How fast time trickles through our fingers. For me this blog is a fantastic journal of how my year progresses, noting my ups and downs and making me aware to live my life consciously and with purpose. I find it helpful to be able to click on a past post, reading through the paragraphs of what occupied me during that time. Often reminiscing on happy memories, but also taking note of the improvements, changes or even of the defeats and frustrations I was tackling.
I have a pesky compulsion to, at the very least, feel like I am moving forward. Stagnation suffocates me!
As I sat down to write, I flicked through my blog to see what I was doing this time last year. Of course … there was the memorable trip to Stockholm to spend a few spectacular Midsummer days in a stunning city. A Scandinavian city … and I do not have to tell you about my soft spot for many things Scandinavian, do I? The post and the images gave me itchy feet to travel again and I began dreaming of faraway places. In reality I am bound at home, immobilized and cemented, not able to move much. Take away a bit of the drama around that last sentence and there is still truth to my current situation. Finally two weeks ago I was operated on my knee and now I am supporting an all-new anterior cruciate ligament. I’ll spare you the gory details but for now my only means of mobility is in the radius of my home and the virtual world of the web.
My very attractive knee doctor, probably sensing my pesky compulsion, has been raising his warning finger at me and keeps reminding me to take it easy and not push myself too hard. Truth be told, I am pushing myself, trying to structure my days in an efficient and effective way to make my mind and soul move forward if not my body. I cannot imagine wasting away for the next 6 weeks. So I read and write a lot and now have time to hang out in the hammock, thinking about moving forward and painting cloud figures in the sky. I am most definitely enjoying my writing again, which had taken position on the back burner to make more time for my photography jobs and projects. Now, as I am unable to keep to my feet for a whole session of cooking or shooting I am often staring at the cursor of my notebook and typing away. A lot of what I am writing will probably never make it for the eyes of anyone but my dad, who writes himself and we often share hours of conversation on our stories and laugh at the really bad ones (like the short story I wrote a few days after the surgery - probably still under the effects of the morphium!).
I do feel like I am moving in the right direction. This time next year I might come back to this post and laugh or cringe, depending on the course I really ended up taking. A course that can never be a wrong one to take is one that rewards with special sweet treats, like these heavenly Swedish cinnamon buns, bringing me back to my soft spot for all things Scandinavian ;o)
Kanelbullar are the big stars in Sweden, they are so popular that they even have their own national holiday celebrating them. I’ve always loved the lighter fluffier Swedish variety over their chewy and sugary American counterparts but never ventured into making them myself. One of my fondest memories of our trip to Stockholm last year was our visit to Skansen, an open-air museum depicting the way of life in Sweden before the industrial era. As we strolled the narrow paths of the 19th century village, we passed a tiny bakery with a long winding line of smiling people leading down the stairs and spilling onto the path. Wanting to avoid the line we circled around and walked right past the bakery. But the warming aromas of freshly baked bread, sugar and spice made me stop and turn around. Mesmerized, I joined the line and began grinning like all the other people in the line. All it really takes to make people happy is often the comforting fragrance of yeasty bread infused with heady spices. Once we entered the modest and humble bakery we were greeted by a young lady dressed in traditional clothing holding a large baking tray packed with the most divine kanelbullar fresh out of the oven.
As I reached the old wooden counter however, I noticed empty trays, my heart sinking in disappointment. I stared at the stray pearl sugar strewn across the tray and looked up expectantly at the young lady, who smiled and pointed behind me. Carrying two trays piled high with more sweet scented cinnamon buns, the baker himself joined the lady behind the counter . And I was first in line! I bought a few, biting into one straightaway and with my mouth still full I questioned the baker about the recipe. But he shook his head and told me “Big secret … just enjoy your kanelbullar!” How right he was.
I cannot tell you if they were the best kanelbullar in all of Sweden … they certainly were for me. The atmosphere, the Midsummer festivities and impressions were all dizzying and as soon as I arrived back home I emailed Anne of Anne’s Food who guided through her recipe.
What I love about the Kanelbullar is that although cinnamon plays the main role, it’s the beautiful flavoring of cardamom that captures my heart. This week the Swedish will be dancing around the Maypole as they celebrate Midsummer again - last year I was right there with them. This year I’ll be resting my knee in the hammock … no dancing … just enjoying my homemade kanelbullar. What a difference a year makes!
Soft pillows of cinnamon and cardamom … if that sounds utterly clichéd to you … let me tell you there is no better way to describe these kanelbullar. You’ll realize that once you have taken that first bite. They literally melt in your mouth and that mix of cinnamon and cardamom creates a tantalizing sensation on your taste-buds. Be warned though: one will not be enough so prepare for an eating frenzy. I can only give you the same advice I got from that wise baker in Skansen last year “Just enjoy your kanelbullar!”
Sending you all sunny summery vibes from the hammock central. Hope you have an awesome weekend and I’ll see you next week.
Thank you to everyone who wrote to find out about further workshops in Europe this year. The Amsterdam workshop in September is sold out and it is my last one this year in Europe. However, registrations for the Dubai workshop in October are still open and quite excited to see a few coming in from Europe. Sally and I are will be putting on a great 2 day workshop with lots of hands-on exercises and highlights. Make sure you secure your spot soon.
You might like these bread and buns from WFLH:
|Lingonberry Dark Chocolate Buns||Cranberry Port Mincemeat Brioche Rolls||Saffron Brioche|
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