Oh how I’ve missed you, my friends. Remember when I told you about “the olds” coming for Christmas? Shortly after they returned home, one came back. John’s dad who’s 92 needed a break.
Mentally, he’s 100% and can remember things that happened in the 1940s plus he can remember exactly what he had for dinner last week. He’s a real joy to talk to and he’s got the sweetest personality. I told him before he left that I’d want to be his friend even if I wasn’t related.
He’s Charlie’s newest best friend and when he wasn’t researching optics on the Internet (he’s a retired physics lecturer) he was tossing the little blue ball that Charlie has placed behind him on the chair.
I know I should have tidied up before I took the photo but I was standing there with my iPad and I had to take the opportunity. To be honest, he stayed like that for about 20 minutes AFTER I took the photo but I just knew if I went rushing around he would move and I’d miss the shot.
One thing Gramps likes to do almost as much as researching on the web or reading and answering emails is eat. This man can eat better than any teenager I’ve ever seen. Give him bacon, eggs, toast, fried tomato, sautéed mushrooms AND a dish of fresh mango and he’ll eat every bite.
Then he’s ready for lunch and by dinner he’s looking to see what’s going on in the kitchen. I started writing down a menu so he’d know in advance. That’s when he said:
“Mango again for breakfast? Mmmm. And blueberry pancakes? What sort of syrup?”
The only thing about his visit was the rainy weather. He was with us for a bit over two weeks and it rained every single day. We did get out a few times but he’s a slow walker. The house seems really big without him. We don’t do morning tea or afternoon tea or breakfast or even lunch if he’s not here (and yes I’m sure I weigh more than the last time we talked). We work instead. Maybe he’ll come back soon but until then I’m back to doing what I love most.
One morning I asked him if he wanted a cup of tea and I got the usual, “Is anyone else having one?” I said yes, I would have one with him and then John came down to join us too. I was baking some hot cross buns and they finished just as the tea was pouring. No time for the crosses – we had fruit buns instead.
To enhance his dining pleasure I said, “Rob, when’s the last time you had homemade butter?”
“I can’t remember, maybe I’ve never had it,” he said.
I’d bought some cream and I was on a mission — a mission to spoil. I have a Thermomix and it only takes a minute and a half to make butter so don’t think I REALLY went out of my way because I didn’t. Still, homemade butter on hot fruit buns was SO good and he ate three of them. (remember I told you the man knows how to eat? AND he’s 92??)
Australian hot cross buns have their crosses made of flour and water and they’re baked in – not what a good old American woman would eat. Give me that icing cross any day, please. It won’t be long before Easter so I have time to practice my crosses.
- 2 packets dried yeast
- 310 ml (1¼ cups) milk, warmed
- 60 g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
- 600 g (4 cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 60 g butter
- 1 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
- ¾ cup dried currants
- 2 eggs
- Place the yeast, warm milk and caster sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Sift plain flour with cinnamon, mixed spice and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the butter or use your fingertips to rub it in.
- Add eggs and yeast mixture and mix and then add the sultanas and currants and mix til well combined.
- Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
- Place in a large greased bowl and leave in a warm spot for ¾ - 1 hour until double in size.
- Punch down, knead again until smooth and shape into 12 balls.
- Place in a greased baking tray or use baking paper.
- Let rise for 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200C (400F).
- Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce temperature to 180C/350F and bake another 15 minutes.
- While hot, brush with melted apricot jam or sugar syrup to make them shine.
It feels good to be back but we miss having him around, especially Charlie. 🙂
Maureen, this is so sweet! What a wonderful man and your relationship sounds so wonderful. And how happy to have someone who loves to eat and loves to eat what you cook and bake. And I so want to try these buns! Glad you are back, dear xo
Thanks, Jamie. You’re right, having someone who looks at every dish I put in front of him with joy is terrific.
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says
Welcome back! I’ve really missed your lovely posts – and this was no exception. Great tribute to your father-in-law – sounds like a nice man and I would be asking what’s for dinner too! Such a pleasure it must be to eat your cooking!
