Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Series of Unfortunate Incidents! (Apricot & Walnut Bread)

A series of unfortunate incidents.... Does this ever happen to you? Well, it does to me but thankfully, only once in a while. What I am trying to describe here is not one or two isolated incidents, but a series of problems happening (more or less) one after another. Not necessarily anything major, but big enough to feel irritated about. I nicknamed this sort of situation "a series of unfortunate incidents..." and coincides with the saying, "anyhing that will go wrong, will go wrong."
Well, it happened to me again and it started on Monday. To sum it up, I lost my faithful pair of gym shoes along with my gym membership card (my 4th time) and had to splurge on a new pair. A good investment but expensive nonetheless. Luckily, I managed to persuade the uppity front desk girls at my gym to waive the penalty charges for my lost card (a good deal of acting skills were put into this). In addition, I was still experiencing some irritating digestive problem further made worse by indulging in a spicy and fried food for Monday's lunch, a very delicious 'Sang Har Mein" (blame it on my lack of self control). On Tuesday, I arrived at work and it didn't take long before I was piled on with a series of complaints and problematic issues resulting in me being very, very irritable. Furthermore, I received 2 calls from the bank. The first one telling me that they had lost the cheque that I banked in recently and consequently, both the deposit as well as the cheque had to be cancelled. The second call was to advise me that I had insufficient funds in my current account for a cheque that I had made (look, I was expecting the first cheque to be cleared without problem) hence I had to pay a penalty despite transferring the necessary amount immediately upon receiving the call.
It carried on into the evening. I was already feeling not so well from the diarrhea and I could feel my body becoming heaty so I decided to give myself a rest and not go to gym. Since I reached home early, I decided to bake an Apricot & Walnut bread. The full recipe makes 2 loaves so I halved the recipe. Also, I decided to make the dough in the breadmaker and bake it in the oven. For some reason, the dough did not rise much when the beeper on the BM sounded. I was concerned but I thought it would be ok after the 2nd proofing. Instead of the suggested 30 minutes, I planned to let it proof for another 1 hour. I looked at the clock and calculated that I will need to put it in the oven to bake at 10p.m. Then, I went to my room to rest a bit, but fell asleep 10 minutes later. One minute, it was 9.50p.m. and the next moment (when I woke up), it was already 11p.m. Oh darn! My bread....!!! I rushed to the kitchen, expecting to be confronted by a "giantic" bread dough (as a result of over-proofing). To my surprise, it looked pretty much the same as when I left it. This is the first time that my bread dough refused to rise.
I was so tempted to throw the dough away after being disheartened, but I thought of the generous portions of expensive apricots and walnuts that I'd added into the dough. So I decided to bake it nonetheless.
Barely less than 10 minutes in the oven, the top became almost blackened so I removed it from the oven. It looked more like a flat loaf than a proper bread.
The next day, when I sliced it, I discovered (much to my alarm) that the center was not baked. What to do..., I sliced it into pieces and toasted them in the oven. The edges turned very brown and looked disfigured. I reckon I was the only one consuming them.
There is still one piece of good news though, the toasted pieces of my failed Apricot & Walnut Bread were very yummy!

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