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.
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.
I’ve been working on my fitness lately. After I ran a 14 km fun run in November last year, I let my running slip and over the holidays, even though I signed up for another race, my training got worse and worse. After this happened a couple of months ago, I took a few weeks to debrief and then began the long, slow process of running a little longer each week until I’m pushing myself, but not so much I feel like a limp noodle after a run. Well. A little like a limp noodle, maybe.
A big part of fitness is the fact that it’s a slow and sometimes painful process. In part because you get blisters and your muscles are working hard and maybe you get injured, and in part because it takes so long to feel like anything is happening at all. When I was first getting back into things, I felt like I could never run ten kilometres, let alone train for a half marathon – I couldn’t remember the person I was back in November. However, little by little, things have been getting easier and I am finally finding that sweet spot, somewhere in the middle of a comfortable distance when my mind goes blissfully blank and the kilometres seem to fly by. It’s a kind of peace, a stillness in the midst of movement. It doesn’t happen for long, but I’m working on it happening more often. Read the rest of this entry »
You’ve got to know where your towel is.
Towels are important, in life.
“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.”
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. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
I feel like I have writer’s block.
I don’t know what to say to you guys anymore. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
There’s something about autumn that just makes me happy. In Melbourne, you get all the cold wet miserableness of winter, plus the pretty colours and occasional sunlight of autumn. It’s May, so that means we’re definitely in the swing of cold, blustery autumn. I love it.
Hey. How are you? Are you well? Are you rested? Or are you still working away, slogging it out, just waiting for that summer holiday you’ve been dreaming about all year?
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.