My cooking is no better than yours, that’s for sure, but thanks heaps for coming by to let me know I’ve been missed. It feels wonderful to have friends like you.
Claire @ Simply Sweet Justice says
Hi friend! Welcome back! I’ve missed you and your posts. 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a sweet post.
Thanks, Claire, it was a fun post to write. I asked my husband to read it since it was about family and he thought it was great too.
So glad to see your back!
Thanks so much Eileen, it’s terrific to be “back in the saddle”
Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb says
Ha! I wish my husband was like that (he is super difficult with food). But I think so even my darling would enjoy your fruit buns and I guess he would devour 3 too.
Welcome back dear Maureen, we missed you!!
I did my best to read as many blogs as I could so I wouldn’t feel so “left-out”. I can’t wait to do our food writer friday series together!
Marina@Picnic at Marina says
What a lovely time Maureen! Rain or not, having a dear friend in the house always makes my heart smile like on a sunny day. Great buns, and thanks for clarification. Now I know which is a fruit bun, and which is the cross bun. 🙂
I don’t know if a cross-less bun is a fruit bun but I am assuming so. 🙂 Lovely to see you!
Ella-Home Cooking Adventure says
Great recipe for a returning:) . Glad you had a good summer. 🙂
Thanks a lot, it certainly has been busy around here but also filled with a lot of fun.
Coffee and Crumpets says
Welcome back Maureen! What a lovely post and Rob sounds like a delightful young man. He reminds me of my late grandfather…another man who could eat and loved sweets. I wish he was still around to try my food, he’d be my biggest cheerleader.
I love fruit buns and yours look so yummy! They are such a gorgeous colour.
I will admit that Rob does a fair bit of cheering. We took him out to dinner one night and he was telling the owner/chef’s wife about my blog and that they should come over to my house for dinner one day soon. They cracked up and then said, “Seriously?” LOL
Kimby | a little lunch says
Maureen, I’m so relieved to see your post. (Checked your website on Monday… was hoping everything was ok with you… glad it is!) I’ll be “off the air” for a bit, but wanted to come out of hiding (ha!) to tell you I loved this story — felt like I was following you around your house (which, by the way, looks lovely — especially that “glass block” wall — gorgeous!) Thanks for the recipe, too. And homemade butter in two minutes? Sigh…
Aww, aren’t you kind to come out of hiding for me. I feel really special. 🙂 Look forward to seeing you soon.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Welcome back, Maureen! These buns look wonderful!
Thanks, Laura, and it was good to be able to visit you too. 🙂
Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul says
Nice to have you back Maureen! It’s lovely to hear the stories of your father in law and how he loves a good meal! This blog post put a smile on my face! Oh! and love the fruit buns too!
I’m so glad you came by, Peter, I’m a huge admirer of your work.
Best Foodies says
Maureen, I completely enjoyed your post. What a lucky gal to have an “old” enjoy your food. I miss my Dad enjoying mine and as you know my current “old” doesn’t really care about my foodie adventures in the least. I love your glass wall in the background! So glad to get this time to visit with your site!
I’m really lucky that Rob has all his wits about him even though he’s really slow getting around. The arthritis has done every bit of him in.
What a nice post and perfect houseguest. The pic of Charlie staring at his ball is priceless to any of us with dogs.
I saw him staring at that ball and just knew I had to have a photo of it. Charlie will do anything to be able to chase a ball. (or anything) He’s great at giving it back as you could see on the chair. He doesn’t have a lot of patience but he won’t give up. After 5 minutes he’ll nudge it a little just so you know it’s there.
My Kitchen Stories says
Welcome back Maureen. This makes my heart melt. What an amazing man for 92. So nice to have someone to cook for too. I imagine he is feeling very hungry now without you feeding him. My dog does the same thing and the site of him doing this with his blue ball just looks so very cute. I suspect Charlie is very sad too
Welcome back! I have checked in periodically and am glad you are back. These buns look so yummy.
