Crush of the now

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I seem to be a bit fickle with my lust for new things - sometimes there are so many gorgeous things out there that I could post ten crushes a week, but then…nothing…for months. Or I suddenly decide I just don't really want any new things, apart from a very very VERY long holiday in Mexico. So this can become Crush of the Now… for whenever I see something I can't resist. 

At the moment it's What Mother Made - totally handmade and totally gorgeous kids clothes. I had an extremely hard time resisting some of their last collection on my weekly visits to Mother's Hub (E17 folk - beware, if you visit, it's FULL of irresistible small clothing), but these new Spring/Summer bits may be more than I can bear. Little colourful dungarees and crazy pantaloons that are perfect for summertime adventures. Now to find them in my size….

buns!

Mmm SUMMER. It has actually finished now, apparently, but there is still the odd hero sending bbq smoke out into the late afternoon air to help you remember a time when the weather was reliably not going to flash-hailstorm (in July) and lying in the grass drinking beer seemed like a reasonable plan for an evening out. Anyway, just in case it decides to pay us another visit between now and next June, here's a rad recipe for burger buns. Or hot dog buns. Or whatever kind of bun you need. It is mindbendingly easy, and so delicious that you will never (seriously, never) buy buns again. Ever. The recipe below is a cheat's version of this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, so if you're not in a mad hurry all the time like me, or don't have a Kitchenaid/stand mixer, it's worth checking the original recipe out.

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Brioche burger buns

3 tbsp warm milk
2 tsp dry active yeast
2.5 tbsp sugar (have made this with both caster and soft brown, both awesome)
2 large eggs
330g strong bread flour (plus more for dusting)
40g plain flour
1.5 tsp salt
36g butter, cool and in cubes (not room temp, but not straight from the fridge)
 

In a large jug, mix 235ml warm water with the warm milk, sugar and yeast. Leave it to stand for 5-10 mins. Beat ONE of the eggs in a cup. (I totally added both eggs the first time I made this, and actually it was fine, but adding just ONE is a much better idea...) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flours and salt on low speed. Add tiny cubes or shavings of butter about 10 seconds apart until it is all incorporated and the flour mixture has a texture like breadcrumbs. Switch to a dough hook and add in the yeast/milk mix and the beaten egg. Knead with the dough hook for approximately 8 minutes medium speed, until a dough forms. It is extremely sticky so add a bit more bread flour as you go - as little as you can comfortably get away with, maybe another 100g max - as you would do if you were kneading by hand. Once you have a ball of dough, pop it in a large floured bowl and cover with cling film or a damp tea towel for about an hour (if it's summer - probably closer to two in winter) or until doubled in size. 

 

Once the dough has risen, tip it out onto a very floured work surface, give it a bit of a punch, and use a big ol' knife (or a dough scraper, if you have one) to chop it into as many pieces as you'd like buns. This recipe makes about 8 very large buns, or 15 small buns, but you can also make long hot dog buns - really, it's up to you, just be aware that obviously the smaller the bun the shorter the cooking time. For burger buns roll and fold the dough into small rounds, then pop onto a baking tray lined with parchment. Cover again with oiled cling film or a damp tea towel for another hour whilst they rise to about double in size. They really do rise a lot - I made hot dog buns that ended up the size of small baguettes. 

Heat the oven to 200C. Beat the remaining egg with one tbsp water and brush your buns with this wash. Pablo did this bit and loved it. You can sprinkle with sesame seeds too at this point (please do, it's ultra delicious). Pop a large tray of shallow water in the bottom of the oven and then put the bun tray in the middle (I did middle and top, and they came out just fine). Bake for approx 10-15 mins depending on bun size (don't open the oven too early or you will cry, but you should be able to see they are done when they are a beautiful golden colour.) Allow to cool on a rack and then devour with home made burgers YUM!

We had a few left over and they kept really well, very moist, for sandwiches the next day, which is another reason they are better than store bought buns. Store in an airtight container.

crush of the week

ALARM....oh so many alarms....the new Mini Rodini collection features a tiger print skirted swimsuit. It's not cool that someone of my age get this excited about tiny swimwear. Also adoring this little t-shirt. Both added to my wish wish wish list.

available from Shak Shuka 

crush of the week

With the streets of London awash with ice and grime, and hot Mediterranean summers looming on the horizon...of my imagination...it's only natural I should start dreaming of baby bloomers. Right? There is nothing sweeter than little cotton toddler baggies, pantaloons and knickers in beautiful prints and patterns. Indy's drawers (HA!) are fairly stuffed with them already, and she has been sporting them all winter long over tights, which I think has been a pretty rad look for her... Of course, as with most of these baby clothes crushes, my real wish is that they made them in my size. (Luckily for the rest of mankind, they don't.) Indy's top most awesome pair of bloomers are from Simple Kids - white knickers with metallic green and pink thread running through! - though I just had a proper hunt and can't find anywhere currently selling any online. SAD TIMES. Or just another excuse to pop to Liberty, where I got her last pair? I remember standing there, pregnant and bewildered, for what felt like hours as there were so many incredible patterns to choose from. In the meantime, feast your eyes on these beautiful little summer trousies from Caramel...

beautiful bloomers by Caramel! Yours for an eye-watering £52...

beautiful bloomers by Caramel! Yours for an eye-watering £52...