Summer holidays as a child were spent in France; when it rained choices were limited to viewing badly dubbed TV episodes of The Persuaders, or Le Tour de France.
I watched Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, Greg Le Monde and Miguel Indurain before the great race descended into a hacienda of drug taking that made Laboratoire Garnier look like a junior chemistry set.
Post detox, the British backed “Team Sky” emerged with champions Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, the latter of whom triumphed over the weekend amid speculation of doping. In my 35 of watching the sport, I’ve never been more certain of any riders legitimacy, and to the entire squad I say Chapeau. If you ride clean they call you “Paniagua” derived from the Spanish phrase “bread and water”, a status name for a servant who worked for board and lodging. It seems appropriate that this week’s recipe should be for bread.
Add oil to the water followed by yeast, stir and when dissolved mix with the flour and salt. Work the dough for a good ten minutes and place in a covered bowl; prove until the dough is twice its size. By hand, shape so it fits evenly into a well oiled loaf tin, allow again to double in size. Slash the top, and bake in a very hot pre-heated oven at 210oC for about 30 minutes, or until golden all over.
Last week I moved house for the first time in five years. I’m not about to suggest that it’s anything like the challenge of cycling over 3,500 km, but lets just say if I agreed to relocate again anytime soon, I’d probably be on drugs.
56og strong white flour
10g sea salt
20ml rapeseed oil
5 g dried yeast
Large Loaf Tin (900g)