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Six Years have Passed!

Brandied Raisin Rolls to celebrate

This is the anniversary month of my blog. It has been with me for six years. Seriously! Six years! When I started, I had hardly envisioned this day. At some level, I may have seen it being a entertaining hobby. Scarce did I expect it to become an engaging profession! Sometimes I find it amazing that this has been my longest, steadfastly, passionate vocation. One that I saw no dip in interest, one that I see only continuing deeper involvement in the coming years.

Over the years, it has seen several sides of me from the hesitant toddler steps to the stomps of a teen to the ambitious marches of an young adult to the difficult metamorphosis into a responsible adult to the zealous entrepreneurship today. A true best friend, albeit silent, one who listens without judgement, always dependable through my flippant dithering, a home to come back to when I am done traipsing about, a place of rest, peaceful reflection, a serene sounding board for my torrid outburst, a quiet therapist to my introspective outpourings.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Brandied Raisin Rolls

So, I think I must take time to celebrate another year of my growing solidarity with this blog.

When I say blog, it paraphrases for not the words and visuals but really all you readers. My blog is my space to express, indeed, but ever more than that it is my excuse to reach out and connect. And those qualities of a good friend, that isn't due of an abstract virtual space but rather the pulse of a real, living breathing person. Several persons. Some I have gotten to meet, know and cherish and many more of you I hope to in coming years.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Brooklyn Botanical Garden

And, so today, I want to take a beat and a post to thank all of you, each one of you, those who comment and those who don't, those who share and those who don't, those who read what I write, those who view my photos, those who tolerate my ramblings, those who recreate my recipes, those who tell me here or in mails what you really think, those who criticize, encourage and support me. Thank you for making my life full. Thank you for making my passion a vocation. Thank you for showing the patience that I did not possess. Thank you for being a friend in times of need and a partner in times of joy. Thank you for cheering my good moves and supporting my bad ones. Thank you for letting me find my way and being my beacon when I get lost.

Thank you, dear visitor, for making this blog, one of the dearest joys of my life!

Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Second proof of raisin rolls

To celebrate, I am sharing a recipe for brandied fruit rolls. I always have some brandied fruit in my pantry. This one was made with brandy (of course), cinnamon and saffron. I keep it in a glass jar buried in my pantry away from the light and simply top up the jar with more fruit and liquor and give it a good shake as I use up the stash. It is a handy pantry item that makes pretty much everything taste great, from bread puddings to ice cream toppings.

The rolls are a riff off these pesto ones or the traditional cinnamon rolls that are rather popular in the US. You can make this into a loaf if you prefer. I made this as rolls because they look like cupcakes and well, we are celebrating after all. Hope you enjoy these little bites!

Whole Wheat Brandied Fruit Rolls

Baked raisin rolls

For the dough:

1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 egg

1-1/4 tsp active dry yeast

4 T olive oil

1/3 cup warm milk

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

For the filling:

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup or so of drained brandied fruit

1 tsp grated nutmeg

In a bowl, soak the yeast in warm milk and set aside for a few of minutes until frothy. Whisk in the egg, oil, salt and sugar. Mix in a cup of flour. The dough will be very sticky, don't worry.

Set the dough in warm place to rise and double for an hour. Sift together the rest of the flour, baking soda and mix into the dough to form a pliable and soft dough which is very elastic. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. Leave the dough in an oiled bowl and allow to proof for an hour or so in a warm spot.

Dump the dough onto a well floured surface, cover with bowl and let it sit for a minute or two. Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle, really thin and long. Sprinkle the sugar and nutmeg all over and then spread the brandied fruits.

Roll in the dough along the length as tightly as you can to form a log. Finish off by sealing the seam with a brush of oil.

Slice pieces of the roll to fit into cupcake molds. This recipe should make enough for 6 fat rolls.

Cover with cloth and proof for another 30 minutes during which preheat the oven to 400F.

Brush with oil and bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Serve with warm honey or cream.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK