pear chocolate almond scones

 

 

scone + coffee = breakfast of championsscones, scones, scones

I really love scones. They’re quick, they’re easy, they’re versatile and they’re absolutely delicious.

Stephanie Alexander’s sister once told her that when she heard the sound of a visitor at the gate, she should be able to get a batch of scones in the oven by the time they were at the front door. I’m fairly sure I’ve mentioned that before, but I love it so much, I’m saying it again. I don’t think I’m at that stage yet, but I can definitely make you scones for breakfast when I get back from my morning run.

pair of pears

chocolate + almonds = delicious

Scones take next to no effort, especially if you’re using a food processor. I don’t tend to these days, as I’m living at a house that doesn’t have a dishwasher. When you’re faced with three extra dishes or one to clean, always choose one.

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coconut bread

the cripple

You’ve got to know where your towel is.

Towels are important, in life.

baked

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

eggs

vanilla

The most ridiculous thing happened to me last week, which is why I now need a towel around my neck at all times. My alarm went off at 6.30 am (yes, it’s a ridiculous hour of the morning. I’m experimenting with running. It was going well, until) I went to turn it off and somehow injured my neck. Continue reading

lemon cranberry scones

I decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year.

It makes me a little sad, because I really really really enjoyed the whole process last year of discovering a whole book within me and trying, teeth gritted, white-knuckled, to extricate it and put it on paper. It’s still in unfinished, unedited, partially untyped form. Continue reading

buttermilk scones

I have been moving around a lot lately, I think I’ve mentioned it before. I counted recently and if you count all the times I’ve moved in the last three years, I’ve moved twelve times in the last three years.

Twelve.

Twelve is a lot of times. Twelve moves is twenty four cars packed forty eight times. Twelve moves is twelve times I’ve forgotten little pieces of my life, bits of me scattered all over eastern Victoria.

Twelve moves is twelve times I’ve had to say goodbye. Continue reading

soft pretzels

Last night*, we watched Midnight in Paris, ate cheese and baguettes and sipped on alcoholic beverages. Last night, a vision of a fromagerie was born, where artisan cheeses would be served to customers who love food as much as we do. Last night, a storm was born and raged for a short while. Continue reading

breakfast

I went home this past weekend to visit my family and ooh and aah over my sister’s wedding photos. I don’t always get home as often as I’d like to, despite the fact that my family only live a 2 1/2 hour drive away. Our lives get busy, work doesn’t always co operate and sometimes, there just isn’t the time.

However, I did get to drive home after work on Saturday, listening to the Joy the Baker podcast and finally wearing a light, summery dress – the weather is warming up, people! Despite my penchant for winter and all the fun it brings, there’s something undeniably uplifting about a warm, sunny day, light sandals and country air.

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spring sunday

On Sunday, I went to the farmer’s market, baked bread, planted seeds to start a veggie garden and made chocolate yogurt muffins. It was a pretty productive day all around, except for the fact that I did not work on the essay that is due this Friday that I specifically stayed home to do. Ah well.

So this post will be pretty photo heavy. But they’re pretty! Look:

I didn’t write this yesterday because I was having a bit of a hard time finding words. My brain’s been a bit muddled up recently; I’ve been busy and stressed and I just can’t wait till uni’s over and I have a break.

In the meantime, I take time out from not studying to go to farmer’s markets and gobble up the amazing produce and products they have on offer. I start a garden. I run. I read. And I spend more time than I should on the internet.

I also have been spending time with some amazing friends recently and it’s been so good to catch up with people and really feel supported and loved. Sometimes, although I live in a house with a lot of people, it gets lonely and I start to descend into a bit of a funk.

Sometimes it’s worse than others, sometimes it lasts longer than others, sometimes I don’t admit it to myself and sometimes I do. Sometimes I’m a little bummed out for no reason, other times I’m a lot bummed out for no particular reason.

Sometimes there is a reason. It doesn’t really matter; what matters is that I push through, that there is light at the end of the road, that there is chocolate cake and homemade bread and good friends to laugh and hang out with.

And so, to bread!

As I’ve mentioned before, bread is an amazing food to make yourself. It really brings you to the essence of food – this most basic of sustenances is such a miracle to behold. I’m serious.

This bread I adapted from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef and while it’s not bad, I probably preferred the peasant loaf I made a little while ago. Still, I’m not really one of those people who will stick to one amazing recipe – I have to try them all!

