It’s All Jamie Oliver’s Fault

Jamie Oliver has a Facebook page now and he posted an article giving tips on making Hot Cross Buns.

Ah! I have fond memories of the Hot Cross Buns from my elementary school cafeteria (I have an awful lot of food related memories; is this just me? Anyone else?). I have purchased Hot Cross Buns from grocery store bakeries, and am almost always disappointed. I think I tried making them once, years ago, and was also disappointed. But Jamie Oliver made me think that it was a good idea to try again.

That and the fact that I took a couple of vacation days to give me an extra long weekend. I have mostly been  goofing off. The upside of that being that I feel all rested and relaxed; I am not stressed or feeling any time pressure to get things done.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I actually like to cook. During the week the last thing I really want to do when I get home from work is make a mess in the kitchen that I then have to clean up. Of course we have to eat, but I try very hard to come up with quick, easy meals that will hopefully give us leftovers. I find I don’t even want to be bothered on weekends these days. Five whole days off in a row? Yeah, I can scrape up some energy and enjoy the process.

Friday was a seriously beautiful, warm, sunny day. I said to Cory that it made me want to go outside, but there was nowhere to go; our yard is still buried in 2 or 3 feet of snow. It’s shrinking, but slowly. Friday was nice enough to keep that patio door and bedroom window open though, and we enjoyed the fresh air.

Look at the patches of bare ground on the hill!

I can even see the bottom of the TARDIS!

No longer buried in snow, a nice sunny spot for Zappa!

The cats spent lots of time lounging on the deck, or just inside the patio door watching the birds. Frank, eccentric fellow that he is, likes for me to sit on the floor with him, just inside the patio door which gave me some good photo opportunities.

Strangely unconcerned that a large feline is sitting just inside the patio door.

Sadly, it was a short interlude of nice weather. Saturday it rained most of the day, until it cooled off and turned into snow flurries – with some very blizzard-like flurries in the late afternoon and evening.

Sunday was sunny, but with more flurries. It turned into a kitchen day. Jamie Oliver, with a little help from Anna Olsen (I used her recipe), convinced me it was a good idea to make Hot Cross Buns. I substituted raisins and chopped dried apricots for currants and peel, because that’s what I had. Then I read the flour measurement wrong, but I caught that and added the missing half cup. I had to get stern and tell myself to pay attention to what I was doing.

With a tip from Jamie Oliver in mind, I put the dough in the oven to rise, with a large bowl of hot water on the rack beneath. The dough rose beautifully, and Cory came into the kitchen sniffing the air, just like the cats do when we bring home a rotisserie chicken. When I took the dough out to roll it into buns, I immediately thought that it smelled right. Maybe I can do this after all.

It was pretty much a day long project, and while I was at it, I made Indian Spiced Haddock for dinner.

Dinner! Indian Spiced Haddock

Dessert! Hot Cross Buns

They may not be pretty – I need to work on uniform bun size for one thing – but they turned out just right. The thing I often forget when I decide I need to do something like this is that there are only two of us…Two of us to eat 12 buns. We have been bravely working our way through the batch. I was feeling a little full on Sunday night, to be honest.

Monday was sunny but cold. It feels like the snow is never going to melt. Hard to believe it is April.

Level of snow slowly going down

Windy day, ruffling the feathers

We found the bird feeder that was under all that snow

Waiting patiently for spring...

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