Home-baked Cake and Tea – part one

It is always nice to find new places to visit for afternoon tea but it’s easy to forget the simple pleasures of baking at home. The satisfying sensation of rubbing fat into flour, of careful measuring, licking the spoon and best of all, the warm, homely smell wafting through the house. When my children were little I loved to bake with them so I was delighted when my grown-up son suggested we made some gingerbread together during the Christmas holidays. After a lovely afternoon, inspired by our baking success and a thoughtful gift of ‘How to Hygge – The Secrets of Nordic Living’ by Signe Johansen, I embarked on a few days of trying out new recipes. First on the list was a family favourite – Cornish Saffron Buns, spiced, yellow, yeasty buns flavoured with saffron and filled with raisins and currants which, up to now, I have always bought ready-made.The recipe was a mish-mash of various ones found online.The story goes that saffron was brought to Cornwall around 1000 BC by the Phoenicians who came to trade in tin with the Cornish. As saffron is so expensive, the commercial versions of Saffron buns often contain food dyes to enhance the colour and at first I was a little disappointed that my buns looked rather pale. But they tasted good especially when split and spread with butter and the pleasure I had making them, simply because I wanted to and not because I had to, really reflected the principles of hygge as described by Signe Johansen.

I was intrigued to discover that in Sweden and Norway a version of Saffron buns is traditionally eaten on Saint Lucia’s Day in December but you can have too much of a good thing so I decided to try out a different recipe (this time from Signe’s book) instead. Cardamom Twists – yeasty, spiced twists filled with sweet, spiced butter. Ground cardamom is not easy to come by in Cornwall but Mr Me was pressed into service de-seeding and grinding cardamom pods and the resulting smell and taste was well worth the effort (hopefully he thought so too!). Most nose twitching came from Miss B, the shortest, hairiest family member and the only one with four legs. Job done, it was time to sit and chat and enjoy with a cup of Earl Grey tea. And to keep an eye out for a very hungry dog…

Betsy dogto be continued…

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