Thanks heaps, Julia, I’ve already been to your place. You’ve certainly been successfully busy!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
You’re a darling daughter in law making him all of those lovely treats. And he sounds like a great guest to cook for too! 😀
isn’t it wonderful to cook for someone who’s really eager to eat what you’ve prepared? I have a whiteboard downstairs that I use for local blogger get-togethers and while Rob was here I wrote out the daily menu for him so he could anticipate. LOL
Ros McLaughlin says
Great story Maureen, It was lovely seeing Rob again, he is such a nice man and I’m sure Charlie loved his attention. Your buns look delicious, and home made butter in a nano second, how awesome. xx
Ros, you are Rob’s best friend up here. He hasn’t forgotten how well you looked after him during Christmas dinner 🙂
Now u ought to share how do u make butter in no time at all?? Those buns look impressive , nice shot Maureen .
Oh, I use a Thermomix. Do they have them where you are? It’s an expensive kitchen toy but I wouldn’t be without it. 🙂 Butter takes less than 5 minutes.
I kept checking back my friend to see if my emails were not working but it is nice to know that was not the case – welcome back!!
What a wonderfully delicious treat for a special friend!
Choc Chip Uru
Thanks, Uru, I’ve been keeping up with you as best I could and you are on a roll. Talk about blossoming as a young woman! You’re such a cutie.
Hot cross buns are an important part of our family tradition for Easter. I would ave loved them to be homemade with homemade butter.
You just come by and I’ll make some more for you 🙂
You have no idea how many times I have sprinted in here just to check if I was missing out on your blog post emails. So it’s so good to have you back on the scene! However, I still AM missing out on subscription email, no clue why.
What a beautiful post this is, and I just love you for being so you, hahaha! Those buns look as beautiful as the relationship between you and Gramps look.
Minnie, my sweet friend, I remember when we met and you were a new blogger just getting your feet wet and look at you now! Leader of the pack! So good to see you.
Welcome back! I was starting to wonder if we needed to send out a search party for you. 😉 Sounds like you had a wonderful time. It’s nice to have stuff and all, but experience is something you can’t really buy, and that is priceless. You’ll all remember this time together, I’m sure. Loved the pictures (in the top one you can see some of your lighting stuff in what looks like the dining room!), and love the recipe too – I’ve never made Hot Cross (or Fruit) Buns. Definitely something I should try. And did I say it’s really good to have you back? 😉
I know! I saw those lights when I took the photo with the tablet. My secret’s out. Cheap lights from Ebay. 🙂 It’s SO good to be back!
Welcome back Maureen, it’s really lovely that your FIL is so with it; it’s rather sad that my FIL at 88 is no where near with it. But then again, it’s all what you make of it, isn’t it?
I love these buns, with or without the cross. Lovely recipe.
My mother-in-law is rapidly going downhill. Rob’s wife. He’s not physically able to care for him although she tells everyone she’s HIS carer. She refuses to move from a 13 acre property that they care for by themselves. He gets scolded if he spends too much time on the computer instead of working in the garden. Poor old bugger.
Iron Chef Shellie says
what a gorgeous post <3
I STILL haven't made butter yet, Mum has and it looked messy hahaha. mmmm love hot cross bun season! x
messy? nah.. whiz with the butterfly til the machine groans, pour off the buttermilk, add some ice water, whiz and get the basket and poor off the butter. Smash it with a spatula to get as much liquid out and add salt or herbs and it’s done. Less than 5 minutes and the butter is spectacular and everyone thinks you’ve really gone to tremendous effort to spoil them. 🙂
Maureen, welcome back – and what a wonderful man to have about the house! I’m sure you got a lot less done than you intended, but it must be lovely to have him around. Nice bun, too. 😉
I got far less done than I wanted but I’ve got memories to last a lifetime. He won’t be around much longer.
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
Welcome back, Maureen. A lovely post and what a sweet man. I’m sure he was thrilled with the warm fruit buns with homemade butter. A question…is that some kind of a light reflector for your photos that I see in the background?
Rob got such joy out of every meal and every snack I prepared for him. Who wouldn’t enjoy feeding someone like that. His wife called and told me not to overfeed him because his clothes would get tight. He’s 92! Surely at 92 you can eat what you want.
Norma Chang says
That first photo is priceless. Always a joy to cook for someone who enjoys and appreciates food. What a lovely relationship you have.
I’m very blessed. Even if he wasn’t my father-in-law I’d want to be his friend.
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
This is such a sweet and charming post! Wow he’s so healthy and in a great shape and how fun that he enjoys eating. I’d gain weight like crazy if a house guest eats well. 😀 My mother in law will be visiting from the end of this month for 3 weeks. And the picture of Charlie… too adorable!! The fruit buns look delicious and welcome back! Missed your blog!
OH Nami, you’re not wrong. I’ve been going around looking for my fattest old clothes to wear around the house 🙂
Maureen, I love how you love to spoil. That’s what makes you the sweetest person. And having someone who appreciates you spoiling is so precious, too. Homemade butter? Can I move in, please? I guess there must be an enormous waiting list. Seriously, these HCB look enticing and bugger waiting until Easter to eat them!
As a matter of fact I DO like spoiling people, I always have. I also like to BE spoiled. Thankfully I found a man who feels the same way.
Glad you were able to squeeze these buns in!
LOL I love your comments 🙂
Welcome back, Maureen, you’ve been missed!
It’s such a sweet gesture to make homemade butter, reminds me of my great -grandmother making it (by hand) and it’s one of those simple and most wonderful things to have!
suzanne Perazzini says
I thought I hadn’t seen your posts for a while. It’s good to see all is well. What an adorable old gentleman and how fantastic to have such an appreciative eater in the house.
Hotly Spiced says
I didn’t get an email notification of this post! How weird. I got the apple cake post. Anyway, I’ve found it. What a shame about the rain. You’ve had so much rain the last few summers. It’s just not normally like that. I’m glad you had a good time with John’s dad. You certainly spoiled him with all your cooking. Yes – the man can eat. Isn’t it good to see old people still with an appetite. Most of them just pick at their food. I bet Charlie really misses him. Love the look of your fruit buns and you made your own butter? You are a star xx
My fault, Charlie. I had paused Mail Chimp and forgot to turn it back on. I read an article today that said I shouldn’t make butter because it’s just as good to buy it. I disagree. Butter made from really fresh cream is very nice.
I loved the photos! Glad you are back.
Thanks, Rhonda, it’s terrific to be back with my friends!
What a sweet guy … and he still appreciates a good meal. 🙂
I love hot cross buns but haven’t been too successful at making them myself. Maybe one day.
These were pretty simple to make in the mixer. I didn’t work too hard on them. They’d have had crosses if my father-in-law hadn’t been eager for a bite. 🙂
What a gorgeous post, Maureen! We’ve missed you! But it sounds like you’ve been having a wonderful time – and time spent with olds is especially precious.. xx
Thanks so much Celia and I really appreciate your visit, it means a lot. I don’t regret one minute spent with the olds but it feels terrific to get back to my blog.
We missed you too! You both are wonderful for helping your father-in-law, he is very lucky to have you both!!! Okay I need to know more about homemade butter, I am a serious butter addict!!! Your buns sound amazing, I am for sure pinning this recipe on my favorite board!!! Hugs, Terra
Mary Frances says
This is such a sweet post. It’s the absolute best to have someone to show your love to in cooking!
Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking says
I agree what a sweet post. He sounds amazing and I love that at 92 h is surfing the web!!
old stone oven says
Turn the dough once to coat, then cover the bowl with a
damp dishtowel. You might need to dust your rolling pin with flour too, if the crust sticks to it
too much while you are rolling. You should have a persistence of cooling
of the pizza stone.
Thanks for the comment!
I just made these today. My mum is feeling a bit low and I went over to visit for tea. My brother was coming also and I know mum likes to have something to offer him, but she wasn’t well enough to prepare anything, so had commented that we would have to make do with some biscuits.
They were very simple to make and came out very well. I just about had time to let them cool before taking them on the 10 minute journey to mum’s and they were still slightly warm when I served them with lots of butter.
Very much enjoyed by all!