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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Tales from the Oven

I seem to have done a lot of baking lately.  April seems like the month for it.  Leaves falling from the sky, carpeting the pavement with their golden crunch.  A distinct chill in the air, intangible but irremovable.  Something that makes you exhale in the morning to see your breath rise in a gentle puff before your eyes.  Winter is coming!

So what better way to avoid the cold than by hanging out in front of your oven. Or someone else's oven. S was kind enough to lend out her kitchen one Sunday afternoon for the purpose of making hot cross buns, and several tips were picked up in the process.

Tip #1: Always pipe your buns after you've brushed them with egg yolk.

We made the mistake of piping first, and then realised that in order to get perfectly golden tops, we'd have to dab delicately around the edges of the piping to avoid ruining it!  Very tedious.

Tip #2: Double the quantities of spices and sultanas listed in the recipe.

We made the mistake of actually following the recipe and discovered that it had seriously underestimated the amount of cinnamon, all spice and sultanas we needed.  Ours tasted like bread. White bread.  Really bad white bread.  Sigh.

Tip #3: Never show people what your food was meant to look like.



Tip #4: Add fried bacon and toasted pine nuts to your chicken salad.

I can't claim credit for this (it was D's recipe) but I did burn - I mean, roast - the nuts, so I can vouch for how amazing it all tasted together.

Tip #5: Resist the temptation to eat Anzac cookie mixture until after the oven door is closed.

Always a struggle.

Tip #6: Make your Anzac cookies different by making them look like Australian mammals.

No, it's not Ratatouille on steroids. It's a wombat.

Yes, it's a koala.

Because every cookie wants a shiny nose.

Tip #7: Take your cookies out of the oven before they've fully hardened and while they're still soft to the touch.

They will keep cooking even after you've pulled them out, so they eventually meet halfway between crunchy and chewy. These tasted pretty amazing.

Happy ANZAC day.

And lest we forget ...

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- J. McCrae, 1915.

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