This is better, I think, than bread you make in a bread machine. For starters, you get to get your hands dirty. Secondly, the texture is much nicer .

I had this with roasted tomato jam from jam lady jam and sharp cheddar cheese. It was divine. If you are in Healsville or about the area, you have to find jam lady jam or handmade in Healsville products. They are amazing.

This has been a kinda jumpy-aroundy post again and I do apologise for my erratic thought patterns and complete randomness. I hope to be much more organised in the future (namely, when uni has finished) although I’m not promising anything.

Bread

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef

325ml tepid water

10g active dry yeast

15g sugar

15g salt

250g bread flour

250g plain flour

olive oil

polenta

Whisk together sugar, yeast and water. Set aside.

Whisk together salt and flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in wet ingredients. Stir together using a wooden spoon or your hands. When incorporated, flour your bench and dump dough on it. Knead for 5-10 minutes, then form into a ball.

Lightly brush oil all over your large bowl and place your ball of dough in and lightly brush oil over it so it’s covered. Cover the bowl with glad wrap or a damp tea towel and leave in a warm spot to rise for about an hour to an hour and a half.

Gently deflate and knead another minute or so. Shape into the type of loaf you want and sprinkle polenta over your baking tray (or the bottom of your loaf tin) and place dough on the tray. Let rise till doubled, about another hour. You can preheat your oven now to about 225 degrees celsius.

When dough has risen, slash a few cuts in the top with a sharp knife and place in oven for about half an hour. To check if it’s ready, when it’s deep golden brown, tap the bottom of the loaf and if it sounds hollow, it’s ready. Let cool for about twenty minutes before ripping into it with your bare hands like a heathen slicing into it and scarfing it down.

father’s day breakfast buns

What do you love?

I love breakfast. I love coffee. I love family. I love eating, I love food.

I love sunsets, especially ones shared with friends. Especially ones from my own porch. (They’re beautiful!)

I love winter. I love socks. I love loving stuff, getting so uncontrollably, jump-up-and-down-in-your-chair LOVING stuff. Being so excited by something you literally cannot control yourself. I love uncontrollable laughter with friends.

I love reading. I love writing.

I love baking and cooking. I love sharing, especially something I’ve made, with other people. I love giving.

This week, I got uncontrollably excited about the Melbourne Writer’s Festival. I started reading a book I bought there (I currently have four books I’m juggling, five if you count the Bible. Not that you wouldn’t – it’s just that it’s always being read in some capacity:). I finished writing my essays and drank surprising amounts of coffee (surprising considering the amount of stress I put myself through with those essays). I watched several sunsets from my porch, one from my lecture hall and one in my rearview mirror. I celebrated socks by wearing two pairs at once at the start of spring, the end of winter but still a pretty good season.

I gotta say, I pretty much love all seasons. For different reasons.

This week, I heard about some things that other people love. What other people do in their everyday lives that expresses their love for something bigger than themselves. I gave a piece of myself in the form of a poem. I got a stir in my belly that warned me of getting stuck in a rut.

And I baked breakfast buns for my family for Father’s Day. I didn’t get to be at home for as long as I’d have liked to, but I was there for long enough to make and enjoy these immensely. I’m hoping the next time I try, they’ll rise a little better, though.

What do you love?

Lemon Raspberry Breakfast Buns

Adapted from Joy the Baker

 

So, my yeast wasn’t exactly alive. Not quite dead, but I couldn’t make it into the scrolls that the original recipe requested, so I rolled it out as best as I could and cut it into rounds and we ate it that way. It was still delicious, and I’ll put in instructions for both ways.

1 cup milk

2/3 cup sugar

1 pkt active dry yeast (1 1/2 tbsp)

1/2 cup (110g) butter, room temperature)

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp salt

4 1/4 cups plus 1/2 cup plain flour, plus more for sprinkling

For the filling:

1 heaping cup fresh raspberries (or frozen, not thawed, unless you’re making buns not scrolls) (I used a mixed berry mix because that’s what we had)

1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1/4 cup butter

 

Warm the milk to just under body temperature (in a saucepan or in the microwave). Pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir the sugar and yeast into the warm milk and leave it to froth if you like, but you should probably know if your yeast is alive. (HINT, HINT).

