I’ll have to backtrack a little here. I realise that the Easter long weekend was a little while ago now, but seeing as it gave me enough time off from work to actually do blog-worthy things, it’s worth mentioning anyway. Besides, everyone on Tastespotting is still posting about ways to use up leftover chocolate, so it can’t be that long forgotten!
So. The easter weekend. It was a bit of a mixed bag really. There was some stress in the form of social drama that I won’t get into because this is not my blog (oh, wait). There was also some sheer bliss in the form of a decadent picnic with a friend; we lay on a blanket, soaked up the late autumn sun, sipped margaritas, scoffed macarons and guacamole and looked through old photo albums. Doesn’t get much better.
And of course there were the usual things I get up to when left to my own devices. For a start, hot cross buns! Easter doesn’t really mean a lot to me, to be honest, given that I’m an atheist that doesn’t really get excited about chocolate, but I do enjoy baking hot cross buns. As Nigella Lawson wrote in one of her books, ‘there are so few true examples of seasonal eating left’, so sometimes it’s nice to do something traditional, just because it’s traditional. Not all the time. But once in a while. Especially when it involves deliciousness.
I was really happy with how these came out, though they could have used a bit more spice. I had thought that all would be well right, given the fact that I actually quadrupled the amount suggested in the recipe! Apparently not!
Baking with yeast can be tricky; it’s so easy to end up with leaden-textured results. But I’m glad to say that I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of it; all it took was four years of working in a bakery and another year of working with yeasted pizza dough (perhaps I am not the fastest of learners). In my experience, what makes the difference is kneading the dough correctly (so important) and shaping it properly. For the hot cross buns I used the same method for shaping that I learned when I was taught how to ball up pizza dough; you get a chunk of dough and then sort of grasp the outer edges and pull/fold them down to the base of the ball, so you’re eventually left with something that is smooth on top but rather puckered at its base. Sounds odd, but these turned out wonderfully; they were light as feathers.
(Oh, I also made Anzac biscuits, for obviously reasons, but I didn’t get a photo of those. To be honest, they’re not the most photogenic of biscuits and at any rate, they were whisked off to their recipients before they had even fully cooled down)
In the free time that wasn’t spent cooking or socialising, I also indulged in a Spotlight raid, basically because I have no self control. That’s not actually true – I didn’t buy very much even though there was a sale on – but I did pick up a couple of things. Mmm, shiny nice fabrics. I have many a skirty plan.
Now I just need to find time to do some sewing. Perhaps now. Over and out, dear blog. I promise to tend to you in a more dutiful manner in future!