The smell of fresh bread


“Would you like some eggs?” our Westray neighbour asks. She’s very kind. She’s a real life faerie princess (“The UK’s leading exponent on Faeries”) and lectures on faeriecraft. How could I resist a gift so generously given? Later 18 eggs appear, beautifully dirty and odd sizes just like fresh eggs should be – as fresh as the day they were laid – literally.

The question is: how to eat them with no cooker? Well, there’s the steamer for boiled eggs (or rather steamed eggs) and then there’s the wonderful bread machine for, well, you know what it’s for. Challah is one of my favourite breads – a sweet, rich, dark crusted bread made with eggs and milk and decorated with poppy seeds. Perfect with rhubarb conserve. We’ve no poppy seeds – and I’m not going to be in when it starts to bake to brush it with beaten egg to give that deep coloured crust – and I haven’t got an oven to bake it in so can’t plait it into wonderful shapes – but at least it’ll taste the same straight from the machine. Here’s the result – a little bit bashed getting it out of the pan – but still, as my mum would say, “It’ll eat.” It smells divine.

Later I find out the full story. My neighbour had been asked, “Would you like some chickens,” and in accepting the generous gift got more than she bargained for. I feel I ought to pass the gift on, just like she has – from chicken to egg to bread. Now who is there to ask, “Would you like some fresh Challah?”

Accept a gift, make something of it, and pass the gift on. Now that’s faeriecraft.

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