Add the butter, eggs, lemon zest, salt and 4 1/4 cups flour. Beat on low speed for a few minutes, then scrape down the bowl and mix again for a few seconds. Now you can use a dough hook, if you have one, and mix on medium speed for ten minutes, or take out the dough and knead it for the same amount of time. Use the 1/2 cup of flour, plus more if needed, to sprinkle on your kneading surface. It should be soft and slightly sticky.

Place in a large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place either in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.

If you left it in the refrigerator, take it out for half an hour while you do this next bit.

Grease a 9×13″ pan or line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.

Combine raspberries, 1/3 cup sugar, lemon zest and cornflour and set aside. If you’re making the scrolls, brown the butter in a saucepan and set aside.

Roll out the dough. If you’re making buns, preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius, and roll the dough out to about an inch or so thick and cut out 2″ rounds. Place on the baking trays and bake about 20 minutes. Serve with the butter and raspberry mix scattered over.

If you’re making scrolls, roll it out to about a centimetre. Brush with the browned butter and scatter the raspberry mix all over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar over and carefully roll the dough and filling lengthways into a log.

Slice it into inch thick rounds and nestle into the baking dish. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another hour in a warm place.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius and bake 20-25 minutes, until the filling is bubbling at the edges and the tops are golden brown. Let cool about half an hour and then gobble them down with your family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

get your hands dirty [bread]

I know! Three posts in three days! What is going on?!?! Don’t get used to it, I still have two essays to finish. Ok, one to finish, one to write. This is not going to be a regular thing.

Until after I hand my essays in and do my speeches.

Ok, so after I finished writing the homemade nutella post, I went into the already-dark kitchen (it’s only nine fifteen, people! I’m used to going to bed before you guys!) and did a little after dark baking.

Yes, it is a bit of a habit of mine to bake/cook late at night. I get restless, I get procrastination-y, I get the munchies. You understand.

I wanted to bake crusty bread to serve with dinner – I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned but at my house, we take it in turns to make dinner for everyone who happens to be home for dinner that night during the week. Every few weeks we have a night off because there’s six of us and only five weeknights (I can do maths!) and this week, I made white bean and spinach stew. (It was delicious, by the way. Yes, I will be posting. No, I’m not sure when.)

So I had to start tonight because I have uni tomorrow so I don’t have time to let the bread rise during the day, I have to let it rise in the refrigerator overnight (by the way, refrigerator, WHERE IS YOUR D?) Oh, hey, check out this awesome thigamabob:

I’m aware it’s a bowl with a lid. Guys, it’s a BOWLwith a LID. No need to get glad wrap out every time you want to let dough rise! Just pop the lid on! Magic.

It’s pretty easy to make crusty peasant style bread. Stir the flour, water, salt, yeast together. Let it rise. Bake it. Eat it. Easy.

After I put it in the fridge, because I am becoming increasingly unable to leave a dirty kitchen… I was going to say overnight but really, at all – I cleaned the kitchen and then put the dishwasher on (three cheers for dishwashers!) and then came and wrote this.

This actually reminds me of when I went to Surrender. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it… oh, yeah, that was a hectic few weeks back there. Surrender was amazing. While I was there, I did a bread workshop.

Now, it may seem a little weird to have a bread workshop at a Christian social justice gathering, but this was all about getting more in touch with God, with the earth, the things you eat, what sustains you. What brings us together. We come together to break bread, drink wine, share stories, give and receive love. Bread is powerful. Bread has been around almost since people have been around. Bread is so life-giving. Bread’s pretty dang awesome.

Get your hands dirty. Make some bread.

Artisan Bread

Adapted from girl versus dough

I quartered the recipe and I’ll give you the measurements I used next to the measurements you’ll need for the full four loaves. They’ll be pretty small if you want to do it that way but one was enough for seven people to have one slice, so it was perfect for our dinner.

3 cups (3/4 cup) lukewarm water (about body temperature)

1 1/2 tbsp (3/8 tsp… that was why it didn’t rise so much.. should be 3/8 TBSP…ah well) active dry yeast

1 1/2 (3/8) tbsp coarse salt

6 1/2 cups (1 4/5 cups) bread flour

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon until it’s all coming together. Dust flour over the top and lightly knead until you have a slightly sticky ball of dough. Grease a bowl (the same one you mixed it in if you want to save on dishes) dump the dough in, cover with glad wrap and let rise two hours (or overnight in the fridge).

If you made the full amount, split it into four separate balls. Dust each with flour again, and turn the dough around in your hands, tucking it under as you go, until it’s a smooth and elastic ball. Sprinkle polenta over a baking sheet and place the dough (evenly spread if you’re making more than one) on top, and let sit for about 40 minutes.

At about the 20 minute mark, preheat your oven to 230ºCelsius. Slash a sharp knife through the top of your loaves a few times, and place your baking tray on a top rack (when it’s done sitting:) and put a deep dish half full of hot water underneath it. Bake about half an hour.

When it’s done, it’ll be a lovely deep brown colour. Take it out of the oven and let it cool before slicing and serving. I didn’t let mine cool very much. I like hot-out-of-the-oven bread. Dip some in your homemade nutella.

procrastabaking

I started uni again a couple of weeks ago and just after I started, I discovered this youtube channel and stopped studying before I started.

That’s not entirely true. My general dispensation to stay inside and read, combined with my intense nerdiness which means I geek out over textbooks (textbooks. Not even awesome soon to be published by favourite author who’s going to sign all the first printing of his new book books but textbooks. NERD ALERT) combined with the terrible weather combined with OH MY GOODNESS ALL MY CLASSMATES ARE SMART I NEED TO PROVE MYSELF ness means I still study. But still, I procrastinate. Not only by watching youtube videos but also by baking.

Unfortunately, I seem to be much more able to convince myself not to bake than not to watch youtube (here’s the probable reason why) but fortunately, when I do bake, I make some pretty awesome things.

Like these rolls.

They’re adapted from the most popular recipe on Joy the Baker, Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread, but I made the dough into rolls because I don’t own a loaf pan. Also because I knew that cream cheese glaze would work on cinnamon rolls. Because I still had some left over from when I made carrot pineapple cupcakes.

These were amazing. They are best eaten straight out of the oven, with or without the cream cheese glaze on top (alternatively, for a more complementary cream cheese glaze you can blend the cream cheese with icing sugar and milk until it’s silky smooth and drapes well over the buns.)

This is the song I was listening to when I made the buns:

I freaking love this song!!

And the one I listened to as I ate them:

Clearly I still have some issues to do with procrastination (and perhaps vlogbrothers…) but I have to say, it’s true that when I have to do something, like for uni, I procrastinate, whereas when I do it just for fun, it tends to happen a lot faster. And so I just have to pretend I’m not going to uni and not getting anything for this assessment that’s due in two days, and it’ll happen really quickly! Yay!

It’s been 21 days since the project started and there are some updates, but I don’t want to post twice in one day so you’ll have to wait until an as yet undetermined date. DFTBA.

UPDATE: I wrote this the day the first project incarnation was supposed to “end” but I’m posting it now. Please don’t hate me. The project is failing miserably but I’ll write more later.

Cinnamon Buns

Adapted from Joy the Baker

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons plain flour

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp salt

200g unsalted butter

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FILLING:

1 cup (approximately) sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

 

Whisk together 2 cups of the flour, yeast and salt and set aside.

Whisk together the eggs and set them aside.

Melt the butter with the milk in a saucepan. Let it cool slightly and add the water. Cool so it doesn’t kill the yeast (about room temperature is fine).

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture. Mix it together, then add the eggs and mix them in. Mix until it’s all incorporated, then add 3/4 cup flour and mix until that’s incorporated.

Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.

*At this stage, you can refrigerate it until morning.

Deflate the dough (if you’re taking it from the fridge, just leave it out for about half an hour first) and knead in 2 tablespoons of flour. Let that sit for five minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Melt the butter. Butter a large baking dish. (Do this. I didn’t. Do.)

Now, roll out the dough until it’s about 50cmx30cm. Brush it with the melted butter, then scatter the dry filling ingredients all over it. Roll it up into a log and slice into thick rounds. Arrange these on the baking tray and let rise another half hour or so. You can preheat your oven now to 180 degrees C.

*Alternatively, at this point I refrigerated my buns overnight. I let them sit for half an hour in the morning while my oven was preheating, and then…

Bake the buns for about half an hour, until deep golden brown. Share with your housemates. I said share! I know it’s difficult. Do it.