Cardamom buns

cardamom buns

almond and sultana buns

almond and sultana cardamom buns

 schakenda

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

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biscuits, cookies and things to nibble

I hadn’t realised I had baked quite so many biscuits over bloggin’ time…

Custard Biscuits

Gingerbread Men

Anzac Biscuits

Lemon Vanilla Stars

Coconut Jam Drops

Everyday Chocolate Mint Biscuits

honey biscuits

Chewy Coconut Biscuits

speculaas

Chocolate Honey Biscuits

Parmesan Crackers

super easy chocolate chip biscuits

Passionfruit Shortbread

Kettles boiled… anyone want to join me for afternoon tea?

Tea or Coffee?

Plum Shortcakes

A good bakery is a wonderous thing. You’ll quite often find me, nose pressed against the glass, eyeballs widened, and probably just the hint of drool coming from the side of my mouth. I don’t usually go in, I don’t need to. I like just looking. Seeing what’s on offer, how they have presented different things, and getting ideas for my own baking efforts.

Many moons ago, I lived for awhile in Germany. Twice a week I would head off, cold crisp air on my cheeks. Hands wedged into pockets and music wedged into ears, I would set forth on my two buses to get to a German language class. I loved this time. I loved the German winter, I loved the alone time, I loved being in a different country, I loved learning the language… and I really loved stopping off at a bakery afterwards.

Germany bakeries are a thing of wonderous beauty. So many different types of wonderful breads, and enough sweet goodies for a young Australian gal to do more than a little drooling. Everything I ever ate was delicious. Really delicious. Sure I probably headed for the same kind of things time and time again, but when you are on to a good thing, why stop eh?

So what did I go for? Anthing vaguely fruity/ sour related. Cherry strudel? You betcha. Plum struesel? Yes indeed. They all had my name well and truly written all over them.

So with a German bakery in mind, Plum Shortcakes it was.

Fruity, not crazy sweet, but enough of sugar kick just to say … ja bitte, das ist lecker.

Plum Shortcakes

200g plain flour

100g self raising flour

150g softened butter

150g sugar

2 tsps vanilla

zest of one lemon

2 beaten eggs

plums

Cream the butter and sugar together, add vanilla, eggs and lemon zest. Then fold through flour. Into your tray/s and add halved plums. Bake at 180C until risen, slightly golden, and smells like you can’t wait to eat it any longer (cooking time will depend on the tray you use.)

how to make butter and yogurt- Frugal Friday

I think every blogger who ever dabbles in food posts, has done a how- to- make- yogurt and/ or butter at one time or another. Just to add to the lovely collection- here’s my way.

How To Make Yogurt 

What you will need-

kettle, yogurt thermos, yogurt container, powdered milk, 2 heaped tablespoons old yogurt, water, measuring cup.

Time it takes- do it in the time it takes to boil the kettle.

Fill your kettle up and turn it on. Take 2 heaped spoonfuls of bought yogurt (like the end of the tub), add a little water to mix it, it’s now runny and set aside.

 Fill your yogurt container half full with water.

 Add one and a half cups of powdered milk. No need to shake it down and fit as much as you can, just roughly 1 1/2 cups. Mix it with a spoon and add your runny yogurt mixture. Mix again and fill the rest of the container up with water. Lid on, give it a good shake.

 Kettles boiled. Fill it up to the top of the plastic thingy inside. Place your yogurt container in with the lid on, add the thermos lid and leave it (don’t peak) for 8-12 hours. The longer you leave it the tartier it will taste. (I’ve forgotten it for 24 hours and it’s still fine.)

*******

Once, about every six weeks I refresh the batch with a packet of the ready to go yogurt mix you can buy (which is just add water and shake.) I find it keeps the cultures stronger, and more likely to keep it at a thicker Greek style yogurt consistency, (which is what we all like.)

$20 for the yogurt maker, and each litre of yogurt I make, works out to be about $1.50 a batch. I then add any of our homemade seasonal jams to sweeten the yogurt. Dead easy. You are saving a whole bundle of money, no more plastic tubs and you don’t have the usual paragraph of ingredients that’s in a lot of yogurt today.

How To Make Butter

In a mixer, pour in a carton of cream. The best you can buy, (not thickened cream). Whip it….and keep whipping…

 Keep it whipping until it starts to look like this. The liquid will start to separate, which is then able to be drained off. Add a pinch of salt (to taste) and keep squeezing out that excess moisture using a spatula against the side of the bowl. You don’t want any of that moisture in there. Once it is all drained off it can be shaped into what ever shape you need.

Next time you see one of those fancy pancy butters imported from countries far far away, you can have a little chuckle at the thought of spending that much money on butter and then go home and make it yourself. Again, dead easy.

Now where’s the bread to go with it?…

Dancing Lemon Vanilla Stars

There he was in front of me, eyes intensely locked to mine.

His body convulsed like he was touching an electric fence down in the back paddock. Convulsing in time with the deep thumping bass. The twisting colourful lights bounced off his eyes. When he widened them it gave him a slightly manic look. I awkwardly looked away, thinking he must have been doing this for quite some time for everyone dancing here, but no. He only had eyes for me. He had followed my shift of focus and was again in my line of sight, seemingly getting closer.

His body convulsing from one side to another, his eyes locked again, and he grinned from ear to ear this time. Using his hands in some odd dance like feature that made me think of a baby dinosaur. He was trying to impress me that was for sure. I stifled a giggle. I didn’t want to offend him, but it really was hard not to laugh at his intensity of moves.

The thumping music, darkened corners, squeals of happiness, flashing colourful lights and this odd little red head who was trying his very best to impress me with his dance moves. Except this wasn’t a night club, those club days were but a foggy memory, and that red head was pint sized, lucky to be 3 foot tall. I was at Monkey Boy’s school disco, and currently surrounded by about 200 squealing five, six, and seven year olds and their siblings.

I had Little Monkey perched on my hip clinging to me as only a little monkey could. Too dark and too noisy for him.

Monkey Boy looked on with big wide eyes. Uninterested, when a pretty little class mate tried to gently take him by the hand and coerce him to dance in the centre with her. He clung on to his mama’s leg, (not sure how long that will last.) She looked hurt on the second attempt to try and convince him to dance with her. Flicking her long hair, as she moved off into the heaving dance floor.

Some boys were break dancing. Girls were jumping and giggling in circles. One girl did her very best robot to two unimpressed older boys, and all the shy kids stood by and watched from the side shadows.

Swap the venue, add another metre in height to everyone and not really much had changed since back in my nightclub days. Except here, no stink of spilt beer and vodka mixers.

(I did however, suspect a little too much diluted apple juice… and clearly that little convulsing pint-sized red head may have had a drop too much.)

 lemon vanilla stars

200g softened butter

150g sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp lemon rind

225g (1 3/4 cup) plain flour

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and lemon. Then mix through the flour. Chill in fridge for a little while wrapped in plastic (if weather is warm) and then roll out (I find rolling between two sheets of baking paper easiest, as it’s a sticky dough), cut out stars and bake at 170C for 20 minutes.

This dough also freezes easily into a log, then just cut off rounds to bake as you need them.