Cardamom buns

cardamom buns

almond and sultana buns

almond and sultana cardamom buns


One of my baking friends lent me this book recently.

I didn’t want to give it back.

It was the sort of book that I would quite like to sit on my book shelf and flick through for inspiration now and again. The sort of book I like to bring the pages up nice and close, scrutinise, trying to work out how the devil they made it.

It’s that sort of book, because one- it’s got gorgeous baked goodies in there and two…well I don’t speak a word of Norwegian so scrutinising the pictures is the best way to try and understand what on earth I have to do next.

I reluctantly gave the book back.

With scribbled down notes and mutterings of, more…I must try more, I then did a search for his famous bakery in Lom. The Hairy Bikers visited, and going on the surrounding scenery, the local peoples obvious enthusiasm for the baked goodies and the fact that I’m still having a quiet love affair with all things Scandinavian. Well clearly, I need to go there and eat cardamom buns, probably quite a few. I also possibly need to ask for a short apprenticeship and at the very least, need to keep watching this same segment over and over, so I can get them down pat.

Until then I’ll also keep playing with my own semi sourdough version of them. It’s a versatile dough, that doesn’t mind having things added to it (or eaten just as it is.)

bunss copy

Cardamom Buns

(adapted from Morten Schakenda)

250g sourdough starter

1 tsp dried yeast

600g flour

250mls milk

200mls water

100g sugar

100g softened butter

1 tsp cardamom

1 tsp salt

Add starter, yeast and water together. Whisk and leave for an hour or so. Mix remaining ingredients together and then knead until dough is elastic (I use my mixer)  on a lightly floured surface or until well incorporated and dough is smooth. Leave to prove for a couple of hours, with a couple of knock backs in between.  Shape into rolls and place on a lined tray, allow to prove for another hour or so.

Bake at 180-190 for 15-20 minutes.

blueberry and creme fraiche

blueberry and creme fraiche cardamom buns

This post submitted to yeast spotting

blue cherry meringue tart and thoughts of 35

This week I turned 35 and with it I thought I would write down 35 thoughts that have flitted by.

1/ Spending a weekend with loved family members that you don’t often see is a pretty wonderful way to kick start a birthday.

2/ Never underestimate the soul filling value of spending hours and hours talking to your brother in a busy cafe.

3/Coffee tastes better with great conversation.

4/ Actually, everything tastes better with great conversation.

5/ Nothing wrong what so ever in decorating your own dining area in a celebratory birthday kind of fashion the night before.

6/ Decorating said area, ensures that come birthday morning when there are school lunches to be made, washing to be put out and and nappies to be changed that this will not be just another ordinary day.

7/ Forget that, I don’t think there are any ordinary days…ever.

8/ Bunting really is well worth the effort.

9/ You don’t have to be a kid to get squealy happy, hand clapping on opening a birthday box.

10/ Husbands need big thank you kisses for giving squealy happy hand clapping birthday boxes.

11/ There is a lot of joy in seeing your eldest child finally shake off a hideous virus, just in time to eat a man size slice of blue cherry meringue tart.

12/ In following days, there is also a lot of joy in left over blue cherry meringue tart with a quiet coffee, a great book and a little quiet time.

13/ Said quiet time is brief these days, VERY brief.

14/ Italian meringue I never knew you were so good! I really didn’t. I scoffed at the seemingly kitchen faffing that you needed in order to get done- The faffing is so worth it though, and I will never do meringue the regular way again…promise.

15/ A good book…is truly wonderful.

16/ A good chiropractor is also wonderful.

17/ Jumping into the world of lenses, aperture, ISO, and bokeh are ridiculously exciting.

18/ Waking up and thinking about lenses as your first thought of the day… does that warrant geek status?

19/ …hopefully.

20/ Asparagus season, I do love you.

21/ Cherry season, I think I love you even more.

22/ Getting a book like Mend it Better is not a whim action, it’s an investment. Little Monkey wears out knees like…well, like a lot.

23/ This time of year makes me think of my grandfather a lot.

24/ It looks like I’m starting a meringue tradition for my birthday, Berry Meringue Tart and A Rather Tall Birthday Cake in the last two years before…I can deal with that. Especially as now I know about Italian Meringue.

25/ I really do like grey overcast days.

26/ I also really like the idea of owning an organic olive farm.

27/ I could sit on my verandah watching the sun set over my olive trees. Dusk cockatoos would fly over head, screeching to each other as they went to seek food elsewhere. (My trees would be carefully netted against said cockatoos- who said day dreams couldn’t be detailed.)

28/ I wasn’t sure how 35 would feel.

29/ Turns out it’s fine and feels remarkably like 34.

30/ Eating homemade sourdough for breakfast never gets old.

31/ The breakfast idea that is not the sourdough. Sourdough does get old and stale eventually, then it’s perfect for making bread crumbs. Supermarket bread goes mouldy, home-made bread just gets turned into something else (pangritata being my favourite at the moment.)

32/ Being able to read is truly a joyful experience, escaping into a book. A story that transports you…

33/ Or just reading about lenses…again.

34/ There are so many wonderful things to do in this world. Learn about, read up on, discover and enjoy. Precious moments that will never, ever be repeated again…

35/ In my 35th year, I’m not going waste one little one of them.


Blueberry Cherry Meringue Tart is adapted from this recipe. All I did was change the fruit around from Rhubarb and Raspberry, and made up the mixture in a pot rather than oven baked. After six months of planning to make it, and two days of putting it together, (instalments was easier) was it worth it?

Oh my sweet goodness, yes! Recipe here.

cherry plum and almond wreath

cherry plum and almond

A baking challenge?

You bet.

How could I not. It looked delicious. The taste possibilities were endless, and it looked like just the thing to tickle The Monkeys taste buds.

Make it with local seasonal fruit, even better.

peach and blueberry

For how to make one of these wreaths, pop over to Discovering Sourdough.

I’ve written down the changes I’ve made, but it will make more sense if you check out the original recipe first.

Cherry Plum and Almond Wreath

200mls milk

3 tbls sour cream

50g butter

50g sugar

Warm ingredients gently and then cool a little and add

210mls water

Set aside.

450g starter  (100%)

650g strong bakers flour

Mix together with liquid mixture and let autolyse for an hour.

2 tsp salt

Add the salt, mixing well with dough hooks.

200g strong bakers flour

Then out on to a well floured board and incorporate the extra 200g of flour. Slowly and over about 10 plus minutes.

Prove for 3 hours

Cherry Plum and Almond Mixture

6 blood plums cut up

large handful of fresh cherries, pips out

3/4 cup of sugar

Cooked up for a few minutes until soft, draining any excess juice off and stir through a large handful of blitzed almonds, (or almond meal if you already have it.)

Peach and Blueberry

Peach Punch Jam

fresh farmers market blueberries

This post submitted to yeastspotting.