Filed under: baking, food that has its own theme tune | Tags: baking, food, hot cross buns, insufferable middle-class smugness
so… 2 years on and what do i have to show for this blog? one post (shortly to be two). i like to think the name compensates a little for the lack of activity, but it’ll only get me so far.
the bit of baking that sparked the idea for “currant affairs” was my first attempt at making hot cross buns, so it’s probably quite fitting that the first thing I’ve got round to writing about is this year’s batch. i used this recipe from the beeb as my starting point:
but as always with hot cross buns, i used wholemeal flour. nigel slater, in his “eating for england” poses the question, “what exactly is it about wholemeal flour that goes hand in hand with a lack of hygiene”. i hope no-one would recognise me in his description of a cook with “sprouted seed… and politically correct washing-up liquid”. in fact, i go out of my way to buy antibacterial washing-up liquid, so i’m safe on that count, plus i take great enjoyment in mocking the skinny sallow men who sell “microgreen kits” at borough market. yes, i’m that middle class. sorry.
i also replaced the “fast-action yeast” with a tablespoon of the dried active stuff, which meant replacing some of the milk with sugary, yeasty warm water. didn’t seem to cause any problems and it’s fun watching the yeast froth up. it’s a good source of smugness too. i also used a bit less sugar and a bit more dried fruit, as i don’t have that sweet a tooth, and glazed the buns with honey dissolved in boiling water. veering a little bit back towards sounding like a “slightly grubby wholemeal cook”, aren’t i? i can probably blame it on my upbringing, where all starch came in one colour only: brown. it took me years to work out that the reason my grandma’s apple crumble tasted so incredible was that she used white flour.
anyway, the hot cross buns turned out excellently (if i do say so myself), and were a definite improvement on the (not too bad) trial run from earlier in the week, where i made the mistake of trying to multi-task by baking at the same time as eating my dinner. error number 1: i forgot about the butter until i’d mixed all the liquid in to make a dough, so squished it in at that stage. seemed to work ok, though i had pretty greasy paws afterwards. error number 2: i forgot to add any sugar at all, and only realised when i ate one. the dried fruit (which i’d been fairly generous with) and the honey on top just about made up for it though. my co-workers didn’t seem to mind, as they were eaten by mid-afternoon. shame for them they won’t get to try the official batch.
i’m sure this is something you’ve all noticed too (?) but isn’t it funny how all the youtube videos of the eponymous nursery rhyme get the tune wrong at the “if you have no daughters, give them to your sons” bit. not as egregious as the depiction of hot cross buns here though:
probably time i went. dinner calls.
i set up this wordpress account around easter 2010, after baking hot cross buns (pictured at the top of the page) and regine, my american wife, commenting on the fact that all british baked goods are a variation on the dough+dried fruit+spices theme.
having thought about it a bit, entered those hot cross buns in a taste test against my sister’s (verdict: our spouses are loyal) and feeling like i might not be too terrible a baker after all, i decided to bake my way through all the many varied and wonderful recipes there are that use that wonderful combination of ingredients. and then take photos of them and write about them here.
unfortunately, i used 18 months’ worth of creative energy up thinking of the name of the blog so it’s taken me this long to write anything on it.
but being home before the pubs have closed on a saturday night, i’m finally getting round to writing an introduction, and will hopefully write about my recent baking triumph shortly. in the meantime, if you fancy some more baking-based puns, you could do much worse than read my friend sarah’s blog, and in particular, paul’s guest appearance on sourdough baking: