Pulla Bread


I've been feeling very sluggish and lazy over the past couple of weeks. Baking and cooking has given way to picking at leftovers, or plumping for cheese and crackers for tea, rather than standing at a stove.

In an attempt to jump start my brain and body, I've joined a gym. My local leisure centre has just been refurbished and in addition to treadmills etc., has a good pool and 'health suite', i.e. sauna and steam room.

Three guesses where most of my time's being spent. My frizzier-than-usual hair should be your first clue.


Anyway, in what is probably one of the clumsiest segues in history, on we go to my other Nordic indulgence this month.

Pulla is a Finnish bread which traditionally gets served up at Christmas. It is meant to be sweet, light and laced with cardamom. I imagined it to be extremely good with coffee.

My Perfect Autumn Cake: Blackberry & Apple Crumble Cake

Blackberry & Apple Crumble Cake

When I was little, I used to go foraging for blackberries in the hedges by Kneller Hall. Kneller Hall is home to the Royal Military School of Music, so you can often see the recruits on parade practice inside the grounds. There is something instrinsically funny to me about the sound of brass, so this is always a joy to watch.

Even more frequently, if you are a cyclist or walker on the local river towpaths, you can enjoy almost being knocked down the riverbank by a pack of recruits, out on a run in full combat gear. I exaggerate, of course. The men and women who reside at Kneller Hall are exemplary specimens of the human race, who would never point and laugh at a cyclist who'd fallen off their bike.

Oh. Apart from the ones who told 9-year old me, upon finding me scrummaging through the aforementioned blackberry hedges, that if I climbed into the grounds again, I'd be shot on sight.

I was too scared to even walk past the grounds for years after that.

Blackberry & Apple Crumble Cake

White Chocolate and Jasmine Tea Cupcakes

Jasmine Tea Cupcakes

One of the most popular posts on this blog, is the write-up of the jasmine tea macarons, which I made as one of my earliest submissions to MacTweets.

When I made these macarons, I had what seemed like a ton of leftover white chocolate and jasmine ganache.  Ganache is easy to make, in theory, being a simple one part cream to one part chocolate.  But I never seem to get the consistency right on the first attempt, so I inevitably end up adding a bit of extra cream, then a bit of extra chocolate, etc.

In this case, the leftover ganache was put onto a batch of vanilla cupcakes. It was far too runny, but the result was so tasty that I decided to adapt the ganache to make it frosting friendly and to match it to a jasmine tea cupcake. I brought a refined batch of these to last year's Cupcake Camp London, following which I got a couple of e-mails asking for the recipe, so it was about time I got round to posting it.