County Hall Steps
A busy day down on the river, we’ve had all sorts of boats come by. Rowing boats with 1 to 8 rowers, canoes, a trip boat, a couple of narrowboats and a dragon boat. We are no longer on own here as both narrowboats pulled in to join us. Tilly has been doing her best to go out, except only a couple of minutes later she is back at the hatch desperately wanting to come back in, she really doesn’t like here!
This morning Mick gave the Lock Keeper at Cromwell a call. We knew that we’d have to wait for a passage on the Tidal Trent, due to the tides and day light. The chap was helpful as they usually are, we could make our way to Torksey just about anytime we wanted, but the next good time to leave there to head to Keadby would be in a couple of weeks time. To reach Keadby in daylight (and when the lock is open) he suggested two days. Keadby had just rung him to say that the lock was in need of dredging, so we should check before we head out onto the tideway. With this information we can now plan our journey downstream a bit better and just hope Keadby is dredged so as not to hold us up any longer. Looking back to when we picked Oleanna up from Sheffield two years ago we were very fortunate with the tides. We managed to catch an early tide that carried us all the way from Keadby to Cromwell in one go and hadn’t had to hang around waiting for it.
Today we got to sample my first attempt at homemade gluten free puff pastry (recipe link). Yesterday I started the process mixing up gf self raising flour, salt, xanthum gum, eggs with some water, this had to be kneaded for a few minutes and then left to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours. A full block of butter (beware arteries!) was pummelled into a flat sheet between some greaseproof paper and set hard in the fridge for an hour. Then the timer was kept busy through the rest of the day. Once the pastry was rolled out, butter added and the whole thing folded it was left to rest for an hour. The timer would go, pastry turned through 90 degrees, rolled out again and folded back into three, wrapped up and left to rest for another hour. This process was done five times.
I really was not convinced it was going to work. The eggs we had weren’t large to start with so the pastry was maybe a little bit dry, I did add a touch more water. With each fold the pastry cracked and butter could be seen. The last fold looked like there was only a mottling of pastry around the butter. Mick was more confidence than me. The pastry was wrapped up one last time and left in the fridge overnight, something to do with GF flour taking longer to absorb moisture. We waited to see what the morning would bring.
With three sausages about to go out of date I had the opportunity to make some sausage rolls. The sausage meat had other things added and it was time to see what magic the fridge had mustered overnight.
The raggedy edges didn’t look too promising and the butter in places had stuck to the clingfilm (well it’s called that for a reason!). I chopped a slice off the block and put the remainder in the freezer, if it was no good it could always go in the bin. Rolling out it decided to do what it wanted, creating a crinkly shape that I couldn’t control. Sausage meat added to the middle. Then I came to roll it up, I’d made a mistake, I’d dusted the top with flour so the rolling pin didn’t stick, but not the greaseproof paper I was rolling it on, it had stuck. I carefully prised it away and created a roll, was everything just going to melt into a runny mess in the oven?!
The wiggly edge got trimmed, rolled out thinner and some cheese added then rolled up again. Egg washed and ready, the oven was set to slightly hotter than I’d normally do sausage rolls, hoping the heat would help fluff everything up. Only time would tell now.
After 15 minutes they were turned round, after 22 lifted onto their sides to crisp off the bottoms (which actually looked like they didn’t need it), then the full 25 minutes was over and they came out and onto the cooling rack. They looked good, but was that the egg wash or was there lamination in there too?
Verdict, amazingly good lamination (layers of pastry for those who don’t watch Bake Off), absolutely no soggy bottoms (which was a regular occurrence with shop bought pastry), crispy, flaky, certainly not chewy (as shop bought gluten free pastry) but maybe a little bit too thick (rolling pin operator error). Well a success! I was a touch surprised.
As we’d consumed around a third of a block of butter we had an afternoon stroll along the river bank heading downstream.
After Trent Bridge there are numerous rowing clubs the nicest was the University Boat House built in the 1930’s. Trent Lock, the first on the Grantham Canal looked very shallow. It is no longer connected to the canal as roads have been built blocking it’s route. Built in 1797 it was used to transport coal to Grantham and closed in 1936.
From Lady Bay Bridge The Hook (a nature reserve) now stretches northwards covering approximately 15 hectares. We followed the river path passing familiar sights. New flats are going up opposite the 1km mark and the Ewings still have their curtains closed at Southfork Ranch.
We walked as far as the sailing club, the weir at Holme Lock just in view. Our return walk crossed The Hook where linear moles seem to have moved in, leaving long lines of earth. We came back along streets filled with high end bathroom and kitchen shops bringing us back to Trent Bridge. Not quite 10,000 steps but enough to make up for lunch.
0 locks, 0 miles, 3.6 miles walked, 2 weeks to wait, 8 sausage rolls, 2 cheese things, 243 layers (possibly), 1st attempt a success, 2 pairs gloves added to Etsy, 1 giant crochet project started, 1 bored cat!
PS This post has been written using Tom’s work around for adding photos. It takes forever, no offence Tom.