favorites. (I mean, look at this gorgeous loaf I made last year!)
Sadly, I really wasn’t too inspired by bread week this year. Tea cakes, a cottage loaf, or a bread sculpture colored with natural ingredients? None of that immediately caught my fancy.
I have no idea what a tea cake is, blame America for that one, although I had never heard of a cottage loaf either. Since none of the bread sculptures seemed to taste all that delicious–and since I’m not actually on the bake-off, I probably care more about flavor than anything else–I decided to go for the cottage loaf. I love making bread from scratch like that! If you haven’t tried kneading the old-fashioned way, you really should. I swear its therapeutic!
I used this recipe, which seems to be a slightly Americanized version of a cottage loaf–and since my current measurement tools are cups, tablespoons and all that jazz, it worked for me!
My only issue with this bread was that it was slightly too dense–and I’m still enough of a bread novice to be unclear why. I suspect it was that I needed to knead it longer–or that I didn’t bake it long enough. Or it could just be the high altitude here in Montana which is always an easy culprit to blame ;).
Again rustic, but rather pretty, no?