I’ve just been reading Shira’s latest post on her blog ‘in pursuit of more’. I love the way she sprinkles her blog posts with a dusting of beautiful, inspiring quotes. One of today’s quotes is from Frederick Beuchner: ‘Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things happen. Don’t be afraid.’ It felt particularly apt for me today.
Because today is full of two terrible things. Ok, maybe ‘terrible’ is a bit severe, but two fairly depressing things none the less.
‘Terrible’ thing number one is that diggers have moved in to turn the field directly adjoining our house into a netball court. It may always have been a primary school playing field, but it was still a beautiful, green field all the same. And now it’s about to become tarmac. Even the word’s ugly.
I don’t consider myself an innately angry person, but watching those diggers churn up all the grass into mud made me mad, absolutely fuming inside. And this little, inner, angry Fleur, residing somewhere in my stomach, wanted to shout and throw things and complain about how horrible the whole thing is. And then just cry about it.
I’m surprised at how much the whole thing is getting to me really.
‘Terrible’ thing number two for today can’t really be classed as a terrible thing at all, although it’s a little dispiriting all the same. Today I’ve been job hunting all day to absolutely no avail, not even the merest, ‘well, that could be a possibility’. Absolutely nothing, not even close. Unless, of course, I’m happy to consider becoming a Christmas grotto elf, which is near enough the only thing the many, many job search sites I looked on could offer me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting to find jobs to apply for after just one day of looking, I know it’s far, far harder than that, but I suppose I’d been hoping for at least something resembling a possibility.
But it appears I have none of the ‘experience essential’.
Dear Mr Employer, I’m afraid I can’t pull a pint and no, I don’t have much experience with filling cabinets either. However, I can write you a pretty decent first class dissertation on women’s writing. You’re just not really interested in that though are you?
I guess this is what comes from graduating with a humanities degree and having no real idea what you want to do with the rest of your life.
Just as I guess overlooking black asphalt, as opposed to a field, is what comes from living next to a primary school!
But I think that’s definitely more than enough terrible for today. What you really want is the beautiful, right? And wow, trust me, yesterday I found beautiful. Yesterday I found beautiful in the form of chai spiced cinnamon rolls. They were incredible. They filled me with such silly-childish happiness and despite the fact I currently have no employment prospects higher than ‘Christmas grotto elf’, I felt, for an hour or so, pretty awesome to have baked such wonderful things.
I’ve been meaning to make something along the lines of cinnamon rolls for a long time but have been put off on the basis that they take so much longer to make than cakes and that, once they’ve past their fresh-from-the-oven best, they’re just nowhere near as good any more. Joy from Joy the Baker – the genius behind these chai spiced cinnamon rolls (Joy, I am entirely indebted to you for the happy and beautiful of yesterday morning) – describes making these rolls as an ‘ordeal’. That, they pretty much are; hours in the making and mere minutes in the eating. But seriously, those few blissful minutes and the feeling of satisfaction you’ll get make all the hours worth it. Absolutely so. Promise.
I made the rolls the night before (the photos give it away don’t they!) allowing the dough to prove once at room temperature, then rolling it out, generously coating with melted butter, chai spices, brown sugar, maple syrup and crystallised ginger (told you these were good) and then rolling the dough up and slicing into rounds.
I left the rolls to slowly rise in the fridge overnight, followed by about fifteen minutes snuggled on top of the boiler in the morning to get the chill off them and get them rising some more. They hadn’t inflated all that much in the fridge and I wanted to make sure they turned out super fluffy, so I gave them a good burst of boiler warmth to get them suitably puffed up.
As I had these rolls scheduled for brunch, it definitely helped being able to get the larger part of the ‘ordeal’ over the night before as I absolutely cannot cope with any form of ordeal before food in the morning. Taking something out of the fridge and placing it in the oven via a little detour to the top of the boiler is pretty much all I’m capable of.
And did I mention how totally amazing and happiness inducing these rolls are? These soft, fluffy, sweet buns; a bit buttery, a fair bit brown-sugary and totally, deliciously chai spicy. And they smell unbelievably good, they make the kitchen smell unbelievably good too, and I am craving one of these rolls so badly right now writing this.
Go make cinnamon rolls and make a beautiful thing happen.
The recipe for Joy’s chai spiced cinnamon rolls can be found here.