Saturday, 8 March 2014

How to Make Buns...

How to Make Buns... in the UK

1. Pop down to Tesco in the car to pick up your ingredients.

2. Turn a knob to preheat the oven.

3. Mix the ingredients with the electric whisk and put the dough in the oven.

4. When the timer beeps, take out the finished buns.

5. Stick the dishes in the dishwasher and sit down to enjoy your buns in front of the telly.

How to Make Buns... in Chenapou

1. The week leading up to the baking day must be spent walking around the village, asking around until you find somebody who has a couple of dry coconuts that have fallen from their tree. Don't forget to save up enough money to buy flour and margarine. If you are very lucky the shop might have eggs too, but otherwise you will need to do more asking around to find someone with a hen who is laying eggs.

2. The night before, take your cutlass and hack your way through the tough outer shells of the coconuts.

3. Early on the morning of the bake, set off into the bush with an axe, cutlass and warishi (hand crafted Amerindian backpack). Find some nice pieces of wood and get chopping until your back aches, the sweat is pouring down your face and your hands are beginning to blister. Pack the wood into the warishi and make the punishing journey home with it on your back, the straps digging into your shoulders and forehead, taking care not to let the long pieces of wood snag on branches or bushes.

4.Crack open the coconut shells with the back of your cutlass and begin grating the insides, using an opened out milk tin with holes punched in it.

5. Combine the ingredients by hand, stirring vigorously until your hands are starting to get cramp. Grease the pan and put out the buns to rise.

6. Meanwhile, gather some kindling and small twigs to start the fire. When the fire grows big enough, get somebody to help you arrange some heavy rocks and balance a large empty oil drum on top of them above the fire. Now place a metal sheet on top of the drum and move some burning sticks there to heat the oven from above. From now on these two fires will need constant attention to ensure they have enough fuel and are spread out so as to heat the oven evenly. Use a hand crafted wicker mat to fan the fire when it is getting low.

7. It will now be early afternoon, and the heat of the tropical sun combined with that of the fire is stifling. The smoke drifts into your eyes making them sting, no matter which side of the fire you stand. Nevertheless, crouch down to slide your tray of buns into the oven, then, using an old cloth as an oven glove, replace the lid, securing it with a stick dug into the floor. Stop the hot air from escaping by sealing any gaps with old clothing- be sure to soak them first though.

8. Every now and again, brave the heat and the smoke to open the oven and see how your buns are looking. When you think they are done, use a wooden canoe paddle to slide out the baking tray. Take your buns inside quickly- if you leave them unattended the dogs or chickens or some other creature will be sure to help themselves. (Yes, speaking from experience).

9. Walk down to the river to fetch some water, with which to do the washing up. Scrub hard with a wire brush to get the burnt bits off.

10. It is starting to get late now, so pack up your buns and make sure you give one to everybody who helped you along the way.

11. At last, as the stars come out, sit down in your hammock with a cup of lemongrass tea and enjoy your bun.

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