Monday, April 21, 2014


One of the things I miss most, apart from family of course, is when there is a holiday weekend at home and everything here is business as usual. This was once again highlighted this weekend with the Easter Holidays.

Sometimes I think it is a romantic view I have in my head. A weekend filled with egg painting, egg hunts, large legs of lamb roasting in the oven. I even think of sunshine, spring flowers and  bright new dresses. In reality I know it will be long queues in the supermarket, overpriced flowers and road rage in the overcrowded carparks. Still this doesn't stop me thinking of home and of what, in my mind at least, I am missing out on.

To compensate, and to try and recreate a bit of the Easter feeling I head off to the kitchen. Hot Cross Buns in my thoughts and hopefully soon to be filling the kitchen with the delicious smells of spices and fruit. After mixing, proving, knocking back and proving again my expectations were fading fast. However into the oven they went, and soon the smells coming from the kitchen were just as I had anticipated. Baking time up and I had 12 wonderfully smelling, but somewhat heavy HXB's in front of me. Not to be disheartened I took the butter from the fridge and spread it liberally onto one of the less than perfect buns. Somewhere along the line the X's had all but disappeared, so they were now merely fruit buns. The photograph makes them appear better than they were.

So for the taste test. The flavour was really good, just an issue with density! I knew what wasn't eaten today would make acceptable doorstops tomorrow, lol. Although maybe popped into the toaster would prolong their life for another day. What had gone wrong? I can only think I added too much flour when kneading the dough. Another day I will be less generous.

However I was now into the holiday baking mode and soon had some scotch eggs and sausage rolls cooling off on the counter. Again trying to bring a bit of home to Shanghai. These were much more successful and would be used for a lunchbox I was making up for my husband and friends to take to the F1 race on Sunday.

I made the lunches up in newly bough bento boxes, not sure how the guys would react to that! I would add rolls filled with Scottish Cheddar, and ham, some home pickled onions and a chocolate Easter Bunny. However, something went wrong with one of the boxes and as Melvin bit into his roll, which he was keeping to eat last as he loves my Scottish Cheddar, he was dismayed to bite into a "dry roll" I had left the filled one on the counter and put an unfilled one in his box. How we laughed, although I know he will not let me forget this incident for a long time.

As everyone at home was waking up to sunshine, chocolate eggs and the promise of a delicious dinner, here in Shanghai it was raining and overcast, although not cold, and I was enjoying a pedicure and manicure with a friend in The Shangri La followed by a cocktail. Not a traditional Easter Sunday but it may become my tradition as long as I am living here in Shanghai.

So although most of the time I love being here and enjoying all Shanghai has to offer, when bank holidays and traditional holidays come around it always highlights the fact that I am far from home, so anything I can do to bring a bit of Scotland to Shanghai helps a bit, but it will never compensate for being at home with family and friends at these times.