Two a Penny

There is nothing in my history which makes me the grandmother who rises at six to attend to the sourdough loaf and to start the hot cross buns — to be ferried later that day from Orchard House to a house in South London… There is nothing in my history to make me so happy to be doing this.  My grandmothers didn’t do such things for me, and I didn’t expect them to.

I simply love doing it. hotcross buns 2014 The recipe was based on my Orchard House co-tenant’s two versions — one at her Feasts and Festivals blog, and the other in her lovely little book Cornish Feasts and Festivals.  That said, I had no mixed peel, so I used a good dollop of home-made marmalade (which worked very well) and instead of her spice mix I used mine, which I had by me in an airtight jar:

1 tsp each of fresh-ground
nutmeg
black pepper
cinnamon
cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger (not fresh-ground, as you need dry ingredients for this)
and 20 fresh-ground cloves.

The sourdough loaf was even better. I’ll write about that someday. My starter also came from my co-tenant: she calls hers Montezuma (ask her, don’t ask me) and so mine is Montezuma’s Mother. Clearly it is more a daughter, but I like the old term ‘mother’ for the starter.

In the real Orchard House. the kitchen was a good size, as befitted its status as one of the two centres of the house.  There is small sign that I can see that hot-cross buns were a New England tradition (perhaps the Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers did not hold with such frivolous things), but bread was surely made in this kitchen.  I must discover if I can how they did it….

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