Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon is one of the most treasured of the ancient spices and I just love the warmth and nostalgia that it brings. I have wonderful memories of many scrumptious goodies laden with this beloved spice and sugar as its ultimate partner. Jewish baking is full of recipes with cinnamon at their heart and I remember my mother making these buns with my sister and I when we were young. I soon continued the tradition once I got hold of her prized cookbook. They use very few ingredients and are incredibly easy to make. You could probably jazz them up with fruit or nuts but I like them plain and simple, allowing the cinnamon to work its magic. If like me you can't wait, eat them hot out the oven or allow them to cool but they are best eaten the day they are made, hardly a difficult task.

Recipe by Myrna Rosen
(makes 12-18)

2 cups flour
125g butter plus 25g extra
pinch of salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg beaten in a cup and filled with milk
   and cream or just milk
cinnamon and sugar

Preheat oven to 200C. Sift dry ingredients together, rub or grate in butter with your fingers. Add egg mixture and bring into a dough. Knead lightly and roll out into a rectangular shape. This can be as big, thick or thin as you like. I make quite a large rectangle and roll it quite thinly, this gives me more circles of dough in the bun. Melt the extra 25g of butter and spread evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Again be as generous as you want, there is virtually no sugar in the dough so all the sweetness comes in at this point. Roll up lengthways like a swiss roll, slice into 3cm discs. Gently pinch the bottoms together and place open side up into a patty/ muffin tin. Brush with a little more melted butter, sprinkle again with cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden brown.


Mushroom Pate

There is something special about eating mushrooms in late autumn, they conjure up fantasies of foraging around a forest floor thickly laden with colourful leaves. Earthy, deep and flavourful, mushrooms are some of the most delicious ingredients, providing us with a multitude of dishes. This pate is a firm favourite and makes a spectacular party dip, light hors d'oeuvres or fabulous treat. You can use any mushrooms with a robust flavour but chestnuts do rather well, easily available and no need for foraging! Made up to a day before, the flavours deepen beautifully. Serve with any good bread, crisps or crackers. 

Recipe (makes about 450g)

250g chestnut mushrooms
250g Philadelphia or any good quality full fat cream cheese
half a clove garlic, finely sliced
1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
salt and black pepper

Thinly slice and saute mushrooms until golden brown and all their liquid has evaporated. Add garlic and brown with the mushrooms for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place mushrooms and chives into a food processor, blitz until finely chopped. The mushrooms should still be slightly warm. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Season to taste. The pate will be a little softer at this point, so refrigerate until set. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Sprinkle with extra chopped chives.



Ten days in Spain.... oh my! What an incredible treat for all things sensory. We spent a week staying in a tiny white washed village in the mountains outside of Granada, road tripping everyday and stuffing our faces. The landscape is flushed with fruits of biblical distinction, olives, almonds and pomegranates grow in abundance. Andalucia is extremely beautiful and it feels a lot like a certain area of South Africa with big skies and stunning light. Salty, irresistible Jamon made its way into our mouths at every opportunity. Sweet and hot pimenton coloured and elevated every dish. And of course... the wine... the wine... glorious, robust Rioja in little glasses accompanying Manchego cheese and membrillo.

Following our quiet week in Andalucia we went to Barcelona for four days and it was there that we truly treated ourselves to as much Catalunian food as possible. Seeking out authentic and traditional tapas bars, we ate until there was nothing left to do but smile and smile, fantastic. Deep fried calamari, tortillas to die for, anchovies, sardines, padron peppers, chickpeas, spanish kidney beans, white sausage, razor clams, cured tuna, empanadas... more jamon....

Everything we ate was incredible and worthy of description but a few experiences really stood out. A visit to La Boqueria, Barcelona's famous food market. The intensity of colour, texture, taste and smell was utterly intoxicating. Every stall generously laden with the freshest seasonal offerings, abundant and mouth watering. I was seriously down hearted at not being able to buy up loads and head home to cook... My dismay was short lived and evaporated with a surprise visit to a very special tapas bar called 'Tickets', high end tapas made with produce from the market that day. Food memory extravaganza. Coffee and Churros, the perfect breakfast.... anything with a doughnut is for me. Lastly, we managed to find probably one of the last authentic lunch time spots, behind an unassuming door with a rather ropey interior. Saw dust on the floor to catch the olive oil, a tightly run ship relying on bits of paper and lots of shouting. The food in this taverna was extraordinary, super fresh seafood, artichokes, salt cod, fiery rice balls, vinegary salad, wine by the jug, chorizo.... all else pales in comparison. Oh Barcelona!! I am inspired and in love!!