• One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns

    Despite my good intentions of writing my blog while off work, I haven’t got around to it until now.   It has been just over three weeks since I last wrote my blog and quite a lot has happened in the meantime.  I am still largely off work.  Although I had every intention to return to work in the the same capacity as I left it, after a week of being off work, I decided that it wasn’t fair on Lynwood & Co to say that I would return in the same capacity as I left as I am not a reliable employee at the moment. because of my health issues.  I requested whether I could return in a part-time capacity, focusing on the cakes and doing customer orders and cover work.  Although, I think the intention is for me to possibly do this sort of role in the future, the business is in a transition period at the moment, with the new cafe in Burford opening up in eight weeks, so am playing a waiting game at the moment.

    I have been back to work, albeit on a very part-time basis.  I first went back last Thursday evening to make hot cross buns for the Easter weekend.  I ended up making 56 hot cross buns and some sable biscuits, shaped as eggs with an apricot jam ‘yolk’.  The biscuits were supposed to be a joke for the Head Chef, following on from my heart shaped biscuits for Valentine’s Day, but he misunderstood my intentions and the biscuits were sold in the shop, without him trying them.  By all accounts, they sold very quickly.  I also tried to make a Cadbury’s creme egg cake – a chocolate cake with creme eggs in the middle, but it didn’t work as depicted in the photo of the recipe.  Rather than having a lovely core of eggs in the centre of my cake, the centre of my cake was a gooey mess and when I went to move the cake (which I think I did prematurely) the cake fell apart, despite the fact that the chocolate cake mix around the gooey mix was well baked.  You live and learn.  Actually, I did learn something after the event – if you freeze the creme eggs for a couple of hours before baking them in the cake, they are more likely to remain intact.

    I then went back into work on Saturday to do the weekend baking, as well as make 36 hot cross buns for the investor for a party they were having on Sunday.  All was going to plan with the bake until I put them in the oven to cook.  I noticed quite early on in the bake that a few of the hot cross buns were splitting against the cross.  As this had never happened to me before, I was quite surprised and concerned as to remake the hot cross buns would take another three and a half hours.  Not happy with about half of the hot cross buns, when they came out of the oven, I decided to start again.  This was three o’clock in the afternoon.  At 6.30pm on Saturday evening (having been off the clock since 3 o’clock), I finally left Lynwood & Co with 36 decent hot cross buns made.  The only thing which I think could have resulted in the split hot cross buns was that I forgot to cover the hot cross buns in the second prove, which resulted in the surface of the hot cross buns drying out and splitting in the bake.

    Jo, who had come to rescue me from my woes ran home with me – 6.2 miles to Coln St Aldwyns.  We consoled ourselves with a glass or two of red wine.

    On a plus side, the rest of my baking went fine on Saturday and the Head Chef even said that my white chocolate and macadamia cookies were the best ones I had made to date.  These were the first ones I had baked since the ones I made on the night I went off sick as despite my intention of baking cookies during my time off, I heard via the grapevine that the Manager wasn’t too happy for me to go in on my own to bake, albeit that later I was advised that any concern she may have had got lost in translation.

    I should also say that they did manage to sell most of the dud hot cross buns at the cafe on Sunday, toasted with butter and jam.  I also heard via the grapevine that the hot cross buns went down fine at the party.  They obviously were well enough received as I was asked to go back into work yesterday and then hopefully again on Saturday.  I am still wanting more hours as still going spare at home.

    In addition to Easter bakes, which I should perhaps mention also included baking a couple of Donna Hay’s hot cross bun loaves, I have also tried a couple of traybakes.  The first was a gluten free coconut Bakewell slice with cherry jam, from The Complete Gluten Free Baker.  The second was something I concocted on my own from a photo which the Lynwood & Co’s owner’s wife sent me, ginger, lemon and almond slice.  The latter still needs a bit of tweaking to get the bake right and the balance of ginger and lemon correct, but otherwise it was a delicious bake.  It deliciousness was helped by the fact that I finally got a decent recipe for lemon curd, thanks to the Head Chef at Lynwood & Co.

    Although exercise was certainly out of the window in the earlier stages of my time off work, I have been managing to do more lately, including a few runs.  I also completed my first OCR since July 2017 – a 5km Tough Mudder in London.  It was good to be doing events again, albeit that it was not overly challenging.  I managed to do the 12 swinging rings, which I wasn’t sure that I would manage.  I was a little nervous on the walls, particularly because they were more slippery than I expected (I was wearing regular trainers rather than OCR shoes, as recommended by Tough Mudder) because of the recent rain.