This weekend Mr. Colehill bought me 'Julie and Julia' and I watched it for the first time. I know, I know, I should have watched it months ago but somehow it slipped through my fingers, until two days ago that is. It was such a lovely film, and it reminded me what I love about food and cooking, as well as why I write this blog. I love the escape that cooking provides for me. No matter how crappy your day is, or however heavy your shoulders feel with the weight of all the pressures of life, cooking is a haven. You can hide from the world and hole up in the kitchen for hours, and produce delicious creations. Something that has started off as a few humble ingredients becomes completely different and amazing because of you, and what you have done to them. I don't think I take pride in anything else as much as I do when something I have cooked comes out beautifully, there's nothing quite like the feeling. And as for writing about these moments of pride and satisfaction, well, I don't know how many people read these words that I send out into the blogosphere, but I love the idea that there is a community of people out there who are reading each others' blogs. We share recipes, successes, failures, and support each other and learn from other bloggers' words and pictures.
Anyway, I digress!!
Even better, the DVD came with a recipe book!! How great is that? How many DVDs have you bought that came with a book, let alone a selection of recipes from Julia Child's book Mastering the Art of French Cooking? Hands down the best DVD I have ever received!! And I adored the film. Not only was it a lovely story, but it had plenty of beautiful food to salivate over and scenes of Paris that made me long for a life in France; all set with plenty of butter, baguettes, multiple types of cheese and, of course, pastries!! Which brings me to my choice of baked good here: Chelsea Buns.
Fulham is Colehill Kitchen's home, which is right next door to Chelsea, so these seemed an apt choice of pastry! I've never tried them before, so I was quite nervous and excited for the outcome. The nerves turned out to be deserved since the first batch of dough didn't rise. I had something akin to one Julie's meltdowns in the film, which Mr. Colehill took great pleasure in mocking me for, however everything came good in the end when the second batch worked nicely and produced buns of delight!!!
The recipe is from the River Cottage Handbook No. 3 Bread. As I'm sure you know, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a firm favourite with me and this book by Daniel Stevens, Hugh's bread man, taught me so much about bread making. This little gem of a book not only includes invaluable information about baking loaves of bread, it also has recipes for other bread based treats, like cornbread, tortillas, summer pudding and so on. My next two trials from this particular book are crumpets and croissants. I'll be sure to let you know when I rise to the challenge!!
As for the Chelsea Buns, here is the recipe:
For the dough:
550g strong white bread flour
50g caster sugar
5g powdered dried yeast
150ml warm milk
225g melted butter
1 medium egg
For the Filling:
25g melted butter
100g caster sugar
For the Glaze:
50g caster sugar
Mix together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt, then add the milk, butter and egg.
Knead until smooth and silky, then leave to rise for about an hour until doubled in size.
Brush the base and sides of a deep 30cm square (mine was rectangular and a little larger, but hey, not the ned of the world!) with a little of the melted butter and dust with a little of the sugar for the filling, shaking out the excess.
Roll out the dough to about 60cm x 40cm, brush with the butter, dust with the sugar and sprinkle over the currants, leaving a margin at the top. Roll the dough up to the margin, and moisten at the top with water to seal it.
Cut into 3cm slices, then flatten slightly on to the tray. Sprinkle a little of the sugar for the glaze on top and leave to prove for about half an hour, then bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Warm the milk and remaining sugar in a pan, and brush the buns with it when you bring them out of the oven while they are still warm.
These. Are. Divine.
Whatever you do, eat one fresh out of the oven. They are completely indulgent, completely naughty and completely moreish!! I had to resort to freezing a load so that I didn't eat them
all in one weekend. Completely delightful and well worth making.