Sunday, April 12, 2009

On pie and DINKs

Image via Vita Arina

So, in Australia we don't really have 'pie'. If you talked about 'pie' people would assume you meant an individual-sized meat pie. I mean, yeah, you can get apple pie and stuff, but I don't think it's such a big thing as it is in the US. Just recently I discovered, however, that you can actually buy canned pie fruit here. Just like in America! I was sooooo excited! I'd never heard of it before, except on American blogs. I found cherry pie filling, but it was $6 a can. So I settled on apples, at $2.35 a can. And felt very superior, as it was 100% apple, no added sugar or filler or anything.

I thought I would probably need to make some pastry to wrap my special canned pie apples in, so while at the (gourmet) supermarket I bought some fancy traditionally churned, locally produced, terribly expensive butter. Got it home and started googling for a recipe good enough for my special pie filling.

Turns out you Americans use canned pie filling as a time saver. Apparently, if I'm going to use canned fruit I'm not going to make my own pastry. And then I thought about it, and realised that I could have bought apples at $2 a kilo, and sliced them and stewed them, and it would be less than half the price of my canned pie filling, and be identical ingredients wise...

And it was then, sitting there with my insta-pie-filling and my boutique butter that it hit me. I'm a bloody yuppy.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

I had a hot cross bun today at work, and god it was delicious! I was going to buy some from a well-known ("delightful") bakery franchise on the way home from work, to eat on Good Friday. On a whim, I popped online to see the ingredients. And decided that I would no longer be buying some commercial hot cross buns on the way home (what is a 'flour treatment agent', and why are two kinds necessary?)

I pondered using this recipe, but BCB convinced me that using the breadmaker was a wiser idea. And the breadmaker recipe was pretty similar, it just used water instead of milk, less spice and only raisins. So I changed all that. If there's one thing I love it's peel in an easter bun.

Now, it might be because I'd just finished watching an episode of The Devil's Whore, and had religion and Olde England on the brain, but I really felt connected to English women, who I imagine have been baking sweet spiced breads for centuries. In medieval England really exotic spices were used in sweet and savoury cooking - I mean, my hot cross buns do have ground coriander in them (in the mixed spice). And the idea of painting a visual reminder of a Christian celebration in flour paste seems a much more appropriate commemoration than having a sweet chocolate egg.

I think, given that I am a lapsed Anglican (can such a thing exist?), making hot cross buns will stand in for the ritual of the church for me.

(Ironically, I just took the buns out of the oven, and my crosses were too dribbly - they have completely disappeared into the bun...).

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I learnt to spin.



Can you tell which was taken with BCB's fancy new DSLR, and which was snapped on my old point'n'shoot? Mmm...

Anyway, obviously, learning to spin. That pale brown thing (corriedale) is my first yarn. Spun half on a spindle (which taught me to draft), then half on a wheel (when the slow pace of the spindle killed me). Bouncy green aran-y-worsted-y weight merino came next. Then came some mauvey DK weight (that was supposed to be sock weight... hmmm...). All of those were from Bilby Yarns.

And then the top picture. I'm currently working on some batts from Enchanted Knoll Farm. I subscribed to the batt club when I was having a bad week and the idea of mystery parcels with guaranteed sparkles in them seemed like the best thing I could think of.

I'm finding the batts a lot more difficult to spin than the roving (or was it sliver or tops? I dunno). The fiber gets into clumpy little bumps more easily than roving (or sliver or tops?). I like the fibers to slip past each other nicely. But luckily for all concerned, I think that particular colourway (Cabaret) will look pretty cheerful with slubs and being a bit thick and thin.