Hot Paw Buns. 17th March

Wheaton Aston

The wind gradually grew last night and did it’s best to keep us awake, but we managed to get some shut eye. We woke to snow in the air, followed by sunshine, followed by snow, by sun etc. for much of the day. The snow melted almost as soon as it hit the ground, well until the sun went down when the world started to gradually whiten around us.

Mick popped to the OneStop shop for our Saturday paper and some bacon whilst Tilly tried to brave the gusts of wind. She didn’t venture far and came home frequently to warm up and have a snooze.

The days two main tasks other than staying warm were baking and photograph hunting.

Gluten free Hot Paw bunsI

’ve been wanting to try out a gluten free Hot Cross Bun recipe for a couple of years, but they involved so much rising time that it had put me off, also last year I didn’t want to stand in the galley with my broken ankle for long. So today was the day. The recipe was for ten buns, so I halved it so that we’d not get bored of them after all there was a chance that they wouldn’t be tasty. I still don’t trust gluten free recipes to come out risen and with flavour other than that of potato.

There tends to be little or no kneading required, which is just as well as the dough tends to be far far stickier than conventional bread dough. The recipe suggested mixing the dry and wet ingredients together with a folk and then a light knead to remove any streaks with your hand. I kept on going with the folk instead, I’ve been covered in gluten free gloop too many times now, it takes a lot of time to remove it! Sitting on the bread rising shelf for an hour it doubled, fruit (apple and cranberry, no flies or slugs in my buns!) and spices mixed in and left to rise again for another hour. Next came the tricksy bit splitting it into five and rolling into bun shapes. With some added flour and a spatula I actually managed to not cover the whole work surface with dough and could still make out each digit on my hands, for once they hadn’t become a doughy webbed mass. The tray I chose to bake them on was small enough to sit on the rising shelf, where they were left for another hour to prove.

Assistant Tilly inspired

My Mum used to make Hot Cross Buns with marzipan crosses on the top, which I adopted along with adding a small blob in the centre a few years ago. Today I left out the blob in the centre knowing that the added taste wouldn’t be worth the added stickyness and swearing. Tilly was helping watch so they naturally became Hot Paw Buns and her efforts came out far better than expected, the paw prints stayed put. Once baked and a sugar glaze added they were left to slightly cool before we sampled them. Verdict very good. They have the slight dryness that gluten free flour tends to give things, but the addition of buckwheat flour means that they don’t taste as potatoey as they would otherwise. Next time I just need to remember to cover them with foil for the last five minutes so the paws/crosses don’t get burnt.

During the three hours waiting for the buns to rise we hunted through digital photos on our computers and facebook. There is to be a celebration of the life of Mick Hughes at the National Theatre on what would have been his 80th birthday. We won’t be able to attend, but wanted to add to the photographic presentation of his life if we could. Having our old kitchen computer on board meant that we had quite a lot of photos to go through. I managed to find a few show photos that he’d been Lighting Designer on and one or two from social occasions. He always used to make the effort, despite living on the south coast he joined us in Scarborough for weddings and birthdays.

Mick Hughes

If anyone wants details for either the celebration at the National or wants to add their own photos let me know and I’ll pass on the link.

Our first trip out on NB Winding Down 2009

This also meant that we came across photos from way back, including one of me holding onto the centre line of NB Winding Down on our first trip out on her. This was taken at The Queueing Lock in September 2009, more commonly known as Minshull Lock on the Middlewich Branch. I suspect the queues there won’t be as big this summer. There are even rumours that C&RT might close the locks on the branch to help manage the water whilst works are on going at the breach site. Hope they let all those in the marinas out who are wanting to head off on their summer cruises. Today a fish rescue was mounted in the almost empty pound, getting on for 10,000 fish were caught and released into the Trent and Mersey canal.

0 locks, 0 miles, 17 snow flurries, 1 newspaper, –1C outside, 1 warm cosy boat, 2 chilly for cat bums! 4 hot paw buns, 1 hot cross bun, 5 photos, 10,000 fish, 4lb eel, 3 hours of photographic memories.